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Seneca the Younger

Seneca the Younger (Illustration) Famous Historical Events Law and Politics Philosophy Ancient Places and/or Civilizations History Social Studies World History

This image depicts a sculpture of Seneca the Younger—by Puerta de Almodóvar—in Córdoba, Spain.

Seneca the Younger's real name was Lucius Annaeus Seneca (just like his father, who was known as "Seneca the Elder").  Seneca may have been born in Corduba (now Córdoba)—in approximately 3 B.C.—although scholars do not have documentary evidence to confirm his birthplace.  Historians believe that he and his family moved to Rome when Seneca was a boy.

A Stoic philosopher, lawyer, brilliant orator, master of rhetoric and a prolific writer, Seneca was one of Rome's greatest intellectuals during the first century. 

He was also an adviser to Nero until he was accused of plotting with others—in the Pisonian conspiracy—to assassinate the Roman emperor.  He was forced to commit suicide, in 65 A.D., for whatever role he played (or did not play) in that plot.  (See Classical Rhetorics and Rhetoricians: Critical Studies and Sources, by Michelle Ballif and Michael G. Moran, at page 343.)

Seneca, the stoic philosopher, has many quotes worth considering even in today’s world. Hereafter are some of them:

  • Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.

  • True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing.

  • The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach.

  • wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.

  • pLuck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

  • Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.

  • It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.

  • Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.

  • As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.

  • It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.

  • Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.

  • For what prevents us from saying that the happy life is to have a mind that is free, lofty, fearless and steadfast - a mind that is placed beyond the reach of fear, beyond the reach of desire, that counts virtue the only good, baseness the only evil, and all else but a worthless mass of things, which come and go without increasing or diminishing the highest good, and neither subtract any part from the happy life nor add any part to it? A man thus grounded must, whether he wills or not, necessarily be attended by constant cheerfulness and a joy that is deep and issues from deep within, since he finds delight in his own resources, and desires no joys greater than his inner joys.

Click on the image for a better view.

 

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Nov 20, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Apr 15, 2015


Media Credits

Photo of Seneca statue by Gunnar Bach Pedersen (no rights reserved), taken in Córdoba during February, 2007.  Online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

 

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