Zeno of Citium (c.334–c.265 BCE) was a Greek philosopher from Cyprus. He was the founder of the Stoic school of philosophy, the third great philosophy of the Ancient World. His teachings had a profound influence and, in important respects, helped pave the way for Christianity.
Born in Citium, Cyprus, Zeno of Citium was a trader who found himself in Athens after a shipwreck. While in Athens, he attended Plato‘s Academy and took an interest in philosophy. This culminated in founding his own school of philosophy, which became known as the Stoics because he gave his lectures at the Stoa Poikile (“painted porch”) in the Agora of Athens.
Zeno’s philosophical system is based on the ethical ideas of the Cynics—Stoicism laid great emphasis on inner solitude, forbearance in adversity, and the acceptance of fate. These ideals won many illustrious adherents, including the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and made Stoicism the leading philosophy from the Hellenistic period through to the Roman era.
None of Zeno’s many treatises survives except for fragmented quotations.