In the first two centuries of the Roman imperial era, the study of philosophy constituted the crowning educational experience, in the sense of being both a privilege and a capstone. Only an elite among the elite studied philosophy, and only then after mastering a curriculum consisting of grammar (reading, writing and literature) and rhetoric. The ongoing cultural rivalry between rhetoricians and philosophers could be intense, even though a Stoic such as Seneca (c. 4 BCE–65 CE) clearly turned his rhetorical training to his advantage in order to convey his views more forcefully, especially in his letters and consolations. This tension was acknowledged in Seneca’s comments about his father’s misgivings about philosophy (Ep. 108.22), in the exchanges between Marcus Aurelius (121–180 CE, Med. 1.7) and his rhetoric teacher Fronto (c. 100–170 CE, De eloquentia (Haines/van den Hout), Ad M. Caes. 3.15 (1.100 Haines, p. 48 van den Hout)), and in the concerns of Epictetus (c. 55–135 CE, Diss. 3.23.33–38), who, like Seneca (Ep. 40), warned that rhetorical flourishes should not cloud a philosopher’s expression. 1