Part I History of Ethics
Life of Socrates
Part II Concepts and Problems
Normative Ethics and Applied Ethics
Part III Applied Ethics
Field of Applied Ethics
Hellenistic and Roman Ethics
By the middle of the Fourth Century, Alexander the Great had led post-City-State Greek armies on a conquest of the Ancient World. Yet after the deaths of Plato and Aristotle, and after the conquests of Alexander, the Greek world receded in importance while the Roman world emerged to gain domination over all the Mediterranean. During this "Hellenistic and Roman" period, Plato's Academy underwent changes in style and focus (eventually turning into a school of Skeptics). Certain philosophies of life took prominence at this time and two of them, Epicurianism and Stoicism, left lasting marks on the Western Tradition. For both schools, "ethics" focused on achieving "well-being" or "happiness" and both saw that the character of one's existence depended on a proper attitude toward the world as a whole.
Epicureanism taught that all humans by nature seek a pleasant life and that the best way to the pleasant life is through a life of moderate satisfaction.
Stoicism taught that "the world is independent of our will" and consequently that a life detached from the natural events of life will be calmer and less troubled than a life bound up with false desires for worldly things.
For a sustained reflection on the contributions of these philosophies, see Martha Nussbaum's The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics (Princeton University Press, 1994).