School of the Sextii

The School of the Sextii was a 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,[1] lasting only until around 19 AD, due to the banishment of foreign cults.[2] It was a philosophy in the Classical sense — a way of life; it emphasized asceticism and moral training.[3] It characterized itself mainly as a philosophical-medical school, blending Pythagorean, Platonic, Cynic, and Stoic elements together.[4] From the school, there are few primary sources, and secondary literature is almost non-existent.[2]


Sextians, 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,[5] having nightly examinations of conscience, and through the belief that an elusive incorporeal power pervades the body.[2] Through the examination of Papirius Fabianus' philosophy, there seems also to be a critique of wealth,[6] indeed, virtue and the avoidance of consumerism were necessary for eternal happiness.[5] They also had an emphasis on honesty.[2] Unlike Stoicism, the School also advocates avoidance of politics.[5]

While Seneca the Younger conflates the school with Stoicism, the Sextians were not as inclined to rigorous logical exercises or any abstruse abstract thinking.[5] In this sense, it was closer to Cynicism than Stoicism.


The only sources on Quintus Sextius are Claudianus Mamertus and Seneca the Younger.

Notable SextiansEdit

Influenced by SextiansEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Thomas William Allies (1869). The Formation of Christendom. Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green. p. 453 – via Internet Archive. the school of the sextii.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Omar Di Paola. "The Philosophical Thought of the School of the Sextii, in Epekeina, vol. 4, n. 1-2 (2014), pp. 327-339".
  3. ^ Craig, Edward (1998). Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Index. ISBN 9780415073103.
  4. ^ "Philosophical thought of the School of the Sextii - Di Paola - EPEKEINA. International Journal of Ontology. History and Critics".
  5. ^ a b c d Emily Wilson, The Greatest Empire: A Life of Seneca. Oxford University Press, 2014. p.54-55
  6. ^ Seneca the Elder, Controversiae II, 10-13