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Stoicism

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 03 March 2005

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Stoicism, the third great philosophy of the Ancient World. It was founded by Zeno in the fourth century BC and flourished in Greece and then in Rome. Its ideals of inner solitude, forbearance in adversity and the acceptance of fate won many brilliant adherents and made it the dominant philosophy across the whole of the Ancient World. The ex-slave Epictetus said "Man is troubled not by events, but by the meaning he gives them". Seneca, the politician, declared that "Life without the courage for death is slavery". The stoic thoughts of Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher emperor, provided a rallying point for empire builders into the modern age.

Stoicism influenced the Christian church, had a big effect on Shakespeare and Renaissance drama and may even have given the British their 'stiff upper lip', but it's a philosophy that was almost forgotten in the 20th century. Does it still have a legacy for us today?

With Angie Hobbs, Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Warwick; Jonathan Rée, philosopher and historian; David Sedley, Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy, University of Cambridge.

  • Further Reading

    Problems in Stoicism, A.A. Long (editor)
    Continuum International Publishing Group - Athlone, ISBN: 048512128X

    Stoicism, St George Stock
    University Press of the Pacific ,ISBN: 1410209695

    Stoicism: Traditions and Transformation, Steven K Strange
    Cambridge University Press,ISBN: 0521827094

    The Roman Stoics: Self, Responsibility, and Affection, Gretchen Reydams-Schils,
    University of Chicago Press ISBN: 0226308375

    Meditations (Classics S.) Emperor of Rome Marcus Aurelius, Maxwell Staniforth (Translator)
    Penguin Books Ltd , ISBN:0140441409

    The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics, Brad Inwood (Editor)
    Cambridge University Press, B0006Z3XKI

    Letters from a Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Classics S.) Links Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Robin Campbell (Translator)
    Penguin Books Ltd ISBN: 0140442103

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