The Golden Sayings
Epictetus was a slave-turned-philosopher who was born in Hierapolis and famously lived in Rome until Emperor Domitian banned philosophers from the city. Like Socrates—who Epictetus quotes and refers to frequently—we would know nothing of the thoughts of Epictetus if it were not for one of his enthusiastic students, Arrian, who compiled his mentor’s teachings.
Epictetus was one of the Stoics, philosophers who believed that one should be unmoved by the situations and conditions handed one by the universe—for such things are beyond one’s control.
As the title suggests, "The Golden Sayings" consists of a collection of numbered sayings, some are pithy sentences and others are full paragraphs, but few are as long as a page. Lest giving up one’s anger and fear of the unknown seem too daunting, Epictetus does advocate a gradual approach to self-improvement. He says that if one can at first say that one went a day without anger, one is on the path. As long as one works in the direction of saying it has been a week and then a month without anger.
As intimated above, Epictetus shows a great admiration for Socrates and applauds the elder philosopher for accepting that which he didn’t know and for his continual struggle to be a better man.