68 - John Sellars on the Roman Stoics

Peter chats about Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus with John Sellars, an expert on Roman Stoicism and the reception of Stoicism in the early modern era.

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Further Reading: 

• J. Sellars, The Art of Living: The Stoics on the Nature and Function of Philosophy (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003).

• J. Sellars, Stoicism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).

• J. Sellars (ed.), Justus Lipsius: On Constancy (Exeter: Bristol Phoenix Press, 2006).

• J. Sellars, "Stoic Practical Philosophy in the Imperial Period," in Greek and Roman Philosophy, 100 BC-200 AD, ed. R. Sorabji and R.W. Sharples (London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2007), 115-40.

Ollie Killingback's picture

John Sellars

Excellent! I hope we'll hear more from John later in the series. As it happens I had just got his "Stoicism", which I finished reading tonight. As lucid as an Adamson podcast and just as packed with insight. I shall be reading it again shortly because there must be a lot I did not absorb. One of the books he mentions is Becker "A New Stoicism" and I wondered if anyone had read it and could comment on it.

Now I've got to get "The Art of Living".

Peter Adamson's picture

John Sellars

Dear Ollie,

Thanks, I'll pass this on to him! Maybe I can get him to comment more on the Becker book, I haven't read it myself.


Ron's picture

Stoic Reader

Hi Peter,

I don't know if someone has already asked this, but I wonder if you could suggest one or more readers for Stoic thinkers other than the big three. Is there a book you recommend that would contain some or all of the fragments from these lesser known Stoics?

If I may, I also wanted to suggest the following: if you could possibly recommend more primary sources (books, excerpts, or fragments by the original philosophers) in your "further reading" lists, I think many people including myself would greatly appreciate it.



Peter Adamson's picture

Reading suggestions

Hi Ron,

Yes, I'm trying to put primary readings in (English) translations on the further reading lists too, they are also on the "top page" for each section (like here and on the similar top pages for the Pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle). That would be relevant here, because the early Stoics are best collected in the Long and Sedley reader. I'm not aware of an easily accessible reader that covers fragments from Roman Stoics but if someone else is I would love to know! I think that for the "famous" Roman Stoics you should get a hold of complete works, since that is the best way to read them anyway.

By the way I will be supplying more in the way of recommendations for primary texts once we get into later antiquity where I am usually going to be covering one author per episode rather than whole schools, as in the Hellenistic period.

Hope that helps a bit,


miyatarama's picture

r/stoicism interview with John Sellars

Hi Peter, thanks for the tweet earlier today to our interview with John over at reddit: http://redd.it/tgjxf (in case anyone else wants to check it out).

We are very grateful to John for answering our questions, and I have to say we have come full circle since I was introduced to him through this interview with you, and I was introduced to HoPWaG by a post on reddit. Feel free to stop by and join our discussions, it's free and takes about 30 seconds to create a username. I have been recommending your podcast on all the philosophy subreddits (like r/philosophy) and people have been very impressed. Keep up the great work!


Peter Adamson's picture


Thanks very much! I'm sure a lot of listeners will want to check out the discussions.