'No man is crushed by misfortune unless he has first been deceived by prosperity.' In these dialogues and essays the Stoic philosopher Seneca outlines his thoughts on how to live in a troubled world. Tutor to the young emperor Nero, Seneca wrote exercises in practical philosophy that draw upon contemporary Roman life and illuminate the intellectual concerns of the day. They also have much to say to the modern reader, as Seneca ranges widely across subjects such as the shortness of life, tranquillity of mind, anger, mercy, happiness, and grief at the loss of a loved one. Seneca's accessible, aphoristic style makes his writing especially attractive as an introduction to Stoic philosophy, and belies its reputation for austerity and dogmatism. This edition combines a clear and modern translation with an introduction to Seneca's life and philosophical interests, and helpful notes. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe.
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- Paperback | 304 pages
- 128 x 192 x 28mm | 222.26g
- 01 Sep 2009
- Oxford University Press
- Oxford, United Kingdom
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Seneca, Lucius Annaeus, born at Corduba (Cordova) ca. 4 BCE, of a prominent and wealthy family, spent an ailing childhood and youth at Rome in an aunt’s care. He became famous in rhetoric, philosophy, money-making, and imperial service. After some disgrace during Claudius’s reign he became tutor and then, in 54 CE, advising minister to Nero, some of whose worst misdeeds he did not prevent. Involved (innocently?) in a conspiracy, he killed himself by order in 65. Wealthy, he preached indifference to wealth; evader of pain and death, he preached scorn of both; and there were other contrasts between practice and principle.
We have Seneca’s philosophical or moral essays (ten of them traditionally called Dialogues)—on providence, steadfastness, the happy life, anger, leisure, tranquility, the brevity of life, gift-giving, forgiveness—and treatises on natural phenomena. Also extant are 124 epistles, in which he writes in a relaxed style about moral and ethical questions, relating them to personal experiences; a skit on the official deification of Claudius, Apocolocyntosis (in Loeb Classical Library no. 15); and nine rhetorical tragedies on ancient Greek themes. Many epistles and all his speeches are lost.
The Loeb Classical Library edition of Seneca is in ten volumes: his moral essays are collected in Volumes I–III; the 124 epistles in Volumes IV–VI; the tragedies in Volumes VIII and IX; and the treatises on natural phenomena, Naturales Quaestiones, in Volumes VII and X.