Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/973

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949
STOICS

fashion, of Panaetius “Upon External Duty” (περὶ τοῦ καθήκοντος).

The introduction of Stoicism at Rome was the most momentous of the many changes that it saw. After the first sharp collision with the jealousyStoicism in Rome. of the national authorities it found a ready acceptance, and made rapid progress amongst the noblest families. It has been well said that the old heroes of the republic were unconscious Stoics, fitted by their narrowness, their stern simplicity and devotion to duty for the almost Semitic earnestness of the new doctrine. In Greece its insensibility to art and the cultivation of life was a fatal defect; not so with the shrewd men of the world, desirous of qualifying as advocates or jurists. It supplied them with an incentive to scientific research in archaeology and grammar; it penetrated jurisprudence until the belief in the ultimate identity of the jus gentium with the law of nature modified the praetor's edicts for centuries. Even to the prosaic religion of old Rome, with its narrow original conception and multitude of burdensome rites, it became in some sort a support. Scaevola, following Panaetius, explained that the prudence of statesmen had established this public institution in the service of order midway between the errors of popular superstition and the barren truths of enlightened philosophy. Soon the influence of the pupils reacted upon the doctrines taught. Of speculative interest the ordinary Roman had as little as may be; for abstract discussion and controversy he cared nothing. Indifferent to the scientific basis or logical development of doctrines, he selected from various writers and from different schools what he found most serviceable. All had to be simplified and disengaged from technical subtleties. To attract his Roman pupils Panaetius would naturally choose simple topicsPanaetius. susceptible of rhetorical treatment or of application to individual details. He was the representative, not merely of Stoicism, but of Greece and Greek literature, and would feel pride in introducing its greatest masterpieces: amongst all that he studied, he valued most the writings of Plato. He admired the classic style, the exquisite purity of language, the flights of imagination, but he admired above all the philosophy. He marks a reaction of the genuine Hellenic spirit against the narrow austerity of the first Stoics. Zeno and Chrysippus had introduced a repellent technical terminology; their writings lacked every grace of style. With Panaetius the Stoa became eloquent: he did his best to improve upon the uncouth words in vogue, even at some slight cost of accuracy, e.g. to discard προηγμένον for εὐχρηστον, or else designate it “so-called good,” or even simply “good,” if the context allowed.

The part Panaetius took in philological and historical studies is characteristic of the man. We know much of the results of these studies; of his philosophy technically we know very little. He wrote only upon ethics, where historical knowledge would be of use. Crates of Mallus, one of his teachers, aimed at fulfilling the high functions of a “critic” according to his own definition—that the critic must acquaint himself with all rational knowledge. Panaetius was competent to pass judgment upon the critical “divination” of an Aristarchus (who was perhaps himself also a Stoic), and took an interest in the restoration of Old Attic forms to the text of Plato. Just then there had been a movement towards a wider and more liberal education, by which even contemporary Epicureans were affected. Diogenes the Babylonian had written a treatise on language and one entitled The Laws. Along with grammar, which had been a prominent branch of study under Chrysippus, philosophy, history, geography, chronology and kindred subjects came to be recognized as fields of activity no less than philology proper. It has been recently established that Polybius the historian was a Stoic, and it is clear that he was greatly influenced by the form of the system which he learned to know, in the society of Scipio and his friends, from Panaetius.[1] Nor is it improbable that works of the latter served Cicero as the originals of his De republica and De legibus.[2] Thus the gulf between Stoicism and the later Cynics, who were persistently hostile to culture, could not fail to be widened.
A wave of eclecticism passed over all the Greek schools in the 1st century B.C. Platonism and scepticism had left undoubted traces upon the doctrine of such a reformer as Panaetius.Eclecticism. He had doubts about a general conflagration; possibly (he thought) Aristotle was right in affirming the eternity of the present order of the world. He doubted the entire system of divination. On these points his disciples Posidonius and Hecato seem to have reverted to orthodoxy. But in ethics his innovations were more suggestive and fertile. He separated wisdom as a theoretic virtue from the other three which he called practical. Hecato slightly modified this: showing that precepts (θεορήματα) are needed for justice and temperance also, he made them scientific virtues, reserving for his second class the unscientific virtue (ἀθεώρητος ἀρετή) of courage, together with health, strength and such-like “excellencies.” Further, Panaetius had maintained that pleasure is not altogether a thing indifferent: there is a natural as well as an unnatural pleasure. But, if so, it would follow that, since pleasure is an emotion, apathy or eradication of all emotions cannot be unconditionally required. The gloss he put upon the definition of the end was “a life in accordance with the promptings given us by nature”; the terms are all used by older Stoics, but the individual nature (ἡμῖν) seems to be emphasized. From Posidonius, the last representative of a comprehensive study of nature Posidonius. and a subtle erudition, it is not surprising that we get the following definition: the end is to live in contemplation of the reality and order of the universe, promoting it to the best of our power, and never led astray by the irrational part of the soul. The heterodox phrase with which this definition ends points to innovations in psychology which were undoubtedly real and important, suggested by the difficulty of maintaining the essential unity of the soul. Panaetius had referred two faculties (those of speech and of reproduction) to animal impulse and to the vegetative “nature” (φύσις) respectively. Yet the older Stoics held that this φύσις was changed to a true soul (ψυχή) at birth. Posidonius, unable to explain the emotions as “judgments” or the effects of judgments, postulated, like Plato, an irrational principle (including a concupiscent and a spirited element) to account for them, although he subordinated all these as faculties to the one substance of the soul lodged in the heart. This was a serious departure from the principles of the system, facilitating a return of later Stoicism to the dualism of God and the world, reason and the irrational part in man, which Chrysippus had striven to surmount.[3]
Yet in the general approximation and fusion of opposing views which had set in, the Stoics fared far better than rival schools. Their system became best known and most widely used by individual eclectics. All the assaults of the sceptical Academy had failed, and within fifty years of the death of Carneades his degenerate successors, unable to hold their ground on the question of the criterion, had capitulated to the enemy. Antiochus of Ascalon, the professed restorer of the Old Academy, taught a medley of Stoic and Peripatetic dogmas, which he boldly asserted Zeno had first borrowed from his school. The wide diffusion of Stoic phraseology and Stoic modes of thought may be seen on all hands—in the language of the New Testament writers, in the compendious “histories of philosophy” industriously circulated by a host of writers about this time (cf. H. Diels, Doxographi graeci).

The writings of the later Stoics have come down to us, if not entire, in great part, so that Seneca, Cornutus, Persius, Lucan, Epictetus, Marcus AureliusThe Later Stoics. are known at first hand. They do not profess to give a scientific exposition of doctrine, and may therefore be dismissed some what briefly (see Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius). We learn much more about the Stoic system from the scanty fragments of the first founders,[4] or even from the epitomes of Diogenes Laërtius and Stobaeus, than from these writers. They testify to the restriction of philosophy to the practical side, and to the increasing tendency, ever since Panaetius, towards a relaxation of the rigorous ethical doctrine and its approximation to the form of religious conviction. This finds most marked expression in the doctrines of submission to Providence and universal philanthropy. Only in this way could they hold their ground, however insecurely, in face of the religious reaction of the 1st century. In passing to Rome, Stoicism quitted the school for actual life. The fall of the republic was a gain, for it

  1. Hirzel, Untersuch. ii. 841 seq. Polybius's rejection of divination is decisive. See, e.g. his explanation upon natural causes of Scipio the Elder's capture of New Carthage, “by the aid of Neptune,” x. 11 (cf. x. 2). P. Voigt holds that in vi. 5, 1, τισιν ἐτέροις τῶν φιλοσόφων is an allusion to Panaetius.
  2. This at least, is maintained by Schmekel.
  3. Works of Posidonius and Hecato have served as the basis of extant Latin treatises. Cicero, De divinatione, perhaps De natura deorum, i. ii., comes in part from Posidonius; Cicero, De finibus, iii., and Seneca, De beneficiis, i.-iv., from Hecato, who is also the source of Stobaeus, Ecl. eth. ii. 110. Cf. H. H. Fowler, Panaetii et Hecatonis fragmenta (Bonn, 1885).
  4. Cf. C. Wachsmuth, Commentationes II. de Zenone Citiensi et Cleanthe Assio (Göttingen, 1874). Baguet's Chrysippus (Louvain, 1822) is unfortunately very incomplete.