The traditional Roman religion did not provide an-swers to life questions for the ancients, while the philosophical religions, reportedly did provide some answers. During Petronius' time, Stoicism and Epicureanism rivaled each other for the hearts and minds of men. Sto-icism would win. Stoicism, founded in Athens about 300 B.C.E. By Zeno of Citium, constituted the practice of being enduring, Those who were stoic mastered suffering, as well as their emotions for what they perceived as higher cause.
This practical prescription of the ancient belief system included the following logic: "To be virtuous is to live according to the will of God (a monotheistic lan-guage was used), which is manifested in nature. If one observes nature, it is plain that God decrees constant change" (Ruden, 2000, p. 185). The Romans perceived that to harmonize with na-ture, one became compliant with change, yet did not seek positive change. This religious practice, in turn fostered numbness; permitting a myriad of things to be sought, including "health, material well-being, human relationships, honor) and avoided (illness, poverty, loneliness, shame) but purists insisted that the only really important attainment was controlling one's attachments (Ibid, p. 186).
Controlling ones attachments contributed to the "perfect" Stoic. Their detachment reportedly mimicked the detachment some perceived God to possess. In the afterlife, they claimed one who had become the perfect Stoic sage could achieve unity with God. Suicide to stoics served as a religious act, in which the person signified the human will's ultimate transcendence over circumstance. In general, due to various be-liefs about the person's soul and the value placed on honor, Ro-mans were somewhat tolerant of suicide. They considered it a great evil to defend themselves. In doing