In the first century a Roman slave named Epictetus earned his freedom. Literate, well-read, and lame from torture, Epictetus rose from obscurity to fame, attracting many students to his philosophical discourses. Along with Marcus Aurelius and Seneca, Epictetus represents the best of the wisdom of Stoicism, a practical, down-to-earth philosophy of forbearance and fortitude in the face of fickle fortune. In our ongoing series on The Great Philosophers, perhaps none before or since spoke as intimately or insightfully as Epictetus about the specific challenges we face as human beings.