Stoicism was one of the four principal schools of philosophy in ancient Athens. The others were Plato's Academy, Aristotle's Lyceum and Epicurus's Garden. Stoicism flourished in Athens for 250 years. Subsequently it was taken up by the Romans Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. Their works continue to influence ideas and practice to the present day.
The three great Roman Stoics focused on practical advice and guidance on how to achieve wellbeing or happiness. Four central ideas are the importance of developing an excellent rational mental state, overcoming negative emotions based on mistaken judgements and embracing positive emotions, living in harmony with nature, and understanding what can be controlled (our mental state and judgements) and what cannot (external processes).
On 26 November Christopher Gill, Emeritus Professor of Ancient Thought at the University of Exeter, is coming to the Friends Meeting House to talk to us about The Modern Significance of Stoic Ideas and Practice. His most recent books have been a translation of Marcus Aurelius's first six books of Meditations with an introduction and commentary (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Naturalistic Psychology in Galen and Stoicism (Oxford University Press, 2010).
Marcus Aurelius wrote 'You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realise this and you will find strength'.
I hope that, if you come to the Friends Meeting House on 26 November, you will be stimulated and entertained. Perhaps you will also be strengthened.