Thursday, March 16th 2023

Cleanthes (c. 330 BC - 232 BC) was a Greek philosopher who succeeded Zeno of Citium as the second head of the Stoic school of philosophy. He was born in Assos, a city in the Troad region of modern-day Turkey.

Cleanthes was initially a boxer, but after hearing a reading of Zeno's works, he became a devoted follower of Stoicism. He traveled to Athens to study under Zeno and eventually became his disciple and assistant.

After Zeno's death, Cleanthes became the second head of the Stoic school. Under his leadership, the Stoic school grew in popularity and influence, with many students traveling from around the world to study under him.

Cleanthes is best known for his works, "Hymn to Zeus" and "Hymn to Athena." These works are considered among the most beautiful and powerful expressions of Stoic philosophy. In "Hymn to Zeus," Cleanthes celebrates the unity of all things and the interconnectedness of the universe. He describes Zeus as the "father of all things" and the "cause of all good." In "Hymn to Athena," Cleanthes praises the goddess of wisdom and virtue, emphasizing the importance of reason and self-control.

Cleanthes' influence on Stoicism was significant, and his ideas continue to inspire philosophers and seekers of wisdom to this day. His emphasis on the unity of all things and the importance of living in accordance with nature has resonated with individuals seeking personal growth and fulfillment.