Unbeknownst To Most Scholars Of Late Antiquity, This Is Actually A Fragment From A Longer Work By Epictetus, No Longer Extant, Titled “Dialogue Between A Philosopher And A Model”
In case you can’t make it out, that’s Epictetus, Discourses, Book I, §19. I quote the Penguin edition, translated by Robert Dobbin. I really recommend this wonderful translation. It recaptures the pithy wit of Epictetus’s Koine Greek and makes the philosopher’s Stoic dryness plainly evident. This edition is completely accessible to a reader with no prior knowledge of philosophy or classics, so there’s really no reason not to read it. It’s a funny and often brilliant text.
Now that I’m not dating what’s-his-name anymore, I’ll be able to spend more time blogging like a decent human being instead of pretending to enjoy myself in aggregate social assemblages of self-absorbed homosexuals. Not that I don’t enjoy spending an evening with a few male models…if they’re naked. And not talking.
Extra credit: Epictetus didn’t author the Discourses himself; they were assembled by his devoted student Arrian, who claims to have transcribed the discourses at the foot of the master as he taught. Most scholars accept that claim as more or less true, with minor editorial revision. The Discourses thus represent one of the very, very few texts that survive complete by an important Stoic philosopher; the Christians got most of them when the Empire converted, and the Crusaders got most of the rest when they burned the libraries in Constantinople in 1204. Also, Epictetus is one of the few and primary sources for the corpus of texts in Koine, the common Greek language of the Mediterranean in late antiquity, along with the New Testament.