30 December 2023

Who was Panaitios?

Panaitios of Rhodes was a prominent Stoic philosopher who lived in the 2nd century BCE. He was a student of the Stoic philosopher Diogenes of Babylon and later became the head of the Stoic school in Athens. Panaitios is known for adapting Stoicism to be more inclusive, incorporating ideas from other philosophical traditions, and for his emphasis on natural law and the concept of the universal brotherhood of humanity.

Panaitios' Influence

Panaitios played a crucial role in making Stoicism more accessible and appealing to a wider audience. His influence extended beyond the philosophical community and had a significant impact on Roman statesmen and intellectuals, including the likes of Cicero and Seneca. His work also laid the groundwork for the development of Roman Stoicism.

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

Key Teachings

One of Panaitios' key teachings was the idea of natural law, which he believed was inherent in the universe and applicable to all people. He also emphasized the importance of cultivating virtue and leading a life in accordance with nature. Panaitios' writings and lectures often focused on ethics, the nature of the cosmos, and the interconnectedness of all living beings.

Legacy and Significance

Although much of Panaitios' original work has been lost, his influence on the development of Stoic philosophy cannot be overstated. His ideas about natural law and the interconnectedness of humanity continue to resonate in modern discussions about ethics, politics, and the environment. Panaitios' legacy lives on through the impact he had on subsequent Stoic thinkers and his contributions to the evolution of Stoic thought.

Further Reading

For those interested in delving deeper into Panaitios' philosophy, exploring the fragments of his works and the writings of later Stoic philosophers influenced by him can provide valuable insights into his ideas and their enduring relevance.

Connect with Stoic Community

Join our community to engage in discussions about Panaitios, Stoic philosophy, and its applications to modern life. Share your thoughts and reflections on Panaitios' teachings and connect with fellow philosophy enthusiasts who are passionate about exploring timeless wisdom.

Written by


Max Thiell

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