1715 Enchiridion owned by John Adams (with signature - available online at Internet Archive)


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Epictetus?
What is Epictetus' Theme
How does the Manual read?
How long is the Enchiridion?
Where are the Greek Texts?
Is there a commentary on the Greek text?
Hellenistic Koine versus Attic or Homeric Greek
What is the Greek like?
I hear it is similar to the New Testament?
Is Epictetus relevant? Does anyone today read his writings?
How does the group work?
What do I need to participate?
What is the Schedule?
I am just finishing my first year of Greek, can I join?

Stoic Websites

The Stoic Foundation (Dr. Keith Seddon)

International Stoic Forum (a Yahoo group)

The Stoic Place (Dr. Jan Garrett)

Epictetus Quotes

   BrainyQuote.Com    ThinkExist.Com
   Golden Sayings

GreekStudy Group

Greek Resources & Online Tools

Online LSJ Lexicons

Other Greek Lexicons


Online Grammars
Funk's Hellenistic Grammar

Smyth - Perseus
Smyth - Hopper
Smyth - CCEL §§1-573 (pp. 1-178)

Kuhner-Blass-Gerth's Grammar ed. Ildar Ibraguimov. (German) is available on Perseus

AT Robinson "A Grammar in Light of Historical Research" Digitized!


Greek Education

Online Utilities
BetaCode Coverter

New Testament Sites

Greek Old Testament (LXX - Septuagint) Sites

The Septuagint Online

The New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS)

Secular Greek Sites

Greek Blogs

Tyndale Tech

Chicago Homer

Hellenistic Greek

OCP - Online Critial Pseudepigrapha

Migne Patrologia Graeca

What's New?

Comprehensive List of New Testament Audio files (Sept 2008)

Schweighauser's Latin-Greek Lexicon in a clear scan (named, Index Graecorum Tom. III, pp. 217-485). (added 08/01/2008)

Bonhoffer's Epiktet und das Neue Testament. A comparison of the strangely similiar vocabulary of Epictetus and the New Testament (Internet Archive pdf)


CLEAR READABLE NEW SCANS of Schweighauser's Enchiridion and Upton's Notes ( the GoogleBooks scan was often hard to read - larger file size but better)

Laurentius Sahl, 1783, Epicteti Enchiridion Graecae et Latinae in usum Studiosae Iuventutis.... This is a schoolbook with Notes pp. 41-64 and a Greek-Latin vocabulary pp. 76-92. Don't let the name fool you - its a complete commentary.
Notes (pdf extract)
Latin-Greek Vocabulary (pdf)

Bonhoffer's Index of Greek Words ( pdf extract ). From the GoogleBooks copy

Zu Arrians und Epiktets Sprachgebrauch. 1887 by Dr. Rudolf Mücke. (GoogleBooks). A 35 page comparative analysis of Arrian's Attistic Greek versus the Koine of the Discourses.

Fouillee, Alfred, 1875. Manuel D'Epictete. A French commentary on the Enchiridion (and Stoicism).
pdf Extract pp.40-73

Carl Conz, 1864. Epiktet's Handbüchlein der stoischen Moral: Und, das Gemälde des Cebes von Theben. GoogleBooks (with some notes)

Adolf F. Bonhöffer, The Ethics of the Stoic Epictetus: An English translation (trans., Stephen 2000). The index of this classic contains a modern-day Greek-English lexicon of Special Terms! The German original is available on GoogleBooks (added 07/01/2008)

Upton's Notes!!! Upton's famous notes, emended and supplemented by Schweighauser included in the 1799 Epicteteae Philosophiae Monumenta. Available as a pdf extract -A CLEAR NEW SCAN.

Looking for Jacobi, Johann Heinrich, 1786:
Cebes Gemälde und Epiktet's Handbuch griechisch nebst einem griechisch-deutschen Wort- u. Sach-Register für Schulen und Gymnasien

Bibliography Updates

Boter's Encheiridion (the latest critical Greek text) 2007 Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana (BT) 1302

Pierre Hadot 2000, Arrien: Manuel d'Épictète, Introduction, Traduction et Notes Par Pierre Hadot. LE LIVRE DE POCHE, 2000, (Translation and Commentary). This French modern commentary on the Enchiridion is perhaps the best out there. It is desperately missing an English translation. (added 06/18/2008)

Books by Adolf Bonhöffer

Adolf F. Bonhöffer, The Ethics of the Stoic Epictetus: An English translation (Stephen 2000). The Index of this classic contains a modern-day Greek-English lexicon of Special Terms! (added 06/18/2008)

Johannes Schweighauser 1799 Epictetae Philosophiae Monumenta. All five volumes with a description of each and index of Tomus III.(added 06/11/2008) and the correct GoogleBooks links

E. Resources

E. Complete Vocabulary
E. Special Vocabulary
E. Key Stoic Terms
Schenkl's Appendix
Upton's Notes

Greek Texts

Enchiridion Greek Text (linked to Perseus) Schweighauser 1799
Schenkl 1916
Greek Critical Text
Perseus Standard

Perseus Hopper

English Translations

PE Matheson 1916
Long 1890
TW Rolleston 1881
Higginson 1865
Carter 1758
Modern Translations....

Latin Translations

Perotti's 1453
Politani 1493 (pdf)
Hieronymus Wolf 1560
Upton 1741
Ivie 1715 (pdf)
Sahl's Greek-Latin Vocabulary




Weekly Readings

Enchiridion I Reading Schedule
Assignment Format
Reading 01
Reading 02
Reading 03
Reading 04
Reading 05
Reading 06
Reading 07
Reading 08
Reading 09
Reading 10
Reading 11
Reading 12

What's Coming?

MP3 Readings in Erasmian and 'Living Koine' Pronunciations

Golden Sayings in Greek and English Diglott.

Enchiridion Links to the Discourses (from Schenkl's apparatus)

Epictetus' Vocabulary pegged to Louw-Nida Categories

Enchiridion word-by-word file with lemmas and parsing

Enchiridion Vocabulary table listing all words in Schenkl's and Boter's Enchiridion and the Christiana Paraphrasis

Enchiridion II Reading Schedule Readings 13-24

A Readers page for each chapter of the Enchiridion.

Codex Bodeilianus Gk. Misc. 251

Codex Bodleianus
Gr. Misc. 251 (from Oldfather's Bibliography)




Loeb Epictetus Volume I

Epictetus, I, Discourses, Books 1-2 (Loeb Classical Library)


Loeb Epictetus Volume II

Epictetus: Discourses, Books 3-4. The Encheiridion. (Loeb Classical Library No. 218)

Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide

Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life by A. A. Long

Epictetus Handbook and the Tablet of Cebes

Epictetus' Handbook and the Tablet of Cebes: Guides to Stoic Living by Keith Seddon


Boter 2008 Epictetus

Epictetus, Encheiridion (Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum Et Romanorum Tevbneriana) (Hardcover)
by Gerard J. Boter (Editor) 2008


Blank Brill Book

The Encheiridion of Epictetus and its Three Christian Adaptations. Transmission and Critical Editions Gerard Boter 1999


Enchiridion translated by White

Handbook of Epictetus by Nicholas P. White 1983 (29 pages)


Smyth Grammar

Greek Grammar (Hardcover)
by Herbert Weir Smyth (Author), Gordon M. Messing (Editor)

Dobson Discourses 1

Epictetus: Discourses, Book 1 by Robert F. Dobbin 2008 Oxford University Press


Hadot, Pierre. 2000. Arrien: Manuel d'Épictète, Introduction, Traduction et Notes Par Pierre Hadot. LE LIVRE DE POCHE


The Ethics of the Stoic Epictetus by Adolf F. Bonhöffer, 1897.
An English Translation by William O. Stephens 2000

(no image available)


Stoic Ethics

Stoic Ethics: Epictetus and Happiness as Freedom
by William O. Stephens 2007
ISBN 0826496083


The purpose of this site is to encourage students to read the Enchiridion and to provide a reader's text of the Enchiridion, along with vocabulary and grammatical notes on the Greek text. It is also the online place for all things Enchiridion: Latin translations, bibliographies, online resources, etc.


*This website is under current development, some links do not work. Content is being changed daily. You may want to enforce a browser refresh to make sure you are looking at the latest page version. Enter at your own risk. <:)


The Enchiridion of Epictetus

Ivie Enchiridion Chapter 1    

Some things are up to us ...and some are not.....


Τῶν ὄντων τὰ μέν ἐστιν ἐφ᾽ ἡμῖν, τὰ δὲ οὐκ ἐφ᾽ ἡμῖν.



The Enchiridion, or Handbook of Epictetus is a Greek Stoic guide to daily living. It has been read and reread by countless people throughout the centuries because of its sensibility and applicability to daily living. The book was written in ca. 135 A.D. by Arrian, the student of Epictetus. The Handbook is a guide to daily life - a collection of Epictetus' best sayings. [Note that the terms Enchiridion, Encheiridion <note the spelling>, Handbook and Manual all refer to the same work]. Epictetus, a Stoic, unlike some of his forefathers in Greek philosophy (i.e. Plato and Aristotle), focuses his attention on how to practically apply oneself on a philosophical level.

The Enchiridion is highly recommended by various professors of Hellenistic Greek, NT Greek and philosophy.  Those who are interested in the NT and want to read some secular Greek should read the Enchiridion. Those who only study Attic Greek and Homeric Greek are missing out on one of the most influential pieces of literature in western philosophy; the Enchiridion stands alongside the Apology of Plato as one of the writings you should read many times in your life. While many may have only studied Plato and Aristotle, Epictetus was a significant contributor to philosophy and is included in any well-rounded study of philosophy.

Who is Epictetus?

Epictetus was a Greek philosopher who lived from 55-120 (or 135?) A.D. He himself never wrote anything down. We know his teachings by the writings of his student Arrian (who is best known as a military historian). Arrian wrote two works on Epictetus: The Discourses and the Encheiridion. The Discourses are the after-school banter of the students, their teacher and discussions with passers-by. The Encheiridion is a collection of his most memorable sayings. The portrayal of Epictetus is different in the Encheiridion than in the Discourses. In the Handbook Epictetus is a statue; in the Discourses he is a man.

You can get to know him a little more by reading the 'Interview with Epictetus' I have created (still being created). His teachings have changed the word 'Stoic' to be what the adjective today implies. The book "Handbook of Epictetus" by Nicholas White (Hackett Publishing: Indiana. 1983) has an excellent concise introduction. It can be found at most libraries. Keith Seddon's book Epictetus' Handbook and the Tablet of Cebes is a homiletic commentary on the Enchiridion.

The bibliography page has several books which will help you to understand Epictetus and his philosophy. You can find out more about Epictetus and the Enchiridion at Wikipedia and at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (the best article on the internet - also by Keith Seddon).


Epictetus in the Suda

The Suda online, a Byzantine Encyclopedia, has the following entry. You can read the English translation on the Suda web site. (The Suda is a massive 10th century Byzantine Greek historical encyclopedia of the ancient Mediterranean world, derived from the scholia to critical editions of canonical works and from compilations by yet earlier authors.)

Ἐπίκτητος, Ἱεραπόλεως τῆς Φρυγίας, φιλόσοφος, δοῦλος Ἐπαφροδίτου, τῶν σωματοφυλάκων τοῦ βασιλέως Νέρωνος. πηρωθεὶς δὲ τὸ σκέλος ὑπὸ ῥεύματος ἐν Νικοπόλει τῆς νέας Ἠπείρου ᾤκησε, καὶ διατείνας μέχρι Μάρκου Ἀντωνίνου: ἔγραψε πολλά. ὅτι Θεοσέβιος ὁ φιλόσοφος ἔλεγε πολλὰ ἀπὸ τῶν Ἐπικτήτου σχολῶν, τὰ δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπετεχνᾶτο τῆς ἠθοποιοῦ διανοήματα μούσης, ἱκανὰ πείθειν καὶ δυσωπεῖν τῶν ψυχῶν τὰς μὴ παντάπασιν ἀτέγκτους καὶ ἀτεράμονας: ἀποστρέφεσθαι δὲ καὶ ἀποδιδράσκειν τὰ χείρω τῆς ζωῆς εἴδη κατὰ δύναμιν, ἀσπάζεσθαι δὲ τὰ ἀμείνω καὶ μεταδιώκειν, καθόσον οἷόν τε παντὶ σθένει: τοιγαροῦν καὶ ἐν συγγράμμασι καταλέλοιπε τοιούτοις τισὶ τὰς ἑαυτοῦ νουθετήσεις οἵοις Ἐπίκτητος πρότερον. καί μοι δοκεῖ ὁ ἀνὴρ γεγονέναι ἄντικρυς, ὡς ἕνα πρὸς ἕνα ἀντιβαλεῖν, ὁ τοῦ καθ' ἡμᾶς χρόνου Ἐπίκτητος, ἄνευ μέντοι τῶν Στωϊκῶν δοξασμάτων. ὁ γὰρ Θεοσέβιος οὐδενὸς τοσοῦτον ὅσον τὴν Πλάτωνος ἀλήθειαν ἠσπάζετο καὶ ἐθαύμαζε. καὶ δή τι καὶ συνεγράψατο μικρὸν βιβλίδιον περὶ τῶν ἐν Πολιτείᾳ τῇ μεγάλῃ κεκομψευμένων, τὴν ἀπὸ τῶν θεῶν ἥκουσαν θεοσοφίαν ἐξαίρων λόγῳ: ταύτην γὰρ διαφερόντως ἐτίμα καὶ ἔσεβεν. ἀεὶ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς ἠθικωτέροις φιλοσοφήμασι διατρίβων ἐφαίνετο. καὶ γὰρ εὖ ἐπεφύκει πρὸς εὐζωί̈αν μᾶλλον ἢ ἐπιστήμην, οὐδὲ ταύτην ἡσυχάζουσαν, οὐδὲ ἐν μόναις ταῖς φαντασίαις γυμναζομένην, ἀλλὰ ζῶσαν ἱκανῶς ἐπ' αὐτῶν τῶν πραγμάτων. εἰ μὴ γὰρ καὶ τὸν δημόσιον ἐπολιτεύσατο τρόπον, ἀλλὰ τὸν ἴδιον, ὃν καὶ Σωκράτης ἐκεῖνος καὶ ὁ Ἐπίκτητος καὶ πᾶς εὖ φρονῶν μεταχειρίζεται, τὴν ἑαυτοῦ καὶ ἐν ἑαυτῷ πολιτείαν διακοσμῶν: τοῦτο μὲν πρῶτον, ἔπειτα καὶ πρὸς ἄλλους ἐν μέρει καθέκαστον ἰδίᾳ συνισταμένην πρὸς τὸ βέλτιστον.

Epictetus' Theme

The primary theme in this work is that a person does not need to be driven by external impressions and events, but can find, within himself, happiness and contentment by changing how he thinks about life and about the things that happen to him. Several passages from the Encheiridion will help illustrate this.

Encheiridion 8.1

Μὴ ζήτει τὰ γινόμενα γίνεσθαι ὡς θέλεις,
ἀλλὰ θέλε τὰ γινόμενα ὡς γίνεται καὶ εὐροήσεις

Don't seek to have events happen as you wish,
but wish them to happen as they do happen, and all will be well with you.

(translation by Boter)

In another example, Epictetus uses the metaphor of a play to describe the plan for a person's life

Encheiridion 17.1    
Μέμνησο, ὅτι ὑποκριτὴς εἶ δράματος,
οἵου ἂν θέλῃ ὁ διδάσκαλος:
ἂν βραχύ, βραχέος:
ἂν μακρόν, μακροῦ:
ἂν πτωχὸν ὑποκρίνασθαί σε θέλῃ,
ἵνα καὶ τοῦτον εὐφυῶς ὑποκρίνῃ
ἂν χωλόν, ἂν ἄρχοντα, ἂν ἰδιώτην.
σὸν γὰρ τοῦτ᾽ ἔστι,
τὸ δοθὲν ὑποκρίνασθαι πρόσωπον καλῶς:
ἐκλέξασθαι δ᾽ αὐτὸ ἄλλου.
Remember that you are an actor in a drama
of such sort as the author chooses,
if short, then in a short one;
if long, then in a long one.
If it be his pleasure that you should enact a poor man, see that you act it well;
or a cripple, or a ruler, or a private citizen.
For this is your business,
to act well the given part;
but to choose it, belongs to another.

(translation by Higginson)

"Epictetus’ own view has some features that do and some features that do not reflect the strict Stoic view of the ideal condition of a human being. To a great extent, he is interested mainly in explaining to people, not how they should understand an ideal condition, but how they can make their own condition somewhat better than it is. For this purpose, he adopts the strategy of persuading them that they should adjust their desires and their attitudes toward them in certain ways, which seem largely to be ways of setting their sights lower, not expecting to have certain desires satisfied, and living with the idea that such desires were not worth satisfying anyway. In many situations, of course, this is a sensible strategy. and Epictetus’ remarks are often interesting in that light. Epictetus himself was a slave during the earlier part of his life, and must have known something of what it was like to have no other strategy available." (White. p. 8).

The following key concepts can be found in all of Epictetus: the promise of philosophy, what is really good, what is in our power, making proper use of impressions, the discipline of desire, the discipline of action, the discipline of assent, God, living in accordance with nature, and making progress. (Seddon pp. 9-29).

How Does the Manual Read?

Epictetus’ style is not formal or ornate, but neither is it loose or easygoing; and although it is conversational and occasionally colloquial, it is the exact and careful colloquialism of the schoolteacher, with frequent use of verbal repetition to make its point clear and definite. The effect is inevitably a bit stiff, though not in a bad way. (White. Introduction, p.9).

Epictetus loved to use metaphors: life is festival, 'live like at a dinner table', every situation has two handles like a jug, an athletic competition and many more. He talks about the little things in life: a stolen lamp, that servant boy who can never get it quite right, the death of a child, your wife and children, the prepping of teen-age girls, having sexual relations, being around people who have no control, worrying about your next meal, etc.

The Enchiridion is a collection of wisdom sayings. The 'table of sections' on the reading page gives an idea of the topics he covers. There are some similarities to the rule books of Christian monasticism and the wisdom literature of Buddhism and Confucianism.

"The excerpts of the Manual are passages Arian organized, selected, and compressed from the full record in order to present Epictetus' teaching in a more accessible and memorable form. For a full view of the manual's grounding principles, one needs to look at Epictetus' Discourses. Both works talk about the nature of the world at large, human nature, social interaction, personal responsibility and a rational mind's dialogue with itself. <A. A. Long, 2002 Epictetus, A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life, adapted.>

Because of its relevance, the book was adapted by both Christians and Platonists. The Enchiridion was adapted by Christians over the next ten centuries. There are three Christian adaptations - the most significant attributed to Saint Nilius (ca. 400 A.D.) a disciple of St. John Chrysostom. Simplicius, a neo-platonist also wrote a commentary on the Enchiridion in the 6th century A.D. More on these works can be found in the bibliography.

How long is the Enchiridion?

The book is short (5200 words). It is about the same length as the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. There are 53 pericopes divided into 94 sections with an average section being 55 words. Most 'chapters' are only several sentences in length. There are 28 pages of Greek text in the Loeb version.


Where are the Greek Texts?

Texts of the Enchiridion can be found at the LetsReadGreek web site (the 'Reading pages' correct come errors in the following two links),  Bibliotheca Augustana and the superior Perseus web site hopper-version.  If you have never taken a look at the hopper version of Perseus -- go there and give it a whirl.  It is a much cleaner and easier to use interface than the standard cgi-bin interface. (The only problem with the Perseus sight, is that the traffic and web-response are often slow due to all those neoclassicists doing their homework.)

We will be using the text from Epicteti Dissertationes ab Arriano Digestae by Heinrich Schenkl (with some minor corrections). editor. Leipzig. B. G. Teubner. 1916 (it is the same text as the Perseus and Bibliotheca Augustana links). The 1895 version is online at Google Books; The 1916 version is available for download from the LetsReadGreek web site. Schenkl's text of the Enchiridion is really the text from Johannes Schweighauser's 1798 Epicteteae Philosophiae Monumenta. The reading for each week's selection will be on a separate web page on the LetsReadGreek web site and also sent out in the weekly GreekStudy email list in html format.

The Loeb version by W. A. Old father (1927 2 vols.) contains an excellent translation and introduction. Schenkl's 1916 edition text differs from the Loeb text in a number of places. The reason for using Schenkl's text is that it is linked to the Perseus vocabulary tools. Those who want to read more of Epictetus, including the Discourses, should purchase the Loeb edition; The Enchiridion is in the second of the two volumes.

Is there any Commentary on the Greek Text?

There are at least two modern commentaries on the Enchiridion, one in English and one in French (German, French and Italian works are yet to be fully analyzed by this writer). Neither focuses on the Greek text, although both have notes here or there on hard to understand phrases and vocabulary.

I have been spending a lot of time looking around for a commentary (in English) for intermediate and advanced students on the Greek text. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be one available. An excellent Latin commentary on the Greek text can be found in Laurentius Sahl, 1783, Epicteti Enchiridion Graecae et Latinae in usum Studiosae Iuventutis.... Don't let the title fool you - the Greek and Latin texts are present with an extensive commentary contained in the Notes pp. 41-64 and a Greek-Latin vocabulary pp. 76-92. GoogleBooks.   The French work by Charles Thurot, Epictete, Manuel. Texte Grec. Paris: Hachette 1903 (the last edition, which I have not seen, is dated 1917) is a great little handbook format with succinct notes for the intermediate student.

No notes on the Greek compare to Upton's Notes which can be found in Schweighauser's Epicteteae Philosophiae Monumenta III. Schweighauser emends and supplements Upton's notes. Schweighauser also includes an Appendix of Greek Words which has many valuable Latin glosses.

Schenkl's Index verborum is an adaptation of Schweighauser's appendix and lists many references to parallel passages in the Discourses and Enchiridion and Greek constructions. A pdf extract of Schenkl's 1916 second edition appendix is available for download on the bibliography page.

Several other Latin editions contain notes on the Greek text. Oliver's 1954 work on Perotti's Enchiridion (written in Latin) also includes many notes. Heyne's Epicteti Enchiridium Graece et Latine also includes notes. I'm still looking for Jacobi, Johann Heinrich, 1786: Cebes Gemälde und Epiktet's Handbuch griechisch nebst einem griechisch-deutschen Wort- u. Sach-Register für Schulen und Gymnasien. If anyone out there has a lead on such a text, please let me know.

Notes in English are hard to come by. All the modern versions include some notes here or there - usually topical, but sometimes explaining the Greek. I've been compiling notes on the Greek from various translations, etc. The goal of this site will be to make the Enchiridion notes on the Greek available in English. As time goes on, each section will have notes added and even translate Schweighauser's notes into English, along with providing an index of grammatical constructions for the Enchiridion.

Is Hellenistic (Koine) Greek that different from Attic or Homeric Greek?

The differences between Attic and Hellenistic Greek can best be described as one of simplification, augmentation of foreign vocabulary, and hellenization merging of various dialects. Every part of the language shows some changes: pronunciation, inflections (declinations and paradigms), syntax and vocabulary. Grammar was simplified, exceptions were decreased and generalized, inflections were dropped or harmonized, and sentence-construction made easier. A brief comparison by Jay C. Treat can be found on the University of Pennsylvania web site.

Koine is easier to learn than learning Attic Greek. If you can read Attic Greek, you can easily read Koine. You will have trouble reading Attic, if you only know Koine. Literary Koine is more 'clean' than the Koine of the New Testament. It does not have Semitic phraseology, words or idioms. It is comfortable with complicated Greek clauses and sentence structures. It uses a much wider range of vocabulary than seen in the New Testament. It does not have the Atticizing tendencies (reverting to the Attic syntax, spelling and declensions) nor the avoidance of later words which in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. were put on 'Do Not Use' lists. If you have only studied New Testament Greek, you will have only a slight learning curve reading the Enchiridion, which is primarily one of learning new vocabulary.

If you have only studied Attic Greek, you will have to learn to accept new forms of old words (e.g. ἄν=ἐάν) and/or different meanings for some of the words you already know (e.g. διότι = ὅτι). There are fewer types of conditions (almost no optative conditional sentences.) When you read raw texts and papyri, you will find that spelling errors abound - showing the change in pronunciation that was taking place. (The eventual itacism that results in modern Greek having 5 vowels sound the same and loss of aspiration.) Words used only as nouns have adjectival endings. The mi verbs have new forms (e.g. ἵστημι becomes ἱστάνω); sometimes you see both old and new forms in the same passage. Uncouth words, (i.e. words than no self-respecting Athenian would utter), are now acceptable e.g. βλάπτω as a verb from the classical βλάβη = harm.

Note: Some parts of the Enchiridion show both Attistic and Koine forms. This is most likely a sign of Atticism - the tendency for scribes to change a Koine spelling to the Attic spelling. It his highly unlikely Arrian would have written the same word differently in the same sentence. For example, in chapter 12.1 the Koine word κρεῖσσον 'better' and the Attic κρεῖττον appear side by side. Boter has changed both occurances to the Koine form.

The Greek of the Enchiridion.

The Greek of the Enchiridion is what scholars call 'Literary Koine'. The Greek is not especially easy nor extremely difficult. The hardest part of reading Epictetus is learning his somewhat special use of some terms; he uses a deceptively familiar Greek vocabulary. Epictetus himself tried not to talk to laymen (ἰδιώτης vs. φιλόσοφος) in technical terms, but use common terms and situations -- water jugs, bath-houses, family situations, ship-voyages, children, etc. Arrian, who transcribed Epictetus, does use a Stoic termed vocabulary in his writings, though not exclusively. There are a few terms one will have to 'relearn' in order to understand him. There is a special vocabulary page and terms page on this site that will help you in this area.

The Discourses and Enchiridion are written in Koine Greek (the other books of Arrian are written in Attistic style). Koine Greek is the dialect that was commonly spoken throughout the Roman empire from 330 B.C. to about 330 A.D. (From post Aristotle, to the change of the Roman capital to Constantinople). Hellenistic Greek is the language of Plutarch, Polybius, Dio Cassius, Philo, the Apostolic Fathers, Josephus, the New Testament, Epictetus and many other Greek works you probably know by name. (Note: Greek literature is ten times as voluminous as Latin literature. You may think some works are written in Latin because of the Latinized names of the author; they may actually be written in Greek.)

The Enchiridion is written in 'Literary Koine', and is more polished than the New Testament, but not as polished at Attic Greek. You can think of Attic as 'King James English' and Koine as '20th Century English. You will not find the spelling errors of the papyri, nor the Hebraisms of the New Testament. You will not find the frequency of the Optative mood that is in Attic, nor the 'Atticizing' tendency that appears in many later Greek writings.

There are few dialogues in the Enchiridion ( the closest is chapter 24); there are many in the Discourses some often hard to follow who is speaking. The Enchiridion is a grouping of separate short independent topics; each section can be read on its own accord. But there is a common thread that ties them together - a progression of sorts. Hadot's 2000 Arrien: Manuel d'Épictète has an excellent analysis of the progression of the Enchiridion. The Table of Sections on the Greek text page gives you an idea of how the work proceeds.

The Enchiridion and The New Testament?

There has been a great debate on Epictetus and the New Testament because of similar vocabulary, the similarity in living a just life, and the use of the word 'God'. Epictetus knew of Christians and twice referred to them, once as 'Jews' and later as 'Gallileans'. Several books have been produced on this topic, with the best being Epiktet und das Neue Testament by Adolf Bonhöffer 1911. The book Epictetus and the New Testament by Douglas Sharp 1914 is available on the bibliography page.

There are about 1300 distinct words in the Enchiridion. A quick comparison shows that 825 of them are common with the New Testament vocabulary. 239 words occur in the New Testament more than 50 times; 296 words more than 30 times. 723 words are used only once in the Enchiridion.

The words 'free' and 'freedom' occur some 130 times, that is, with a relative frequency about 6 times that of their occurrence in the NT (the word group occurs 42x in the NT) and twice that of their occurrence in Marcus Aurelius, to take contemporary works of somewhat the same general content. Some words mean the exact opposite of New Testament meanings, e.g.ταπεινός (humility~poverty), and πλεονεξία (greediness~advantage). Some words are used differently than in the New Testament, e.g. σωτηρία and οὐσία.

Does anyone even study Epictetus anymore?

The history of Western philosophy has always included three groups of study in addition to studying Plato and Aristotle. The Stoics, Epicureans and Skeptics have all made significant contributions to Western thought. Epictetus comes at the end of 500 years of Stoic philosophy. There has been a renewal of interest in the last 20-30 years in Epictetus.

He has been quoted often in Tom Wolfe's best selling novel A Man in Full. Vice-Admiral James Stockdale (Ross Perot's running mate in the US 1992 presidential race) wrote several books on how Epictetus' philosophy helped him survive six years in a POW camp in Vietnam. Many self-help books are actually following the Enchiridion in both model and method. A number of new translations and commentaries have also come out. These can all be found on the Bibliography page.

How does the Group Work?

The Enchiridion Hellenistic Reading group is a new part of the GreekStudy group; the GreekStudy group has been in existence since 1995. Each day, the GreekStudy Group sends an email containing translation collations and other relevant emails from various groups. Translation collations, assignments and grammar question collations are in the Greekstudy emails. In addition, this web site will have content, questions, answers which the email correspondence cannot provide.

This group is a reading and study group. The goal is to improve your Greek reading skills; not your translation skills. To do this, we focus on grammar and vocabulary. Translations are not required -- you may just read and answer the grammar and topic questions. Many will want to do both. See the Enchiridion Study page and the Reading Schedule page for further information

Like Aesop's fables, the Enchiridion is a collection of sayings, though not as eclectic as Aesop.  One can pop in and out of the reading group without feeling like they have missed half the story.

The each weekly reading will have a 1) Required, 2) Optional and 3) Advanced component. Some people will participate in all three areas, and some only in the Required. The Required and Optional readings, are from the Enchiridion and are about 200 words long in total. The Advanced reading will be from the Discourses of Epictetus, one of the Christian Adaptations which parallels the Enchiridion or from the Commentary of Simplicius on the Enchiridion.

Discussion of Stoic philosophy is outside the GreekStudy purview. This site is for those who desire to read and understand the Greek text, not Epictetus' philosophy as a whole. The International Stoic Forum (a Yahoo group) is the correct place for such discussions and emails.

What do I need to do to participate?

Join the GreekStudy group if you have not already. It can be found at http://www.quasillum.com/study/greekstudy.php. Sign up for the Enchiridion interest list by sending an email to llsorenson-TheAtSign-hotmail.com or to epictetus-theatsign-letsreadgreek.com. Some emails are sent out only to interest members. And if you don't already own it, purchase A Greek Grammar by Herbert Weir Smyth; it is a must have book for the intermediate and advanced Greek student.

It is my plan to tie the Greek grammar to the following works: Mastronarde (Introduction to Attic Greek), Mounce (Basics of Biblical Greek) , Smyth (A Greek Grammar), Funk (A Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek), Wallace (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics) and Morwood (Oxford grammar of Classical Greek). Smyth is the base grammar which all questions will be tied to.

When the group starts, you will need to do the reading each week and send in your answers to the grammar/vocabulary questions and optionally do the translation. The format for sending in collations to the GreekStudy list can be found on the group assignment format page and in the weekly Enchiridion GreekStudy email.

What is the Schedule?

This study group will be reading through the Enchiridion in two sessions. The assignment for specific weeks can be found on the Enchiridion Reading Schedule.

Enchiridion I Reading Schedule: Chapters 1-26 (Beginning March 24, 2008)
Enchiridion II Reading Schedule: Chapters 27-53 (later in the year)

I'm New to Greek, Can I Join?

If you are finishing up your first year of Greek, consider participating in just the Basic Group. You will have studied most of the forms except for some participles, the subjunctive and optative moods, the dual (not used in Hellenistic Greek), the mi-verbs (shame on your teacher). You should know all the noun declensions, adjective declensions and primary and secondary verb endings of the indicative and imperative moods, along with infinitives. You should be able to follow most of the Enchiridion Greek text without too much trouble. You will have to learn some new vocabulary words.

I am trying to key the grammar in the sections to both Mastronarde (Introduction to Attic Greek) and Mounce (Basics of Biblical Greek). These beginning grammars are the most comprehensive, the most organized and complete beginning grammars I have seen. They are like a beginning reference grammar and will be of great help. So if you have time, by all means, join in.

Goals of this Project

The goal of this project is to create a site that provides a starting point for would-be beginning and intermediate readers of the Enchiridion in Greek. While the site does provide some references to scholarship on Epictetus, the primary focus is to a create 'Readers Enchiridion,' complete with vocabulary aids, grammatical aids and audio files. Cross-references of grammatical structures to Smyth's Greek Grammar (especially) and other beginning Greek grammars will be referenced where possible.

Notes on the Greek text will be collected from existing scholarship, commentaries and treatises. Notes will be provided for each section of the Enchiridion. The notes will point out the between Koine and Attic Greek, special uses of vocabulary, stylistic tendencies of Arrian, Stoic philosophical terms and concepts. Both beginning and intermediate notes will be included.

A 'beginner's' bibliography is also included, along with as many links to works that reference the Enchiridion. The bibliography focuses on primarily on the Greek (and Latin) texts and only lists the most influential and popular works on the Enchiridion. It is not intended to be a complete or authoritative bibliography on Enchiridion scholarship.

The most popular and important Latin translations will be be provided. A Latin-English glossary will also be provided.

Long-term, I hope to be able to do the following:

Possible other areas of interest


Who is in charge of the group?

All participants make the group happen. Louis Sorenson is the coordinator the the Enchiridion Greek study group and is responsible for the content on this web site. Feel free to correct any errors, misstatements, copyright issues or other questions regarding the web site to epictetus<TheAtSign>letsreadgreek<dot>com.

Who am I? I have been studying Greek from 1976-1989 and again with renewed interest from 2005-2008. My personal focus is on Hellenistic Greek, but I enjoy Attic and Homeric works equally. I love Homer and Aristophanes. I have undergrad majors in Linguistics, Classics, Greek, Near Eastern Studies and Bible; a minor in Biblical Greek and Education -- all quite dated. I have also had several years of Latin, German, and Hebrew under my belt.

Why do I put so much work into this endeavor? I have a hard time doing anything half-way. I want to encourage others to go further in Greek studies. Historically, there has been a lack of available and easy to use intermediate reading tools and texts. Everyone says 'you need to read the Enchiridion', but there are no Greek commentaries available for the intermediate student. Making the Enchiridion simple, organized and interesting is my goal, especially since there is no readily available English commentary on the Greek text.

What's my philosophy about learning to read ancient Greek? There are four basic underpinnings of a successful Greek student: learning vocabulary, memorizing forms, reading large amounts of unfamiliar Greek and motivation; without all four, you will fail.

A word of warning. Many software-based Greek-language tools have emerged in the last 10 years. These tools are often used improperly. New students who use these tools as a crutch will never be able to pick up a Greek text and start reading without them. "What is a crutch?" you ask? Utilizing a vocabulary link rather than memorizing basic vocabulary words; Clicking on a parsing link without trying to figure out what lemma the form is from and why it appears as it is. Yes, times have changed, but the goal is to read without a grammar and lexicon or online tools. Try reading a passage with just using Smyth's Grammar and the small LSJ lexicon like your parents and grandparents did. There is a reason they decided to increase their vocabulary and learn the forms. Looking up a word numerous times was extremely tedious and took much longer than clicking on a link.

I think that reading Greek is only half the effort; understanding what a person is saying is the other half. I like to focus on the way words are used, the range of a word's use, sentence structure and style. Hopefully, this web site, will encourage you and provide you the resources you need to become successful and fluent in ancient Greek. Best of luck and best wishes!