The Stoicism is a philosophy Greek old, which was developed by Zeno of Kition around 300 BC. C. as a refinement of cynicism, which teaches the development of self – control and strength as a means of overcoming destructive emotions . It does not seek to extinguish emotions completely, but seeks to transform them through voluntary abstinence from worldly pleasures , which allows a person to develop clear judgment , inner calm, and freedom from suffering., which is considered as the final objective.


What is stoicism?

Philosophical doctrine that studied how to master the passions that affect life with virtue and reason and whose objective was to achieve happiness and wisdom without needing material goods and fortune.

  • What is Stoicism?
  • History
  • Founder of Stoicism
  • features
  • Beginning
  • Representatives
  • Stages
  • Roman stoicism
  • Importance
  • Phrases
  • Books on Stoicism
  • Examples

What is Stoicism?

As an ethical doctrine, the doctrine consists of finding a way to free oneself from passion , anguish or suffering through the constant search for reason and apathy . It teaches indifference and a “passive” reaction to external events since it considers that nothing external can be good or bad and that equanimity in the face of the ups and downs of life is of the utmost importance.



It was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citius and was influenced by Socrates and the Cynics . Stoicism moved to Rome, where it flourished during the period of the Empire, but at the same time it was persecuted by emperors who did not like it and openly accepted by the emperors who tried to live on it, such as Marcus Aurelius . It was a doctrine that influenced Christianity , as well as several important philosophical figures throughout the ages, and in the early 21st century there was a renaissance as a practical philosophy associated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and similar approaches.

Of course, Stoicism originated as a modification of the schools of thought that already existed, and its influence extended well beyond the formal closure of the old philosophical schools by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.

There are three phases in its history:

  • The early Stoa : it ran from Zeno of Cito to the third head of the school, Chrysippus.
  • The Middle Stoa : including Panaetius and Posidonius.
  • Roman imperial period, or late Stoa : with Seneca , Musonius Rufus, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius.

Founder of Stoicism

Zenón de Citio was the founder of Stoicism, he was a Hellenistic thinker probably descended from Phoenicians . His school of Stoic philosophy taught in Athens from about 300 BC and was founded on the moral ideas of the Cynics. His movement placed great emphasis on goodness and peace of mind gained by living a life of virtue in accordance with nature . It was very popular and flourished as one of the leading schools of philosophy from the Hellenistic period to Roman times .


The most outstanding characteristics of Stoicism are the following:

  • Philosophy is more important than religion .
  • The security of the individual is sought through doctrine.
  • The meaning and purpose of man and the cosmos are two of the most important aspects.
  • The man was not seen from the polis .
  • The ethics was not considered part of politics.
  • The human being is limited by his destiny , which he cannot control.
  • The correct conduct of the individual is possible only in the bosom of a calm life avoiding disturbances to the soul.


The principles of Stoicism are:

  • Nature : tells us that nature is always rational.
  • Law of reason : the universe is governed by the law of reason. Man cannot escape its strength, but he can deliberately follow the law.
  • Virtue : a life directed according to the rational nature is virtuous.
  • Wisdom : wisdom is the root virtue. From wisdom are born the different cardinal virtues such as vision, courage, self-control and justice.
  • Apathy : being irrational passion, life should be a battle against it and intense sensations should be avoided.
  • Pleasure : Pleasure is not good, but it is not bad in its entirety. It is only acceptable if it does not interfere with our pursuit of virtue.
  • Bad : for stoicism poverty, disease and death are not evil.


The most important representatives of Stoicism are:

  • Zeno of Citio
  • Ariston of Chios
  • Dionysus of Heracleia
  • Perseus of Citio
  • Cleantes
  • Chrysippus
  • Sphere
  • Seneca
  • Musonius Rufus
  • Epictetus
  • Marcus Aurelius


Stoicism was divided into three different periods or stages:

  • First Stage : it had a dogmatistic character . It was a trend against Epicureanism . Its ethical doctrinal background was very similar to cynicism and was complemented by the Physics of Heraclitus and some Aristotelian elements. Its main characteristic was its dogmatistic character , represented mainly by Chrysippus ; who was the one who carried the weight of the controversies against the academics.
  • Second Stage : it was known as Middle Stoicism and arose from Diogenes of Babylon , and on Panecio . During this stage Stoicism changed due to the weariness of the struggles, to the point that the Stoics simply silence the ontological and logical theses of dogmatic Stoicism in the rigid manner of Chrysippus; and they are limited to ethical issues .
  • Third Stage : known as the time of the Roman Empire . In this period the Stoics managed to use different materials from ancient philosophies , in physics they used Aristotelian hylemorphism ; in theology they collect the proofs of Plato and Aristotle; and in Ethics they prolong the attitude of the cynics.

Roman stoicism

Stoicism rose to prominence in Rome during the time of transition between the last Republic and the Empire, and Cato the Younger became a model for later Stoics because of his political opposition to the “tyrant” Julius Caesar. Roman Stoicism was itself the last phase of the Stoic period. It is completed with two less notable authors:  Hierocles and Cleomedes .


Unlike other philosophical currents, the great importance of Stoicism lies in the importance it gives to accepting that there are many things in the world that are bad and that cannot be avoided , but that the most important thing to remember is that we can always find a way out . It teaches us to avoid living in a utopian world and insists on accepting the world as it is, taking into account all possible negative reactions –


The main phrases that can be rescued from Stoicism are the following:

  • Great riches , great slavery .
  • There are things that in order to know them, it is not enough to have learned them. It was greed that created poverty and by ambitioning everything, he lost everything.
  • Here is a great thing: to have the weakness of a man, and the security of a god.
  • Today can happen what can happen any day.
  • Nothing gives us dignity so respectable, or independence so important as not spending more than we earn.
  • Death is deeply felt when the father remains alive.
  • The friendship is always helpful , but love is sometimes harmful.
  • The greed is like the flame, which increases in proportion to the violence that fire occurs.

Books on Stoicism

Some books that we can consult and read that will provide us with information about Stoicism are the following:

  • Stoic philosophy.
  • The Stoics.
  • A Manual of Life.
  • Letters to Lucilio.
  • The formula for happiness: self-control or scattering?
  • Of life according to nature
  • Of the universals;
  • Dialectical arguments and Of the passions.


Some examples of Stoicism are as follows:

  • “They were difficult times, but the citizens stoically endured the difficulties . ” What it says is that in the face of certain difficulties, the citizens did not dedicate themselves to lamenting or being saddened, but rather they went ahead maintaining a firm state of mind.
  • “The rival goalkeeper conceded ten goals, but kept a stoic demeanor . ” We are saying that despite the hard blow of receiving ten goals, the goalkeeper did not show signs of discomfort or anger, but stood firm.

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