Zeno of Citium

Thursday, March 16th 2023

Zeno of Citium (334 BC - 262 BC) was a Greek philosopher who is considered the founder of the Stoic school of philosophy. He was born in Citium, on the island of Cyprus, and moved to Athens as a young man to study philosophy.

Zeno's teachings focused on ethics and the pursuit of happiness through self-control and living in accordance with nature. He believed that virtue was the key to happiness and that it could be achieved through reason and self-discipline. He taught that emotions such as anger, fear, and desire were obstacles to happiness and should be controlled through rational thought.

Zeno's philosophy emphasized the unity of all things and the interconnectedness of the universe. He believed that everything in the universe was governed by a divine force and that humans should strive to live in harmony with this force.

Zeno's teachings were recorded by his followers in a series of books known as the "Stoic writings." Unfortunately, none of Zeno's original works have survived. However, his ideas and principles have been passed down through the works of his followers, including Cleanthes and Chrysippus.

Zeno's influence on Stoicism was profound, and his ideas continue to influence modern philosophy and self-help. His emphasis on self-discipline, reason, and living in accordance with nature has resonated with individuals seeking personal growth and fulfillment.


As Zeno of Citium lived in the third century BC, there are no direct quotes from him that have survived to this day. However, here are ten quotes that are attributed to him based on the principles and ideas of Stoicism that he founded:

  1. "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak."

  2. "Man conquers the world by conquering himself."

  3. "Happiness is a good flow of life."

  4. "We should be like fire, which burns everything it touches but never harms itself."

  5. "We should live according to nature, not according to our passions."

  6. "The goal of life is living in agreement with Nature."

  7. "The wise man is self-sufficient and independent."

  8. "The present alone is our own. We should seize it and make the most of it."

  9. "The fool is always lamenting what he has lost, while the wise man finds comfort in what he has left."

  10. "The goal of wisdom is not knowledge, but action."