Rahul Sharma

School of the Sextii

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The School of the Sextii was the first Roman school of philosophy. It arose around 50 BC, founded by Quintus Sextius the Elder, and later promulgated by his son, Sextius Niger. The school was of small importance and soon became extinct, lasting only until around 19 AD, due to the banishment of foreign cults. It was a philosophy in the Classical sense - a way of life; it emphasized asceticism and moral training. It characterized itself mainly as a philosophical-medical school, blending Pythagorean, Platonic, Cynic, and Stoic elements together. From the school, there are few primary sources, and secondary literature is almost non-existent.



Sextains, like the Hellenistic schools, developed a system toward eudaimonia. Attaining such a goal was possible by engaging in the correspondence between words and life, being vegetarian, having nightly examinations of conscience, and through the belief that an elusive incorporeal power pervades the body. Through the examination of Papirius Fabianus' philosophy, there seems also to be a critique of wealth, indeed, virtue and the avoidance of consumerism were necessary for eternal happiness. They also had an emphasis on honesty. Unlike Stoicism, the School also advocates avoidance of politics.

While Seneca the Younger conflates the school with Stoicism, the Sextians were not as inclined to rigorous logical exercises or any abstruse abstract thinking. In this sense, it was closer to Cynicism than Stoicism.

Notable Sextians

  • Sotion, a doxographer and biographer
  • Papirius Fabianus, a rhetorician and philosopher
  • Crassicius Pasicles, a grammarian
  • Celsius Cornelius, an expert doctor
  • Influenced by Sextians

  • Cicero, a philosopher and politician
  • Seneca the Younger, a philosopher and statesman
  • References

    School of the Sextii Wikipedia

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