Summary of Stoicism

Stoicism is one of the most influential and important traditions of the Hellenistic world. The Stoic doctrine was taught by the first recognized Stoic, Zeno of Citium. He founded the school of Stoicism

around c. 300 BC. at Athens and was significant throughout the Greco-Roman world until at least AD 200. This school produced a number of remarkable writers and personalities.

Stoicism focused on freeing oneself of suffering through developing an understanding of natural law and involves improving the individuals’ spiritual well-being, along with overcoming destructive emotions. Stoicism’s prime directives are virtue, reason, and natural law. Stoics believe by mastering passions and emotions, it is possible to conquer the disagreement of the outside world and find peace within oneself.

The Stoics define philosophy as a practice or exercise in concerning only what is beneficial to their way of life. For the Stoics, nothing passes unexplained. There is a reason for everything in nature and they live constantly with nature.

Stoics considered that through any stage of development it was God who molded and dominated passive matter in term of “progress”. They believed that the Law of Nature was God’s material presence in the Universe and he is also the reason and soul behind animate creation.

The Stoics concluded, only by putting aside passion, unjust thoughts, and indulgence and by performing what you have to do with the right nature; people can achieve true freedom and rule as lords over their own lives.

? The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2001-05 Columbia University Press.
? Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. Copyright © 2004 by The Gale Group, Inc.