Born: Circa 55, probably at Hierapolis, Phrygia (now Turkey)
Died: Circa 135, at Nicopolis in southern Epirus
The Greek word "epiktetos," meaning "acquired," was given to this Greek philosopher whose name is unknown. He was lame due to brutal treatment he received as a child.
Although his parents were slaves, he was permitted to study the philosophy of Stoicism and attend the lectures of Stoic Musonius Rufus. When he was given his freedom, he traveled to Rome, where he, like Socrates, whom he admired, lectured on philosophy.
Epictetus' lectures were transcribed from his notes to his student by his disciple Arrian. The lectures are published in Discourses and Handbook. The religious tone of his teachings aligned him with many early Christians and his lectures dealt with the problem of morality and ethics. He advocated that humans are imperfect and irrational, but God, who is perfect, rules the universe. He expounded on the theory that humans cannot control their destiny and thus rather than working for worldly good, they should accept their own weaknesses and be tolerant of others.
He taught in Rome until he was exiled by the emperor Domitian, along with other Stoic philosophers.