In a letter to Hannah Arendt, Karl Jaspers paid tribute to Spinoza, describing him as ‘this pure soul, this great realist, the first human being to become a citizen of the world’.1 Spinoza’s cosmopolitan sensibilities may be traced, in part, to his admiration for the Stoics who conceived of human beings as belonging to a universal ‘cosmopolis’ as well as to particular historical communities or states.2 In Seneca’s words, we should:

take hold of the fact that there are two communities – the one, which is great and truly common, embracing gods and men, in which we look neither to this corner nor to that, but measure the boundaries of our state by the sun; the other, the one to which we have been assigned by the accident of our birth.3