Definition: Cleanthes [thought to be from the Pontic region] (c.331-c.232 B.C.) succeeded the founder of Stoicism, Zeno of Citium, as the school's head from c. 261 until he died -- at the age of almost 100, when Chrysippus succeeded him. Cleanthes believed man should live consistently with nature. He wrote a hymn to Zeus of which 38 lines in hexameter survive. In this hymn, Cleanthes pantheistically portrays Zeus as a spirit permeating and ruling the universe. Cleanthes looked to physics as the base for ethics.
- "Cleanthes" The Concise Oxford Companion to Classical Literature. Ed. M.C. Howatson and Ian Chilvers. Oxford University Press, 1996.
- The Hymn of Cleanthes, by E.H. Blakeney; 1921.
Also Known As: Cleanthes of Assos
Examples:An English translation, by Edward Henry Blakeney (1921), of the Hymn of Cleanthes begins:
Most glorious of Immortals, mighty God,
Invoked by many a name, O sov'ran King
Of universal Nature, piloting
This world in harmony with Law, -- all hail!