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Full text of "Stoicism"

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Professor m 5. /IDilner 



PHILOSOPHIES ANCIENT AND MODERN 



STOICISM 



NOTE 

As a consequence of the success of the series of Religions 
Ancient and Modern, Messrs. CONSTABLE have decided to issue 
a set of similar primers, with brief introductions, lists of dates, 
and selected authorities, presenting to the wider public the 
salient features of the Philosophies of Greece and Rome and of 
the Middle Ages, as well as of modern Europe. They will 
appear in the same handy Shilling volumes, with neat cloth 
bindings and paper envelopes, which have proved so attractive 
in the case of the Religions. The writing in each case will be 
confided to an eminent authority, and one who has already 
proved himself capable of scholarly yet popular exposition 
within a small compass. 

Among the first volumes to appear will be : 
Early Greek Philosophy. By A. W. BENN, author of The Philo 
sophy of Greece, Rationalism in the Nineteenth Century. 
Stoicism. By Professor ST. GEORGE STOCK, author of Deduc 
tive Logic, editor of the Apology of Plato, etc. 
Plato. By Professor A. E. TAYLOR, St. Andrews University, 

author of The Problem oj Conduct. 
Scholasticism. By Father RICKABY, S. J. 
Hobbes. By Professor A. E. TAYLOR. 
Locke. By Professor ALEXANDER, of Owens College. 
Comte and Mill. By T. W. WHITTAKER, author of The 

Neoplatonists, Apollonius of Tyana and other Essays. 
Herbert Spencer. By W. H. HUDSON, author of An Intro 
duction to Spencer s Philosophy. 
Schopenhauer. By T. W. WHITTAKER. 
Berkeley. By Professor CAMPBELL FRASEK, D. C. L. , LL. D. 
Bergsen. By Father TYRRELL. 



\ n \ 



STOICISM 



By 

ST. GEORGE STOCK 



LONDON 

ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE fef CO LTD 

1908 



FOREWORD 

As an adherent of the Peripatetic ^School myself, 
I do not hold a brief for the Stoics, but I have 
endeavoured to do them justice, and perhaps a 
little more, not having been on the alert to rob 
them of some borrowed plumes. The Porch has 
been credited with a great deal that really be 
longed to the Academy or the Lyceum. 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 extrava 
gance. 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. 

ST. GEOKGE STOCK, M.A. 
Pemb. Coll. Oxford. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 



i. PHILOSOPHY AMONG THE GREEKS AND ROMANS, . 1 

n. DIVISION OF PHILOSOPHY, . . 10 

in. LOGIC, .... 15 

iv. ETHIC, .... 37 

v. PHYSIC, . . 75 

vi. CONCLUSION, . . 93 

DATES AND AUTHORITIES, . 107 



-f 



STOICISM 
CHAPTER I 

PHILOSOPHY AMONG THE GREEKS AND ROMANS 

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 (ii. 6), are we to look for training 
in virtue, if not to philosophy ? The modern 
mind answers: To religion. 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 

A I 



STOICISM 

great sects which divided the world of philo 
sophy. 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 afterwards known as the deserter. 1 
It was as difficult to be independent in philo 
sophy 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 
fromVthe Epicurean; he differed also in his 
theology and his physics "aifcT 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 

1 6 iLfraOtucvot, Diog. Laert. vii. 166 ; cp. 23, 37 : Cic. 
Acail. Pr. ii. 71 ; Fin. v. 94. 



GREEK AND ROMAN PHILOSOPHY 

the seriousness of the choice made in early life 
and how a young man gets eri trammelled 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. 1 To this it was replied 
that the 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 philo 
sopher did not above all things require the philo 
sophic 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. 
-P 16 life-spanj>f JSena, thg jQund[ez,Q Stoicism, 
was frWl^a. 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 Pytha 
goreans on the mystical properties of numbers, 

1 Acad. Pr. 8: N.D. i. 66. 

3 



STOICISM 

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 emphasise 
different sides of the doctrine of their predeces 
sors, and to drive views to their logical conse 
quences. The greaksson_pfJGr^ 
is that it is worth while to do right, irrespective 
^ r^irdTnd punishinentand jregardless of the 

. fl hortness^oflff 

forced by the earnestness of their lives and the 
influence of their mora^ teaching, that it has- 
become associatedlin^i 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, when 
ever he is combating Epicureanism, his language 
is that of a Stoic. Some of Vergil s most eloquent 
passages seem to be inspired by Stoic specula 
tion. 1 Even Horace, despite his banter about the 
sage, in his serious moods borrows the language 

i Georg. iv. 219-227 ; Mv. vi. 724-751. Cp. D.L. vii. 110 ; 
Aug. C.D. xiv. 3. 

4 



GREEK AND ROMAN PHILOSOPHY 

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 in 
fluence. 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 philo 
sophy, 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 wha-t 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, 

5 



STOICISM 

and tended to become feebler as time went on. 
Both were new departures from pre-existent 
schools. Stoicism was bred out of Cynicism, as 
Epicureamsrn~ouF of Cyrenaicism. Both were 
content to fall back lor their physics upon the 
pre-Socratic schools, the one adopting the fire- 
philosophy of Heraclitus, the other the atomic 
theory of Dernocritus. Both were in strong re 
action against the abstractions of Plato and 
Aristotle, and would tolerate nothing but con 
crete reality. The Stoics were quite as material 
istic in their own way as the Epicureans. With 
regard indeed to the nature of the "liighes t good 
we may, with Seneca, 1 represent the difference be 
tween the two schools as a question of the senses 
against the intellect, but we shall r 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, 2 Anaxagoras 

1 Epist. 124, 2 : quicumque voluptatem in summo ponuut, 
sensibile indicant bonum : nos contra intellegibile, qui illud 
animo damus. 

2 Stob. ii. 76: D.L. ix. 45. 

6 



GREEK AND ROMAN PHILOSOPHY 

in speculation, Socrates in wisdom, Aristotle in 
the practice 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/ 1 
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 
s the well-known Stoic formula, that the end is to { 
I live consistently with nature. 2 

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 

1 Stob. Eel. ii. 132, TO bfj-oXoyov/uifrus 9)v. 

2 Ibid. 134; D.L. vii. 87, TO bfj.o\oyoi>fj.tvus TTJ <i/<rei Ify. 
Cic. Off. ii. 13, convenienter naturae vivere. 

7 



STOICISM 

meant the highest civilisation; we mean by a 
thing s nature what it is or has been, they meant 
what it ought to become under the most favour 
able 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, 1 
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. 2 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. 3 

Following out this conception the Stoics identi 
fied 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 

1 See the manifold definitions of it given in Arist. Met. iv. 4. 

2 Arist. Met. iv. 4, 7, ri> rAoj TTJS 

3 Arist. Pol. i. 2, 8. 

8 



GREEK AND ROMAN PHILOSOPHY 

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. 

The end of life then being the attainment of 
happiness through virtue, how did philosophy 
stand related to that end ? We have seen already 
that it was regarded as the art of life. Just as 
medicine was the art of health, and the art of 
sailing navigation, so there needed to be an art 
of living. Was it reasonable that minor ends 
should be attended to, and the supreme end 
neglected ? 



CHAPTER II 

DIVISION OF PHILOSOPHY 

PHILOSOPHY was defined by the Stoics as the 
knowledge of things divine and human. 1 It was 
divided into three departments, logic, ethic, and 
physic. This division indeed was in existence 
before their time, 2 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, 3 
dealing with the notions derived from sense, 
much in the same way as Bacon substituted his 

1 Cic. Fin. ii. 37, Off. i. 153 : Pint. 874 E, Plac. Phil. i. 
ad init. 

3 Arist. Top. i. 14, 4 : Cic. Acad. Post., 19 ; Fin. iv. 4, 
v. 9. 

5 Sen. Ep. 89, 11. 

10 



DIVISION OF PHILOSOPHY 

Novurn Organum for the Organon of Aristotle. 
Clean thes, we are told, 1 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 know 
ledge, 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 depart 
ments should be studied, we have had preserved 
to us the actual words of Chrysippus in his fourth 
book on Lives. 2 First of all then it seems to me 
that, as has been rightly said by the ancients, 
there are three heads under which the specula 
tions 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 

1 D.L. vii. 41. 2 Plut. 1035 A, B, Sto. Repug. 9. 

II 



STOICISM 

the name of "completions" 1 to the instruction 
delivered on this subject. 2 That this order how 
ever 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. 3 3 

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. 



1 rcXerdj. 

2 By this passage, aided by Sext. Emp. adv. Math. vii. 22, 
we are able to correct the statement of D.L. vii. 40. 

3 Pint. 1035 E, Sto. Repug. 9. 

12 



DIVISION OF PHILOSOPHY 

But that Chrysippus did teach the logical de 
pendence 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 administra 
tion 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 specula 
tion is taken in solely with a view to the distinction 
between good and evil. l 

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. 

1 Plut. 1035 C, D, Sto. Repug. 9. 
13 



STOICISM 

The Avail existed only to guard the trees, and the 
trees only to produce the fruit. 1 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. 2 

1 Philo, i. 302, De Agr. 3, i. 589, Mut. Norn. 10 ; S. E. 
adv. M. vii. 17 ; D.L. vii. 40. 

- S. E. adv. M. vii. 18, 19; D.L. vii. 40, who 
interchanges the places of physic and ethic. 



CHAPTER III 

LOGIC 

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 
specialised in natural science, the school had lost 
its comprehensiveness. Cicero l even finds it con 
sonant 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. 2 

1 Fin. iii. 41. 2 Cic. Brut. 118. 

15 



STOICISM 

But, if the Stoics were strong in logic, they 
were weak in rhetoric. 1 This strength and weak 
ness 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. 2 The reader however cannot help wish 
ing 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 depart 
ments 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. 

1 Cic. Brut. 118, Paradoxa, Introd. 2. 

2 Marc. Ant. i. 7. 

16 



LOGIC 

The school, it has been said, was weak in 
rhetoric. Nevertheless Cleanthes wrote an Art 
of Rhetoric, and so did Chrysippus, but such as 
Cicero could recommend to the perusal of any one 
whose ambition was to hold his tongue. 1 They 
followed the well-established division of rhetoric 
into deliberative, judicial, and demonstrative, 
recognising that the ends of public speaking are 
to sway the counsels of men, or to plead the 
cause of justice, or to put forward some person 
or thing as an object of praise or blame. 2 Among 
the requisites of the oratcr they enumerated 
invention, style, arrangement, and delivery. 3 A 
fifth requisite, namely, memory, is usually added: 4 
for the other equipments are of little use to the 
orator, if there be not memory to retain the 
thought, language, and arrangement. Another 
point on which the Stoics followed established 
tradition was in the analysis of a speech into 
preface, narration, controversial matter, and con 
clusion. 5 

With regard to invention Cicero complains of 

1 Fin. iv. 7. 

2 Arist. Rhet. i. 2, 3, ad Alex. 2, 1 ; D.L. vii. 42 ; Cic. 
Inv. i. 7 ; Cornif. ad Herenn. i. 2, 2. 3 D.L. vii. 42. 

4 Cic. Inv. i. 9 ; Cornif. ad H. i. 3 ; Philo, i. 652, Do 
Somn. i. 35. 

5 D.L. vii. 42 ; Cic. Inv. i. 19 ; Cornif. ad H. i. 4. 

B I/ 



STOICISM 

the Stoics for their neglect of it as an art. 1 They 
had nothing corresponding to the topics of Aris 
totle, to supply material for dialectic, nor any 
orator s vade-mecum, such as the later Art of 
Hermagoras, which almost saved people the 
trouble of thinking. 

Logic as a whole being divided into rhetoric 
and dialectic, rhetoric was denned 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. 2 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 physi 
cal, ethical, and logical. 3 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. 4 

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 

1 Fin. iv. 10. 

2 Sen. Ep. 89, 17 ; D.L. vii. 41, 42. 

8 Cic. Acad. Post. 5, cp. Pr. 132 ; Pint. 874 E, Plac. 
Phil. i. ad init. ; D.L. vii. 92. 

4 Cic. Fin. ii. 17, Orat. 113 ; Quint. Inst. ii. 20, 7. 

18 



LOGIC 

phrased it, concerning significants and significates. 1 
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 2 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 treat 
ment 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. 3 
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 4 a common term. 
There were reckoned to be five virtues of speech 
Hellenism, clearness, conciseness, propriety, dis 
tinction. By Hellenism was meant speaking 
good Greek. Distinction was defined to be a 
diction which avoided homeliness. 5 Over against 
these there were two comprehensive vices, bar- 

1 Sen. Ep. 89, 17 ; D.L. vii. 43, 62. 

2 D.L. vii. 44. 3 Ibid. 57. 4 irpoffrjyopia, D.L. vii. 58. 
6 Ibid. 59, KaraffKcvij dt 6<m X<?ts e/CTre^evyum rbv 



19 



STOICISM 

barism and solecism, the one being an offence 
against accidence, the other against syntax. 

One does not associate the idea of poetry much 
with the austere sect of the Stoics. Still it should 
be remembered that the finest devotional utter 
ance of Paganism is Cleanthes Hymn to Zeus, 
and that Aratus among the Greeks, and among 
the Romans Manilius, Seneca, Persius, and Juvenal 
may be set down to the credit of the school. 

Amphiboly was defined as diction which 
signifies two or more things in the strict prose 
sense of the terms and in the same language. It 
is thus a general name for ambiguity. 1 

We come now to that part of dialectic which 
deals with the meaning, not with the expression, 
and which answers to our logic. The Stoics were 
far from taking that confined view of logic which 
would limit it to mere consistency and deny its 
relation to truth. They defined Dialectic as the 
science of what is true and false, and what is 
neither the one nor the other. 2 Under the last 
head would come a question. Ancient logic was 
essentially concerned with this as being con- 



1 The example given by D.L. vii. 62 is avXyrpls 

which may be read so as to mean (1) The house has fallen three 
times ; (2) The flute-girl has had a fall. This is what Aristotle 
would call the fallacy of division. 

2 D.L. vii. 42, 62. 

20 



LOGIC 

ducted by way of question and answer. From 
the wide point of view of the Stoic definition of 
Dialectic, it is evident that the problem of the 
canon and criterion of truth presents itself as 
fundamental; and that definition also becomes 
a matter of great importance as being concerned 
with ascertaining the real nature of things. It 
was by the criterion that the different reports of 
the senses had to be corrected ; and if definitions 
were not founded on true ideas, our grasp on 
reality would be enfeebled from the first. 1 With 
the Stoics then, as with ourselves, the difficulties 
of logic came at the beginning. They boldly 
plunged into the subject with a disquisition on 
sense-impressions, feeling that, if truth were to be 
made good, it must be by reliance on the validity 
of the senses. 2 After that the topics come much 
in our order. The treatment of sensation leads 
up to that of notions, which are our concepts or 
terms; then we have a disquisition on proposi 
tions, their parts and varieties, very much dis 
guised by strange phraseology ; then come moods 
and syllogisms ; and last of all fallacies. 3 

1 D. L. vii. 42. 

2 Ibid., $ 49. Cicero, Acad. Pr. 29, says that the criterion 
of truth and the nature of the highest good are the two ques 
tions of supreme importance in philosophy. 

3 D. L. vii. 43. 

21 



STOICISM 

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. 1 The earliest characters in 
scribed upon it were the impressions of sense, 
which the Greeks called phantasies. A phan 
tasy was denned by Zeno as an impression in 
the soul." 2 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. 3 Chrysippus, however, 
found a difficulty here, and preferred to interpret 
the Master s saying to mean an alteration or 
change in the soul. 4 He figured to himself the 
soul as receiving a modification from every ex 
ternal object which acts upon it, just as the air 
receives countless strokes when many people are 
speaking at once. 5 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 

1 Plut. 900 B, Plac. 11. 

2 ruTraxm tv ^vxv, D.L. vii. 45, 50 ; S.E. adv. M. vii. 228, 
230. 

3 D. L. vii., 45 ; S.E. adv. M. vii. 228, 372, viii. 400. 

4 D. L. vii., 50, dXXoioxm ; S.E. adv. M. vii. 230 crepotwffis. 

5 S.E. adv. M. vii. 230, 231. 

22 



LOGIC 

in it. 1 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 then 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 phai.tast, 2 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. 3 

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 vivid 
ness of the former, so did they ; only Hume saw 
no necessity to go beyond the impression, whereas 
the Stoics did. Certain impressions, they main 
tained, carried with them an irresistible con- 

1 Plut. 900 D, Plac. 11 ; cp. S.E. adv. M. vii. 162, 163. 

2 Plut. 900 E, Plac. 12. 

3 Eur. Great. 255-59. 

23 



STOICISM 

viction 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. l Such a phan 
tasy did not need proof of its own existence, or 
of that of its object. It possessed self-evidence. 2 
Its occurrence was attended with yielding and 
assent on the part of the soul. 3 For it is as 
natural for the soul to assent to the self-evident 
as it is for it to pursue its proper good. 4 The 
assent to a gripping phantasy was called com 
prehension/ as indicating the firm hold that the 
soul thus took of reality. 5 A gripping phantasy 
was defined as one which was stamped and im 
pressed from an existing object, in virtue of that 
object itself, in such a way as it could not be 
from a non-existent object. 6 The clause in 

1 KaToKrjTrTiKai <j>avTa<ricu. The name is ambiguous, and is 
sometimes used in the sense of grippable, being now referred 
to the grasp of the object on the mind, and now to that of the 
mind of the object. Cicero twice insists on the latter sense as 
having been that of Zeno, Acad. Post. 41 ; Pr. 145. Cp. 
Fin. iii. 17, v. 76 ; Acad. Pr. 17, 31, 62. 

2 Iv&pycta. Cic. Acad. Pr. 17 ; Post. 41 ; S.E. adv. M. 
vii. 364. 

3 D. L. vii. 51 (Uera etews /cat (riry/carafl&rews. 

4 Cic. Acad. Pr. 38. 

6 S.E. adv. M. vii. 154. 

6 Ibid. 248 ; D. L. vii. 46, 50 ; Cic. Acad. Pr. 18, 77, 
112. 

24 



LOGIC 

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. 1 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; 2 but the later 
added a saving clause when there is no impedi 
ment. 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 Mene- 
laus 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 

1 Eur. Orest. 264. 

2 S.E. adv. M. vii. 253 ; D. L. vii. 54. 

25 



STOICISM 

the hair of the head and dragged them to 
assent. 1 

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. 2 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. 3 

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 demon 
strative conclusions, such as that the gods exist, 
and that they exercise providence. 4 Here we 
are reminded of Locke s declaration. 5 Tis as 
certain there is a God, as that the opposite 
angles, made by the intersection of two straight 
lines, are equal. The Stoics indeed had great 

1 S.E. adv. M. vii. 257. 2 D. L- vii. 51. 

3 Stob. Eel. i. 332 ; Plut. 882 E, Plac. 10. 

4 D. L. vii. 52. 5 Essay i. 4, 16. 

26 



LOGIC 

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 ; l 

(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 place ; 2 

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

good; 

(9) by privation, as handless. 3 

1 D. L. vii. 53 ; S. E. xi. 250. 

2 D. L. vii. 53 ; Cic. N. D. i. 105. 

3 See further Cic. Fin. iii. 33 ; S. E. xi. 250, 251 ; D. L. x. 
32. 

27 



STOICISM 

The Stoics resembled Locke again in endeavour 
ing 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. 1 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. 2 

Zeno, with that touch of oriental symbolism 
which characterised 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 

1 D. L. vii. 47 ; Stob, Eel. ii. 128, 130 ; S. E. vii. 151 ; 
Cic. Acad. Post. 41. 2 S. E. viii. 397. 

28 



LOGIC 

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 pas 
sage-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. 1 

Out of the general ideas which nature imparts 
to us reason was perfected about the age of four 
teen, 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. 2 Thus reason, 
which united us to the gods, was not, according to 
the Stoics, a pre-existent principle, but a gradual 
development out of sense. It might truly be said 
that with them the senses were the intellect. 3 

Being was confined by the Stoics to body, a 
bold assertion of which we shall meet the conse 
quences later. At present it is sufficient to 

1 Plut. 900 B, C, D, Plac. iv. 11 ; Cic. Acad. Pr. 21, 22; 
Fin. v. 59, iii. 33. 

2 Plut. 900 C, Plac. iv. 11, 909 C, Plac. v. 23 ; Stob. Eel. i. 
792. 3 cic. Acad> Pr 30 

2 9 



STOICISM 

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 

substrates, 

suchlike, 

so disposed, 

so related. 1 

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 recognised 
and spoken of. The difficulty was got over by 
the invention of the higher category of some 
what, which should include both body and the 
bodiless. Time Avas a somewhat, and so was 
space, though neither of them possessed being. 2 



, iroid, Trcbs HXOVTO., irpbs ri, 7ru>y 
2 S. E. x. 218, 237 ; D. L. vii. 140, 141 ; Stob. Eel. i. 392; 
Sen. Ep. 58, 13, 15. 

30 



LOGIC 

In the Stoic treatment of the proposition gram 
mar 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. 1 This we shall render by diet. 
A diet then was defined as that which subsists in 
correspondence with a rational phantasy. 2 A 
diet 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. 3 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. 4 

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 

1 D. L. vii. 63. 2 Ibid. 6.3 ; S. E. viii. 70. 

8 S. E. viii. 11, 12. 4 Sen. Ep. 117, 13. 

31 



STOICISM 

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 310,952. 1 
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 ponens 
in a conjunctive. Their type of reasoning was 

If A, then B. 

But A. 
/. B. 

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 

1 Pint. 1047 C, Sto. Repug. 29. 
32 



LOGIC 

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, 1 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 argu 
ments. Take for instance the syllogism where 
with Zeno advocated the cause of temperance 

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 favourite 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 demon- 

1 Here \ve may recall the warning of Arago to call nothing 
impossible outside the range of pure mathematics. 

c 33 



STOICISM 

strated 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 Avise man is happy. 1 

The above will serve as a specimen of the 
purely verbal arguments which the Stoics were 
pleased to put forward. Cicero is fond of com 
paring their method to thorns and pin-pricks, 
which irritate the exterior without having any 
vital effect. 2 If logic was their strength, it was 
also their weakness; for, notwithstanding their 
conviction that logic was concerned with the 
actual truth of things, we find them so revelling 
in the pure forms of reasoning as to be content 
to play the game even with counters instead of 

coin. 

The delight which the early Stoics took m 
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 

1 Sen. Ep. 85, 2 ; Cic. T.D. iii. 18. 

2 Fin> iv. 7 ; T.D. ii. 42 ; Parad. Intr. 2. 

34 



LOGIC 

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. Chry- 
sippus himself was not above propounding such 

sophisms as the following 

Whoever divulges the mysteries to the un 
initiated commits impiety. 
The hierophant divulges the mysteries to the 

uninitiated. 
/. The hierophant commits impiety. 

Anything 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. 1 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 ? Chry- 
sippus set this down as inexplicable. Neverthe 
less he was far from declining to discuss it. For 

i Cic. Div. ii. 11 ; Plut. 1070 D ; Com. Not. 24; D.L. ii 
108. 

35 



STOICISM 

we find in the list of his works a treatise in 
live 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 pro 
fessed 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 premisses false. 1 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 logi< 



4 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 trans 
lation. 2 



1 D.L. vii. 96-98. 

2 Athen. ix. 401 C : 



/cat VVKTUV 0/wrtSes i 



CHAPTER IV 

ETHIC 

have already had to touch upon the psy 
chology 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. 1 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, con 
ceiving that, if once it were let into the citadel 
of the soul, it would supplant the rightful ruler. 

1 D.L. vii. 110, 157; Philo, ii. 506; De Incor. Mund 
19. 

37 



STOICISM 

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. 1 

The unperturbed intellect was the legitimate 
monarch in the kingdom of man. Hence the 
Stoics commonly spoke of it as the leading 
principle. 2 This was the part of the soul which 
received phantasies, 3 and it was also that in which 
impulses were generated, 4 with which we have 
now more particularly to do. 

Impulse, or appetition, was the principle in the 
soul which impelled to action. 6 In an unper- 
verted state it was directed only to things in 
accordance with nature. 6 The negative form of 
this principle, or the avoidance of things as being 
contrary to nature, we shall call repulsion. 7 

Notwithstanding the sublime heights to which 
Stoic morality rose, it was professedly based on 

1 Sen. de Ira. i. 8, 2, 3 ; Pint. 446 F, 447 A, de Virt. Mor. 7. 

2 Cic. N.D. ii. 29 ; D.L. vii. 133, 139, 159 ; Philo, i. 625, 
ii. 438 ; Sen. Ep. 121, 13. 

3 S.E. vii. 236. 4 D.L. vii. 159. 
5 Cic. Off. i. 101, 132. 

e Cic. Fin. iv. 39, v. 17; Acad. Pr. 24; Off. ii. 18, 
i. 105 ; Sen. Ep. 124, 3 ; 113, 2, 18 ; 121, 13. 

7 D.L. vii. 104 ; Plut. 1037 F, Sto. llepug. 11 ; Stob. Eel. ii. 
142, 144, 148, 162; Cic. Fin. v. 18; N.D. ii. 34. 

38 



ETHIC 

solf-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. 1 What tended to its survival it sought, 
what tended to its destruction it shunned. Thus 
self-preservation was the first law of life. 

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 con 
tributed to the vital harmony. These were called 
the first things in accordance with nature. 2 
Their opposites were all contrary to nature, such 
as sickness, weakness, mutilation. 3 Under the 
first things in accordance with nature came also 
congenital advantages of soul, such as quickness 
of intelligence, natural ability, industry, applica- 

1 D.L. vii. 85; Plut. 1038 B, Sto. Repug. 12; Cic. Fin. iii. 
16, iv. 26, v. 24 ; Sen. Ep. 82, 15 ; 121, 14. 

2 Aul. Cell. xii. 5, 7 ; Luc. Vit. Auct. 23 ; Stob. Eel. ii. 60, 
136, 148 ; Cic. Fin. iii. 17, 21, 22, v. 18. 

3 Stob. Eel. ii. 144 ; Cic. Fin. v. 18. 

39 



STOICISM 

tion, memory, and the like. 1 It was a question 
whether pleasure was to be included among the 
number. Some members of the school evidently 
thought that it might be, 2 but the orthodox 
opinion was that pleasure was a sort of after 
growth, 3 and that the direct pursuit of it was 
deleterious to the organism. The after-growths 
of virtue were joy, cheerfulness, and the like. 4 
These were the gambollings 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. 5 Virtue was therefore pre-eminently 

1 Stob. ii. 60 ; Cic. Fin. v. 18 

2 Cic. Fin. iii. 17 ; S.E. xi. 73. 

:< D.L. vii. 86, 94. Cp. Cic. Fin. iii. 32; Stob. Eel. ii. 
78, 110. 

4 D.L. ii. 94 ; Epict. Frag. 52. 
6 D.L. vii. 86. 

40 



ETHIC 

in accordance with nature. 1 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 identi 
fied 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. 2 But the question is begged by the use 
of the word passion, which was denned 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 Chry- 
sippus in his work on Law that impulse is the 
reason of man commanding him to act, and 
similarly that repulsion is prohibitive reason. 3 
This renders the Stoic position unmistakable, 
and we must accommodate 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 

1 Plut. 1062 C, Com. Not. 9. 

- De Ira. i. 10, 2. 3 Plut. 1037 F, Sto. Repug. 11. 

41 



STOICISM 

the perfected form of impulse. Whenever im 
pulse 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 Evolu 
tionists 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. 1 As there were four cardinal virtues, so 
there were four primary passions. These were 
delight, grief, desire, and fear. 2 All of them were 
excited by the presence or the prospect of fancied 
good or ill. What prompted desire by its pro 
spect caused delight by its presence, and what 
prompted fear by its prospect caused grief by its 
presence. 3 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. 

1 D.L. vii. 110, 136, 148, 157, 159, viii. 29 ; Pint. 1077 B, 
Com. Not. 35, 881 E, Plac. i. 6 ; Stob. Eel. i. 322, 372, 414, 
ii. 60, 148, 150 ; Philo, ii. 504, de Incor. Mund. 17, 18. 

2 D.L. vii. 110; Stob. Eel. ii. 166; Cic. Fin. iii. 35; 
T.D. iii. 24 ; iv. 8, 11, 13, 43. 

3 Epict. Diss. iv. 1, 84. 

42 



ETHIC 

Nor was this strife a hopeless one, since the 
passions were not grounded in nature, but were 
due to false opinion. 1 They originated in volun 
tary judgments, 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 formu 
lated, it became necessary to justify the division 
by arranging the specific forms of feeling under 
these four heads. 2 In this task the Stoics dis 
played 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 in 
genuity 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. 3 These were not 
perturbations of the soul, but rather con- 

1 Cic. Acad. Post. 39 ; Fin. Hi. 35 ; T.D. iii. 24 ; iv. 14 ; 
D.L. vii. 111 ; Stob. Eel. ii. 168. 

2 Cic. Fin. iii. 35 ; T.D. iii. 24. 

3 D.L. vii. 116. 

43 



STOICISM 

stancies ; 1 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 2 in the presence 
of the true and only good ; he would never indeed 
be agitated by desire, but still he would be ani 
mated by wish, 3 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. 4 

There was therefore something rational corre 
sponding to three out of the four primary passions 
against delight was to be set joy ; against desire, 
wish; against fear, caution; but against grief 
there was nothing to be set, for that arose from 
the presence of ill, which would 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 Xan 
thippe declared that he had always the same face, 
whether on leaving the house in the morning or 
on returning to it at night. 

1 Cic. T.D. iv. 14, 80. 

2 xapa as opposed to TjSovrj, Cic. T.D. iv. 13; Plut. 1046 B, 
Sto. Repug. 25. 

3 povX-rjcris as opposed to e-jridv/jiia.. 

4 ei)\ct/3eta as opposed to 06/3os. 

44 



ETHIC 

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

Things were divided by Zeno into good, bad arid 
indifferent. 1 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. 2 

Good was defined as that which benefits. 3 To 
confer benefit was no less essential to good than 
to impart warmth was to heat. 4 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. 5 The indifference of things 
other than virtue and vice was apparent from the 
definition of good, which made it essentially bene- 

1 Stob. ii. 90 ; D.L. vii. 101 ; Plut. 1064 C, Com. Not. 12 ; 
Sen. Ep. 82, 10. 

2 D.L. vii. 102; Stob. Eel. ii. 92: Ceb. Tab. 36; Epict. 
Diss. ii. 9, 13. 3 D.L. vii. 94; Stob. ii. 96. 

4 D.L. vii. 103. 6 Ibid., 104. 

45 



STOICISM 

ficial. Such things as health and wealth might 
be beneficial or not, according to circumstances ; 1 
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 wealth. 

Good having been identified with virtue, there 
could be no question of any conflict between the 
right and the expedient. This was a point on 
which the Stoic doctrine was very explicit. The 
good was expedient and fitting and profitable and 
useful and serviceable and beautiful and beneficial 
and choiceworthy and just. 2 These various pre 
dicates were defined, generally in accordance with 
their etymology, in such a way as to avoid the 
charge of one being a mere synonym of the other. 
Their contraries were all applicable to the bad. 3 

The true and only good then was identical with 
what the Greeks called the beautifu] 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 right, and, 
on the other hand, between the bad and wrong, 
was the head and front of the Stoic ethics. The 

1 Ceb. Tab. 38 ; D.L. vii. 100. 

2 D.L. vii. 98 ; Stob. ii. 94, 96. 3 Stob. ii. 96, 202. 

46 



ETHIC 

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. 1 

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. 2 More 
over, 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 pro 
longation 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. 3 

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. 4 

1 D.L. vii. 101 ; Stob. ii. 202; Cic. Acad. Post. 7, 35; 
T.D. iii. 34 ; Off. iii. 11, 35 ; Sen. Ep. 71, 4. 

- D.L. vii. 89. 

* Sen. Ep. 74, 27 ; Plut. 1062 A, Com. Not. 8, 1046 D, Sto. 
Repug. 26. 

4 Cic. Fin. iv. 35, T.D. ii. 47, iv. 34, v. 39 ; Sen. Ep. 
76, 10. 

47 



STOICISM 

As reason was the only thing whereby Nature 
had distinguished man from other creatures, to 
live the rational life was to follow Nature. 1 

Nature was at once the law of God and the law 
for man. 2 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 3 in 
which Zeno declared happiness to consist. This 
was attained when one s own genius was in 
harmony with the will that disposed all things. 4 

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 



1 Sen. Ep. 66, 39. 2 Cic. Off. iii. 23. 

3 efyoia /3iou, Stob. ii. 138 ; S.E. xi. 30. 

4 D.L. vii. 88. 

4 8 



ETHIC 

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 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. 1 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 deter 
mine 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 > deposit through avarice, which is a form 
of injustice, or yet to one who misconducted 

1 Plut. 1046 F, Sto. Repug. 27 ; D.L. vii. 125; Stob. Eel. ii. 
112 ; Cic. Acad. Post. 38 ; T.D. iii. 17. 

D 49 



STOICISM 

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 as virtue fighting on behalf of 
justice. 1 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 one s conviction. 2 One virtue never 
acted by itself, but always on the advice of a com 
mittee. 3 The obverse to this paradox He who 
has one vice has all vices was a conclusion which 
the Stoics did not shrink from drawing. 4 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. 5 
We have now encountered the first paradox of 
Stoicism, and can discern its origin in the identi 
fication of virtue with pure reason. In setting 
forth the novelties in Zeno s teaching, Cicero 

1 Cic. Off. i. 62. 2 D.L. vii. 126. 

a Sen. Ep. 67. 10. 4 Stob. Eel. ii. 216. 

* Cic. T.U. ii. 32. 

50 



ETHIC 

mentions that, while his predecessors had recog 
nised virtues due to nature and habit, he made 
all dependent upon reason. 1 A natural conse 
quence of this was the reassertion of the position 
which Plato held, or wished to hold, namely, that 
virtue can be taught. 2 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 know 
ledge, but still it had to be admitted that nature 
supplied the starting-points for the four cardinal 
virtues for the discovery of one s duty and the 
steadying of one s impulses, for right endurances 
and harmonious distributions. 3 To nature were 
due the seeds, though the harvest was reaped by 
the sage; hers were the sparks, though the fire 
was to be fanned into flame by teaching. 4 

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. 

1 Acad. Post. 38. 

2 D.L. vii. 91 ; Sen. Ep. 90 44, 123 16. 

3 Stob. ii. 108; D.L. vii. 89. 

4 Cic. T.D.-iii. 2; Fin. v. 18. 

51 



STOICISM 

By things indifferent were meant such as did 
not necessarily contribute to virtue, for instance, 
health, wealth, strength, and honour. 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 under 
stood then that there are two senses of the word 
indifferent 

(1) neither good nor bad, 

(2) neither awaking impulse nor repulsion. 1 
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, strength, and sound 
ness of the senses were in accordance with nature ; 

1 D.L. vii. 104 ; Stob. ii. 142; S.E. xi. 59-61. 
52 



ETHIC 

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. l 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. 2 But still there 
might be assigned to them what Antipater ex 
pressed by the term a selective value or what 
he expressed by its barbarous privative a disselec- 
tive 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 

1 Stob. Eel. ii. 152; D.L. vii. 105; Cic. Fin. iii. 20, 50, 
51. 

2 Stob. Eel. ii. 154, 156. 

53 



STOICISM 

were neither preferred nor rejected. 1 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. 2 

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. 3 

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. 

1 Stob. Eel. ii. 144, 156 ; D.L. vii. 105; S.E. xi. 62 ; Cic. 
Acad. Post. 36 ; Fin. iii 15, 52, 53, iv. 72, v. 78, 90. 

2 Stob. ii. 156 ; Cic. Fin. iii. 52. 

B D.L. vii. 106; Stob. Eel. ii. 146. 

54 



ETHIC 

The sago alone could act rightly, but other 
people might perform the proprieties. 1 Any 
one might honour 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. 2 All the acts of 
the sage were perfect proprieties, v^hich were 
called Tightnesses. 3 All acts of all other men 
were sins or wrongnesses. At their best they 
could only be intermediate proprieties. 4 The 
term propriety, then, is a generic one. But, 
as often happens, the generic term got deter 
mined in use to a specific meaning, so that 
intermediate acts arc commonly spoken of as 
proprieties in opposition to lightnesses. In 
stances of Tightnesses are displaying wisdom and 
dealing justly; instances of proprieties or inter 
mediate acts are marrying, going on an embassy, 
and dialectic. 5 

The word duty is often employed to trans- 



1 TO. 

2 S.E. xi. 201, 202. 

3 Stob. ii. 158, 160, 184; Cic. Fin. iii. 24, 59, iv. S 15; 
Acad. Post. 37; Off. i. 8, iii. 14, pro Mur. s 3, 11, 
GO. 

4 Stob. ii. 158, 100; Pint. 1037 F., Sto. Repug. 11 ; Cic. 
Acad. Post. 37 ; OiT. i. 8 ; T. D. iii. 11. 

" Stob. ii. 158, 192. 

55 



STOICISM 

late 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 actions of^the 
lower animals, and even to the growth of plants. 1 
Now, apart from a craze for generalisation, we 
should hardly think of the stern daughter of 
the voice of God in connection with an amceba 
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, 2 so that, as far as this goes, 
becomingness would be the most appropriate 
translation. 

The sphere of propriety was confined to things 
indifferent, 3 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 

1 D.L. vii. 107; Stob. ii. 158. 

2 D.L. vii. 108. 3 Cic. Fin. iii. 59 ; Stob. ii. 226. 

56 



ETHIC 

things in accordance with nature. It might thus 
he a propriety for the sage in spite of his happi 
ness, 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. 1 

Since men in general were very far from being 
sages, 2 it is evident that, if the Stoic morality was 
to affect the world at large, it had to be accom 
modated in some way to existing circumstances. 
No moral treatise perhaps has exercised so wide 
spread an influence as that which was known to 
our forefathers under the title of Tully s Offices. 
Now that work is founded on Pansetius, a rather 
unorthodox Stoic, and it does not profess to treat 
of the ideal morality at all, but only of the inter 
mediate proprieties (iii. 14). We may notice 
also that in that work the attempt to regard 
virtue as one and indivisible, is frankly aban 
doned as being unsuitable to the popular in 
telligence (ii. 35). 

We pass on now to another instance of accom- 

1 Cic. Fin. iii. 61 ; Stob. ii. 22G ; Plut. 1063 D., Com. 
Not. 11, 1042 D., Sto. Repug. 18; 1039 E., Sto. Repug. 14. 

2 Cic. Off. i. 46. 

57 



STOICISM 

modation. According to the high Stoic doctrine 
there was no mean between virtue and vice. 1 All 
men indeed received from nature the starting- 
points for virtue, but until perfection had been 
attained they rested under the condemnation oi: 
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. 2 Until that was done they were to wear the 
fool s cap. The Peripatetics, on the other hand, 
recognised an intermediate state between virtue 
and vice, to which they gave the name of progress 
or proficience. 3 Yefc 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. 4 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 equi 
valent 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. 

1 D. L. vii. 127. 2 Stob. Eel. ii. 110. 

3 D. L. vii. 127 ; Acad. Post. 20 ; Fin. iv. G6 ; Off. 
iii. 17; Sen. Ep. 71, 36. 

* Ep. 71, 30 ; 72, 6 ; 75, 8 ; 94, 50. 

58 



ETHIC 

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 re 
minds 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 realised 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. 1 

1 Sen. Ep. 75, 8. 

59 



STOICISM 

Epictetus devotes a dissertation (i. 4) to the 
same subject of progress or proficience. The 
only true sphere for progress, he declares, is that 
in which one s work lies. If you are interested 
in the progress of an athlete, you expect to see 
his biceps, not his dumb-bells ; and so in morality 
it is not the books a man has read, but how he 
has profited by them that counts. For the work 
of man is not to master Chrysippus on impulse, 
but to control impulse itself. 

From these concessions to the weakness of 
humanity we now pass to the Stoic paradoxes, 
where we shall see their doctrine in its full 
rigour. 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 learnt to believe it in his heart. 
But alter it into Virtue is the only good, and by 
that slight change it becomes cit once the teeming 

60 



ETHIC 

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 defence 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 
offence 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 com- 
61 



STOICISM 

mon-sense and morality, to say nothing of utility, 
revolt against it. 1 

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. 2 

In so far as the above paradoxes do not depend 
upon a metaphorical use of language, they all 
seem traceable to three initial assumptions the 
identification of happiness with virtue, of virtue 
with reason, and the view taken of reason as 
something absolute, not admitting of degrees, 

1 Sat. i. iii. 96-98. 

2 D. L. vii. 120 ; Cic. Fin. iii. 48 ; Plut. 1063 A, Com. 
Not. 10. 

62 



ETHIC 

something which is either present in its entirety 
or not at all. There was no play of light and 
shadow in the Stoic landscape, for they had done 
away with the clouds of passion. They could not 
allow that these more or less obscured the rays of 
reason, having refused to admit that there was a 
difference of nature between the clouds and the 
sunlight, passion, according to them, being only 
reason gone wrong. 

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 ! 1 

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. 2 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 

1 Cic. Fin. i. 61 ; T. D. ii. 18, v. 73. 

2 D. L. vii. 127; Stob. Eel. ii. 116. 

63 



STOICISM 

came to practice, all were found to be goats, so 
that the division was a merely formal one. It 
approves itself, says Stobseus, 1 to Zeno and the 
Stoic philosophers who came after him that there 
are two kinds of men, one good, the other bad. 
The good all their life display the virtues, and the 
bad the vices. Whence one kind are always 
right in all that they purpose, the other always 
wrong. And inasmuch as the good avail them 
selves of the arts of life in their conduct, they 
do all things well, 2 as doing them wisely and 
temperately and in accordance with the other 
virtues ; whereas the bad, on the contrary, do all 
things ill. The good are great and well-grown 
and tall and strong. Great, because they are able 
to attain thef objects which they set before them 
selves and which are dependent on their own 
will : well-grown, because they find increase from 
every quarter; tall, because they have reached 
the^height which befits a noble and good man ; 
and {strong, because they are endowed with the 
strength; that befits them. The good man is not 
to be vanquished or cast in a combat, seeing that 
he is "neither compelled by any one nor does he 
compel another ; he is neither hindered nor does 
he hinder; he is neither forced by any one nor 

1 Eel. ii. 198, 200. 2 Athen. 158a. 

6 4 



ETHIC 

does he himself force any man ; he neither does 
ill nor is himself done ill to, nor falls into ill, nor 
is deceived nor deceives another, nor is he mis 
taken or ignorant, nor does he forget, nor enter 
tain any false supposition, but is happy in the 
highest degree and fortunate and blessed and 
wealthy and pious and beloved of God and worthy 
of everything, fit to be a king or general or states 
man, and versed in the arts of managing a house 
hold and making money: whereas the bad have 
all the attributes that are opposite to these. And 
generally to the virtuous belong all good things, 
and to the bad all evils. 

The good man of the Stoics was variously 
known as the sage/ or the serious man 
(o o-jrovSacos), 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 (o ao-Telo<>), while the 
fool in contradistinction was called a < boor. 
Boorishness was defined as an inexperience of 
the customs and laws of the state. 1 By the 
state was meant, not Athens or Sparta, as would 
have been the case in a former age, but the 

1 Stob. Eel. ii. 210. 
E 6 5 



STOICISM 

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. 1 In this 
city justice was natural and not conventional, for 
the law by which it was governed was the law of 
right reason. 2 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 denned 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. 3 

As a member of a state and by nature subject 
to law, man was essentially a social being. Be 
tween all the wise there existed unanimity, 
which was < a knowledge of the common good/ 4 
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 

1 Stob. Eel. ii. 208. 2 Ibid. 

* Ibid. 190, 192. 

4 Ibid. 184, 222. Cp. Arist. E.N. ix. 6. 

66 



ETHIC 

his part in public life. 1 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 cer 
tain 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 genera 
tion equally with parental fondness, and when 
marital jealousy would be no more. 2 

1 D.L. vii. 121 ; Stob. Eel. ii. 186, 224, 228; Cic. Fin. iii. 
68. 2 D.L. vii. 33, 131. 



STOICISM 

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 conversa 
tion as a means for promoting goodwill and 
friendship ; so far as might be, he was all things 
to all men, 1 which made him fascinating and 
charming, insinuating and even wily; he knew 
how to hit the point and to choose the right 
moment; yet with it all he was plain and un 
ostentatious and simple and unaffected; in par 
ticular he never delighted in irony, much less 
in sarcasm. 2 

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, riot only of his fortunes, 
but of his friends and family, and to declare 
with a smile that he had lost nothing. 3 All that 
he truly cared for was to be centred in himself. 4 
Only thus could ho be sure that Fortune would 
not wrest it from him. 

The apathy or passionlessness of the sage is 

i Stob. Eel. ii. 220. a Ibid. 222. 

3 Cic. Lael. 7 ; Sen. de Const. Sap. 5. 4 Cic. T.D. v. 30. 

68 



ETHIC 

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. 1 

To say that the sage is not moved by partiality 
may be let pass as representing an unattainable, 
but still highly proper frame of mind. But to 
say that he is unforgiving 2 is apt to raise a pre 
judice against him on the part of the natural 
man. There were two reasons, however, for this 
statement, which tend to alter the light in which 
it first presents itself. One was the ideal con 
ception which the Stoics entertained of law. 
The law was holy and just and good. To remit 
its penalties therefore, or to deem them too 
severe, was not the part of a wise man. Hence 
they discarded Aristotle s conception of equity 
as correcting the inequalities of law. 3 It was 

1 Cic. pro Mur. 61, 62. 

2 D.L. vii. 123 ; Stob. Eel. ii. 190. 3 Ibid. 

6 9 



STOICISM 

a thing too vacillating for the absolute temper 
of their ethics. But a second reason for the sage 
never forgiving was that he never had anything 
to forgive. No harm could be done to him so 
long as his will was set on righteousness, that is, 
so long as he was a sage : the sinner sinned 
against his own soul. 

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. 1 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 won 
der. 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- 
dwellers, no hot springs, no spouting jets of fire. 2 

From the absence of passion it is but a step 

1 Ench. 16. 2 D.L. vii. 123. 

70 



ETHIC 

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. 1 The sage, it was maintained, held no 
opinions, 2 he never repented of his conduct, 3 he 
was never deceived in anything. Between the 
daylight of knowledge and the 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 sympathised : 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, semi -con 
sciousnesses, partial illuminations, dim instincts, 
embryo conceptions, have no place in his brain 
or vocabulary. The twilight of dubiety never 
falls upon him. Opinion, Avhether in the form 
of an ungripped assent or of a weak supposi 
tion was alien from the mental disposition of 
the serious man. 4 With him there was no hasty 

1 Cic. Acad. Pr. 77. 

2 D.L. vii. 121, 177, 201 ; Stob. ii. 230; Cic. Acad. Post, 
42, Pr. 54, 59, 66, 77, pro Mur. 61, 62 ; Lact. Div. Inst. 
iii. 4. 3 Cic. Mur. 61 ; D.L. vii. 122 ; Stob. ii. 230-234. 

Stob. Eel. ii. 230. 

71 



STOICISM 

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 reckon 
ing nor put out by another. 1 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 
better of a 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 retractation, and no tripping. These things 
were for those whose dogmas could alter. 2 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. 3 He would 
not, however, altogether eschew banquets. In 
deed, the Stoics recognised a virtue under the 
name of conviviality, which consisted in the 
proper conduct of them. 4 It was said of Chry- 
sippus that his demeanour was always quiet, 
even if his gait were unsteady, so that his house 
keeper declared that only his legs were drunk. 6 

1 Stob. Eel. ii. 232. 

2 Ibid. 234. 3 Ibid. 224. 

4 Ibid. 118; D.L. vii. 118; Sen. Ep. 123, 15. 

5 D.L. vii. 183. 

72 



ETHIC 

There were pleasantries even within the school 
on this subject of the infallibility of the sage. 
Aristo of Chios, while seceding on some other 
matters, held fast to the dogma that the sage 
never opined. 1 Whereupon Perseus 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. 2 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 

1 D. L. vii. 162. 2 Stob. Eel. ii. 204. 

73 



STOICISM 

beyond harm, so also was he above insult. Men 
might disgrace themselves by their insolent atti 
tude towards his mild majesty, but it was not 
in their power to disgrace him. 1 

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. 2 
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 judgments 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 philo 
sophy. 3 

1 Stob. Eel. ii. 226. 

a Ibid. 236 ; Plut. 1062 B, Com. Not. 9. 

3 Plut. 1058 B, St. Abs. 



74 



CHAPTER V 

PHYSIC 

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. 1 
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 prin 
ciple alone was cause; the other was mere 

1 D. L. viii. 134 ; Plut. 878c., Plac. i. 3 ; Stob. Eel. i. 306. 

75 



STOICISM 

material for it to work on inert, senseless, desti 
tute in itself of all shape and qualities, but ready 
to assume any qualities or shape. 1 

Matter was denned as that out of which 
anything is produced. 2 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. 3 

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 under 
stood, were conceived of as bodies, though with 
out form, the one everywhere interpenetrating 
the other. 4 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 con 
ceived 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 

i Sen. Ep. 65, 2, 4, 12. 2 D. L. vii. 150. 

3 Stob. Eel. i. 322, 324, 374, 414, 434; D. L. vii. 150. 

4 D. L. vii. 134. 

7 6 



PHYSIC 

in motion. Now the active principle was not air, 
but it was something which bore an analogy to 
it namely, aether. ^Ether 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 un- 
generated and indestructible, must be distin 
guished 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. 1 

An element was defined as that out of which 
things at first come into being and into which 
they are at last resolved. 2 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 
1 D. L. vii. 134. 2 jbid. 136. 

77 



STOICISM 

air, and so on. 1 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 dry ness. 
Between them the four elements made up the 
unqualified being called Matter. 2 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. 3 

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. 4 
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 primacy as entitled it, if the definition 
of element were pressed, to be considered alone 

1 Stob. Eel. i. 314. 3 D. L. vii. 137. 

3 Stob. i. 314. 4 Plut.,883 A, Plac.-i. 12. 

78 



PHYSIC 

worthy of the name. 1 For the three other ele 
ments 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 destruc 
tion. 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 
aBther, was the substance of the heavenly bodies, 
as it was also of the soul of animals and of 
the nature of plants. 2 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. 3 It is allowable to see in this 

1 Stob. Eel. i. 312, 314. 

2 Ibid. 538 ; Cic. N.D. ii. 41, Acad. Post. 39. 

3 Stob. Eel. i. 314. 

79 



STOICISM 

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 spirit. 

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. 1 

Extension was essential to body, though shape 
was not. A body was that which has extension 
in three dimensions length, breadth, and thick 
ness. 2 This was called also a solid body. The 
boundary of such a body was a surface, 3 which was 
1 that which possesses length and breadth only, but 
not depth. The boundary of a surface was a line 

1 D. L. vii. 137, 155 ; Stob. i. 446. 

2 D. L. vii. 135. Cp. Euc. xi. Def. 1. 3 Cp. Euc. i. Def. 2. 

80 



PHYSIC 

which was length without breadth/ as in Euclid, 
or that which has length only. Lastly, the 
boundary of a lino was a point, which was declared 
to be the smallest sign (o-rjpetov e Xa^o-roi/). 
This definition is suggestive of the minima 
visibilia or coloured points of Hume, but we know 
that the Stoics did not allow that a line was made 
up of points, or a surface of lines, or a solid of 
surfaces. The Stoic definition however has the 
advantage over Euclid s in telling us something 
positive about a point. The conception of a point 
as position without magnitude/ 1 which was 
current before the time of Euclid (B.C. 323-283) 
is better than either of them. 

A geometrical solid is not body, as we know it 
or as the Stoics conceived it, for they regarded 
the universe as a plenum. < Passivity with them 
seems to have occupied the place of resistance 
with us as the attribute which distinguished body 
from void. 

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. 2 But outside of this lay the infinite void, 

1 Arist. Met. iv. 6 24. a D. L. vii. 140 

F 81 



STOICISM 

without beginning, middle or end. 1 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 a bound to anything, so neither can 
there be any bound to nothing. 2 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 
Apollodorus noted the ambiguity of the word All 
as meaning, 

(1) the cosmos only, 

(2) cosmos + void. 3 

If then by the term universe we understand the 
cosmos, or ordered whole, we must say that the 

i Plut 883 F, Plac. i. 18 ; 1054 B, Sto. Repug. 44 ; Stub. 
Eel. i. 382. 2 Stob. Eel. i. 392. 

3 Plut. 886 C, Plac. ii. 1 ; D. L. vii. 143. 
82 



PHYSIC 

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. 1 

Another distinction, due this time to Chry- 
sippus himself, which the Stoics found it con 
venient to draw, was between the three words 
void/ place and space. Void was denned 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. 2 As there was no corner of the 
cosmos unfilled by body, space, it will be seen, 
was another name for the All. Place was com 
pared to a vessel that was full, void to one that 
was empty, and space to the vast wine- cask, 3 such 
as that in which Diogenes made his home, which 
was kept partly full, 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 

1 Stob. i. 392. 

2 Ibid. 382; Plut. 884 A, Plac. i. 20; Sext. Emp P H 
iij - 12 *- s Stob. Eel. i. 392. 

83 



STOICISM 

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, 1 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. 2 Not 
that the universe as a whole moved. The earth 
lay at its centre, spherical and motionless, and 
round it coursed the sun, moon, and planets, fixed 
each in its several sphere, as in so many con 
centric rings, while the outermost ring of all, 
which contained the fixed stars, wheeled round 
the rest with an inconceivable velocity. 

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 

1 Plut. 879 A, Plac. i. 5; Stob. Eel. i. 496; D.L. vii. 143. 

2 Stob. Eel. i. 356 ; Plut. 879 D, 886 C, Plac. ii. 2 ; D.L. vii. 
139. 

8 4 



PHYSIC 

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- 
going nature. It appears, then, that the upward 
and downward tendencies of the elements were 
held to neutralise one another, and so leave the 
universe devoid of weight. 1 

The beauty of the universe was a topic on 
which the Stoics delighted to descant. This was 
manifest from its form, its colour, its size, and its 
embroidered vesture of stars. 2 Its form was that 
of a sphere, which was as perfect among solid as 
the circle among plane figures, and for the same 
reason, namely, that every point on the circumfer 
ence was equidistant from the centre. 3 Its colour 
was in the main the deep azure of the heavens, 
darker and more lustrous than purple, indeed the 
only hue intense enough to reach our eyes at all 

: Stob. Eel. i. 406, 408. 2 Plut 879 D> plac | 6 

3 Cic. N,D. ii. 47. 

85 



STOICISM 

through such a vast interjacent tract of air. 1 In 
size, which is an essential element of beauty, it 
was of course beyond compare. And then there 
was the glory of 

1 the star-eyed flash of heaven, 
Time s fair embroidery, work of cunning hand. 5 a 

The universe was the only thing which was 
perfect in itself; 3 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, 4 
unless man could be deemed so, who was born to 
contemplate the universe and imitate its perfec 
tions. 5 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 per 
vaded 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 

1 Plut. 879 D, Plac. i. 6. 

2 S.E. adv. M. ix. 54. 3 Cic. N.D. ii. 37. 
4 Plut. 1055 F, Sto. Repug. 44. D Cic. N.D. ii. 37. 

86 



PHYSIC 

world -soul. The human soul presents itself not 
only as intellect, but also in the lower manifesta 
tions 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 
ha ir; 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. 1 In 
the same way the world- soul displayed itself in 
rational beings as intellect, in the lower animals 
as mere soul, in plants as nature or growth, and 
in inorganic substances as holding or cohesion. 2 
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. 3 

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. 4 What animated them was 

1 D.L. vii. 139. 

2 S.E. adv. M. ix. 81; Philo, i. 71, Leg. All. 7; ii. 496, 
Incor. Mund. 10 ; ii. 606, de Mund. 4 ; Plut. 451 de Virt. 
Mor. 12. 

3 Philo, i. 71, Leg. All. ii. 7. 

4 Plut. 910 B, Plac. v. 26; M. Ant. vi. 14. 

87 



STOICISM 

nature or, as we have called it above, growth. 1 
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. 2 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. 3 In the widest sense Nature was 
another name for Providence, or the principle 
which held the universe together, 4 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, effect 
ing 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 
c spirit/ and, as such, a body. It was a body of a 
less subtle essence than soul. 5 Similarly, when 



2 D.L. vii. 156 ; Cic. N.D. ii. 57; Plut. 881 E, Plac. i. 6. 

3 D.L. vii. 149 ; Cic. N.D. ii. 58. 

4 D.L. vii. 148. 5 Plut. 1052 F, Sto. Repug. 41. 

88 



PHYSIC 

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 
silver whiteness. Not only solidity then, but also 
colours, which Zeno called the first schematisms 
of matter 1 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. 2 

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. 3 

The cosmos, as identical with God, was described 
as an individual made up of all being, who is 
incorruptible and ungenerated, the fashioner of 

1 Plut. 883 C, Plac. i. 15 ; Stob. Eel. i. 364. 

2 Plut. 1054 A, Sto. Repug. 43. 

3 D.L. vii. 137, 138 ; Bus. Pr. Ev, xv. 15, 1, 2. 

8 9 



STOICISM 

the ordered frame of the universe, who at certain 
periods of time absorbs all being into himself and 
again generates it from himself. 1 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. 2 
In the efflagration, when everything went back 
to the primeval tether, 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 

1 D.L. vii. 137. 

a Plut. 1052 C, Sto. Rcpug. 39, 1053 B, Sto. Repug. 41. 

90 



PHYSIC 

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. 1 

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, 2 
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, Avhich was 
to it as body. In the efilagration the two would 
be fused into one in the single substance of 
a3ther. 3 And then in the fulness of time there 

1 Plut. 1075 D, Com. Not. 31. 

2 Sen. Ep. 9, 16. 

3 Plut. 1077 D, Com. Not. 36; Philo. ii. 501, Incor. Mund., 
14. 

91 



STOICISM 

would be a restitution of all things. Everything 
would come round again exactly as it had been 
before. 1 

Alter erit turn Tiphys, et altera quag vehat Argo 

delectos heroas ; erunt etiam altera bella, 

atque iterum ad Troiam magnus mittetur Achilles. 

To us who have been taught to pant for pro 
gress, 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 seonian Maelstrom. 2 

1 Stob. Eel. i. 414 ; Lact. Div. Inst. vii. 23 ; Numenius in 
Eus. Pr. Ev. xv. 18. 

2 Sen. Ep. 30, 11 j 36, 10 ; 54, 5 ; 71, 13, 14. 



CHAPTER VI 

CONCLUSION 

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/ 1 he sounded the keynote of Stoicism, 
with its two main doctrines of virtue as the only 
good, and the government of the world by Pro 
vidence. Let us weigh his words, lest we in 
terpret 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 

1 Plat. Apol. 41 D. 

93 



STOICISM 

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 them 
selves, but he cannot be expected to look after 
their luggage; they relieve him of that care by 
being indifferent about it. 1 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 ex 
pressed 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. 2 

1 Sen. de Prov. 2, 6 ; Cic. Fin. iii. 29. 

2 Epict. Ench. 52. 

94 



CONCLUSION 

There is nothing more distinctive of Socrates 
than the doctrine that virtue is knowledge. 1 
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. 2 Socrates must even be held respon 
sible for the Stoic paradox of the madness of all 
ordinary folk. 3 

The Stoics did not owe much to the Peri 
patetics. 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 be 
sides 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, un 
less 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, 

1 Xen. Mem. iii. 9, 4, 5. 

2 E. N. vi. 2, 5. 3 Xen Mem Ui 9 6 

95 



STOICISM 

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 environ 
ment. 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. That 
virtue is the one thing needful would have been 
acknowledged by the Peripatetics as well as by 
the Stoics, but in a different sense. The Peri 
patetics would have meant by it that such things 
as health and wealth and honour and family 
and friends and country, though good in their 
way, were yet not to be compared with goods 
of the soul; whereas the Stoics meant literally 
that there were no other goods. In practice 
the two doctrines would come to the same thing, 
since the adherent of either sect would, if true 
to his principles, equally sacrifice the lower to 
the higher in case of conflict. But the Peri 
patetics had the advantage of calling those 
things goods which everybody, except for the 
sake of argument, acknowledges to be such. 
With regard to happiness also they were on the 
side of common opinion. Happiness is not 
thought of apart from virtue, nor yet apart from 
fortune. It has its inner and its outer side. 
The Stoics admitted only the inner; the Peri- 



CONCLUSION 

patetics included the outer also. By confining 
happiness to its inner side the Stoics identified 
it with virtue. But this is essentially a one 
sided view. Happiness is a composite concep 
tion. It is like the image seen by Nebuchad 
nezzar in his dream, which began in fine gold 
and ended in miry clay. So happiness consists in 
the main of the pure gold of virtue, but tails off 
towards the extremities into meaner materials. 

But though we may decline to talk with the 
Stoics, demurring to their misuse of language, we 
need not refuse to admire the loftiness of their 
aspirations. They would fain have had the 
image of their sage wrought of fine gold from 
head to heel. They felt that no good but the 
highest can be satisfying. They were seeking for 
a peace which the world cannot give; and they 
said to Virtue, as Augustine said to God, Our 
heart can find no rest, until it rest in thee. x 
They saw that, if happiness depended in any 
degree upon externals, the imperturbable serenity 
of the sage would be impossible. In truth it is 
impossible. Christianity recognised this in post 
poning happiness to a future life. But it was the 
craving for such perfect peace which led to the 
Stoic position. They were convinced also that 

1 Conf. i. i. 
G 97 



STOICISM 

the good man must be beloved of God and the 
object of His care; but they saw that this was 
not so with regard to things external : therefore 
they inferred that these were indifferent. 1 And, 
if indifferent, then despicable ; so that they 
needed not to worry about them. They had but 
to keep a conscience void of offence, and let other 
things look after themselves. 2 To take no thought 
for the morrow was the outcome of their teaching, 
as of the Sermon on the Mount. But the Stoics 
were ready to carry out their doctrine to its 
logical consequences, and, if food were not forth 
coming, to avail themselves of the open door. 3 
How long virtue lasted, they declared, was beside 
the point ; it was the state of mind that counted. 
The sage would deem that time pertained not to 
him. 4 Thus were the Stoics ready to serve God 
for nought, asking not even for the wages of 
going on and still to be. They did not judge of 
His providence by the loaves and fishes that fell 
to their share, but had the faith which could 
exclaim, Though He slay me, yet will I trust 
Him. Why should he who possesses the only 
good complain of the distribution of things indif- 

1 Sen. Ep. 74, 10. 2 Cic. T. D. v. 4. 

3 Epict. Diss. i. 9, 19, 20 ; Stob. Eel. ii. 198. 

4 Sen. Ep. 32, 4. 

9 8 



CONCLUSION 

ferent ? The true Stoic, having chosen the better 
part, was content to be still and murmur not. 
There might be a future life the Stoics believed 
there was but it never presented itself to them 
as necessary to correct the injustice of this. 
There was no injustice. Virtue needed no reward, 
or could not fail of it, for it could not fail of itself. 
Nor could the vicious fail of their punishment, for 
that punishment was to have missed the only 
good. 1 

Virtutem videant, intabescantque relicta. 2 

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 superi 
ority of justice to injustice. But Chrysippus pro 
tested against Plato s procedure on this point, 
declaring that the talk about punishment by the 
gods was mere bugaboo. 3 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. 

1 Sen - E P- 97, 14. 2 Pers Sat> Hi 3g 

3 Plut. 1040 B, Sto. Repug. 15; Cic. N. D. ii. 5 

4 Cic. Off. iii. 102. 

99 



STOICISM 

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 it 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 appear 
ance of these goods; it must be the same with 
him who is sincerely convinced that happiness 
lies in virtue. To be just then is the great 
desideratum : how many know that you are so is 
not to the purpose. 1 Far more important than 
what others think of you is what you have reason 
to think of yourself. 2 The same searching spirit 
is displayed in the Stoic declaration that to be 
in lust is sin even without the act. 3 He who 
apprehends the force of such philosophy may 
well apostrophise it in the words of Cicero : One 
day well spent and in accordance with thy pre 
cepts is worth an immortality of sin. 4 

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 

i Sen. Ep. 113, 32. 2 Ibid. 29, 11. 

s Cic. Fin. iii. 32. 4 Cic. T. D. v. 5. 

IOO 



CONCLUSION 

claims on our admiration. They were the first 
fully to recognise the worth of man as man ; l 
they heralded the reign of peace, 2 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. 3 The word 
philanthropy/ though not unheard before their 
time, 4 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 

1 Cic. Fin. iii. 63, Off. iii. 27. 

2 Cic. Off. iii. 25 ; Lact. Div. Inst. vi. 11. 

3 Cic. Off. iii. 26, Fin. iii. 64. 

4 Plat. Euthph. 3 D ; Xen. Mem. i. 2, 60. 

101 



STOICISM 

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, 1 
but unfortunately it is not this concession which 
is dominant in his system, but rather the reduc 
tion of a slave to a living tool by which it is 
immediately preceded. In another passage Aris 
totle 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. 2 This incipient humanitarianism seems 
to have been developed in a much more marked 
way by Aristotle s followers ; 3 but it is the Stoics 
who have won the glory of having initiated 
humanitarian sentiment. 

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, 4 or, which was the same 

1 E. N. viii. 11, 7, 1161* 5-8. a Ibid. 1, 3, 1155* 20-22. 

3 Cic. Acad. Post. i. 21 ; Stob. Eel. ii. 254. 

4 Sen. Ep. 8 7, 37 4 ; Philo, ii. 451, Q. O. P. L. 7. 

102 



CONCLUSION 

thing, to serve God ; l and that could be done in 
any station in life. The sole condition of com 
munion with gods and good men was the pos 
session 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. 2 Birth is 
of no importance ; all are sprung from the gods. 
1 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. 3 Wherever there was a human being, 
there Stoicism saw a field for well-doing. 4 Its 
followers were always to have in their mouths 
and hearts the well-known line 

Homo sum, human! nihil a me alienum puto. 6 

Closely connected with the humanitarianism of 
the Greeks is their cosmopolitanism. 

Cosmopolitanism is a word which has con 
tracted rather than expanded in meaning with 
the advance of time. We mean by it freedom 

1 Sen. Vit. B. 15 6. 2 Sen. Ep. 44, 2. 

3 Sen. Ben. iii. 18, 2. 4 Sen. Vit. B. 24, 2. 

5 Ter. Heaut. 77 ; Cic. Leg. i. 33 ; Sen. Ep. 95, 53. 
103 



STOICISM 

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. 1 To be 
exiled from one of them was only like changing 
your lodgings, 2 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. 3 It 
caught the imagination of alien writers, as of 
the author of the Peripatetic De Mundo (vi. 36), 
who was possibly of Jewish origin, and of Philo 4 
and St. Paul, 5 who were certainly so. Cicero does 
not fail to make use of it on behalf of the Stoics ; 6 
Seneca revels in it; Epictetus employs it for 

1 Sen. Ep. 102, 21 ; M. Ant. iii. 11. 

2 Cic. Parad. 18. 

3 Pint. 329 A, Alex. Mag. F. aut V. 16, 1076 F, Com. Not 
34 ; Cic. N. D. ii. 154. 

4 i. 1, Mund. Op. 1 ; i. 34, Mund. Op. 49 ; i. 161, Cher. 
34 ; ii. 10, Abr. 13 ; ii. 486, V. C. 11. 

5 Phil. iii. 20. s Fin . iiL 64 

104 



CONCLUSION 

edification; and Marcus 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. 1 

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 connexion 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. 

1 M. Ant. iv. 4, vi. 44, x. 15. 



105 



DATES AND AUTHORITIES 

B.C. 

Death of Socrates. ..... 399 

Death of Plato 347 

ZENO. ...... 347-275 

Studied under Crates, . . . . 325 

Studied under Stilpo andJXenocrates, . 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 Home. . .161 

DIOGENES OF BABYLON. 

Embassy of the philosophers to Home. . . 155 
ANTIPATER OF TARSUS. 
PAN^ETIUS. 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. 

This coterie was deeply tinctured with Stoicism. 

107 



STOICISM 

B.C.. 

Its chief members were The younger Afri- 
canus, the younger Lselius, L. Furius Philus, 
Manilius, Spurius Mummius, P. Rutilius 
Rufus, Q. ^Elius Tubero, Polybius, and 
Paneetius. 

Suicide of Blossius of Cunise, the adviser of Tiberius 

Gracchus, and a disciple of Antipater of Tarsus. . 130 

Mnesarchus, a disciple of Pansetius, was teaching at 
Athens when the orator Crassus visited that city. Ill 

HECATON OF RHODES. 

A great Stoic writer, a disciple of Pansetius, 
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. A . D . 

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. 

SENECA. 

Exiled to Corsica, . 41 

Recalled from exile, . 49> 

Forced by Nero to commit suicide. . 6& 

His Moral Epistles and philosophical works 
generally are written from the Stoic stand 
point, though somewhat affected by Eclec 
ticism. 

108 



DATES AND AUTHORITIES 

A.D. 

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 Stoicoruui 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 Dis 
sertations, 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. 

109 



STOICISM 

A.D. 

M. AURELIUS ANTONINUS. . . . Emperor 161-180 

Wrote the book commonly called his Medi 
tations under the title of to himself. 
He may be considered the last of the Stoics. 

Three later authorities for the Stoic teaching are 

Diogenes Laertius, . . . 200 ? 

Sextus Empiricus, . . 225 ? 

Stobceus, . . 500? 

Modern works 

Von Arnim s edition of the Fragmenta Stoi- 

coruni 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. 



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