Justus Lipsius, On Constancy
Edited with an Introduction, Notes, and Bibliography
University of Exeter Press, 2006; reprinted 2008, 2009
Acquired by Liverpool University Press
Distributed in the USA by OUP USA
This book makes available again a long out-of-print translation of a major sixteenth-century philosophical text. Lipsius' De Constantia (1584) is an important Humanist text and a key moment in the reception of Stoicism. A dialogue in two books, conceived as a philosophical consolation for those suffering through contemporary religious wars, it proved immensely popular in its day and formed the inspiration for what has become known as 'Neostoicism'. This movement advocated the revival of Stoic ethics in a form that would be palatable to a Christian audience. Lipsius deploys Stoic arguments concerning appropriate attitudes towards emotions and external events. He also makes clear which parts of Stoic philosophy must be rejected, including its materialism and its determinism. De Constantia was translated into a number of vernacular languages soon after its original publication in Latin. Of the English translations which were made, that by Sir John Stradling (1595) became a classic; it was last reprinted in 1939. This new edition offers a lightly revised version of Stradling's translation, along with a new introduction, notes, and bibliography.