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Zeno of Citium on Governance - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 315
Governance/Zeno fo Citium/stoicism/Keyt/Miller: Claiming to be a follower of Diogenes, the first Stoic, Zeno of Citium (335-263 BC), wrote in his Republic that 'we should regard all men as our fellow-citizens and local residents, and there should be one way of life and order, like that of a herd grazing together and nurtured by a common law' (Plutarch, LA 329a). >Governance/Zeno of Citium. Cf. >Anarchism/Diogenes.
Like Diogenes, Zeno challenged conventions, holding that 'men and women should wear the
same clothes and keep no part of the body completely covered' (D. L. VII.33); and his follower
Chrysippus (c. 280—207 BC) claimed 'that sexual intercourse with mothers or daughters or sisters,
and eating certain food have been discredited without reason' (Plutarch, CS 1044f—1045a).
Roman Empire: Ironically for a philosophy stemming from Diogenes, Stoicism became the de facto official philosophy of the Roman Empire through its popularization by Cicero (106—43 BC), Seneca (c. AD 1—65), Epictetus (c. AD 55—135), and the emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121—180). These later Stoics developed Zeno's idea that all humans are governed by a 'common law'.
Marcus Aurelius expounds a more explicit concept of natural law, the common law governing the cosmic polis (Med. III.11, IV.4, VII.9). Following Cicero, he thought the Stoic principle that natural law is the rule of reason justified Rome, acting as an agent of reason, in imposing its imperium over the barbarians. Although the later Stoics lavished praise on Diogenes, they subverted
his anarchism, as the following argument of Marcus Aurelius makes clear: 'That is advantageous to each person which accords with his constitution and nature. But my nature is rational and political.

D.L. Diogenes Laertius Philosophers' Lives


Keyt, David and Miller, Fred D. jr. 2004. „Ancient Greek Political Thought“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Zeno of Citium
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-07-30
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