Who founded Stoicism?

Who founded Stoicism, a philosophy that along with Buddhism provides much common sense in today’s world?

Founding a philosophy is no mean feat. Zeno of Citium is regarded as the founder of Stoicism. Zeno was born in Crete around 300 BC and found his way to Athens by way of being shipwrecked, losing all his possessions in the process. Stoicism was founded in Athens, Greece, and derives its name from the word Stoa, a public covered walkway or porch where early Stoics would meet. Stoa Poikile (The painted porch) is regarded as the place where Stoicism was born.

Sadly Zeno’s writings have not survived, so our understanding of Stoicism comes not from its founder, but from his student’s notes and further writings.

Zeno of Citium both studied with other teachers such as Crates of Thebes and Xenocrates. Stoicisms founding philosophy is broken into three parts, Logic, Physics (including the ‘nature of things’ or Logos) and Ethics.

Quotes attributed to Zeno include?

We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say – Zeno

The goal of life is living in agreement with Nature – Zeno

No one entrusts a secret to a drunken man; but one will entrust a secret to a good man; therefore, the good man will not get drunk – Zeno

That which exercises reason is more excellent than that which does not exercise reason; there is nothing more excellent than the universe, therefore the universe exercises reason – Zeno

8 thoughts on “Who founded Stoicism?”

  1. “The goal of life is living in agreement with Nature”, sounds a lot like Tao. I look forward to learning more about stoicism from you and read your thoughts on it. Thank you for sharing these teachings on your blog.

    • Thanks, yes Nature in Stoicism has a few interpretations, I like to carry it as ‘not fighting what is, being content’. I’m interested in your comment on Tao as I also read Buddhist philososphy and so on. Have you written anything on Tao?

      • No, I haven’t, I think I eventually get influenced by different philosophical principles but I never feel smart enough to address them individually. I enjoy reading posts on them though 😄 Lately, I have been reading bits here and there from the book ‘The Tao of Physics’ by Fritjof Capra. It has a section with a summary of different philosophies / spiritual traditions and then offers a parallel with physics. I haven’t dived deep into the parallel though, because physics has a slightly different language 😄 Anyhow, the book shows how the traditions are eventually all linked and they more or less state this notion of surrendering to nature.


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