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Three Stoic Writers

The ancient Romans (however you want to define them) partook of a general celebration of martial prowess characteristic of most of Iron Age Europe, and, for that matter, of Greece beginning at least in Mycenaean times.

A philosophical system harmonic with this was Stoicism, usually associated with the Greek philosopher Zeno of Citium, who lived about 200 BC. (Wikipedia Link) Stoicism was one of many schools of philosophy that elite Romans might have learned about if they decided to indulge in schooling in Greece. But in fact several Roman writers are regarded as the most important authors in the Stoic school.

Here we present three views of the Stoic view of how human life should be lived from three different Roman philosophers (two writing in Latin, one writing in Greek).

Fitting closely with a Stoic acceptance of whatever happens to one, there was, at both the popular and elite levels of society, a widespread interest in the idea of fate (sometimes personified into three goddesses: who spun the thread of human life, measured out each person's share, and then cut it off when it was done). The popularity of various mystery religions (definition) is thought to have represented an emotional escape from such fatalism.


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