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  Stoicism was a philosophical system named after a building, the Painted Stoa in ancient Athens, where its founder Zeno taught in the late 4th century  BCE: originally Zeno simply called his school ‘Stoa’. As a philosophical and educational system, Stoicism had enormous influence on the aristocratic thinking of Hellenistic Greece and early Imperial Rome (Brutus, the friend and assassin of Julius Caesar, and Seneca, the tutor of Nero, were prominent adherents); St Paul was trained in it, and its ideas influenced his own teaching, and from there the moral and ethical thought of the early Christian Church and the whole of Western Christendom.

The Stoics divided their teaching into three disciplines: Logic (theory of knowledge, logic and rhetoric), Physics (ontology, physics and theology) and Ethics. They held that all virtue is based on knowledge, and that knowledge is the harmony of one\'s intellectual ideas with reality. The virtuous person is therefore one who lives in harmony with Nature, in awareness of its guiding principle logos (reason), which is one of the attributes of God. Nothing else matters but virtue (as defined): death, love, pain, power, wealth are all illusion or distraction from the true path of virtue, and the true philosopher will be indifferent to them. Later Stoics modified this last belief, saying that although the true philosopher may be independent of worldly concerns, he or she has a duty to become involved in the world, in order to help those who are aspiring to virtue but have not yet reached it. KMcL



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