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by Archaeology Newsroom

Stoics’ Approach on Suicide

In the Hellenistic period when Stoicism flourished, suicide was “in fashion”. No matter how paradox it may seems, the Stoic, a rare human type, had the right to commit suicide for five different reasons. He was excused to take his own life, when his bliss, a state of euphoria similar to that of god, was threatened, since, according to Stoic philosophy, god, nature and the word were equivalent sizes, related to each other with sympathy. Zemo of Citium, the founder of Stoicism, committed suicide, when a heavenly “sign” announced to him that his time had come to depart from his world. The doctrines of the Cynics contributed in general to the philosophy of Stoics and particularly to their approach on suicide. The reasoning of J.M. Rist, an expert on Stoicism, that Plato and Aristotle consider suicide permissible under certain circumstances brings afore various persuasive arguments and interesting questions regarding this subject, which breaches the internal cohesion of the Stoic system of philosophy.