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With these short lessons and bits of guidance, Epictetus gives readers a brief rule book to guide them in conducting their lives appropriately. The Enchiridion is a condensed version of Epictetus's longer Discourses (c. 108 CE; comprising eight books, four of which are extant). That work contains philosophical demonstrations and explanations that he did not think were appropriate to discuss among common people. Thus, the Enchiridion serves as an overview of Epictetus's Stoicism that is accessible to any reader troubled by difficult life challenges. Stoicism is a Greek and Roman philosophy that advocates for the value of reason and virtue above passion or desire.
The word enchiridion is an ancient Greek word that means "manual" or "handbook." Although Epictetus himself did not actually write anything down, his student Arrian (c. 86–c. 160 CE) collected these short lessons from his teacher into a single manual for living a moral life.
This study guide for Epictetus's Handbook of Epictetus (Enchiridion) offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.