History of stoicism:

Middle Stoa - Panaetius and Posidanuis

Middle Stoa was present during the second and first centuries B.C. It was located in

the Sanctuary of Apollo Thermios. It ran north-south between the Temple of Apollo and the

South Stoa. Middle Stoa is approximately in the middle of the Agora and dividing it into

north and south areas.

There were two very prominent leaders that were the most important teachers during

this time. The two men were Panaetius and Posidonius. Panaetius was a Greek Stoic

philosopher that stressed ethics, and had many student followers, including his chief pupil,

Posidonius. Posidonius was a Greek philosopher, astronomer and mathematician. He followed

the Stoic doctrine and attempted to estimate the size of the Sun and moon.

Panaetius, c.185 to 109 B.C., and Posidonius, c.135 to 50 B.C., no longer were no

longer preachers of the Greek school. Middle Stoa had since then become surrounded by the

Roman culture, which had become under the influence of Panaetius from 185 - 112.

Panaetius of Phodes was a very significant man. Panaetius influence lead to the

encouragement of Roman intellectuals, and Posidonius of Apamea (c. 135 - c. 51), the

Chrysippus of the Middle Stoa. As well, when Panaetius lived in Rome, he took Scipio and

Laelius under his wing. Scipio and Laelius later became greatly influenced the Roman

historian Q. Mucius Scaevola and Polybius, the Greek historian of Rome. These men that were

so inspired by Panaetius also went on to become great men themselves, bringing some facets

of Platonism into Stoicism.

Panaetius focused on when Stoicism and it’s collective structure. At Middle Stoicism

became involved in the military, social, and political life of Rome. He helped soften the

severity of the Early Stoa in Middle Stoa. As well, he put more value to external

commodities than the Early Stoa, concentrating on gradual moral development. He rejected

popular theology such as Early Stoa accepted. His mathematical ways suited his belief on


However, Panaetius’ pupil, Posidonius, brought severity to the Stoic system. His

knack for detail all made this possible. It was Posidonius that urbanized a “golden age

theory” of history. He focused on happiness in nature- a wise man in rule. He also developed

the Stoic faith in the essential indivisibility of the heavens. This was pretty amazing

considering Stoa was just on the building block of creating a universal system.

He allowed that the end of life of ordinary men is the rational perfection of their

individual nature, thus allowing for some degree of virtue below that of the "wise man." He

also rejected divination and astrology (which the earlier Stoics had accepted as being

perfectly congruent with the notion of an ordered, connected, providential universe), and

rejected popular theology.

In the second and first centuries B.C., Middle Stoa thrived. Although in transition,

in about 156, Diogenes of Seleucia, then leader of the Athenian Stoa, came to Rome as part

of a delegation to persuade the Romans to excuse Athens from a fine. He came with “Critolaus

the Peripatetic” and “Carneades the Skeptic.” Seleucia, Peripatetic and Carneades were

condemned for undermining military virtue. However, that did not stop Stoicism society to

stop its rising. The rise of Stoicism in Italy and in the Roman Empire would continue with

success for centuries to come.