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"The World Of Rome" By Michael Grant.

868 words - 3 pages

Reading ReportApril 24, 2003Michael Grant"The World of Rome"Meridian, 1987Philosophy, Chapter 7Pgs. 214-233While most of the citizens of the Greek and Roman worlds relied heavily on some form of emotional religion, there were a few that sought their personal guidance through philosophy. The high degree of self-control as well as self-cultivation that was needed to live the philosophical life was, by foremost, the reasoning behind why there were so few. Even though philosophy began with such Greeks as Plato and Aristotle, and given that Romans were not a very philosophical people, there were some that obtained a higher sense of self guidance than had any Greek. There were Romans such as Lucretius who vehemently denied any higher power, but believed in Epicureanism. Also Cicero had found inspiration and comfort in Stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius, who was not in the true sense a philosopher himself, found guidance in his Meditations that were not for public record, but for his own quest in self truth. While Michael Grant wrote of other Roman philosophers, this report will focus on these three.Lucretius firmly believed in the doctrines of Epicurus of Athens (c. 342-270 B.C.). These doctrines, in part, held an opposition to pagan religious beliefs, regarded sense-perception as the only basis of knowledge, while at the same time regarded everything, except the void, as consisting of atoms, even humans. They also held that when these atoms within the human mind swerved, this was the power of free will and that fate was diverted. Believing wholeheartedly in these doctrines, Lucretius could not understand why anyone would fear death. To him, death was nothing and that to worry about death took away from the true human goal which was happiness. True human happiness meant a body free of pain and a mind released from worry and fear. Much to Lucretius's dismay, Romans were not influenced by Epicureanism because it went against the moral imperative that was so appealing to them.Even though Epicureanism did not take hold in Rome, the rival school of Stoics had reached a greater number of Roman believers. Stoicism started in Athens by Zeno (335-263 B.C.) and held that there be more of a concern with practical conduct than abstract truth. The command of the Stoics was to live without fail with nature. This was meant ethically. While conscience and duty were an essential part of Stoic ethics, the most important duty of the soul was to realize moral perfection. Unlike Epicureans, Stoics held fast that the universe was energized by a divine spark....

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