The Stoic School In Antiquity
Stoicism, alongside Epicureanism, was one of the two most important philosophical movements in ancient Greece in the Hellenistic period (after the transformation of the Greek world by Alexander the Great). Both schools were founded in Athens at the end of the fourth century B.C.E.; both offered a distinctive way of life and an integrated theory and worldview. Ancient philosophical schools were not formal institutions but rather groups of intellectuals and students centered on a leading figure (the head of the school). Stoicism was founded by Zeno of Citium (c. 335–c. 263 B.C.E.), and developed by a series of subsequent heads, particularly Chrysippus (c. 280–c. 206 B.C.E.) in the late third century, who systematized the teachings of Zeno and made special contributions in logic. From the first century B.C.E. onward, the school was not based at Athens or centered on a specific head, but became a more diffuse movement, with Stoic teachers and adherents throughout the Greco-Roman world. Stoic teachings were transmitted by an extensive body of treatises, especially by Chrysippus, supplemented by summaries of doctrines and more popular writings especially in practical ethics. Stoicism was a powerful philosophical force throughout the Hellenistic period (until the late first century B.C.E.) and in the first two centuries C.E. under the Roman Empire. It died out as a creative movement in the third century C.E., though its influence remained important in later antiquity.
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