The Manual

Translated by W. A. Oldfather, 1928

The Manual, or Encheiridion, is a compilation made by Arrian himself from the Discourses, and the great majority of those who know Epictetus at all have come to do so from this little book alone. That is a pity, because the necessary aridity and formalism of such a systematization obscure the more modest, human, and sympathetic aspects of the great teacher's character. Most of the unfavourable criticism which has been passed upon Epictetus — and there is some of this, although not much — is clearly based upon the occasionally somewhat inadequate impressions which any compendium must produce. For it may be doubted whether even so noble a statement as the Apostles' Creed has ever made a single convert.

Occasionally Arrian has modified to a slight degree the form of statement, as we may observe from the numerous instances, amounting to somewhat more than half of the book, where material from the first four books of the Discourses has been employed; but the substance seems to have been faithfully preserved, wherever it is possible to follow his procedure in detail.