Some Titles of Early Stoic Books

Mock up of books by Stoics

The founders of Greek Stoicism reputedly wrote hundreds, perhaps over a thousand, books.  (Presumably some were more like essays in length.)  Chrysippus in particular, the third head of the Stoic school, is credited with over 700 publications.  All of these texts are now lost.  However, we do know some of their titles.  Diogenes Laertius is our main source.  Although he lists many books some titles in particular are of special interest.

The following list is a fairly arbitrary selection of the some of the titles that particularly capture my own attention…

Zeno

  • The Republic (Named after the book by Plato, which it seems to critically respond to; perhaps Zeno’s first book.)
  • Of Life according to Nature (The goal of life according to Stoics.)
  • Of Impulse, or Human Nature
  • Of Passions
  • Of Duties (peri tou kathekontos)
  • Of Greek Education (Possibly comparing Athenian and Spartan education)
  • Of the Whole World (Presumably related to Stoic pantheism.)
  • Pythagorean Questions (Showing an early influence of Pythagoreanism on Stoicism.)
  • Homeric Problems (From the outset the Stoics were interested in mythology and poetry.)
  • Of the Reading of Poetry
  • Recollections of Crates (His Cynic teacher.)
  • Ethics

Cleanthes

  • Of Zeno’s Natural Philosophy
  • Interpretations of Heraclitus
  • A Reply to Democritus
  • A Reply to Aristarchus
  • A Reply to Herillus
  • Of the Gods
  • On Homer
  • Of Gratitude
  • Of Love
  • Of Freedom
  • The Art of Love
  • The Statesman
  • Of Friendship
  • On the Thesis that Virtue is the same in Man and in Woman

Chrysippus

Chrysippus addressed many books on logic and ethics to Metrodorus, possibly the Epicurean philosopher.  He also wrote several books about poetry and painting, suggesting that the Stoics were very interested in the arts.

Diogenes Laertius lists many books on ethics and logic by Chrysippus but apparently none on Stoic physics or theology, in stark contrast to the titles attributed to his predecessor Cleanthes.

  • On the ancient Natural Philosophers
  • The Republic
  • On Things for their own Sake not Desirable
  • On Justice
  • On the Means of Livelihood (For the wise man)
  • Proofs that the Wise Man will not hold Opinions
  • Of the Difference between the Virtues
  • Of the Good or Morally Beautiful and Pleasure
  • Proofs that Pleasure is not the End-in-chief of Action
  • Proofs that Pleasure is not a Good

 

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