On the north side of the Agora in ancient Athens, there lay a famous colonnade – ἡ ποικίλη στοά (hē poikílē stoá), the “Painted Porch.”
It was here, surrounded by the fresco-lined inner walls of the stoa, that Zeno of Citium and his followers first gathered in the 4th century BCE to espouse what has, in modern times, become the trendiest brand of ancient Greek philosophy: Stoicism. Invented by the Greeks, coopted by the Romans, subsumed by Christianity, revived during the Renaissance, and quoted mercilessly by Instagram profiles everywhere, Stoicism retains an ethical potency that is, as a consequence of its own charisma, both edifying and highly misunderstood.
Reading groups have concluded for the 2022/23 season. Fall 23/Spring 24 groups will be announced this summer. Members, you will receive more information via email.
The Athenæum is deeply grateful to our wonderful volunteer leaders. Please note library reading groups are not classes or courses, but rather a way for individuals to discuss readings together, guided by both expert and amateur enthusiasts. Participants should expect discussion-based, not lecture-style meetings.