Beyond the Big Three: The Best 5 Stoic Texts not Written by Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, or Epictetus

The so-called “Big Three Roman Stoics wrote some incredibly powerful and influential literature. Seneca, Epictetus, and of course the emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius are by far the most popular authors among fans of Stoicism today, and modern Stoic practice would scarcely be possible without them!

But for all their hard-hitting advice and thematic consistency, the Big Three can sometimes be a frustratingly limited resource. As remarkable as they are for their artfully crafted window into Stoic practice, these texts were not meant for beginners. None of them really attempt to offer a survey or general explanation of the Stoic life and its aspirations: modern readers of these texts are just kind of left to pick it up as they go along. Because of this, the provocative ideas that are found in the Big Three often raise as many questions for modern readers as they answer. The big ideas that pull Stoicism together into a coherent and compelling philosophy of life tend to be hidden in the background, where they are only alluded to in a brief and piecemeal fashion.

Luckily, there is quite a bit more literature by and about Stoics that survives from the ancient world! This additional material is essential for anyone who is trying to really understand (much less live by) the moral and mindful life recommended by these ancient philosophers:

My personal definition of the Stoic canon. All together, they contain roughly the same amount of text as the Christian Bible.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of this extended Stoic corpus. Continue reading “Beyond the Big Three: The Best 5 Stoic Texts not Written by Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, or Epictetus”