1. Main Textbooks 5 items
    1. Hellenistic philosophy: introductory readings - Brad Inwood, Lloyd P. Gerson c1997

      Book Essential You'll be assigned readings in this book for almost every single meeting.

    2. The nature of things - Titus Lucretius Carus, A. E. Stallings, Richard Jenkyns 2007

      Book Recommended You may read Lucretius' text for free online (see links in the weekly reading lists below), but this translation reflects the original's beautiful and powerful poetry far better. You may also prefer having a paper copy.

    3. Discourses and selected writings - Robert F. Dobbin, Epictetus 2008

      Book Recommended You may read Epictetus online using the Loeb Classical Library database (see the weekly readings below), but you may also prefer to have this convenient copy of your own.

    4. Meditations - Robin Hard, Christopher Gill, Marcus Aurelius 2011

      Book Recommended You may read Marcus Aurelius in the digital e-book to which links are provided below, but you may instead prefer to have a paper copy of this translation.

    5. The Hellenistic philosophers: Vol. 1: Translations of the principal sources with philosophical commentary - A. A. Long, D. N. Sedley 1987

      Book Further This is an excellent collection of texts and commentary. It's key point of reference for work on Stoicism and Epicureanism, and has been translated into many languages. The library has multiple copies.

  2. Week 1: Introduction to the Unit and to Epicureanism 15 items
    1. For further readings for weeks 1-5, see the section below on General Scholarship on Epicureanism as well as your unit syllabus. 

    2. Required Readings 8 items
      1. Epicurus - Letter to Menoeceus

        Webpage Essential This e-text lacks section numbers, but will provide you with a resource until you can get your hands on Inwood and Gerson.

      2. Introduction - Pierre Hadot

        Chapter Essential You'll find a pdf of this chapter in the Documents tab on Blackboard.

    3. Optional Resources 6 items
      1. The Cambridge companion to Epicureanism - James Warren, Cambridge Collections Online (Online service) c2009 (electronic resource)

        Book  You'll find chapters on lots of relevant topics in here! Note you'll need to log in to access this resource.

      2. Chapter of Athens from Alexander to Antony

        Chapter Further Concisely outlines turbulent historical contexts for the establishment of the Stoa and Epicurus' Garden.

      3. How to read ancient philosophy - Miriam Leonard 2008

        Book Further

  3. Week 2 14 items
    1. Required Readings 6 items
      1. Fragment 3 - Diogenes of Oenoanda

        Chapter Essential You'll find this in the documents link.

      2. The Cults of Epicurus - Diskin Clay

        Chapter Essential You'll find this chapter from Paradosis and Survival in the Documents link on Blackboard.

      3. Columns XII-XX of On Property Management

        Chapter Essential You'll find this in the Documents link.

    2. Optional Readings 8 items
      1. Philodemus - Blank, David

        Website Further This is an excellent web article by a leading scholar. If you cite it in an essay, TAKE CARE TO CLICK THE 'AUTHOR AND CITATION INFO' TAB in order to get proper citation info. But note you'll need to alter the citation given at that tab in order to put it in the format required by the departmental Style Guide.

      2. The Hellenistic world - David Konstan

        Chapter Further See pages 108-113.

  4. Week 3 13 items
    1. Required Readings 8 items
      1. On Goals 1.29-33 - Cicero

        Chapter Essential Note the left-hand margin has the little numbers 29, 30, etc. It is these you should look at in order to read sections 29 through 33.

    2. Optional Readings 5 items
      1. Ancient Atomism - Berryman, Sylvia

        Website Further

      2. Epicurus and His Predecessors on the Origin of Language - Alexander Verlinsky

        Chapter Further

      3. Epicurus' scientific method - Elizabeth Asmis 1984

        Book Further

  5. Week 4 13 items
    1. Required Readings 2 items
    2. Optional Readings 11 items
      1. On Death (part of Bk 4) - Philodemus

        Chapter Further You'll find this in the Course Documents folder.

      2. Facing Death - James Warren 17/06/2004

        Book Further The library also has 9 print copies. You may like to look particularly at pp. 17-55.

      3. Lucretius on death and anxiety: poetry and philosophy in De rerum natura - Charles Segal 1990

        Book Further Library has both e-book and multiple print copies. You may like to see particularly pp. 223-37.

      4. Lucretius and the Poetics of Void - Porter James I.

        Chapter Further This chapter concerns the Epicurean arguments against the fear of death. You'll find a pdf of this chapter in the Course Documents folder.

      5. Death - Thomas Nagel

        Chapter Further

      6. The ethics of Philodemus - Voula Tsouna-McKirahan, Oxford Scholarship Online (Online service) 2007 (electronic resource)

        Book Further See especially the final chapter, on Philodemus and the fear of death.

      7. Epicurus on Freedom - Tim O'Keefe, Cambridge Books Online (Online service) 2005 (electronic resource)

        Book Further

      8. Freedom evolves - D. C. Dennett 2004

        Book Further This isn't a book about Epicurus, but about what 'freedom' means and how it's compatible with our understanding of physics right now (as of 2004). It's simultaneously a superb work of philosophy and a mass-market paperback written for a broad audience. It addresses many of the same issues that Epicurean discussions of freedom must address.

  6. Week 5 14 items
    1. Required Readings 9 items
      1. Porphyry, To Marcella isn't available in the Loeb Classical Library, so I can't provide an e-link. But it's a short passage, so I copy here the translation from IG I-124 of section 131:

        'Empty is the philosopher's argument by which no human disease is healed; for just as there is no benefit in medicine if it does not drive out bodily diseases, so there is no benefit in philosophy if it doesn't drive out the diseases of the soul.'

      2. Nature of the Gods 1.103-110 - Cicero

        Chapter Essential Note: '103-110' refers to the marginal numbers, NOT the page numbers

      3. Nature of the Gods 1.43-56, 69-76 - Cicero

        Chapter Essential Note: '43-56', '69-76' refer to the numbers in in the margins, NOT the page numbers!

    2. Optional Readings 5 items
      1. Why Believe without Revelation?

        Chapter Further This chapter is useful as an introduction to Greek religious practices, in case you know nothing about them. Many of our assumptions about what "a religion" is are based on the Abrahamic scriptural monotheisms, and are false for Greek religious practice.

      2. Chapter of Creationism and its critics in antiquity

        Chapter Further This is a good chapter for thinking about why Epicureans bother thinking and talking so much about the gods.

  7. Week 7 25 items
    (Week 6 is Reading Week)
    1. Required Readings 21 items
      1. Aëtius

        Please find the short excepts from Aëtius assigned for week 7.2 in the Documents folder.

      2. Diogenes Laertius 7.45-6, 49-54

        Chapter  You need to read sections 45-6 and 49-54 according to the marginal numbering, which only appears on the Greek side. The point is their theory of knowledge.

      3. 4.3 - Marcus Aurelius

        Chapter Essential

      4. 4.4 - Marcus Aurelius

        Chapter Essential

      5. 8.7 - Marcus Aurelius

        Chapter Essential

    2. Optional Resources 4 items
      1. Epictetus: a Stoic and Socratic guide to life - A. A. Long 2002

        Book Further This is an excellent book on Epictetus: by far the best thing out there.

  8. Week 8 20 items
    1. Required Readings 15 items
      1. Lives of Eminent Philosophers 7.101-109 - Diogenes Laertius

        Chapter Essential The syllabus focuses on 7.108-9, but it's a good idea to read from 7.101 onward.

      2. Discourses 1.28 - Epictetus

        Chapter Essential Yes, read it again!

      3. Letter 71 - Seneca the Younger

        Book Essential

      4. Letter 9 - Seneca

        Document Essential

      5. Letter 93 - Seneca the Younger

        Book Essential

      6. Stobaeus Anthology 6a (from Inwood and Gerson, IG II-95): 'Zeno defined the goal thus: "living in agreement". This means living according to a single and consonant rational principle, since those who live in conflict are unhappy. Those [Stoics] who came after him made further distinctions and expressed it thus: "living in agreement with nature", supposing that Zeno's formulation was an incomplete predicate.* For Cleanthes, who first inherited the School, added "with nature", and defined it thus: "The goal is living in agreement with nature". Chrysippus wanted to make this clearer and expressed it in this way: "living according to experience of the things which happen by nature". And Diogenes [of Babylon]: "being reasonable in the selection and rejection of natural things". And Archedemus: "living and completing all the appropriate actions". And Antipater: "living invariably selecting natural things and rejecting unnatural things". He often defined it thus as well: "invariably and unswervingly to do everything in your power for the attainment of the principal natural things". 

        *'incomplete predicate': the Stoics are saying that 'living in agreement' is an incomplete grammatical (verbal) phrase, because it prompts the question, 'in agreement with what'? 

        *Diogenes of Babylon and Antipater of Tarsus were heads of the Stoic school. Archedemus was also an influential Stoic. 

    2. Optional Readings 5 items
      1. Ancient Skepticism - Vogt, Katja

        Article Recommended Here is the citation info from the left-hand tab at this website. You need to reconfigure this data for the Style recommended by Bristol: Vogt, Katja, "Ancient Skepticism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

      2. Hierocles on Proprioception - A. A. Long

        Chapter Further

      3. The stoic life: emotions, duties, and fate - Tad Brennan 2005

        Book Recommended

  9. Week 9 21 items
    1. Required Readings 12 items
      1. Cleomedes' lectures on astronomy - Alan C. Bowen, Robert B. Todd, Cleomedes, dawsonera 2004

        Book Essential Read pp. 21-26.

      2. Lives of Eminent Philosophers 7.134-9 - Diogenes Laertius

        Chapter Essential I recommend you read 7.134-139 (i.e. a couple of paragraphs more than originally assigned in the syllabus)

      3. 51A-E - A. A. Long, D. N. Sedley

        Chapter Essential

      4. Natural questions - Lucius Annaeus Seneca, dawsonera 2010

        Book Essential You'll need to navigate yourself in the contents to Book two, then read sections 1.1 to 9.4 (pp. 163-7 of the translation)

      5. Letter 58.11-15 - Seneca

        Chapter Essential Note that where this translator has written 'substance', it's better to read 'body'.

      6. Letter 113 - Seneca

        Document Essential Read the whole thing.

      7. Against the Dogmatists 8.11-13 - Sextus Empiricus

        Chapter Essential Against the Dogmatists 8.11-13 is also known (confusingly) as Against the Logicians 2.11-13.

      8. Against the Dogmatists 9.211 - Sextus Empiricus

        Chapter Essential Note that here Sextus is engaged in his own complex skeptical attack on all other philosophers, jumping from Stoics to Epicureans and then others. So I recommend you just read 9.211 in isolation in order to glean the Stoic doctrine. But you may wish to read around in order to see the larger ocean, from which, in this unit, we can only catch a few waves!

      9. Stobaeus, Anthology 1.13.1c (from IG II-43): 'Zeno says that a cause is "that because of which". That of which it is the cause is an event. And the cause is a body and that of which it is the cause is a predicate. It is impossible for the cause to be present and that of which it is the cause not to be the case. What is said amounts to this: a cause is that because of which something comes about. For example, prudent thinking occurs because of prudence, living because of a soul, and temperate behavior because of temperance. For if someone has temperance or a soul or prudence it is impossible for there not to be temperate behavior, life, or prudent thinking.' 

    2. Optional Readings 9 items
      1. Stoic Metaphysics - Jacques Brunschwig

        Chapter Recommended

      2. Stoic Natural Philosophy (Physics and Cosmology) (Chapter 5) - The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics

        Webpage Recommended This is a very clear, informative, and critically-minded discussion of the basics of Stoic physics.

      3. The Stoic Theory of Categories - Stephen Menn

        Article Recommended This is a stupendously good article on the four Stoic categories of body, the best I know. Unfortunately, the author tends to use the original ancient Greek words rather than modern translations, which could make it a little hard to follow.

      4. Bodies and Their Effects: The Stoics on Causation and Incorporeals - Wolfhart Totschnig 01/2013

        Article Recommended Totschnig's interpretation is debatable, as are all interpretations of the details of the Stoics' incorporeals. But it is admirably clear.

      5. Stoic Gunk - Daniel Nolan 2006

        Article Further

      6. The Retrenchable Present - Malcolm Schofield

        Chapter Further

      7. How Nothing Can Be Something - Vanessa de Harven 2015

        Article Further

  10. Week 10 16 items
    1. Required Readings 9 items
      1. Hymn to Zeus - Cleanthes, Frederick C. Grant (trans.)

        Webpage Essential Note the full source details at the bottom of the website.

      2. Lives of Eminent Philosophers 7.134-9, 7.147-49 - Diogenes Laertius

        Chapter Essential As always, '134-8' and '148-9' refer to the marginal numbering.

      3. Preparation for the Gospel Book 15 Chapters 14-15 - Eusebius, E. H. Gifford (trans) 1903

        Chapter Essential You'll need to scroll down to chapters XIV to XV of this Book 15. This online translation is a high-quality academic resource, unlike many online texts you'll run across. It makes the only English translation of this work by Eusebius broadly avaialble.

      4. Meditations 5.8 - Marcus Aurelius

        Chapter Essential

      5. On Providence 4 - Seneca

        Chapter Essential Read pp. 25-35 of the translation

      6. Natural Questions 2.32.1-2.51 - Seneca

        Chapter Essential Read pp. 178-87

    2. Optional Readings 7 items
      1. 7.2 - Aulus Gellius

        Chapter Recommended 7.2 is a helpful complement to Cicero on Fate. You may also like to look at 7.1, on Stoic providence and theodicy.

      2. God and cosmos in Stoicism - Ricardo Salles 2009

        Book Further

      3. Myth and Philosophy in Cleanthes’ Hymn to Zeus - Elizabeth Asmis, Elizabeth Asmis 26/12/2007

        Article Further

      4. Kristeva, Stoicism, and the "True Life of Interpretations" - Kurt Lampe 2016/03/17

        Article Further This chapter covers a lot of ground, because in it I'm using Stoicism and some modern philosophy to make points about some strengths and weaknesses of the 'life of reason'. I put it on the reading list here because I discuss how I think 'spirituality' might work in Stoicism in what I candidly think is a very different and broader-minded way than any other scholarship.

      5. Obeying Your Father: Stoic Theology between Myth and Masochism - Kurt Lampe

        Chapter Further In lecture I noted in passing the surprising physicality and sexuality of the way Stoics talk about the gods, even though at the same time they 'sanitise' Greek mythology. I discuss this paradox in this chapter.

  11. Week 11 7 items
    1. Required Readings 4 items
      1. 2.5 - Marcus Aurelius

        Chapter Essential

      2. 3.10 and 3.11 - Marcus Aurelius

        Chapter Essential

      3. 4.3 - Marcus Aurelius

        Chapter Essential Yes, read it again.

    2. Optional Readings 3 items
      1. Philosophy as a way of life: spiritual exercises from Socrates to Foucault - Pierre Hadot, Arnold Ira Davidson 1995

        Book Further

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