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‣ Comment : Gaius Musonius Rufus was a Roman knight of Italian (Etruscan) birth, but dedicated his life to Stoicism and to preaching moral lectures in Greek and teaching all over the Empire, as well as involving himself in moral causes even at peril of his life. He is now most famous for being the tutor of the slave-philosopher Epictetus, who in turn was much admired by Marcus Aurelius. He was banished to an island by Nero and later Vespasian for, among other things, declaring that it was right and proper to disobey an immoral command from a superior (e.g. Discourse 16). Ironically, when Vespasian earlier banished all philosophers from Rome, he made a special exception for Musonius because he was held in such high esteem. Musonius was also renowned for risking death in trying to stop the civil war of 69 A.D. by preaching peace to the armies that were about to meet on the battlefield. Cora Lutz summarizes his doctrine best: "The primary concern of philosophy is the care of the soul in order that the qualities of prudence, temperence, justice, and courage may be perfected in it. This education should begin in infancy and continue throughout life, for every member of human society" (Cora E. Lutz, Musonius Rufus: The Roman Socrates, Yale, 1942, p. 27). His philosophical opinions were collected by two of his students. One collection of Discourses, by a certain Lucius, form the basis of the 21 lengthy extracts preserved by Stobaeus. (Compiled from various sources)
‣ Original excerpt : « Fragment 49. — When a philosopher is exhorting, persuading, rebuking, or discussing some aspect of philosophy, if the audience pour forth trite and common-place words of praise in their enthusiasm and unrestraint, if they even shout, if they gesticulate, if they are moved and aroused, and ewayed by the charm of his words, by the rhythm of his phrases, and by certain rhetorical repetitions, then you may know that both the speaker and his audience are wasting their time, and that they are not hearing a philosopher speaking but a fluteplayer performing. » (Translated by Cora E. Lutz)
‣ Source : Carrier, Richard (1999), "On Musonius Rufus: A Brief Essay".
‣ Source : Dillon, J. T. (2004), "Musonius Rufus and Education in the Good Life: A Model of Teaching and Living Virtue", University Press of America.
‣ Source : Jagu, Armand (1979), "Musonius Rufus: entretiens et fragments : introduction, traduction et commentaire", George Olms Verlag.
‣ Urls : http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/musonius.html (last visited )
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