Despite being born into slavery, Greco-Roman philosopher Epictetus became one of the most influential thinkers of his time. The Discourses of Epictetus are a series of extracts of the teachings of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus. No writings of Epictetus himself are known. His discourses were transcribed and compiled by his pupil Arrian c. 108 AD. The main work is The Discourses. There were originally eight books, but only four now remain in their entirety, along with a few fragments of the others. Epictetus maintains that the foundation of all philosophy is self-knowledge, that is, the conviction of our ignorance and weakness when measured by the standard of good, and ought to be the first subject of instruction.