Zeno of Citium was the founder of the Stoicism philosophy. Zeno taught us that Universal Reason was the greatest good in life and that living in accordance with reason was the purpose of human life.

ZENO OF CITIUM

Of all the Stoics, Zeno of Citium has one of the most fascinating stories. While on a voyage between Phoenicia and Peiraeus, Zeno’s ship sank along with all of its cargo. He ended up in Athens penniless, and while visiting a bookstore he was introduced to the philosophy of the Socrates. Later, he meet a philosopher from Athenian named Crates. These events influenced Zeno to drastically change the course of his life. This lead him to develop the thinking and principles that we know now as Stoicism. According to the ancient biographer Diogenes Laertius, Zeno joked, “Now that I’ve suffered shipwreck, I’m on a good journey,” or according to another account, “You’ve done well, Fortune, driving me thus to philosophy,” he reportedly said.

Zeno began his teaching at the Stoa Poikile which was located at the Ancient Agora of Athens. This is the famous red porch that Stoicism was named after that you probably remember briefly mentioned in your high school or college philosophy class. But the name wasn’t always that—in fact, initially his disciples were called Zenonians but only later they came to be known as the Stoics.

Of course, Stoicism has developed since Zeno first outlined the philosophy but at the core of it, the message is the same. As he put it, “Happiness is a good flow of life.” How is it to be achieved? Peace of mind comes from living a life of virtue by reason and nature.

THE HALL OF STOIC PHILOSOPHERS

Junius Rusticus

Seneca

Marcus Aurelius

Epictetus

Thrasea Paetus

Lucius Annaeus

Diotimus

Publius Rutilius Rufus

Porcia of Cato

Cicero

Posidonius

Panaetius of Rhodes