«epictetusEpictetus was born a slave in about A.D. 50 and grew up in Asia Minor speaking the Greek language of his slave mother. At the age of fifteen or so, he was loaded off to Rome in chains in a slave caravan. He was treated savagely for months while en route. He went on the Rome auction block as a permanent cripple, his knee having been shattered and left untreated. He was “bought cheap” by a freedman named Epaphroditus, a secretary to Emperor Nero. He was taken to live at the Nero White House at a time when the emperor was neglecting the empire as he frequently toured Greece as actor, musician, and chariot race driver. When home in Rome in his personal quarters, Nero was busy having his half-brother killed, his wife killed, his mother killed, his second wife killed. Finally, it was Epictetus’s master Epaphroditus who cut Nero ’s throat when he fumbled his own suicide as the soldiers were breaking down his door to arrest him.» – James Bond Stockdale, in Courage under fire.

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