The Discourses of Epictetus Epictetus - The books did not have a formal title in ancient times. Although Simplicius called them Diatribai other writers gave them titles such as Dialexis , and Homiliai . The modern name comes from the titles given in the earliest medieval manuscript: "Arrian's Diatribai of Epictetus" . The Greek word Diatribai literally means "informal talks".As to the date, it is generally agreed that the Discourses were composed sometime in the years around 108 AD. Epictetus himself refers to the coins of Trajan, which shows he was teaching during that reign. Arrian was suffect consul in around 130, and since forty-two was the standard age for that position, he would have been at the right age of around twenty in 108. Furthermore the "commissioner" of the "free cities" to whom Discourse iii. 7 is addressed is thought to be the same man Pliny the Younger addresses his Letter viii. 24a letter which has been dated to around 108.