The stoics in Ancient Rome looked at Plato as a divine philosopher. In De Natura Deorum (On the Nature of the Gods), Cicero introduces a character called Quintus Lucilius Balbus who is comparable to the Greek philosophers and is a staunch stoic. Balbus accepts the authority of “Plato, that divine philosopher…” But Cicero was not looking at the Plato of the Republic and the Phaedo. To him, Plato was a philosopher of ethics and cosmology. The Timaeus, an early dialogue in which Plato presents an account of the formation of the universe and explanation of its order and beauty, was an inspiration for the stoics of Ancient Rome. The Epicurean character in De Natura Deorum, Gaius Velleius, tauntingly points out to the Stoics that Plato is their master.
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