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Seneca

Seneca's Letters from a Stoic

As chief advisor to the emperor Nero, Lucius Annaeus Seneca was most influential in ancient Rome as a power behind the throne. His lasting fame derives from his writings on Stoic ideology, in which philosophy is a practical form of self-improvement rather than a matter of argument or wordplay. Seneca's letters to a young friend advise action rather than reflection, addressing the issues that confront every generation: how to achieve a good life; how to avoid corruption and self-indulgence; and how to live without fear of death. Written in an intimate, conversational style, the letters reflect the traditional Stoic focus on living in accordance with nature and accepting the world on its own terms. The philosopher emphasizes the Roman values of courage, self-control, and rationality, yet he remains remarkably modern in his tolerant and cosmopolitan attitude. Rich in epigrammatic wit, Seneca's interpretation of Stoicism constitutes a timeless and inspiring declaration of the dignity of the individual mind.
737 printed pages
Original publication
2016

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Quotes

    chtivo27977has quoted7 months ago
    We shall not mention the sources of all these topics in footnotes, but shall aim only to explain that which is obscure in meaning or unusual in its import. Plato’s Theory of Ideas, Aristotle’s Categories, Theophrastus on Friendship, Epicurus on Pleasure, and all the countless doctrinal shades of difference which we find in the Stoic leaders, are at least sketched in outline.
    chtivo27977has quoted7 months ago
    maintained the balance of power between throne and Senate until the death of Burrus in the year 62. After that time, a philosopher without the support of military power was unable to cope with the vices and whims of the monster on the throne.
    chtivo27977has quoted7 months ago
    they maintained the balance of power between throne and Senate until the death of Burrus in the year 62. After that time, a philosopher without the support of military power was unable to cope with the vices and whims of the monster on the throne.

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