I would guess
that I cannot delay my entry into the element of Roman Philosophy any
further. However, I do intend to keep the subject as basic as my abiity
provides. One of the problems that I have had with Philosophy is that
those who are experts in the subject tend to give me too much and too
fast. In my view Philosophy is something to be savored unhurriedly and
looked at from all directions to see if the elements of the philosoph
can or do fit my particular personality. Philosophy, very much like religion,
is, in my view, and individual and private set of beliefs. Therefore I
present the below elements as a basic review, and as a possible platform
for those who inhabit this list to comment on.
- 1. Pertaining to Epicurius, or to his philosophy, which taught that
pleasureis the end of all morality and that genuine pleasureis derived
from a life of prudence, honor, and justice.
- 1. A member of the school of philosophy founded by Zeno abouT 308
B.C. The Stoics taught that the wise man should be free of passion,
unsubdued by joy or grief, willingly submissive to natural law.
an Athenian living around 300 B.C. believed that the gods existed in
mortal bliss but did not interfere withmortals to reqard or punish.
He believed that the soul was mortal and good could be attainedand evil
endured, and there was nothing to fear from the gods and nothing to
feel in death.
- Stoics were pantheists and determinists. Stoicism was a belief that
a person's part in the devine plan was determined so that he or she
only had freedom in the way that part was played, not a choice of what
part to play. Consequently the Stoics advocated acceptance of whatever
life had to offer, good or bad.
Epicurius divided his system into thre parts:
Logic (which was called (Canonic);
The Canonic and Physics were subordinated to Ethics.
-Canonic - Formal logic was dismissed as useless, the canon of truth
being found in sensations of both pain and pleasure.
-Physics - Essentially this interest was the ability to free man from
the fear of the hereafter and the Gods. Only atoms and the void exist,
and the soul's atoms are scattered at death, so there is no
hereafter. The gods live in the void and have nothing to do with the
-Ethics - Herein lies the heart of the Epicurean belief. Morality is
an activity whichproduces pleasure, but while maintaining that pleasure
is the only good and pain is the only evil, momentary pleasure is not
sought, but rather those pleasures which endure throughout life. Therefore
the Epicure shuld forgo pleasure leading togreater pain, and endure
pain leading to greater pleasure. Mental sensation outwieghs
physical sensation because in the mental area the sensations are remembered
for a longer period of time.. The sage should then seek after serenity
of spirit, fid happiness within himself by attaining the maximum of
enjoyment and the minimum of distress. The ideal concept is to be acquired
by tranquility, freedom from fear and withdrawal from politics. Lastly
pleasure is found as having as few needs and desires as possible; simplicity,
moderation and self-control, independence of external circumstances
and the cultivation of friendships are the prime means to happiness.
held that there were two classes of men; The wise (virtuous) and the
unwise (wicked). two organzing principles were recognized: The independence
of the wise man, and his responsibility to do good to other men. The
Stoic wise man was independent of the society in which he lived, and
his virtue was sufficient for his happiness. Therefore, his happiness
could not be impaired by the loss of family, reputation or any other
external benefit. The wise man can become more virtuous by exercising
his virtue in relations with other men. This exercise
demanded responsibility reflected by the wise man earning a living,
supporting his family and taking part in public life. Simplicity and
frugality also played an important part in Stoic ethics .
Early in Roman History the Romans did not accept the philosophy of the
Greeks. In 173 and 161 B.C. these Greek philoophers were banned from Rome.
However, by the end of the second century Romans had begun to
modify thier opinions of these philosophers and the ideas put forth by
the Greek teachers were begining to find favor. The philosophies of Epicurianism
and Stoicism became popular in Roma. The Roman people seemed to be more
interested in the religious and ethical aspects of the
philosophies that the more mundane and detaile speculation and advanced
proponent of Stoicism was Senaca the Younger and the official Roman policy
favored, in a general way, this particular set of beliefs.
lies the basic ideas of the two title philosophies.
Epicurianism did not change significantly through the ages, but Stoicism,
had three major periods known as the Old Stoa, Middle Stoa, and New Stoa,
the basics of which changed somewhat through the centuries. The New Stoa
agreed in many elements with Christianity and influenced that belief
New Collegiate Dictionary" G.C. Meriam and Company, Springfield.
and Adkins, "Handbook To Life In Ancient Rome" Oxford University
Press, New York, 1994, Pge 355.
Amricana,"Americana Corp., New York, 1962, Pges 417-418;