By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: A Guide to Stoicism
Author: Stock, St. George William Joseph
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Guide to Stoicism" ***


by St. George Stock


Edited by E. Haldeman-Julius.


If you strip Stoicism of its paradoxes and its wilful misuse of
language, what is left is simply the moral philosophy of Socrates,
Plato and Aristotle, dashed with the physics of Heraclitus. Stoicism
was not so much a new doctrine as the form under which the old Greek
philosophy finally presented itself to the world at large. It owed
its popularity in some measure to its extravagance. A great deal
might be said about Stoicism as a religion and about the part it
played in the formation of Christianity but these subjects were
excluded by the plan of this volume which was to present a sketch of
the Stoic doctrine based on the original authorities.

        _Pemb. Coll. Oxford_




Among the Greeks and Romans of the classical age philosophy occupied
the place taken by religion among ourselves. Their appeal was to
reason not to revelation. To what, asks Cicero in his Offices, are we
to look for training in virtue, if not to philosophy? Now, if truth
is believed to rest upon authority it is natural that it should be
impressed upon the mind from the earliest age, since the essential
thing is that it should be believed, but a truth which makes its
appeal to reason must be content to wait till reason is developed. We
are born into the Eastern, Western or Anglican communion or some
other denomination, but it was of his own free choice that the
serious minded young Greek or Roman embraced the tenets of one of the
great sects which divided the world of philosophy. The motive which
led him to do so in the first instance may have been merely the
influence of a friend or a discourse from some eloquent speaker, but
the choice once made was his own choice, and he adhered to it as
such. Conversions from one sect to another were of quite rare
occurrence. A certain Dionysius of Heraclea, who went over from the
Stoics to the Cyrenaics, was ever afterward known as "the deserter."
It was as difficult to be independent in philosophy as it is with us
to be independent in politics. When a young man joined a school, he
committed himself to all its opinions, not only as to the end of
life, which was the main point of division, but as to all questions
on all subjects. The Stoic did not differ merely in his ethics from
the Epicurean; he differed also in his theology and his physics and
his metaphysics. Aristotle, as Shakespeare knew, thought young men
"unfit to hear moral philosophy". And yet it was a question--or
rather the question--of moral philosophy, the answer to which decided
the young man's opinions on all other points. The language which
Cicero sometimes uses about the seriousness of the choice made in
early life and how a young man gets entrammelled by a school before
he is really able to judge, reminds us of what we hear said nowadays
about the danger of a young man's taking orders before his opinions
are formed. To this it was replied that a young man only exercised
the right of private judgment in selecting the authority whom he
should follow, and, having once done that, trusted to him for all the
rest. With the analogue of this contention also we are familiar in
modern times. Cicero allows that there would be something in it, if
the selection of the true philosopher did not above all things
require the philosophic mind. But in those days it was probably the
case, as it is now, that, if a man did not form speculative opinions
in youth, the pressure of affairs would not leave him leisure to do
so later.

The life span of Zeno, the founder of Stoicism, was from B.C. 347 to
275. He did not begin teaching till 315, at the mature age of forty.
Aristotle had passed away in 322, and with him closed the great
constructive era of Greek thought. The Ionian philosophers had
speculated on the physical constitution of the universe, the
Pythagoreans on the mystical properties of numbers; Heraclitus had
propounded his philosophy of fire, Democritus and Leucippus had
struck out a rude form of the atomic theory, Socrates had raised
questions relating to man, Plato had discussed them with all the
freedom of the dialogue, while Aristotle had systematically worked
them out. The later schools did not add much to the body of
philosophy. What they did was to emphasize different sides of the
doctrine of their predecessors and to drive views to their logical
consequences. The great lesson of Greek philosophy is that it is
worth while to do right irrespective of reward and punishment and
regardless of the shortness of life. This lesson the Stoics so
enforced by the earnestness of their lives and the influence of their
moral teaching that it has become associated more particularly with
them. Cicero, though he always classed himself as an Academic,
exclaims in one place that he is afraid the Stoics are the only
philosophers, and whenever he is combating Epicureanism his language
is that of a Stoic. Some of Vergil's most eloquent passages seem to
be inspired by Stoic speculation. Even Horace, despite his banter
about the sage, in his serious moods borrows the language of the
Stoics. It was they who inspired the highest flights of declamatory
eloquence in Persius and Juvenal. Their moral philosophy affected the
world through Roman law, the great masters of which were brought up
under its influence. So all pervasive indeed was this moral
philosophy of the Stoics that it was read by the Jews of Alexandria
into Moses under the veil of allegory and was declared to be the
inner meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures. If the Stoics then did not
add much to the body of Philosophy, they did a great work in
popularising it and bringing it to bear upon life.

An intense practicality was a mark of the later Greek philosophy.
This was common to Stoicism with its rival Epicureanism. Both
regarded philosophy as 'the art of life,' though they differed in
their conception of what that art should be. Widely as the two
schools were opposed to one another, they had also other features in
common. Both were children of an age in which the free city had given
way to monarchies, and personal had taken the place of corporate
life. The question of happiness is no longer, as with Aristotle, and
still more with Plato, one for the state, but for the individual. In
both schools the speculative interest was feeble from the first, and
tended to become feebler as time went on. Both were new departures
from pre-existent schools. Stoicism was bred out of Cynicism, as
Epicureanism out of Cyrenaicism. Both were content to fall back for
their physics upon the pre-Socratic schools, the one adopting the
firm philosophy of Heraclitus, the other the atomic theory of
Democritus. Both were in strong reaction against the abstractions of
Plato and Aristotle, and would tolerate nothing but concrete reality.
The Stoics were quite as materialistic in their own way as the
Epicureans. With regard indeed to the nature of the highest god we
may, with Senaca represent the difference between the two schools as
a question of the senses against the intellect, but we shall see
presently that the Stoics regarded the intellect itself as being a
kind of body.

The Greeks were all agreed that there was an end or aim of life, and
that it was to be called 'happiness,' but at that point their
agreement ended. As to the nature of happiness there was the utmost
variety of opinion. Democritus had made it consist in mental
serenity, Anaxagoras in speculation, Socrates in wisdom, Aristotle in
the practise of virtue with some amount of favour from fortune,
Aristippus simply in pleasure. These were opinions of the
philosophers. But, besides these, there were the opinions of ordinary
men, as shown by their lives rather than by their language. Zeno's
contribution to thought on the subject does not at first sight appear
illuminating. He said that the end was 'to live consistently,' the
implication doubtless being that no life but the passionless life of
reason could ultimately be consistent with itself. Cleanthes, his
immediate successor in the school, is credited with having added the
words 'with nature,' thus completing the well-known Stoic formula
that the end is 'to live consistently with nature.'

It was assumed by the Greeks that the ways of nature were 'the ways
of pleasantness,' and that 'all her paths' were 'peace.' This may
seem to us a startling assumption, but that is because we do not mean
by 'nature' the same thing as they did. We connect the term with the
origin of a thing, they connected it rather with the end; by the
'natural state' we mean a state of savagery, they meant the highest
civilization; we mean by a thing's nature what it is or has been,
they meant what it ought to become under the most favourable
conditions; not the sour crab, but the mellow glory of the Hesperides
worthy to be guarded by a sleepless dragon, was to the Greeks the
natural apple. Hence we find Aristotle maintaining that the State is
a natural product, because it is evolved out of social relations
which exist by nature. Nature indeed was a highly ambiguous term to
the Greeks no less than to ourselves, but in the sense with which we
are now concerned, the nature of anything was defined by the
Peripatetics as 'the end of its becoming.' Another definition of
theirs puts the matter still more clearly. 'What each thing is when
its growth has been completed, that we declare to be the nature of
each thing'.

Following out this conception the Stoics identified a life in
accordance with nature with a life in accordance with the highest
perfection to which man could attain. Now, as man was essentially a
rational animal, his work as man lay in living the rational life. And
the perfection of reason was virtue. Hence the ways of nature were no
other than the ways of virtue. And so it came about that the Stoic
formula might be expressed in a number of different ways which yet
all amounted to the same thing. The end was to live the virtuous
life, or to live consistently, or to live in accordance with nature,
or to live rationally.


Philosophy was defined by the Stoics as 'the knowledge of things
divine and human'. It was divided into three departments; logic,
ethic, and physic. This division indeed was in existence before their
time, but they have got the credit of it as of some other things
which they did not originate. Neither was it confined to them, but
was part of the common stock of thought. Even the Epicureans, who are
said to have rejected logic can hardly be counted as dissentients
from this threefold division. For what they did was to substitute for
the Stoic logic a logic of their own, dealing with the notions
derived from sense, much in the same way as Bacon substituted his
Novum Organum for the Organon of Aristotle. Cleanthes we are told
recognised six parts of philosophy, namely, dialectic, rhetoric,
ethic, politic, physic, and theology, but these are obviously the
result of subdivision of the primary ones. Of the three departments
we may say that logic deals with the form and expression of
knowledge, physic with the matter of knowledge, and ethic with the
use of knowledge. The division may also be justified in this way.
Philosophy must study either nature (including the divine nature) or
man; and, if it studies man, it must regard him either from the side
of the intellect or of the feelings, that is either as a thinking
(logic) or as an acting (ethic) being.

As to the order in which the different departments should be studied,
we have had preserved to us the actual words of Chrysippus in his
fourth book on Lives. 'First of all then it seems to me that, as has
been rightly said by the ancients, there are three heads under which
the speculations of the philosopher fall, logic, ethic, physic; next,
that of these the logical should come first, the ethical second, and
the physical third, and that of the physical the treatment of the
gods should come last, whence also they have given the name of
"completions" to the instruction delivered on this subject'. That
this order however might yield to convenience is plain from another
book on the use of reason, where he says that 'the student who takes
up logic first need not entirely abstain from the other branches of
philosophy, but should study them also as occasion offers.'

Plutarch twits Chrysippus with inconsistency, because in the face of
this declaration as to the order of treatment, he nevertheless says
that morals rest upon physics. But to this charge it may fairly be
replied that the order of exposition need not coincide with the order
of existence. Metaphysically speaking, morals may depend upon physics
and the right conduct of man be deducible from the structure of the
universe but for all that, it may be advisable to study physics
later. Physics meant the nature of God and the Universe. Our nature
may be deducible from that but it is better known to ourselves to
start with, so that it may be well to begin from the end of the stick
that we have in our hands. But that Chrysippus did teach the logical
dependence of morals on physics is plain from his own words. In his
third book on the Gods he says 'for it is not possible to find any
other origin of justice or mode of its generation save that from Zeus
and the nature of the universe for anything we have to say about good
and evil must needs derive its origin therefrom', and again in his
Physical Theses, 'for there is no other or more appropriate way of
approaching the subject of good and evil on the virtues or happiness
than from the nature of all things and the administration of the
universe--for it is to these we must attach the treatment of good and
evil inasmuch as there is no better origin to which we can refer them
and inasmuch as physical speculation is taken in solely with a view
to the distinction between good and evil.'

The last words are worth noting as showing that even with Chrysippus
who has been called the intellectual founder of Stoicism the whole
stress of the philosophy of the Porch fell upon its moral teaching.
It was a favourite metaphor with the school to compare philosophy to
a fertile vineyard or orchard. Ethic was the good fruit, physic the
tall plants, and logic the strong wall. The wall existed only to
guard the trees, and the trees only to produce the fruit. Or again
philosophy was likened to an egg of which ethic was the yolk
containing the chick, physic the white which formed its nourishment
while logic was the hard outside shell. Posidonius, a later member of
the school, objected to the metaphor from the vineyard on the ground
that the fruit and the trees and the wall were all separable whereas
the parts of philosophy were inseparable. He preferred therefore to
liken it to a living organism, logic being the bones and sinews,
physic the flesh and blood, but ethic the soul.


The Stoics had a tremendous reputation for logic. In this department
they were the successors or rather the supersessors of Aristotle. For
after the death of Theophrastus the library of the Lyceum is said to
have been buried underground at Scepsis until about a century before
Christ, So that the Organon may actually have been lost to the world
during that period. At all events under Strato the successor of
Theophrastus who specialized in natural science the school had lost
its comprehensiveness. Cicero even finds it consonant with dramatic
propriety to make Cato charge the later Peripatetics with ignorance
of logic! On the other hand Chrysippus became so famous for his logic
as to create a general impression that if there were a logic among
the gods it would be no other than the Chrysippean.

But if the Stoics were strong in logic they were weak in rhetoric.
This strength and weakness were characteristic of the school at all
periods. Cato is the only Roman Stoic to whom Cicero accords the
praise of real eloquence. In the dying accents of the school as we
hear them in Marcus Aurelius the imperial sage counts it a thing to
be thankful for that he had learnt to abstain from rhetoric, poetic,
and elegance of diction. The reader however cannot help wishing that
he had taken some means to diminish the crabbedness of his style. If
a lesson were wanted in the importance of sacrificing to the Graces
it might be found in the fact that the early Stoic writers despite
their logical subtlety have all perished and that their remains have
to be sought for so largely in the pages of Cicero. In speaking of
logic as one of the three departments of philosophy we must bear in
mind that the term was one of much wider meaning than it is with us.
It included rhetoric, poetic, and grammar as well as dialectic or
logic proper, to say nothing of disquisitions on the senses and the
intellect which we should now refer to psychology.

Logic as a whole being divided into rhetoric and dialectic: rhetoric
was defined to be the knowledge of how to speak well in expository
discourses and dialectic as the knowledge of how to argue rightly in
matters of question and answer. Both rhetoric and dialectic were
spoken of by the Stoics as virtues for they divided virtue in its
most generic sense in the same way as they divided philosophy into
physical, ethical, and logical. Rhetoric and dialectic were thus the
two species of logical virtue. Zeno expressed their difference by
comparing rhetoric to the palm and dialectic to the fist.

Instead of throwing in poetic and grammar with rhetoric, the Stoics
subdivided dialectic into the part which dealt with the meaning and
the part which dealt with the sound, or as Chrysippus phrased it,
concerning significants and significates. Under the former came the
treatment of the alphabet, of the parts of speech, of solecism, of
barbarism, of poems, of amphibolies, of metre and music--a list which
seems at first sight a little mixed, but in which we can recognise
the general features of grammar, with its departments of phonology,
accidence, and prosody. The treatment of solecism and barbarism in
grammar corresponded to that of fallacies in logic. With regard to
the alphabet it is worth noting that the Stoics recognised seven
vowels and six mutes. This is more correct than our way of talking of
nine mutes, since the aspirate consonants are plainly not mute. There
were, according to the Stoics, five parts of speech--name,
appellative, verb, conjunction, article. 'Name' meant a proper name,
and 'appellative' a common term.

There were reckoned to be five virtues of speech--Hellenism,
clearness, conciseness, propriety, distinction. By 'Hellenism' was
meant speaking good Greek. 'Distinction' was defined to be 'a diction
which avoided homeliness.' Over against these there were two
comprehensive vices, barbarism and solecism, the one being an offence
against accidence, the other against syntax.

The famous comparison of the infant mind to a blank sheet of paper,
which we connect so closely with the name of Locke, really comes from
the Stoics. The earliest characters inscribed upon it were the
impressions of sense, which the Greeks called "phantasies." A
phantasy was defined by Zeno as "an impression in the soul."
Cleanthes was content to take this definition in its literal sense,
and believe that the soul was impressed by external objects as wax by
a signet ring. Chrysippus, however, found a difficulty here, and
preferred to interpret the Master's saying to mean an alteration or
change in the soul. He figured to himself the soul as receiving a
modification from every external object which acts upon it just as
the air receives countless strokes when many people are speaking at
once. Further, he declared that in receiving an impression the soul
was purely passive and that the phantasy revealed not only its own
existence, but that also of its cause, just as light displays itself
and the things that are in it. Thus, when through sight we receive an
impression of white, an affection takes place in the soul, in virtue
whereof we are able to say that there exists a white object affecting
us. The power to name the object resides in the understanding. First
must come the phantasy, and the understanding, having the power of
utterance, expresses in speech the affection it receives from the
object. The cause of the phantasy was called the "phantast," _e.
g._ the white or cold object. If there is no external cause, then
the supposed object of the impression was a "phantasm," such as a
figure in a dream, or the Furies whom Orestes sees in his frenzy.

How then was the impression which had reality behind it to be
distinguished from that which had not? "By the feel" is all that the
Stoics really had to say in answer to this question. Just as Hume
made the difference between sense-impressions and ideas to lie in the
greater vividness of the former, so did they; only Hume saw no
necessity to go beyond the impression, whereas the Stoics did.
Certain impressions, they maintained, carried with them an
irresistible conviction of their own reality, and this, not merely in
the sense that they existed; but also that they were referable to an
external cause. These were called "gripping phantasies." Such a
phantasy did not need proof of its own existence, or of that of its
object. It possessed self-evidence. Its occurrence was attended with
yielding and assent on the part of the soul. For it is as natural for
the soul to assent to the self-evident as it is for it to pursue its
proper good. The assent to a griping phantasy was called
"comprehension," as indicating the firm hold that the soul thus took
of reality. A gripping phantasy was defined as one which was stamped
and impressed from an existing object, in virtue of that object
itself, in such a way as it could not be from a non-existent object.
The clause "in virtue of that object itself" was put into the
definition to provide against such a case as that of the mad Orestes,
who takes his sister to be a Fury. There the impression was derived
from an existing object, but not from that object as such, but as
coloured by the imagination of the percipient.

The criterion of truth then was no other than the gripping phantasy.
Such at least was the doctrine of the earlier Stoics, but the later
added a saving clause, "when there is no impediment." For they were
pressed by their opponents with such imaginary cases as that of
Admetus, seeing his wife before him in very deed, and yet not
believing it to be her. But here there was an impediment. Admetus did
not believe that the dead could rise. Again Menelaus did not believe
in the real Helen when he found her on the island of Pharos. But here
again there was an impediment. For Menelaus could not have been
expected to know that he had been for ten years fighting for a
phantom. When, however, there was no such impediment, then they said
the gripping phantasy did indeed deserve its name, for it almost took
men by the hair of the head and dragged them to assent.

So far we have used "phantasy" only of real or imaginary impressions
of sense. But the term was not thus restricted by the Stoics, who
divided phantasies into sensible and not sensible. The latter came
through the understanding and were of bodiless things which could
only be grasped by reason. The ideas of Plato they declared existed
only in our minds. Horse, man, and animal had no substantial
existence but were phantasms of the soul. The Stoics were thus what
we should call Conceptualists.

Comprehension too was used in a wider sense than that in which we
have so far employed it. There was comprehension by the senses as of
white and black, of rough and smooth, but there was also
comprehension by the reason of demonstrative conclusions such as that
the gods exist and that they exercise providence. Here we are
reminded of Locke's declaration: "'Tis as certain there's a God as
that the opposite angles made by the intersection of two straight
lines are equal." The Stoics indeed had great affinities with that
thinker or rather he with them. The Stoic account of the manner in
which the mind arrives at its ideas might almost be taken from the
first book of Locke's _Essay_. As many as nine ways are
enumerated of which the first corresponds to simple ideas--

(1) by presentation, as objects of sense

(2) by likeness, as the idea of Socrates from his picture

(3) by analogy, that is, by increase or decrease, as ideas of giants
and pigmies from men, or as the notion of the centre of the earth,
which is reached by the consideration of smaller spheres.

(4) by transposition, as the idea of men with eyes in their breasts.

(5) by composition, as the idea of a Centaur.

(6) by opposition, as the idea of death from that of life.

(7) by a kind of transition, as the meaning of words and the idea of

(8)by nature, as the notion of the just and the good

(9)by privation, as handless

The Stoics resembled Locke again in endeavoring to give such a
definition of knowledge as should cover at once the reports of the
senses and the relation between ideas. Knowledge was defined by them
as a sure comprehension or a habit in the acceptance of phantasies
which was not liable to be changed by reason. On a first hearing
these definitions might seem limited to sense knowledge but if we
bethink ourselves of the wider meanings of comprehension and of
phantasy, we see that the definitions apply as they were meant to
apply to the mind's grasp upon the force of a demonstration no less
than upon the existence of a physical object.

Zeno, with that touch of oriental symbolism which characterized him,
used to illustrate to his disciples the steps to knowledge by means
of gestures. Displaying his right hand with the fingers outstretched
he would say, "That is a phantasy," then contracting the fingers a
little, "That is assent," then having closed the fist, "That is
comprehension," then clasping the fist closely with the left hand, he
would add, "That is knowledge."

A notion which corresponds to our word concept was defined as a
phantasm of the understanding of a rational animal. For a notion was
but a phantasm as it presented itself to a rational mind. In the same
way so many shillings and sovereigns are in themselves but shillings
and sovereigns, but when used as passage money they become fare.
Notions were arrived at partly by nature, partly by teaching and
study. The former kind of notions were called preconceptions; the
latter went merely by the generic name.

Out of the general ideas which nature imparts to us, reason was
perfected about the age of fourteen, at the time when the voice--its
outward and visible sign--attains its full development, and when the
human animal is complete in other respects as being able to reproduce
its kind. Thus reason which united us to the gods was not, according
to the Stoics, a pre-existent principal, but a gradual development
out of sense. It might truly be said that with them the senses were
the intellect.

Being was confined by the Stoics to body, a bold assertion of which
we shall meet the consequences later. At present it is sufficient to
notice what havoc it makes among the categories. Of Aristotle's ten
categories it leaves only the first, Substance, and that only in its
narrowest sense of Primary Substance. But a substance or body might
be regarded in four ways--

  (1) simply as a body
  (2) as a body of a particular kind
  (3) as a body in a particular state
  (4) as a body in a particular relation.

Hence result the four Stoic categories of--

    so disposed
    so related

But the bodiless would not be thus conjured out of existence. For
what was to be made of such things as the meaning of words, time,
place, and the infinite void? Even the Stoics did not assign body to
these, and yet they had to be recognized and spoken of. The
difficulty was got over by the invention of the higher category of
somewhat, which should include both body and the bodiless. Time was a
somewhat, and so was space, though neither of them possessed being.

In the Stoic treatment of the proposition, grammar was very much
mixed up with logic. They had a wide name which applied to any part
of diction, whether a word or words, a sentence, or even a syllogism.
This we shall render by "dict." A dict, then, was defined as "that
which subsists in correspondence with a rational phantasy." A dict
was one of the things which the Stoics admitted to be devoid of body.
There were three things involved when anything was said--the sound,
the sense, and the external object. Of these the first and the last
were bodies, but the intermediate one was not a body. This we may
illustrate after Seneca, as follows: "You see Cato walking. What your
eyes see and your mind attends to is a body in motion. Then you say,
'Cato is walking'." The mere sound indeed of these words is air in
motion and therefore a body but the meaning of them is not a body but
an enouncement about a body, which is quite a different thing.

On examining such details as are left us of the Stoic logic, the
first thing which strikes one is its extreme complexity as compared
with the Aristotelian. It was a scholastic age, and the Stoics
refined and distinguished to their hearts' content. As regards
immediate inference, a subject which has been run into subtleties
among ourselves, Chrysippus estimated that the changes which could be
rung on ten propositions exceeded a million, but for this assertion
he was taken to task by Hipparchus the mathematician, who proved that
the affirmative proposition yielded exactly 103,049 forms and the
negative 310,962. With us the affirmative proposition is more
prolific in consequences than the negative. But then, the Stoics were
not content with so simple a thing as mere negation, but had negative
arnetic and privative, to say nothing of supernegative propositions.
Another noticeable feature is the total absence of the three figures
of Aristotle and the only moods spoken of are the moods of the
complex syllogism, such as the _modus penens_ in a conjunctive.
Their type of reasoning was--

  If A, then B
  But A

The important part played by conjunctive propositions in their logic
led the Stoics to formulate the following rule with regard to the
material quality of such propositions: Truth can only be followed by
truth, but falsehood may be followed by falsehood or truth.

Thus if it be truly stated that it is day, any consequence of that
statement, _e.g._ that it is light, must be true also. But a
false statement may lead either way. For instance, if it be falsely
stated that it is night then the consequence that it is dark is false
also. But if we say, "The earth flies," which was regarded as not
only false but impossible [Footnote: Here we may recall the warning
of Arago to call nothing impossible outside the range of pure
mathematics] this involves the true consequence that the earth is.
Though the simple syllogism is not alluded to in the sketch which
Diogenes Laertius gives of the Stoic logic, it is of frequent
occurrence in the accounts left us of their arguments. Take for
instance the syllogism wherewith Zeno advocated the cause of

  One does not commit a secret to a man who is drunk.
  One does commit a secret to a good man.
  A good man will not get drunk.

The chain argument which we wrongly call the Sorites was also a
favorite resource with the Stoics. If a single syllogism did not
suffice to argue men into virtue surely a condensed series must be
effectual. And so they demonstrated the sufficiency of wisdom for
happiness as follows----

  The wise man is temperate
  The temperate is constant
  The constant is unperturbed
  The unperturbed is free from sorrow
  Whoso is free from sorrow is happy
  The wise man is happy

The delight which the early Stoics took in this pure play of the
intellect led them to pounce with avidity upon the abundant stock of
fallacies current among the Greeks of their time. These seem--most of
them--to have been invented by the Megarians and especially by
Eubulides of Miletus a disciple of Eucleides but they became
associated with the Stoics both by friends and foes who either praise
their subtlety or deride their solemnity in dealing with them.
Chrysippus himself was not above propounding such sophisms as the

  Whoever divulges the mysteries to the uninitiated commits impiety
  The hierophant divulged the mysteries to the uninitiated
  The hierophant commits impiety

  Anything that you say passes through your mouth
  You say a wagon
  A wagon passes through your mouth

He is said to have written eleven books on the No-one fallacy. But
what seems to have exercised most of his ingenuity was the famous
Liar, the invention of which is ascribed to Eubulides. This fallacy
in its simplest form is as follows. If you say truly that you are
telling a lie, are you lying or telling the truth? Chrysippus set
this down as inexplicable. Nevertheless he was far from declining to
discuss it. For we find in the list of his works a treatise in five
books on the Inexplicables an Introduction to the Liar and Liars for
Introduction, six books on the Liar itself, a work directed against
those who thought that such propositions were both false and true,
another against those who professed to solve the Liar by a process of
division, three books on the solution of the Liar, and finally a
polemic against those who asserted that the Liar had its premises
false. It was well for poor Philetas of Cos that he ended his days
before Chrysippus was born, though as it was he grew thin and died of
the Liar, and his epitaph served as a solemn reminder to poets not to
meddle with logic--

    Philetas of Cos am I
    'Twas the Liar who made me die
    And the bad nights caused thereby.

Perhaps we owe him an apology for the translation.


We have already had to touch upon the psychology of the Stoics in
connection with the first principles of logic. It is no less
necessary to do so now in dealing with the foundation of ethic.

The Stoics we are told reckoned that there were eight parts of the
soul. These were the five senses, the organ of sound, the intellect
and the reproductive principle. The passions, it will be observed,
are conspicuous by their absence. For the Stoic theory was that the
passions were simply the intellect in a diseased state owing to the
perversions of falsehood. This is why the Stoics would not parley
with passion, conceiving that if once it were let into the citadel of
the soul it would supplant the rightful ruler. Passion and reason
were not two things which could be kept separate in which case it
might be hoped that reason would control passion, but were two states
of the same thing--a worse and a better.

The unperturbed intellect was the legitimate monarch in the kingdom
of man. Hence the Stoics commonly spoke of it as the leading
principle. This was the part of the soul which received phantasies
and it was also that in which impulses were generated with which we
have now more particularly to do.

Impulse or appetition was the principle in the soul which impelled to
action. In an unperverted state it was directed only to things in
accordance with nature. The negative form of this principle or the
avoidance of things as being contrary to nature, we shall call

Notwithstanding the sublime heights to which Stoic morality rose. It
was professedly based on self-love, wherein the Stoics were at one
with the other schools of thought in the ancient world.

The earliest impulse that appeared in a newly born animal was to
protect itself and its own constitution which were conciliated to it
by nature. What tended to its survival, it sought; what tended to its
destruction, it shunned. Thus self-preservation was the first law of

While man was still in the merely animal stage, and before reason was
developed in him, the things that were in accordance with his nature
were such as health, strength, good bodily condition, soundness of
all the senses, beauty, swiftness--in short all the qualities that
went to make up richness of physical life and that contributed to the
vital harmony. These were called the first things in accordance with
nature. Their opposites were all contrary to nature, such as
sickness, weakness, mutilation. Under the first things in accordance
with nature came also congenial advantages of soul such as quickness
of intelligence, natural ability, industry, application, memory, and
the like. It was a question whether pleasure was to be included among
the number. Some members of the school evidently though that it might
be, but the orthodox opinion was that pleasure was a sort of
aftergrowth and that the direct pursuit of it was deleterious to the
organism. The after growths of virtue were joy, cheerfulness, and the
like. These were the gambolings of the spirit like the frolicsomeness
of an animal in the full flush of its vitality or like the blooming
of a plant. For one and the same power manifested itself in all ranks
of nature, only at each stage on a higher level. To the vegetative
powers of the plant the animal added sense and Impulse. It was in
accordance therefore with the nature of an animal to obey the
Impulses of sense, but to sense and Impulse man superadded reason so
that when he became conscious of himself as a rational being, it was
in accordance with his nature to let all his Impulses be shaped by
this new and master hand. Virtue was therefore pre-eminently in
accordance with nature. What then we must now ask is the relation of
reason to impulse as conceived by the Stoics? Is reason simply the
guiding, and impulse the motive power? Seneca protests against this
view, when impulse is identified with passion. One of his grounds for
doing so is that reason would be put on a level with passion, if the
two were equally necessary for action. But the question is begged by
the use of the word 'passion,' which was defined by the Stoics as 'an
excessive impulse.' Is it possible then, even on Stoic principles,
for reason to work without something different from itself to help
it? Or must we say that reason is itself a principle of action? Here
Plutarch comes to our aid, who tells us on the authority of
Chrysippus in his work on Law that impulse is 'the reason of man
commanding him to act,' and similarly that repulsion is 'prohibitive
reason.' This renders the Stoic position unmistakable, and we must
accomodate our minds to it in spite of its difficulties. Just as we
have seen already that reason is not something radically different
from sense, so now it appears that reason is not different from
impulse, but itself the perfected form of impulse. Whenever impulse
is not identical with reason--at least in a rational being--it is not
truly impulse, but passion.

The Stoics, it will be observed, were Evolutionists in their
psychology. But, like many Evolutionists at the present day, they did
not believe in the origin of mind out of matter. In all living things
there existed already what they called 'seminal reasons,' which
accounted for the intelligence displayed by plants as well as by
animals. As there were four cardinal virtues, so there were four
primary passions. These were delight, grief, desire and fear. All of
them were excited by the presence or the prospect of fancied good or
ill. What prompted desire by its prospect caused delight by its
presence, and what prompted fear by its prospect caused grief by its
presence. Thus two of the primary passions had to do with good and
two with evil. All were furies which infested the life of fools,
rendering it bitter and grievous to them; and it was the business of
philosophy to fight against them. Nor was this strife a hopeless one,
since the passions were not grounded in nature, but were due to false
opinion. They originated in voluntary judgements, and owed their
birth to a lack of mental sobriety. If men wished to live the span of
life that was allotted to them in quietness and peace, they must by
all means keep clear of the passions.

The four primary passions having been formulated, it became necessary
to justify the division by arranging the specific forms of feeling
under these four heads. In this task the Stoics displayed a subtlety
which is of more interest to the lexicographer than to the student of
philosophy. They laid great stress on the derivation of words as
affording a clue to their meaning; and, as their etymology was bound
by no principles, their ingenuity was free to indulge in the wildest
freaks of fancy.

Though all passion stood self-condemned, there were nevertheless
certain 'eupathies,' or happy affections, which would be experienced
by the ideally good and wise man. These were not perturbations of the
soul, but rather 'constancies'; they were not opposed to reason, but
were rather part of reason. Though the sage would never be
transported with delight, he would still feel an abiding 'joy' in the
presence of the true and only good; he would never indeed be agitated
by desire, but still he would be animated by 'wish,' for that was
directed only to the good; and though he would never feel fear still
he would be actuated in danger by a proper caution.

There was therefore something rational corresponding to three out of
four primary passions--against delight was to be set joy; against
grief there was nothing to be set, for that arose from the presence
of ill which would rather never attach to the sage. Grief was the
irrational conviction that one ought to afflict oneself where there
was no occasion for it. The ideal of the Stoics was the unclouded
serenity of Socrates of whom Xanthippe declared that he had always
the same face whether on leaving the house In the morning or on
returning to it at night.

As the motley crowd of passions followed the banners of their four
leaders so specific forms of feeling sanctioned by reason were
severally assigned to the three eupathies.

Things were divided by Zeno into good, bad, and indifferent. To good
belonged virtue and what partook of virtue; to bad, vice and what
partook of vice. All other things were indifferent.

To the third class then belonged such things as life and death,
health and sickness, pleasure and pain, beauty and ugliness, strength
and weakness, honour and dishonour, wealth and poverty, victory and
defeat, nobility and baseness of birth.

Good was defined as that which benefits. To confer benefit was no
less essential to good than to impart warmth was to heat. If one
asked in what 'to benefit' lay one received the reply that it lay in
producing an act or state in accordance with virtue, and similarly it
was laid down that 'to hurt' lay in producing an act or state in
accordance with vice.

The indifference of things other than virtue and vice was apparent
from the definition of good which made it essentially beneficial.
Such things as health and wealth might be beneficial or not according
to circumstances; they were therefore no more good than bad. Again,
nothing could be really good of which the good or ill depended on the
use made of it, but this was the case with things like health and

The true and only good then was identical with what the Greeks called
'the beautiful' and what we call 'the right'. To say that a thing was
right was to say that it was good, and conversely to say that it was
good was to say that it was right; this absolute identity between the
good and the right and, on the other hand, between the bad and wrong,
was the head and front of the Stoic ethics. The right contained in
itself all that was necessary for the happy life, the wrong was the
only evil, and made men miserable whether they knew it or not.

As virtue was itself the end, it was of course choiceworthy in and
for itself, apart from hope or fear with regard to its consequences.
Moreover, as being the highest good, it could admit of no increase
from the addition of things indifferent. It did not even admit of
increase from the prolongation of its own existence, for the question
was not one of quantity, but of quality. Virtue for an eternity was
no more virtue, and therefore no more good, than virtue for a moment.
Even so one circle was no more round than another, whatever you might
choose to make its diameter, nor would it detract from the perfection
of a circle if it were to be obliterated immediately in the same dust
in which it had been drawn.

To say that the good of men lay in virtue was another way of saying
that it lay in reason, since virtue was the perfection of reason.

As reason was the only thing whereby Nature had distinguished man
from other creatures, to live the rational life was to follow Nature.

Nature was at once the law of God and the law for man. For by the
nature of anything was meant, not that which we actually find it to
be, but that which in the eternal fitness of things it was obviously
intended to become.

To be happy then was to be virtuous, to be virtuous was to be
rational, to be rational was to follow Nature, and to follow Nature
was to obey God. Virtue imparted to life that even flow in which Zeno
declared happiness to consist. This was attained when one's own
genius was in harmony with the will that disposed of all things.

Virtue having been purified from all the dross of the emotions, came
out as something purely intellectual, so that the Stoics agreed with
the Socratic conception that virtue is knowledge. They also took on
from Plato the four cardinal virtues of Wisdom, Temperance, Courage,
and Justice, and defined them as so many branches of knowledge.
Against these were set four cardinal vices of Folly, Intemperance,
Cowardice, and Injustice. Under both the virtues and vices there was
an elaborate classification of specific qualities. But
notwithstanding the care with which the Stoics divided and subdivided
the virtues, virtue, according to their doctrine, was all the time
one and indivisible. For virtue was simply reason and reason, if it
were there, must control every department of conduct alike. 'He who
has one virtue has all,' was a paradox with which the Greek thought
was already familiar. But Chrysippus went beyond this, declaring that
he who displayed one virtue did thereby display all. Neither was the
man perfect who did not possess all the virtues, nor was the act
perfect which did not involve them all. Where the virtues differed
from one another was merely in the order in which they put things.
Each was primarily itself, secondarily all the rest. Wisdom had to
determine what it was right to do, but this involved the other
virtues. Temperance had to impart stability to the impulses, but how
could the term 'temperate' be applied to a man who deserted his post
through cowardice, or who failed to return a deposit through avarice,
which is a form of injustice, or yet to one who misconducted affairs
through rashness, which falls under folly? Courage had to face
dangers and difficulties, but it was not courage unless its cause
were just. Indeed one of the ways in which courage was defined was a
virtue fighting on behalf of justice. Similarly justice put first the
assigning to each man his due, but in the act of doing so had to
bring in the other virtues. In short, it was the business of the man
of virtue to know and to do what ought to be done, for what ought to
be done implied wisdom in choice, courage in endurance, justice in
assignment and temperance in abiding by ones conviction. One virtue
never acted by itself, but always on the advice of a committee. The
obverse to this paradox--He who has one vice has all vices--was a
conclusion which the Stoics did not shrink from drawing. One might
lose part of one's Corinthian ware and still retain the rest, but to
lose one virtue--if virtue could be lost--would be to lose all along
with it.

We have now encountered the first paradox of Stoicism, and can
discern its origin in the identification of virtue with pure reason.
In getting forth the novelties in Zeno's teaching, Cicero mentions
that, while his predecessors had recognized virtues due to nature and
habit, he made all dependent upon reason. A natural consequence of
this was the reassertion of the position which Plato held or wished
to hold, namely, that virtue can be taught. But the part played by
nature in virtue cannot be ignored. It was not in the power of Zeno
to alter facts. All he could do was to legislate as to names. And
this he did vigorously. Nothing was to be called virtue which was not
of the nature of reason and knowledge, but still it had to be
admitted that nature supplied the starting points for the four
cardinal virtues--for the discovery of one's impulses, for right
endurances and harmonious distributions.

From things good and bad we now turn to things indifferent. Hitherto
the Stoic doctrine has been stern and uncompromising. We have now to
look at it under a different aspect, and to see how it tried to
conciliate common sense.

By things indifferent were meant such as did not necessarily
contribute to virtue, for instance health, wealth, strength, and
honor. It is possible to have all these and not be virtuous, it is
possible also to be virtuous without them. But we have now to learn
that though these things are neither good nor evil, and are therefore
not matter for choice or avoidance, they are far from being
indifferent in the sense of arousing neither impulse nor repulsion.
There are things indeed that are indifferent in the latter sense,
such as whether you put out your finger this way or that, whether you
stoop to pick up a straw or not, whether the number of hairs on your
head be odd or even. But things of this sort are exceptional. The
bulk of things other than virtue and vice do arouse in us either
impulse or repulsion. Let it be understood then that there are two
senses of the word indifferent--

   (1) neither good nor bad
   (2) neither awaking impulse nor repulsion

Among things indifferent in the former sense, some were in accordance
with nature, some were contrary to nature and some were neither one
nor the other. Health, strengths and soundness of the senses were in
accordance with nature; sickness weakness and mutilation were
contrary to nature, but such things as the fallibility of the soul
and the vulnerability of the body were neither in accordance with
nature nor yet contrary to nature, but just nature.

All things that were in accordance with nature had 'value' and all
things that were contrary to nature had what we must call 'disvalue'.
In the highest sense indeed of the term 'value'--namely that of
absolute value or worth--things indifferent did not possess any value
at all. But still there might be assigned to them what Antipater
expressed by the term 'a selective value' or what he expressed by its
barbarous privative, 'a disselective disvalue'. If a thing possessed
a selective value you took that thing rather than its contrary,
supposing that circumstances allowed, for instance, health rather
than sickness, wealth rather than poverty, life rather than death.
Hence such things were called takeable and their contraries
untakeable. Things that possessed a high degree of value were called
preferred, those that possessed a high degree of disvalue were called
rejected. Such as possessed no considerable degree of either were
neither preferred nor rejected. Zeno, with whom these names
originated, justified their use about things really indifferent on
the ground that at court "preferment" could not be bestowed upon the
king himself, but only on his ministers.

Things preferred and rejected might belong to mind, body or estate.
Among things preferred in the case of the mind were natural ability,
art, moral progress, and the like, while their contraries were
rejected. In the case of the body, life, health, strength, good
condition, completeness, and beauty were preferred, while death,
sickness, weakness, ill condition, mutilation and ugliness were
rejected. Among things external to soul and body, wealth, reputation,
and nobility were preferred, while poverty, ill repute, and baseness
of birth were rejected.

In this way all mundane and marketable goods, after having been
solemnly refused admittance by the Stoics at the front door, were
smuggled in at a kind of tradesman's entrance under the name of
things indifferent. We must now see how they had, as it were, two
moral codes, one for the sage and the other for the world in general.

The sage alone could act rightly, but other people might perform "the
proprieties." Any one might honor his parents, but the sage alone did
it as the outcome of wisdom, because he alone possessed the art of
life, the peculiar work of which was to do everything that was done
as the result of the best disposition. All the acts of the sage were
"perfect proprieties," which were called "rightnesses." All acts of
all other men were sins or "wrongnesses." At their best they could
only be "intermediate proprieties." The term "propriety," then, is a
generic one. But, as often happens, the generic term got determined
in use to a specific meaning, so that intermediate acts are commonly
spoken of as "proprieties" in opposition to "rightnesses." Instances
of "rightnesses" are displaying wisdom and dealing justly, instances
of proprieties or intermediate acts are marrying, going on an
embassy, and dialectic.

The word "duty" is often employed to translate the Greek term which
we are rendering by "propriety." Any translation is no more than a
choice of evils, since we have no real equivalent for the term. It
was applicable not merely to human conduct, but also to the acting of
the lower animals, and even to the growth of plants. Now, apart from
a craze of generalization we should hardly think of the "stern
daughter of the voice of God" in connection with an amoeba
corresponding successfully to stimulus, yet the creature in its
inchoate way is exhibiting a dim analogy to duty. The term in
question was first used by Zeno, and was explained by him, in
accordance with its etymology, to mean what it came to one to do, so
that as far as this goes, 'becomingness' would be the most
appropriate translation.

The sphere of propriety was confined to things indifferent, so that
there were proprieties which were common to the sage and the fool. It
had to do with taking the things which were in accordance with nature
and rejecting those that were not. Even the propriety of living or
dying was determined, not by reference to virtue or vice, but to the
preponderance or deficiency of things in accordance with nature. It
might thus be a propriety for the sage in spite of his happiness, to
depart from life of his own accord, and for the fool notwithstanding
his misery, to remain in it. Life, being in itself indifferent, the
whole question was one of opportunism. Wisdom might prompt the
leaving herself should occasion seem to call for it.

We pass on now another instance of accommodation. According to the
high Stoic doctrine, there was no mean between virtue and vice. All
men indeed received from nature the starting-points for virtue, but
until perfection had been attained they rested under the condemnation
of vice. It was, to employ an illustration of the poet-philosopher
Cleanthes, as though Nature had begun an iambic line and left men to
finish it. Until that was done they were to wear the fool's cap. The
Peripatetics, on the other hand, recognized an intermediate state
between virtue and vice, to which they gave the name of progress and
proficience. Yet so entirely had the Stoics, for practical purposes,
to accept this lower level, that the word "proficience" has come to
be spoken of as though it were of Stoic origin.

Seneca is fond of contrasting the sage with the proficient. The sage
is like a man in the enjoyment of perfect health. But the proficient
is like a man recovering from a severe illness, with whom an
abatement of the paroxysm is equivalent to health, and who is always
in danger of a relapse. It is the business of philosophy to provide
for the needs of these weaker brethren. The proficient is still
called a fool, but it is pointed out that he is a very different kind
of fool from the rest. Further, proficients are arranged into three
classes, in a way that reminds one of the technicalities of
Calvinistic theology. First of all, there are those who are near
wisdom, but, however near they may be to the door of Heaven, they are
still on the wrong side of it. According to some doctors, these were
already safe from backsliding, differing from the sage only in not
having yet realized that they had attained to knowledge; other
authorities, however, refused to admit this, and regarded the first
class as being exempt only from settled diseases of the soul, but not
from passing attacks of passion. Thus did the Stoics differ among
themselves as to the doctrine of "final assurance". The second class
consisted of those who had laid aside the worst diseases and passions
of the soul, but might at any moment relapse into them. The third
class was of those who had escaped one mental malady but not another;
who had conquered lust, let us say, but not ambition; who disregarded
death, but dreaded pain, This third class, adds Seneca, is by no
means to be despised.

From these concessions to the weakness of humanity we now pass to the
Stoic paradoxes, where we shall see their doctrine in its full rigor.
It is perhaps these very paradoxes which account for the puzzled
fascination with which Stoicism affected the mind of antiquity, just
as obscurity in a poet may prove a surer passport to fame than more
strictly poetical merits.

The root of Stoicism being a paradox, it is not surprising that the
offshoots should be so too. To say that "Virtue is the highest good"
is a proposition to which every one who aspires to the spiritual life
must yield assent with his lips, even if he has not yet learned to
believe it in his heart. But alter it into "Virtue is the only good"
and by that slight change it becomes at once the teeming mother of
paradoxes. By a paradox is meant that which runs counter to general
opinion. Now it is quite certain that men have regarded, do regard,
and, we may safely add will regard things as good which are not
virtue. But if we grant this initial paradox, a great many others
will follow along with it--as for instance that "Virtue is sufficient
of itself for happiness". The fifth book of Cicero's _Tusculan
Disputations_ is an eloquent defense of this thesis, in which the
orator combats the suggestion that a good man is not happy when he is
being broken on the wheel.

Another glaring paradox of the Stoics is that "All faults are equal".
They took their stand upon a mathematical conception of rectitude. An
angle must be either a right angle or not, a line must be either
straight or crooked, so an act must be either right or wrong. There
is no mean between the two and there are no degrees of either. To sin
is to cross the line. When once that has been done it makes no
difference to the offense how far you go. Trespassing at all is
forbidden. This doctrine was defended by the Stoics on account of its
bracing moral effect as showing the heinousness of sin. Horace gives
the judgment of the world in saying that common sense and morality,
to say nothing of utility, revolt against it.

Here are some other specimens of the Stoic paradoxes. "Every fool is
mad". "Only the sage is free and every fool is a slave". "The sage
alone is wealthy". "Good men are always happy and bad men always
miserable". "All goods are equal". "No one is wiser or happier than
another". But may not one man we ask be more nearly wise or more
nearly happy than another? "That may be", the Stoics would reply,
"but the man who is only one stade from Canopus is as much not in
Canopus as the man who is a hundred stades off; and the eight day old
puppy is still as blind as on the day of its birth; nor can a man who
is near the surface of the sea breathe any more than if he were full
five hundred fathom down".

It is only fair to the Stoics to add that paradoxes were quite the
order of the day in Greece, though they greatly outdid other schools
in producing them. Socrates himself was the father of paradox.
Epicurus maintained as staunchly as any Stoic that "No wise man is
unhappy", and, if he be not belied, went the length of declaring that
the wise man, if put into the bull of Phalaris would exclaim: "How
delightful! How little I mind this!"

It is out of keeping with common sense to draw a hard and fast
distinction between good and bad. Yet this was what the Stoics did.
They insisted on effecting here and now that separation between the
sheep and the goats, which Christ postponed to the Day of Judgment.
Unfortunately, when it came to practice, all were found to be goats,
so that the division was a merely formal one.

The good man of the Stoics was variously known as 'the sage', or,
'the serious man', the latter name being inherited from the
Peripatetics. We used to hear it said among ourselves that a person
had become serious, when he or she had taken to religion. Another
appellation which the Stoics had for the sage was 'the urbane man',
while the fool in contradistinction was called 'a boor'. Boorishness
was defined as an inexperience of the customs and laws of the state.
By the state was meant, not Athens or Sparta, as would have been the
case in a former age, but the society of all rational beings into
which the Stoics spiritualised the state. The sage alone had the
freedom of this city and the fool was therefore not only a boor, but
an alien or an exile. In this city, Justice was natural and not
conventional, for the law by which it was governed was the law of
right reason. The law then was spiritualised by the Stoics, just as
the state was. It no longer meant the enactments of this or that
community, but the mandates of the eternal reason which ruled the
world and which would prevail in the ideal state. Law was defined as
right reason commanding what was to be done and forbidding what was
not to be done. As such, it in no way differed from the impulse of
the sage himself.

As a member of a state and by nature subject to law, man was
essentially a social being. Between all the wise there existed
"unanimity," which was "a knowledge of the common good," because
their views of life were harmonious. Fools, on the other hand, whose
views of life were discordant, were enemies to one another and bent
on mutual injury.

As a member of society the sage would play his part in public life.
Theoretically this was always true, and practically he would do so,
wherever the actual constitution made any tolerable approach to the
ideal type. But, if the circumstances were such as to make it certain
that his embarking on politics would be of no service to his country,
and only a source of danger to himself, then he would refrain. The
kind of constitution of which the Stoics most approved was a mixed
government containing democratic, aristocratic, and monarchical
elements. Where circumstances allowed the sage would act as
legislator, and would educate mankind, one way of doing which was by
writing books which would prove of profit to the reader.

As a member of existing society the sage would marry and beget
children, both for his own sake and for that of his country, on
behalf of which, if it were good, he would be ready to suffer and
die. Still he would look forward to a better time when, in Zeno's as
in Plato's republic, the wise would have women and children in
common, when the elders would love all the rising generation equally
with parental fondness, and when marital jealousy would be no more.

As being essentially a social being, the sage was endowed not only
with the graver political virtues, but also with the graces of life.
He was sociable, tactful and stimulating, using conversation as a
means for promoting good will and friendship; so far as might be, he
was all things to all men, which made him fascinating and charming,
insinuating and even wily; he know how to hit the point and to choose
the right moment, yet with it all he was plain and unostentatious and
simple and unaffected; in particular he never delighted in irony much
less in sarcasm.

From the social characteristics of the sage we turn now to a side of
his character which appears eminently anti-social. One of his most
highly vaunted characteristics was his self-sufficingness. He was to
be able to step out of a burning city, coming from the wreck not only
of his fortunes, but of his friends and family, and to declare with a
smile that he has lost nothing. All that he truly cared for was to be
centered in himself. Only thus could he be sure that Fortune would
not wrest it from him.

The apathy or passionlessness of the sage is another of his most
salient features. The passions being, on Zeno's showing, not natural,
but forms of disease, the sage, as being the perfect man, would of
course be wholly free from them. They were so many disturbances of
the even flow in which his bliss lay. The sage therefore would never
be moved by a feeling of favour towards any one; he would never
pardon a fault; he would never feel pity; he would never be prevailed
upon by entreaty; he would never be stirred to anger.

As to the absence of pity in the sage, the Stoics themselves must
have felt some difficulty there since we find Epictetus recommending
his hearers to show grief out of sympathy for another, but to be
careful not to feel it. The inexorability of the sage was a mere
consequence of his calm reasonableness, which would lead him to take
the right view from the first. Lastly, the sage would never be
stirred to anger. For why should it stir his anger to see another in
his ignorance injuring himself?

One more touch has yet to be added to the apathy of the sage. He was
impervious to wonder. No miracle of nature could excite his
astonishment--no mephitic caverns, which men deemed the mouths of
hell, no deep-drawn ebb tides--the standing marvel of the
Mediterranean dweller, no hot springs, no spouting jets of fire.

From the absence of passion it is but a step to the absence of error.
So we pass now to the infallibility of the sage--a monstrous doctrine
which was never broached in the schools before Zeno. The sage, it was
maintained, held no opinions, he never repented of his conduct, he
was never deceived in anything. Between the daylight of knowledge and
darkness of nescience Plato had interposed the twilight of opinion
wherein men walked for the most part. Not so however the Stoic sage.
Of him it might be said, as Charles Lamb said of the Scotchman with
whom he so imperfectly sympathized: "His understanding is always at
its meridian--you never see the first dawn, the early streaks." He
has no falterings of self suspicion. Surmises, guesses, misgivings,
half intuitions, semiconsciousness, partial illuminations, dim
instincts, embryo conceptions, have no place in his brain or
vocabulary. The twilight of dubiety never falls upon him. Opinion,
whether in the form of an ungripped assent, or a weak supposition,
was alien from the mental disposition of the serious man. With him
there was no hasty or premature assent of the understanding, no
forgetfulness, no distrust. He never allowed himself to be
overreached or deluded, never had need of an arbiter, never was out
in his reckoning nor put out by another. No urbane man ever wandered
from his way, or missed his mark, or saw wrong, or heard amiss, or
erred in any of his senses; he never conjectured nor thought of a
better thing, for the one was a form of imperfect assent, and the
other a sign of previous precipitancy. There was with him no change,
no retraction, and no tripping. These things were for those whose
dogmas could alter. After this it is almost superfluous for us to be
assured that the sage never got drunk. Drunkenness, as Zeno pointed
out, involved babbling, and of that the sage would never be guilty.
He would not, however, altogether eschew banquets. Indeed, the Stoics
recognized a virtue under the name of 'conviviality,' which consisted
in the proper conduct of them. It was said of Chrysippus that his
demeanor was always quiet, even if his gait were unsteady, so that
his housekeeper declared that only his legs were drunk.

There were pleasantries even within the school on this subject of
infallibility of the sage. Aristo of Chios, while seceding on some
other matters, held fast to the dogma that the sage never opined.
Whereupon Persaeus played a trick upon him. He made one of two twin
brothers deposit a sum of money with him and the other call to
reclaim it. The success of the trick however only went to establish
that Aristo was not the sage, an admission which each of the Stoics
seems to have been ready enough to make on his own part, as the
responsibilities of the position were so fatiguing.

There remains one more leading characteristic of the sage, the most
striking of them all, and the most important from the ethical point
of view. This was his innocence or harmlessness. He would not harm
others and was not to be harmed by them. For the Stoics believed with
Socrates that it was not permissible by the divine law for a better
man to be harmed by a worse. You could not harm the sage any more
than you could harm the sunlight; he was in our world, but not of it.
There was no possibility of evil for him, save in his own will, and
that you could not touch. And as the sage was beyond harm, so also
was he above insult. Men might disgrace themselves by their insolent
attitude towards his mild majesty, but it was not in their power to
disgrace him.

As the Stoics had their analogue to the tenet of final assurance, so
had they also to that of sudden conversion. They held that a man
might become a sage without being at first aware of it. The
abruptness of the transition from folly to wisdom was in keeping with
their principle that there was no medium between the two, but it was
naturally a point which attracted the strictures of their opponents.
That a man should be at one moment stupid and ignorant and unjust and
intemperate, a slave and poor, and destitute, at the next a king,
rich, and prosperous, temperate, and just, secure in his judgements
and exempt from error, was a transformation, they declared, which
smacked more of the fairy tales of the nursery than of the doctrines
of a sober philosophy.


We have now before us the main facts with regard to the Stoic view of
man's nature, but we have yet to see in what setting they were put.
What was the Stoic outlook upon the universe? The answer to this
question is supplied by their Physic.

There were, according to the Stoics, two first principles of all
things, the active and the passive. The passive was that unqualified
being which is known as Matter. The active was the Logos, or reason
in it, which is God. This, it was held, eternally pervades matter and
creates all things. This dogma, laid down by Zeno, was repeated after
him by the subsequent heads of the school.

There were then two first principles, but there were not two causes
of things. The active principle alone was cause, the other was mere
material for it to work on--inert, senseless, destitute in itself of
all shape and qualities, but ready to assume any qualities or shape.

Matter was defined as that out of which anything is produced. The
Prime Matter, or unqualified being, was eternal and did not admit of
increase or decrease, but only of change. It was the substance or
being of all things that are.

The Stoics, it will be observed, used the term "matter" with the same
confusing ambiguity with which we use it ourselves, now for sensible
objects which have shape and other qualities, now for the abstract
conception of matter, which is devoid of all qualities.

Both these first principles, it must be understood, were conceived of
as bodies, though without form, the one everywhere interpenetrating
the other. To say that the passive principle, or matter, is a body
comes easy to us, because of the familiar confusion adverted to
above. But how could the active principle, or God, be conceived of as
a body? The answer to this question may sound paradoxical. It is
because God is a spirit. A spirit in its original sense meant air in
motion. Now the active principle was not air, but it was something
which bore an analogy to it--namely aether. Aether in motion might be
called a 'spirit' as well as air in motion. It was in this sense that
Chrysippus defined the thing that is, to be a spirit moving itself
into and out of itself, or spirit moving itself to and fro.

From the two first principles which are ungenerated and
indestructible must be distinguished the four elements which, though
ultimate for us, yet were produced in the beginning by God and are
destined some day to be reabsorbed into the divine nature. These with
the Stoics were the same which had been accepted since
Empedocles--namely earth, air, fire and water. The elements, like the
two first principles were bodies; unlike them, they were declared to
have shape as well as extension.

An element was defined as that out of which things at first come into
being and into which they are at last resolved. In this relation did
the four elements stand to all the compound bodies which the universe
contained. The terms earth, air, fire and water had to be taken in a
wide sense: earth meaning all that was of the nature of earth, air
all that was of the nature of air and so on. Thus, in the human
frame, the bones and sinews pertained to earth.

The four qualities of matter--hot, cold, moist and dry--were
indicative of the presence of the four elements. Fire was the source
of heat, air of cold, water of moisture, and earth of dryness.
Between them, the four elements made up the unqualified being called
Matter. All animals and other compound natures on earth had in them
representatives of the four great physical constituents of the
universe, but the moon, according to Chrysippus, consisted only of
fire and air, while the sun was pure fire.

While all compound bodies were resolvable into the four elements,
there were important differences among the elements, themselves. Two
of them, fire and air, were light; the other two, water and earth,
were heavy. By 'light' was meant that which tends away from its own
centre, by 'heavy,' that which, tends towards it. The two light
elements stood to the two heavy ones in much the same relation as the
active to the passive principle generally. But further, fire had such
a primary as entitles it, if the definition of element were pressed,
to be considered alone worthy of the name. For the three other
elements arose out of it and were to be again resolved into it.

We should obtain a wholly wrong impression of what Bishop Berkeley
calls 'the philosophy of fire' if we set before our minds in this
connection, the raging element whose strength is in destruction. Let
us rather picture to ourselves as the type of fire the benign and
beatific solar heat, the quickener and fosterer of all terrestrial
life. For according to Zeno, there were two kinds of fire, the one
destructive, the other what we may call 'constructive,' and which he
called 'artistic'. This latter kind of fire, which was known as
aether, was the substance of the heavenly bodies, as it was also of
the soul of animals and of the 'nature' of plants. Chrysippus,
following Heraclitus, taught that the elements passed into one
another by a process of condensation and rarefaction. Fire first
became solidified into air, then air into water and lastly water into
earth. The process of dissolution took place in the reverse order,
earth being rarefied into water, water into air, and air into fire.
It is allowable to see in this old world doctrine an anticipation of
the modern idea of different states of matter--the solid, the liquid,
and the gaseous, with a fourth beyond the gaseous which science can
still only guess at, and in which matter seems almost to merge into

Each of the four elements had its own abode in the universe.
Outermost of all was the ethereal 'fire' which was divided into two
spheres: first that of the fixed stars and next that of the planets.
Below this lay the sphere of 'air', below this again that of 'water',
and lowest or in other words, most central of all was the sphere of
'earth', the solid foundation of the whole structure. Water might be
said to be above earth because nowhere was there water to be found
without earth beneath it, but the surface of water was always
equidistant from the centre, whereas earth had prominences which rose
above water.

When we say that the Stoics regarded the universe as a plenum, the
reader must understand by 'the universe' the Cosmos or ordered whole.
Within this there was no emptiness owing to the pressure of the
celestial upon the terrestrial sphere. But outside of this lay the
infinite void without beginning, middle, or end. This occupied a very
ambiguous position In their scheme. It was not being, for being was
confined to body and yet it was there. It was in fact nothing, and
that was why it was infinite. For as nothing cannot be bound to any
thing, so neither can there be any bound to nothing. But while
bodiless itself, it had the capacity to contain body, a fact which
enabled it, despite its non-entity, to serve, as we shall see, a
useful purpose.

Did the Stoics then regard the universe as finite or as infinite? In
answering this question we must distinguish our terms, as they did.
The All, they said, was infinite, but the Whole was finite. For the
'All' was the cosmos and the void, whereas the 'Whole' was the cosmos
only. This distinction we may suppose to have originated with the
later members of the school. For Appolodorus noted the ambiguity of
the word 'All' as meaning,

   (1) the cosmos only,
   (2) cosmos + void

If then by the term "universe" we understand the cosmos, or ordered
whole, we must say that the Stoics regarded the universe as finite.
All being and all body, which was the same thing with being, had
necessarily bounds, it was only not being, which was boundless.

Another distinction, due this time to Chrysippus himself, which the
Stoics found it convenient to draw, was between the three words
'void,' 'place' and 'space'. Void was defined as 'the absence of
body', place was that which was occupied by body, the term 'space'
was reserved for that which was partly occupied and partly
unoccupied. As there was no corner of the cosmos unfilled by body,
space, it will be seen, was another name for the All. Place was
compared to a vessel that was full, void to one that was empty, and
space to the vast wine-cask, such as that in which Diogenes made his
home, which was kept partly fully, but in which there was always room
for more. The last comparison must of course not be pressed. For if
space be a cask, it is one without top, bottom or sides.

But while the Stoics regarded our universe as an island of being in
an ocean of void, they did not admit the possibility that other such
islands might exist beyond our ken. The spectacle of the starry
heavens, which presented itself nightly to their gaze in all the
brilliancy of a southern sky--that was all there was of being, beyond
that lay nothingness. Democritus or the Epicureans might dream of
other worlds, but the Stoics contended for the unity of the cosmos as
staunchly as the Mahometans for the unity of God, for with them the
cosmos was God.

In shape they conceived of it as spherical, on the ground that the
sphere was the perfect figure and was also the best adapted for
motion. Not that the universe as a whole moved. The earth lay in its
centre, spherical and motionless, and round it coursed the sun, moon,
and planets, fixed each in its respective sphere as in so many
concentric rings, while the outermost ring of all, which contained
the fixed stars, wheeled round the rest with an inconceivable

The tendency of all things in the universe to the centre kept the
earth fixed in the middle as being subject to an equal pressure on
every side. The same cause also, according to Zeno, kept the universe
itself at rest in the void. But in an infinite void, it could make no
difference whether the whole were at rest or in motion. It may have
been a desire to escape the notion of a migratory whole which led
Zeno to broach the curious doctrine that the universe has no weight,
as being composed of elements whereof two are heavy and two are
light. Air and fire did indeed tend to the centre like everything
else in the cosmos, but not till they had reached their natural home.
Till then they were of an upward-growing nature. It appears then that
the upward and downward tendencies of the elements were held to
neutralise one another and to leave the universe devoid of weight.

The universe was the only thing which was perfect in itself, the one
thing which was an end in itself. All other things were perfect
indeed as parts, when considered with reference to the whole, but
were none of them ends in themselves, unless man could be deemed so
who was born to contemplate the universe and imitate its perfections.
Thus, then, did the Stoics envisage the universe on its physical
side--as one, finite, fixed in space, but revolving round its own
centre, earth, beautiful beyond all things, and perfect as a whole.

But it was impossible for this order and beauty to exist without
mind. The universe was pervaded by intelligence as man's body is
pervaded by his soul. But as the human soul though everywhere present
in the body is not present everywhere in the same degree, so it was
with the world-soul. The human soul presents itself not only as
intellect, but also in the lower manifestations of sense, growth, and
cohesion. It is the soul which is the cause of the plant life, which
displays itself more particularly in the nails and hair; it is the
soul also which causes cohesion among the parts of the solid
substances such as bones and sinews, that make up our frame. In the
same way the world-soul displayed itself in rational beings as
intellect, in the lower animals as mere souls, in plants as nature or
growth, and in inorganic substances as 'holding' or cohesion. To this
lowest stage add change, and you have growth or plant nature;
super-add to this phantasy and impulse and you rise to the soul of
irrational animals; at a yet higher stage you reach the rational and
discursive intellect, which is peculiar to man among mortal natures.

We have spoken of soul as the cause of the plant life in our bodies,
but plants were not admitted by the Stoics to be possessed of soul in
the strict sense. What animated them was 'nature' or, as we have
called it above, 'growth'. Nature, in this sense of the principle of
growth, was defined by the Stoics as 'a constructive fire, proceeding
in a regular way to production,' or 'a fiery spirit endowed with
artistic skill'. That Nature was an artist needed no proof, since it
was her handiwork that human art essayed to copy. But she was an
artist who combined the useful with the pleasant, aiming at once at
beauty and convenience. In the widest sense, Nature was another name
for Providence, or the principle which held the universe together,
but, as the term is now being employed, it stood for that degree of
existence which is above cohesion and below soul. From this point of
view, it was defined as "a cohesion subject to self originated change
in accordance with seminal reasons effecting and maintaining its
results in definite times, and reproducing in the offspring the
characteristics of the parent". This sounds about as abstract as
Herbert Spencer's definition of life, but it must be borne in mind
that nature was all the time a 'spirit', and as such a body. It was a
body of a less subtle essence than soul. Similarly, when the Stoics
spoke of cohesion, they are not to be taken as referring to some
abstract principle like attraction. 'Cohesions,' said Chrysippus,
'are nothing else than airs, for it is by these that bodies are held
together, and of the individual qualities of things which are held
together by cohesion, it is the air which is the compressing cause
which in iron is called "hardness", in stone "thickness" and in
solver "whiteness"'. Not only solidarity then, but also colours,
which Zeno called 'the first schematisms' of matter were regarded as
due to the mysterious agency of air. In fact, qualities in general
were but blasts and tensions of the air, which gave form and figure
to the inert matter underlying them.

As the man is in one sense the soul, in another the body, and in a
third the union of both, so it was with the cosmos. The word was used
in three senses--

  (1) God
  (2) the arrangement of the stars, etc.
  (3) the combination of both.

The cosmos as identical with God was described as an individual made
up of all being who is incorruptible and ungenerated, the fashioner
of the ordered frame of the universe, who at certain periods of time
absorbs all being into himself and again generates it from himself.
Thus the cosmos on its external side was doomed to perish and the
mode of its destruction was to be by fire, a doctrine which has been
stamped upon the world's belief down to the present day. What was to
bring about this consummation was the soul of the universe becoming
too big for its body, which it would eventually swallow up
altogether. In the efflagration, when everything went back to the
primeval aether, the universe would be pure soul and alive equally
through and through. In this subtle and attenuated state, it would
require more room than before and so expand into the void,
contracting again when another period of cosmic generation had set
in. Hence the Stoic definition of the Void or Infinite as that into
which the cosmos is resolved at the efflagration.

In this theory of the contraction of the universe out of an ethereal
state and ultimate return to the same condition one sees a
resemblance to the modern scientific hypothesis of the origin of our
planetary system out of the solar nebula, and its predestined end in
the same. Especially is this the case with the form in which the
theory was held by Cleanthes, who pictured the heavenly bodies as
hastening to their own destruction by dashing themselves, like so
many gigantic moths, into the sun. Cleanthes however did not conceive
mere mechanical force to be at work in this matter. The grand
apotheosis of suicide which he foresaw was a voluntary act; for the
heavenly bodies were Gods and were willing to lose their own in a
larger life.

Thus all the deities except Zeus were mortal, or at all events,
perishable. Gods, like men, were destined to have an end some day.
They would melt in the great furnace of being as though they were
made of wax or tin. Zeus then would be left alone with his own
thoughts, or as the Stoics sometimes put it, Zeus would fall back
upon Providence. For by Providence they meant the leading principle
or mind of the whole, and by Zeus, as distinguished from Providence,
this mind together with the cosmos, which was to it as body. In the
efflagration the two would be fused into one in the single substance
of aether. And then in the fulness of time there would be a
restitution of all things. Everything would come round regularly
again exactly as it had been before.

To us who have been taught to pant for progress, this seems a dreary
prospect. But the Stoics were consistent Optimists, and did not ask
for a change in what was best. They were content that the one drama
of existence should enjoy a perpetual run without perhaps too nice a
consideration for the actors. Death intermitted life, but did not end
it. For the candle of life, which was extinguished now, would be
kindled again hereafter. Being and not being came round in endless
succession for all save him, into whom all being was resolved, and
out of whom it emerged again, as from the vortex of some aeonian


When Socrates declared before his judges that "there is no evil to a
good man either in life or after death, nor are his affairs neglected
by the gods", he sounded the keynote of Stoicism, with its two main
doctrines of virtue as the only good, and the government of the world
by Providence. Let us weigh his words, lest we interpret them by the
light of a comfortable modern piety. A great many things that are
commonly called evil may and do happen to a good man in this life,
and therefore presumably misfortunes may also overtake him in any
other life that there may be. The only evil that can never befall him
is vice, because that would be a contradiction in terms. Unless
therefore Socrates was uttering idle words on the most solemn
occasion of his life, he must be taken to have meant that there is no
evil but vice, which implies that there is no good but virtue. Thus
we are landed at once in the heart of the Stoic morality. To the
question why, if there be a providence, so many evils happen to good
men, Seneca unflinchingly replies: "No evil can happen to a good man,
contraries do not mix." God has removed from the good all evil:
because he has taken from them crimes and sins, bad thoughts and
selfish designs and blind lust and grasping avarice. He has attended
well to themselves, but he cannot be expected to look after their
luggage: they relieve him of that care by being indifferent about it.
This is the only form in which the doctrine of divine providence can
be held consistently with the facts of life Again, when Socrates on
the same occasion expressed his belief that it was not "permitted by
the divine law for a better man to be harmed by a worse", he was
asserting by implication the Stoic position. Neither Meletus nor
Anytus could harm him, though they might have him killed or banished,
or disfranchised. This passage of the Apology, in a condensed form,
is adopted by Epictetus as one of the watchwords of Stoicism.

There is nothing more distinctive of Socrates than the doctrine that
virtue is knowledge. Here too the Stoics followed him, ignoring all
that Aristotle had done in showing the part played by the emotions
and the will in virtue. Reason was with them a principle of action;
with Aristotle it was a principle that guided action, but the motive
power had to come from elsewhere. Socrates must even be held
responsible for the Stoic paradox of the madness of all ordinary

The Stoics did not owe much to the Peripatetics. There was too much
balance about the master mind of Aristotle for their narrow
intensity. His recognition of the value of the passions was to them
an advocacy of disease in moderation: his admission of other elements
besides virtue into the conception of happiness seemed to them to be
a betrayal of the citadel, to say as he did that the exercise of
virtue was the highest good was no merit in their eyes, unless it
were added to the confession that there was none beside it. The
Stoics tried to treat man as a being of pure reason. The Peripatetics
would not shut their eyes to his mixed nature, and contended that the
good of such a being must also be mixed, containing in it elements
which had reference to the body and its environment. The goods of the
soul indeed, they said, far outweighed those of body and estate, but
still the latter had a right to be considered.

Though the Stoics were religious to the point of superstition, yet
they did not invoke the terrors of theology to enforce the lesson of
virtue. Plato does this even in the very work, the professed object
of which is to prove the _intrinsic_ superiority of justice to
injustice. But Chrysippus protested against Plato's procedure on this
point, declaring that the talk about punishment by the gods was mere
'bugaboo'. By the Stoics indeed, no less than by the Epicureans, fear
of the gods was discarded from philosophy. The Epicurean gods took no
part in the affairs of men; the Stoic God was incapable of anger.

The absence of any appeal to rewards and punishments was a natural
consequence of the central tenet of the Stoic morality: that virtue
is in itself the most desirable of all things. Another corollary that
flows with equal directness from the same principle is that is better
to be than to seem virtuous. Those who are sincerely convinced that
happiness is to be found in wealth or pleasure or power prefer the
reality to the appearance of these goods; it must be the same with
him who is sincerely convinced that happiness lies in virtue.

Despite the want of feeling in which the Stoics gloried, it is yet
true to say that the humanity of their system constitutes one of its
most just claims on our admiration. They were the first fully to
recognise the worth of man as man; they heralded the reign of peace
for which we are yet waiting; they proclaimed to the world the
fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man; they were convinced of
the solidarity of mankind, and laid down that the interest of one
must be subordinated to that of all. The word "philanthrop," though
not unheard before their time, was brought into prominence by them as
a name for a virtue among the virtues.

Aristotle's ideal state, like the Republic of Plato, is still an
Hellenic city; Zeno was the first to dream of a republic which should
embrace all mankind. In Plato's Republic all the material goods are
contemptuously thrown to the lower classes, all the mental and
spiritual reserved for the higher. In Aristotle's ideal the bulk of
the population are mere conditions, not integral parts of the state.
Aristotle's callous acceptance of the existing fact of slavery
blinded his eyes to the wider outlook, which already in his time was
beginning to be taken. His theories of the natural slave and of the
natural nobility of the Greeks are mere attempts to justify practice.
In the Ethics there is indeed a recognition of the rights of man, but
it is faint and grudging. Aristotle there tells us that a slave, as a
man, admits of justice, and therefore of friendship, but
unfortunately it is not this concession which is dominant in his
system, but rather the reduction of a slave to a living tool by which
it is immediately preceded. In another passage Aristotle points out
that men, like other animals, have a natural affection for the
members of their own species, a fact, he adds, which is best seen in
travelling. This incipient humanitarianism seems to have been
developed in a much more marked way by Aristotle's followers, but it
is the Stoics who have won the glory of having initiated humanitarian

Virtue, with the earlier Greek philosophers, was aristocratic and
exclusive. Stoicism, like Christianity, threw it open to the meanest
of mankind. In the kingdom of wisdom, as in the kingdom of Christ,
there was neither barbarian, Scythian, bond, nor free. The only true
freedom was to serve philosophy, or, which was the same thing, to
serve God; and that could be done in any station in life. The sole
condition of communion with gods and good men was the possession of a
certain frame of mind, which might belong equally to a gentleman, to
a freedman, or to a slave. In place of the arrogant assertion of the
natural nobility of the Greeks, we now hear that a good mind is the
true nobility. Birth is of no importance; all are sprung from the
gods. "The door of virtue is shut to no man; it is open to all,
admits all, invites all--free men, freedmen, slaves, kings and
exiles. Its election is not of family or fortune; it is content with
the bare man." Wherever there was a human being, there Stoicism saw a
field for well doing. Its followers were always to have in their
mouths and hearts the well-known line--

 Homo sum humani nihil a me allenum puto

Closely connected with the humanitarianism of the Greeks is their

Cosmopolitanism is a word which has contracted rather than expanded
in meaning with the advance of time. We mean by it freedom from the
shackles of nationality. The Stoics meant this and more. The city of
which they claimed to be citizens was not merely this round world on
which we dwell, but the universe at large with all the mighty life
therein contained. In this city, the greatest of earth's
cities--Rome, Ephesus or Alexandria, were but houses. To be exiled
from one of them was only like changing your lodgings, and death but
a removal from one quarter to another. The freemen of this city were
all rational beings--sages on earth and the stars in heaven. Such an
idea was thoroughly in keeping with the soaring genius of Stoicism.
It was proclaimed by Zeno in his Republic, and after him by
Chrysippus and his followers. It caught the imagination of alien
writers as of the author of the Peripatetic _De Mundo_ who was
possibly of Jewish origin and of Philo and St Paul who were certainly
so. Cicero does not fail to make of it on behalf of the Stoics;
Seneca revels in it; Epictetus employs it for edification and Maucus
Aurelius finds solace in his heavenly citizenship for the cares of an
earthly ruler--as Antoninus indeed his city is Rome, but as a man it
is the universe.

The philosophy of an age cannot perhaps be inferred from its
political conditions with that certainty which some writers assume;
still there are cases in which the connection is obvious. On a wide
view of the matter we may say that the opening up of the East by the
arms of Alexander was the cause of the shifting of the philosophic
standpoint from Hellenism to cosmopolitanism. If we reflect that the
Cynic and Stoic teachers were mostly foreigners in Greece we shall
find a very tangible reason for the change of view. Greece had done
her work in educating the world and the world was beginning to make
payment in kind. Those who had been branded as natural slaves were
now giving laws to philosophy. The kingdom of wisdom was suffering
violence at the hands of barbarians.

Death of Socrates                              399
Death of Plato                                 347
Zeno                                       347 275
  Studied under Crates                         325
  Studied under Stilpo and Xenocrates      325 315
  Began teaching                               315
Epicurus                                   341 270
Death of Aristotle                             322
Death of Xenocrates                            315
Cleanthes succeeded Zeno                       275
Chrysippus died                                207
Zeno of Tarsus succeeded Chrysippus            ---
Decree of the Senate forbidding the
           teaching of philosophy at Rome      161
Diogenes of Babylon
Embassy of the philosophers to Rome            155
Antipater of Tarsus
Panaetius Accompanied Africanus on
  his mission to the East                      143
  His treatise on Propriety was the
  basis of Cicero's De Officiis.
The Scipionic Circle at Rome
  The coterie was deeply tinctured with
    Stoicism. Its chief members were--
    The younger Africanus
    the younger Laelius
    L. Furius Philus
    Spurius Mummius
    P. Rutillus Rufus
    Q. Aelius,
    Polybius and
Suicide of Blossius of Cumae, the adviser
  of Tiberius Gracchus and a disciple
  of Antipater of Tarsus                       130
Mnesarchus, a disciple of Panaetius, was
  teaching at Athens when the orator
  Crassus visited that city                    111
Hecaton of Rhodes
  A great Stoic writer, a disciple of
  Panaetius and a friend of Tubero
Posidonius                            About 128-44
  Born at Apameia in Syria
  Became a citizen of Rhodes
  Represented the Rhodians at Rome              86
  Cicero studied under him at Rhodes            78
  Came to Rome again at an advanced age         51
Cicero's philosophical works                 54-44
  These are a main authority for our
  knowledge of the Stoics.
Philo of Alexandria came on an embassy to Rome  39
  The works of Philo are saturated with Stoic
  ideas and he displays an exact acquaintance
  with their terminology
  Exiled to Corsica                             41
  Recalled from exile                           49
  Forced by Nero to commit suicide              65
  His Moral Epistles and philosophical
    works generally are written from
    the Stoic standpoint though somewhat
    affected by Eclecticism
Plutarch                                  Flor. 80
  The Philosophical works of Plutarch
    which have most bearing upon the
    Stoics are--
      De Alexandri Magni fortuna aut virtute,
      De Virtute Morali,
      De Placitis Philosophorum,
      De Stoicorum Repugnantiis,
      Stoicos absurdiora poetis dicere,
      De Communibus Notitiis.
Epictetus                                 Flor. 90
  A freedman of Epaphroditus,
  Disciple of C Musonius Rufus,
  Lived and taught at Rome until A. D. 90
    when the philosophers were expelled by
    Domitian. Then retired to Nicopolis in
    Epirus, where he spent the rest of his life.
  Epictetus wrote nothing himself, but his
    Dissertations, as preserved by Arrian,
    from which the Encheiridion is excerpted,
    contain the most pleasing presentation that
    we have of the moral philosophy of the Stoics.
C Musonius Rufus
  Banished to Gyaros ...                        65
  Returned to Rome ...                          68
  Tried to intervene between the armies
    of Vitellius and Vespasian ...              69
  Procured the condemnation of Publius Celer
   (Tac H iv 10, Juv Sat iii 116) ...           --
Q Junius Rusticus ...                      Cos 162
  Teacher of M Aurelius who learnt
    from him to appreciate Epictetus

M Aurelius Antoninus Emperor ...           161-180
  Wrote the book commonly called his
    "Meditations" under the title of
    "to himself"
  He may be considered the last of the

Three later authorities for the Stoic teaching are--
  Diogenes Laertius ...                        200?
  Sextus Empiricus ...                         225?
  Stobaeus ...                                 500?

Modern works--
  Von Arnim's edition of the "Fragmenta Stoicorum Veterum"
  Pearson's "Fragments of Zeno and Cleanthes" Pitt Press
  Remains of C Musonius Rufus in the Teubner series
  Zeller's "Stoics and Epicureans."
  Sir Alexander Grant, "Ethics of Aristotle"
  Essay VI on the Ancient Stoics
  Lightfoot on the Philippians, Dissertation II,
  "St. Paul and Seneca."

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Guide to Stoicism" ***

Copyright 2023 LibraryBlog. All rights reserved.