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Monday 14 November 2005

After the death of Zeno of Citium, the Stoic school was headed by Cleanthes and Chrysippus, and its teachings were carried to Rome in 155 by Diogenes of Babylon.

There its tenets were made popu-lar by Panaetius, friend of the great general Scipio Aemilianus, and by Posidonius, who was a friend of Pompey (see your textbook if you don’t recognize these names); Cicero drew heavily on the works of both.

Stoic ideas appear in the greatest work of Roman literature, Vergil’s Aeneid , and later the philosophy was adopted by Seneca (c. 1-65 A.D.), Lucan (39-65; poet and associate of the Emperor Nero), Epictetus (c. 55-135; see passages from the Enchiridion ), and the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (born 121, Emperor 161-180; author of the Meditations ).

Stoicism is perhaps the most significant philosophical school in the Roman Empire, and much of our contemporary views and popular mythologies about Romans are derived from Stoic principles.