In 155 BCE a delegation of three Greek philosophers arrived in Rome on a political mission (to negotiate the settlement of war fines). During their stay they succeeded in raising Greek philosophy to prominent attention and seeding its future important role in Rome. This is one summary (from SEP):

In 155 BCE Athens sent a delegation of three philosophers (Stoic, Academic skeptic, and Peripatetic) on an embassy to Rome. Their teachings caused a sensation among the educated. The Skeptic Carneades addressed a crowd of thousands on one day and argued that justice was a genuine good in its own right. The next day he argued against the proposition that it was in an agent's interest to be just in terms every bit as convincing.

Is there a canonical primary source (or recommended secondary source) that covers this significant event in the history of ideas in detail?

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it asks for sources. Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 21:09
  • 1
    @TylerDurden Why is there a tag "sources" in your opinion?
    – Drux
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 21:11
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    Questions about primary sources are asking "How do we know this" and are consistently considered on-topic in Meta. They're very different than questions asking for the Top 5 books on the fall of Rome.
    – two sheds
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 21:32
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is an explicit request for resources
    – CGCampbell
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 3:31

1 Answer 1


The three Greek philosophers were:

Carneades ex Academia (Cyrene 214/3–129/8 BC), Critolaus Peripateticus (Phaselis c.200-c.118 BC) and Diogenes Stoicus (Seleucia c.230 – c. 150/140 BC).

Some sources are listed in Wiki:

Plutarch, Cato Maj. 22; Aulus Gellius, VII. 14; Macrobius Saturnalia i. 5; Cicero, de Orat. ii. 37, 38.

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