EPICTETUS was born the son of a slave woman about 55 CE in the city of Hieropolis in Phrygia. He went to Rome as the slave of the freedman Epaphroditus, who held the distinguished post of secretary to the emperor Nero and later to Domitian. Epaphroditus allowed Epictetus to attend the lectures of the Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus, who was impressed by the young slave and trained him to be a Stoic philosopher. After being freed by Epaphroditus, Epictetus began to teach philosophy at Rome.

In 89, when the emperor Domitian banished all phi-losophers from the capital, Epictetus traveled to Nicopolis in Epirus (northwest Greece). There he opened his own school, giving lectures which attracted many students and followers, including the historian Arrian, who collected his master's lectures, probably in eight books, of which four survive. Arrian later compiled a summary of Epictetus' philosophy in the famed Enchiridion, or Handbook.

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