Five classic works of Stoicism
Stoic philosophy has been around for several centuries now, but the principles of Stoicism are not as widely known as the word itself. We tend to use the words ‘stoic’ and ‘stoicism’ to refer to a sort of ‘stiff upper lip’ attitude to life – the sort of thing that Rudyard Kipling recommended in his classic poem, ‘If’. Below, we’ve picked five of the best ancient works on Stoicism and related philosophical ideas. Modern titles are, of course, available – but these might be considered the founding texts of the Stoic worldview.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. One of the great things about this book is the circumstances in which Marcus Aurelius compiled it: he wrote it as a sort of journal, writing in it during the evenings when he had a moment to reflect, and with himself as the chief readership – the idea being to teach himself how to be a better person. It is a ‘self-help’ book in the most literal sense: