Seneca the Younger, aka Seneca or Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Seneca the Younger, aka Seneca or Lucius Annaeus Seneca
c. 5 B.C.
65 A.D.

Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Dramatist, Humorist, Tutor and Advisor to Emperor Nero

Author Quotes

What is the most difficult to get rid of self-anger after paying him.

What then is good? The knowledge of things. What is evil? The lack of knowledge of things. Your wise man, who is also a craftsman, will reject or choose in each case as it suits the occasion; but he does not fear that which he rejects, nor does he admire that which he chooses, if only he has a stout and unconquerable soul.

What is true belongs to me!

What then? If such a spirit is possessed by abandoned and dangerous men, shall it not be possessed also by those who have trained themselves to meet such contingencies by long meditation, and by reason, the mistress of all things? It is reason which teaches us that fate has various ways of approach, but the same end, and that it makes no difference at what point the inevitable event begins. Reason, too, advises us to die, if we may, according to our taste; if this cannot be, she advises us to die according to our ability, and to seize upon whatever means shall offer itself for doing violence to ourselves. It is criminal to ?live by robbery?; but, on the other hand, it is most noble to ?die by robbery.? Farewell.

What is wisdom? Always desiring the same things, and always refusing the same things.

What then? Shall I not follow in the footsteps of my predecessors? I shall indeed use the old road, but if I find one that makes a shorter cut and is smoother to travel, I shall open the new road. Men who have made these discoveries before us are not our masters, but our guides. Truth lies open for all; it has not yet been monopolized. And there is plenty of it left even for posterity to discover.

What madness is it for a man to starve himself to enrich his heir, and so turn a friend into an enemy! For his joy at your death will be proportioned to what you leave him.

What was hard to suffer is sweet to remember.

What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understand that he is dying daily? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed. Whatever years lie behind us are in death?s hands.

What were once vices are the fashion of the day.

What must be shall be; and that which is a necessity to him that struggles, is little more than choice to him that is willing.

What were vices have become the fashion of the day.

What narrow innocence it is for one to be good only according to the law.

What you do for an ungrateful man is thrown away.

What nature requires is obtainable, and within easy reach. It is for the superfluous we sweat.

What, then, is it which makes us lazy and sluggish? None of us reflects that someday he must depart from this house of life; just so old tenants are kept from moving by fondness for a particular place and by custom, even in spite of ill-treatment. Would you be free from the restraint of your body? Live in it as if you were about to leave it. Keep thinking of the fact that some day you will be deprived of this tenure; then you will be more brave against the necessity of departing. But how will a man take thought of his own end, if he craves all things without end? And yet there is nothing so essential for us to consider. For our training in other things is perhaps superfluous. Our souls have been made ready to meet poverty; but our riches have held out. We have armed ourselves to scorn pain; but we have had the good fortune to possess sound and healthy bodies, and so have never been forced to put this virtue to the test. We have taught ourselves to endure bravely the loss of those we love; but Fortune has preserved to us all whom we loved. It is in this one matter only that the day will come which will require us to test our training.

What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.

Whatever begins, also ends.

What fortune has made yours is not your own.

What if a man save my life with a draught that was prepared to poison me? The providence of the issue does not at all discharge the obliquity of the intent. And the same reason holds good even in religion itself. It is not the incense, or the offering that is acceptable to God, but the purity and devotion of the worshipper.

What is death but a ceasing to be what we were before? We are kindled, and put out, we die daily; nature that begot us expels us, and a better and safer place is provided for us.

What is death? Either a transition or an end. I am not afraid of coming to an end, this being the same as never having begun, nor of transition, for I shall never be in confinement quite so cramped anywhere else as I am here.

We sought therefore to amend our will, and not to suffer it through despite to languish long time in error.

We Stoics are not subjects of a despot: each of us lays claim to his own freedom.

We suffer more in imagination than in reality.

Author Picture
First Name
Seneca the Younger, aka Seneca or Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Birth Date
c. 5 B.C.
Death Date
65 A.D.
Bio

Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Dramatist, Humorist, Tutor and Advisor to Emperor Nero