Final Essay

Submitted By jlindenb
Words: 507
Pages: 3

Popular Religious Groups in Hellenistic Greece After his untimely death at the age of 33, Alexander the Great’s empire crumbled due to tensions between its people. This led to a period known as the Hellenistic Period. This period created breakthroughs in Science, Literature, Math, Philosophy, and especially religion. There were over 60 religions during the Hellenistic Period, but there were two dominant ones that gained much popularity. These two religions were known as Stoicism and Epicureanism. The Stoics followed Zeno of Citium (who was a philosophy teacher that taught in the Stoa Poikile. The religion and philosophy focused on a man’s “self-sufficiency”, and “peace of mind.” Man was viewed as an important part of the human race, and secondly a part of his specific polis. In the religion, the universe is considered a living thing. This was thought to be Reason or the God Zeus or Jupiter…depending on location. In theory the universe and man are connected, and to be happy man must leave emotions behind and embrace the universe’s “flame.” Epicureanism was quite different from Stoicism, but just as popular for almost the same principles. Epicureanism religion/philosophy was created by Epicurus. Epicurus grew tired of religion, and almost thought of it as being stupid. His beliefs however were not atheistic. Epicurus believed in the gods. He just believed that they were far away in the universe and had little contact with the human race. This was a key difference between Epicureanism and Stoicism. Epicureanism embraced the same belief as Stoicism that man was in control of himself and not necessarily gods. Also another popular principle of Epicureanism was the belief that there was no life after death. Through the Epicurean religion/philosophy, the ultimate goal of man was to enjoy life. This was done through a man’s “senses”, his reason. The ultimate end of man was happiness. A man had free will, and could live life to his fullest without