Epictetus on Wrestling
12 Nov., 2018
The “Golden Sayings” of Epictetus, the first century Greek philosopher, were compiled by a contemporary philosopher and historian, Arrian. Epictetus is the main authority on Stoic morals of which he gained an understanding probably from the lectures of C. Musonius Rufus. Of the 189 Sayings, many reference wrestling. I am happy to cite #157 as follows:
It is the critical moment that shows the man. So when the crisis is upon you, remember that God, like a trainer of wrestlers, has matched you with a rough and stalwart antagonist. – “To what end?” you ask. That you may prove the victor at the Great Games. Yet without toil and sweat this may not be!
Indeed, let mankind be improved by the sport! “We wrestle” says the Apostle, “against principalities and powers.” Get tough. The parallel to the wrestling we do in the spiritual world is the wrestling we do in this world. You play other sports. But you don’t “play” wrestling. You just wrestle! Get the program to train up good citizens and soldiers. Get with it!