Roman Stoics of the imperial period developed a distinctive model of social ethics, one which adapted the ideal philosophical life to existing communities and everyday societal values. Gretchen Reydams-Schils’s innovative book shows how these Romans—including such philosophers as Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Hierocles, and Epictetus—applied their distinct brand of social ethics to daily relations and responsibilities, creating an effective model of involvement and ethical behavior in the classical world.
The Roman Stoics reexamines the philosophical basis that instructed social practice in friendship, marriage, parenting, and community life. From this analysis, Stoics emerge as neither cold nor detached, as the stereotype has it, but all too aware of their human weaknesses. In a valuable contribution to current discussions in the humanities on identity, autonomy, and altruism, Reydams-Schils ultimately conveys the wisdom of Stoics to the citizens of modern society.