Sex and Gossip Advice from Epictetus

Epictetus, Encheiridion 8-9

“As much as it is in your power, keep yourself clean regarding sexual activities before marriage. If you sample these things, you must pursue what is lawful. But do not be annoying to people who do engage in sex nor disapproving. And don’t offer up the fact that you don’t have sex [or not].

If someone tells you that some person is saying awful things about you, don’t get defensive about what he’s said. But answer: “Ah, he doesn’t know the rest of my nagging faults—otherwise, he wouldn’t be gossiping about only these!”

Περὶ ἀφροδίσια εἰς δύναμιν πρὸ γάμου καθαρευτέον· ἁπτομένῳ δὲ ὧν νομιμόν ἐστι μεταληπτέον. μὴ μέντοι ἐπαχθὴς γίνου τοῖς χρωμένοις μηδὲ ἐλεγκτικός· μηδὲ πολλαχοῦ τὸ ὅτι αὐτὸς οὐ χρῇ, παράφερε.

Ἐάν τίς σοι ἀπαγγείλῃ ὅτι ὁ δεῖνά σε κακῶς λέγει, μὴ ἀπολογοῦ πρὸς τὰ λεχθέντα, ἀλλ᾿ ἀποκρίνου διότι “ἠγνόει γάρ τὰ ἄλλα τὰ προσόντα μοι κακά, ἐπεὶ οὐκ ἂν ταῦτα μόνα ἔλεγεν.”

Image result for medieval manuscript gossiping monks
Miniatura de la rúbrica “De adulterio et abrupto”

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