31 December 2023

Who was Aetius?

Aetius, also known as Aetius of Antioch, was a Stoic philosopher who lived in the 1st century BCE. He was a student of Posidonius, the famous Stoic philosopher, and he made significant contributions to the development of Stoic philosophy. Aetius is best known for his work in compiling the 'Doctrines of the Stoics,' a comprehensive collection of Stoic teachings and beliefs. His writings provide valuable insights into the ethical and metaphysical aspects of Stoicism.

Stoic Philosophy of Aetius

Aetius' philosophy focused on the teachings of the early Stoics, particularly emphasizing the ethical and practical aspects of Stoicism. He emphasized the importance of living in harmony with nature, cultivating inner virtue, and maintaining a sense of tranquility in the face of external events. His writings also delved into the concept of living in accordance with reason and acknowledging the impermanence of all things, echoing the core tenets of Stoic philosophy.

From Apollonius I learned freedom of will and undeviating steadiness of purpose; and to look to nothing else, not even for a moment, except to reason; and to be always the same, in sharp pains, on the occasion of the loss of a child, and in long illness; and to see clearly in a living example that the same man can be both most resolute and yielding, and not peevish in giving his instruction; and to have had before my eyes a man who clearly considered his experience and his skill in expounding philosophical principles as the smallest of his merits; and from him I learned how to receive from friends what are esteemed favours, without being either humbled by them or letting them pass unnoticed.

  • Marcus Aurelius

Legacy and Influence

Aetius' compilation of the 'Doctrines of the Stoics' served as a crucial resource for later Stoic thinkers and scholars, preserving the fundamental teachings of Stoicism for future generations. His work continues to inspire contemporary philosophers and individuals seeking practical guidance for leading a meaningful and virtuous life. Aetius' emphasis on self-discipline, resilience, and moral integrity remains relevant in the modern world, offering valuable lessons for personal development and ethical decision-making.

Key Teachings

Aetius' Stoic teachings emphasize the cultivation of wisdom, courage, justice, and moderation as essential virtues for achieving eudaimonia, or a flourishing life. He encouraged individuals to embrace adversity as an opportunity for growth, to practice mindfulness, and to cultivate a mindset of gratitude and acceptance. Aetius' insights provide a timeless framework for addressing challenges, finding inner peace, and navigating life's uncertainties with resilience and moral clarity.

Exploring Aetius' Works

Delve into Aetius' writings to gain a deeper understanding of Stoic principles and practices. His compilation of the 'Doctrines of the Stoics' offers a comprehensive overview of Stoic philosophy, providing valuable guidance on ethical living, self-mastery, and the pursuit of eudaimonia. By studying Aetius' works, readers can connect with the wisdom of ancient Stoicism and apply its teachings to enhance their contemporary lives.

Engaging with Aetian Stoicism Today

Aetius' Stoic philosophy remains relevant in the 21st century, offering profound insights into human nature, ethics, and the pursuit of virtue. By integrating Aetian Stoicism into daily life, individuals can cultivate resilience, emotional well-being, and moral clarity. Whether through self-reflection, meditation, or philosophical discussions, engaging with Aetius' teachings can foster personal growth and a deeper appreciation for the timeless wisdom of Stoic philosophy.

Written by


Max Thiell

Max writes is a online stoicism content writer. He is passionate about making stoicism accessible for everyone.