All the Works of Epictetus. Which Are Now Extant; Consisting of His Discourses, Preserved by Arrian, in Four Books, the Enchiridion, and Fragments. Translated from the Original Greek by Elizabeth Carter, with an Introduction and Notes, by the Translator. - Elizabeth Carter (translator and editor), Epictetus 1758 - Printed by S. Richardson, London - First Edition One of the Earliest Major Works of Greek Scholarship by a Woman, and still considered the best English translation of Epictetus, the Stoic philosopher. Epictetus was a major influence on Marcus Aurelius who quoted him extensively in his Meditations.


Elizabeth Carter [1717-1806] was an English poet, classicist, writer and translator, and a member of the Bluestocking Circle. She mastered several modern and ancient languages (including Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic) and science. She rendered into English De Crousaz's
Examen de l'essai de Monsieur Pope sur l'homme (Examination of Mr Pope's "An Essay on Man", two volumes, 1739); Algarotti's Newtonianismo per le donne (Newtonianism for women); and wrote a small volume of poems. Carter's position in the pantheon of eighteenth century women writers was, however, secured by her translation in 1758 of All the Works of Epictetus, Which are Now Extant, the first English translation of all known works by the Greek stoic philosopher. This work made her name and fortune, securing her a spectacular £1000 in subscription money.

She was a friend of Samuel Johnson, editing some editions of his periodical
The Rambler. He wrote that ‘[my] old friend, Mrs Carter could make a pudding [just] as well as translate Epictetus... and work a handkerchief [just] as well as compose a poem’. She was friends with many other eminent men, as well as being a close confidant of Elizabeth Montagu, Hannah More, Hester Chapone, and several other members of the Bluestocking circle. She also wrote to Emma Hamilton, who called Carter ‘the most learned female who ever lived’.
  The Discourses of Epictetus are a series of extracts of the teachings of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus written down by Arrian c. 108 AD. There were originally eight books, but only four now remain in their entirety, along with a few fragments of the others. In a preface attached to the Discourses, Arrian explains how he came to write them: ‘I neither wrote these Discourses of Epictetus in the way in which a man might write such things; nor did I make them public myself, inasmuch as I declare that I did not even write them. But whatever I heard him say, the same I attempted to write down in his own words as nearly as possible, for the purpose of preserving them as memorials to myself afterwards of the thoughts and the freedom of speech of Epictetus.’

The
Discourses are unlikely to be word-for-word transcriptions and are probably written-up versions of Arrian's lecture notes. The books did not have a formal title in ancient times. Although Simplicius called them Diatribai (Discourses), other writers gave them titles such as Dialexis (Talks), Apomnêmoneumata (Records), and Homiliai (Conversations). The modern name comes from the titles given in the earliest medieval manuscript: ‘Arrian's Diatribai of Epictetus’.

The earliest manuscript of the
Discourses is a twelfth-century manuscript kept at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. In the Bodleian manuscript, a blot or stain has fallen onto one of the pages, and has made a series of words illegible; in all the other known manuscripts these words (or sometimes the entire passage) are omitted, thus all the other manuscripts are derived from this one archetype. The Discourses were first printed (in Greek) by Vettore Trincavelli, at Venice in 1535, and first translated into English by Elizabeth Carter in this edition of 1758.

It is still considered the best English translation of Epictetus.

The
Enchiridion, or Handbook of Epictetus, (Greek: Ἐγχειρίδιον Επικτήτου), often shortened to simply "The Handbook", is a short manual of Stoic ethical advice compiled by Arrian, who had been a pupil of Epictetus at the beginning of the 2nd century.

Although the content is derived from the
Discourses of Epictetus, it is not a summary of the Discourses, but rather it is a compilation of practical precepts. The Handbook is a guide to daily life. Unlike some of his forefathers in Greek philosophy (i.e. Plato and the other metaphysicians), Epictetus focuses his attention on how to practically apply oneself on a philosophical level. The primary theme in this short work is that one should expect what will happen and wish it to happen so. The other motif that appears is Epictetus' opinion on the judgment of events: What upsets people is not things themselves but their judgments about the things. For example, "death is nothing dreadful (or else it would have appeared dreadful to Socrates)..." - Chapter Five .

Underlying all of this, however, is the idea that "Some things are up to us and some are not up to us"[1] and we must react and interact with those things accordingly.

For many centuries the
Enchiridion was regarded as a suitable manual of practical philosophy, maintaining its authority both with Christians and Pagans. In the 6th century, Simplicius wrote a commentary upon it, and two Christian writers, Nilus and an anonymous author wrote paraphrases of it, adapted for Christians, in the first half of the 5th century. The Enchiridion was first published in a Latin translation by Poliziano, Rome, 1493, and in 1496, by Beroaldus, at Bologna. The Greek original, with the commentary of Simplicius, appeared first at Venice, 1528.

Elizabeth Carter [1717-1806] was an English poet, classicist, writer and translator, and a member of the Bluestocking Circle. She mastered several modern and ancient languages (including Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic) and science. She rendered into English De Crousaz's
Examen de l'essai de Monsieur Pope sur l'homme (Examination of Mr Pope's "An Essay on Man", two volumes, 1739); Algarotti's Newtonianismo per le donne (Newtonianism for women); and wrote a small volume of poems. Carter's position in the pantheon of eighteenth century women writers was, however, secured by her translation in 1758 of All the Works of Epictetus, Which are Now Extant, the first English translation of all known works by the Greek stoic philosopher. This work made her name and fortune, securing her a spectacular £1000 in subscription money.

She was a friend of Samuel Johnson, editing some editions of his periodical
The Rambler. He wrote that ‘[my] old friend, Mrs Carter could make a pudding [just] as well as translate Epictetus... and work a handkerchief [just] as well as compose a poem’. She was friends with many other eminent men, as well as being a close confidant of Elizabeth Montagu, Hannah More, Hester Chapone, and several other members of the Bluestocking circle. She also wrote to Emma Hamilton, who called Carter ‘the most learned female who ever lived’.

[Approximately 10.75 x 8.25 inches. Quarto. pp. [1]-[6], [12, List of Subscribers], [i]-[xlii], 505, [8, index], [4, Appendix], [2, blank] pages. ]
  Bound in contemporary full brown calf, covers double-ruled in gilt, spine ruled and tooled in gilt, burgundy gilt morocco lettering label, gilt board edges.   Condition: A near fine copy, some wear to spine and boards, previous owner's signature and bookplate, interior clean with some offsetting from end-papers to first and last few pages.   Ref: 103984   Price: HK$ 16,000