Far different were the position and influence of the Stoic
philosophy in Italy. In direct contrast to these schools it
attached itself to the religion of the land as closely as science
can at all accommodate itself to faith. To the popular faith with
its gods and oracles the Stoic adhered on principle, in so far as
he recognized in it an instinctive knowledge, to which scientific
knowledge was bound to have regard and even in doubtful cases
to subordinate itself.
He believed in a different way from
the people rather than in different objects; the essentially true
and supreme God was in his view doubtless the world-soul, but every
manifestation of the primitive God was in its turn divine, the
stars above all, but also the earth, the vine, the soul of the
illustrious mortal whom the people honoured as a hero, and in fact
every departed spirit of a former man. This philosophy was really
better adapted for Rome than for the land where it first arose.