Zeno of Kitium
336 B.C to 264 B.C.
Zenon was born in Kitium (now Larnaca ) in Cyprus in
He is said to have been inspired by Crates the Cynic, the story as we know it
Zenon was the son of a merchant, and when travelling to Phoenicia with a load
of purple (probably dye or cloth) was shipwrecked, and ended up in Piraeus. (The
harbour of Athens in Greece). (The story we have actually says that he was shipwrecked
outside of Piraeus, however if you look at a map you will see that Phoenicia is "the
Whilst looking in a bookstore in that city, he came across certain philosophical
manuscripts, and was so interested in their content, that he asked where he could find
' men who wrote and thought in such a manner.' At that moment the Cynic Crates was
passing by, and Zenon followed him. From then on he became Crates' student and stayed in
When he was 42 years of age, Zenon started his own philosophical school in a
colonnade called the Stoa Poikile (painted porch) which was adorned with pictures
of the Trojan war, Marathon and the Amazons by Polygnotus. His students were first called
Zenonians and then Stoics
( after the nature of the decorations).
Zenon had for a disciple Cleanthes, from Assos in the Troad (300-220), whose
hymn to Jupiter is the only fragment of any length that has come down to us from the early
Stoics. It is a poem setting forth the unity of God, his omnipotence and his moral
Chrysippus, from Soli in Cilicia (280-207) followed Cleanthes, and in his
voluminous writings both defended and modified the Stoical creed.
To Zeno belongs the establishment of the logical criterion, the adaptation of
Heraclitean physics and the introduction of all the leading ethical tenets. He was a very
humble man and took as his students poor and rich alike. He disliked mixing with Kings or
the authorities. At one point, when he was unable to pay the resident alien's tax, the
Athenians sold him into slavery - but he was bought by a friend and freed. Later the
Athenians honoured him with a golden crown and a large tomb built at public expense. The
Athenians held him in such high esteem that they awarded him the keys of the city and a
golden wreath. They also put up a copper statue to honour him. (Who was it that said your
condemnation is as meaningful as your adulation- or something similar)
Zenon died as simply as he had lived, he just hanged himself when he thought
his time had come. His ideas and the resultant stoic philosophy had a great impact on many
of the important men of his day and the history of our civilisation.
The principles of the doctrine are: The striving after equanimity, the
hardening of ones self against the blows of fortune, the limiting of wants and the practice
of contentment. Also a qualified form of the subordinating of "self" to the
general welfare. As you can see these are also an essential part of most
modern theories of virtue.
If you are interested in joining the International
Stoic Society then click here.
If you wish to view or participate in the society's
Stoic Forum, -
To sign up for our newsletter (or to unsubscribe),
To nominate someone for the award,
See: Zellers Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics (Eng. translation 1870)
A.C.Pearson. The fragments of Zeno and Cleanthes (1891)
and works by Aurelius, Epictetus and Seneca
Diogenes Laertius provides a very long summary of his ideas and those of the other Stoics.
(1998) was dedicated to eventss
of a philosophical nature.
On the 9th 10th and 11th of September we had the biggest and best ever in the
whole wide world Philosophers Symposium,
with 18 great philosophers from all over the world as guests of honour.
The opening was at The Larnaca Municipal Theatre on the 9th of September at 6 p.m.
It was a lovely party, with the Larnaca municipal band playing in the background.
The next 2 days saw sessions from all the speakers at the Sun Hall Hotel conference room,
with questions at the end of each speakers dissertation. The there was the formation and
organisational meeting of the International Stoic Society. The closing was at the
Larnaca fort, with a reception and performance by Diastasis, a Cypriot song and dance
group, who's performance was superb.
Thanks are due to Demetrios Pierides, President of the PIERIDES Museum for his
sponsorship and excellent hospitality.
I love this, I think I am a closet stoic;
The universe is a living thing, endowed with soul and
well worth the read, and also the words and history of Marcus
Many thanks to Paul Harrison who wrote it.
The Stoics are best known today for their ethical views on the acceptance of fate.
These views derived from their belief that the universe was an animate and rational Being
pervaded with soul. The Stoic philosophy was the closest thing to an organised religion of
The central beliefs were that the cosmos was a divine being, endowed with a
soul that was made of a refined form of matter. Our role on earth was to accept and live
according to nature. The Stoics also believed that we should accept our destinies
unquestioningly, since they embodied the will of the universe: for that reason their name
became synonymous with patience and long-suffering.
Many of their theories were striking forerunners of modern science. The theory
of a recurrent cosmic conflagration, for example, could turn out to be true - if the
density of matter is high enough to cause a re collapse of the universe. The Stoics also
believed that the sun was a sphere of fire, larger than the earth, and that the moon shone
with reflected light.
Formal Speakers in Larnaca in September 1998
|Professor Myrto Dragona-Monachou
||Stoic philosophy specialist in Greek Universities
|Professor Ian Kidd
||University of St Andrews. Fife
World expert on early Stoicism, especially Posidonius
|Professor Richard Sorabji
||Kings College-History of Stoic philosophy
|Dr David Sedley
||Christ's College, Cambridge. Stoic texts and ancient political philosophy. Co
authored with Long source book for texts.
|Professor Christopher Rowe
||University of Durham. Dept of Classics and Ancient History.
|Professor Jaap Mansfield
||Rijksuniversiteit. Published the Canon of Stoic philosophical texts.
|Dr T Teileman
||University of Utrecht. Assists Mansfield with the Canon of Stoic
|Professor Jacques Brunschwig
||World specialist on Zeno and Stoicism.
|Dr Malcom Schofield
||St.Johns college, Cambridge World specialist on Zeno and Stoicism.
|Professor Andre Laks
||Universite Charles de Gaulle.Authority on ancient Greek political philosophy.
|Dr Maximilian Forschner
||Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg. International specialist on Zeno.
|Professor Anthony Long
||University of California-Berkley. Has authored with Sedley. Source book on
|Professor David E.Hahm
||Ohio State University. Authority on early Stoicism and Zeno.
|Dr. Keimpe Algra
||Rijksuniversiteit.Utrecht. Specialist on Zeno and Stoicism
International Stoic Society Meeting
Symposium Conference Room
Friday September 11th 7-9 pm
A special message from Dr Breuninger:
For the past thirty years one of my life's goals has been to revive the spirit of
nobility and Stoicism as a source of strength for our world leaders and citizens. I am
interested in meeting others who are interested in a Stoic Revival.
I feel that the importance of virtue is often underplayed in our modern world by weak
politicians who are controlled by their desires for material comforts.
Ancient Stoicism provided a system for noble Greek & Roman
Patriarchs to focus their energies on the common good of all citizens.
I would like
to create an International Stoic Society which would honour noble leaders in politics and
business who best demonstrate Stoic virtues. I feel that it is important that
individuals who are truly worthy of the respect of society stand up and be counted among
the virtuous. I am looking for others willing to create such a society with me.
I believe we could start out with a quarterly journal addressing the concepts of
Stoicism and perhaps an annual formal banquet in Cyprus to honour those world leaders in
government and business who best live up to concepts originally laid down by Zeno of
If you are interested please send an expression of it
Or read this.