What’s a Stoa?

Everyone’s favourite super-anonymous British politics pundit British Spin has posted a reciprocal link back to the Virtual Stoa, for which I’m happy and grateful, and the people in his comments box seem to be wondering what the title of this blog refers to.

Well, not a lot is the answer. But back in 1997 or so when I created my first webpage I was beginning to write a Ph.D. dissertation on arguments about Stoicism in early modern European philosophy and political thought. So I called the page The Virtual Stoa. And then a decent chunk of time ago I realised that it was a much better name for a weblog than for a homepage, and revived the name for this page.

(I seem to like names that puzzle people: people also email me reasonably frequently to ask me why on earth this site is called The Voice of the Turtle.)

For information, a stoa is a the kind of building pictured here, and the Stoa of the Stoics — the Stoa Poikile in the middle of Athens, where they gathered, talked, taught, etc. — might have looked like this once upon a time, and now looks like this.

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