Stoa Nova

Stoa at EphesusWelcome to my new project, the rather ambitiously named Stoa Nova. The goal is to experiment with what it may mean — in the 21st century — to found a one-man, informal, Stoic school, inspired by those of Zeno, Cleanthes, Chrysippus, Posidonius, Musonius, Epictetus and all the rest.

Jump to Stoa Nova in New York City
Jump to Stoa Nova in Rome
Jump to Stoa Nova online
Jump to the text book
Jump to Stoic Meditation app

Also, don’t forget Stoic Camp, which while not formally a part of the Stoa Nova, I help co-teach every year.


At the least at the onset, the Stoa Nova has the following characteristics:

  • It is open to anyone interested, whether with or without a background in philosophy in general or Stoicism in particular.
  • It features an informal, in-person, year-round school in New York City (in English) and a summer school based in Rome, Italy (in Italian and English).
  • It also offers online courses, from basic to advanced levels, on both general topics and specific authors or works.
  • It is free (except whenever necessary to cover expenses) while sponsored by the City College of New York, where I work as a professor of philosophy. This does not preclude the possibility of charging fees later on, however, if conditions will require it.

New York City

New York version: Stoicism at Ethical Culture

In collaboration with the New York Society for Ethical Culture I am running the year-round Stoic School of Life in New York City.

School sessions are held (with exceptions) twice a month on Mondays, from 6 to 8pm. For a complete calendar of forthcoming meetings and further information, check out our meetup group.

The basic format of these discussions is the Socratic style, with a short introduction by yours truly on a particular topic, announced in advance, followed by a conversation with interested students.


Domus Aurea Park

Roman version: Summer Stoic School

Next course: July 5-8, 2018

Manual will be downloadable here soon!

Spend three days in Rome studying ancient and modern Stoicism! Join Massimo and a small group of prokoptontes (students of Stoicism) to dig into Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, learn about practical Stoicism and how to apply it to your life. While there, walk through the Roman Fori or visit the National Roman Museum, and of course enjoy traditional Roman cuisine and local wines (don’t worry, we won’t accuse you of being a Epicurean…)!

For more information and for registering for the course see here, and feel free to email me: massimo at howtobeastoic dot org.


Ancient philosophers

 Online courses

I am developing a number of online courses on different aspects of Stoicism, varying in difficulty from introductory to advanced.

The Stoa Nova uses the versatile Canvas platform for online courses. Canvas is accessible via web interface or using iOS or Android apps for tables and smart phones. It is widely adopted by Universities across the world because of its sophistication, flexibility and reliability.

Stoicism: the Very Basics (preview here). You can self-enroll by following this link, or by clicking here and entering the code G4K4G9. The course is an introduction to the fundamental ideas of ancient Stoicism, with a focus on its practical applications to modern everyday living. It uses selected writings by Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Plato, Cicero, and Diogenes Laertius, integrated by modern articles on related topics.

Epictetus’ Enchiridion (preview here). You can self-enroll by following this link, or by clicking here and entering the code MGKKNP. The course presents an in-depth introduction and commentary on one of the classic texts of Stoicism, the Manual of Epictetus.

Forthcoming courses:

How to read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations

How to read Seneca’s Letters to Lucilius


HTBAS bookThe textbook

While there are many very good modern books on Stoicism (not to mention, of course, the classics), students at the Stoa Nova are recommended to read my own How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life (with apologies for the self-promotion).

Whenever we worry about what to eat, how to love, or simply how to be happy, we are worrying about how to lead a good life. No goal is more elusive. In How to Be a Stoic, I offer Stoicism, the ancient philosophy that inspired the great emperor Marcus Aurelius, as the best way to attain it. Stoicism is a pragmatic philosophy that teaches us to act depending on what is within our control and separate things worth getting upset about from those that are not. By understanding Stoicism, we can learn to answer crucial questions: Should we get married or divorced? How should we bank in a world nearly destroyed by a financial crisis? How can we survive great personal tragedy? Whoever you are, Stoicism has something for you — and How to Be a Stoic is your essential guide, featuring an ongoing conversation with the ancient slave-turned-teacher Epictetus.


Stoic Meditations appStoic Meditations, the app

The Stoa Nova has partnered with Adam Musial-Bright to further develop his app for the Stoic community, currently available from the iTunes store.

(No, an Android version is not in the making, because it is hard to find interested developers who are willing to donate their time. Please contact me if you would like to develop a similar app for Android, I will be willing to serve as academic advisor for that project, as I’m doing with Adam for this one.)

Stoic Meditations allows you to begin your day with a Stoic thought from a large collection of quotes, to engage in a number of Stoic self-improvement exercises, or to read full text versions of Seneca’s Letters,  Epictetus’ Handbook and Discourses, and Marcus’ Meditations.

We are working on expanding the number of available texts, augmenting the quote database, as well as adding additional features, such as a “Stoicism 101” section and articles of interest to advanced prokoptontes. Stay tuned…

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