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

Wealth is the slave of the wise man and master of the fool.

Well then, shall we act like other men? Shall there be no distinction between ourselves and the world? Yes, a very great one; let men find that we are unlike the common herd, if they look closely.

What a great blessing is a friend with a heart so trusty you may safely bury all your secrets in it.

What a vile and abject thing is man if he do not raise himself above humanity.

What difference does it make how much is laid away in a man's safe or in his barns, how many head of stock he grazes or how much capital he puts out at interest, if he is always after what is another's and only counts what he has yet to get, never what he has already? You ask what is the proper limit to a person's wealth? First, having what is essential, and second, having what is enough.

What difference does it make, after all, what your position in life is if you dislike it yourself?

What does reason demand of a man? A very easy thing--to live in accord with his nature.

What fools these mortals be!

We should have a bond of sympathy for all sentient beings, knowing that only the depraved and base take pleasure in the sight of blood and suffering.

We should like to have some towering geniuses, to reveal us to ourselves in colour and fire, but of course they would have to fit into the pattern of our society and be able to take orders from sound administrative types. Genius has never been accepted without a measure of condonement.

We should live as if we were in public view, and think, too, as if someone could peer into the inmost recesses of our hearts-which someone can!

We should not manifest surprise at any sort of condition into which we are born, and which should be lamented by no one, simply because it is equally ordained for all. Yes, I say, equally ordained; for a man might have experienced even that which he has escaped. And an equal law consists, not of that which all have experienced, but of that which is laid down for all. Be sure to prescribe for your mind this sense of equity; we should pay without complaint the tax of our mortality.

We should therefore look about us, and see how we may protect ourselves from the mob. And first of all, we should have no cravings like theirs; for rivalry results in strife. Again, let us possess nothing that can be snatched from us to the great profit of a plotting foe. Let there be as little booty as possible on your person. No one sets out to shed the blood of his fellow-men for the sake of bloodshed, - at any rate very few. More murderers speculate on their profits than give vent to hatred. If you are empty-handed, the highwayman passes you by: even along an infested road, the poor may travel in peace.

We often want one thing and pray for another, not telling the truth even to the gods.

We pardon familiar vices.

We pray for trifles without so much as a thought of the greatest blessings; and we are not ashamed many times, to ask God for that which we should blush to own to our neighbour.

We shall consider later whether these evils derive their power from their own strength, or from our own weakness.

We should conduct ourselves not as if we ought to live for the body, but as if we could not live without it. Our too great love for it makes us restless with fears, burdens us with cares, and exposes us to insults.

We should every night call ourselves to an account: What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.

We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.

We learn not in the school, but in life.

We live not according to reason, but according to fashion.

We marvel at certain animals because they can pass through fire and suffer no bodily harm; but how much more marvelous is a man who has marched forth unhurt and unscathed through fire and sword and devastation! Do you understand now how much easier it is to conquer a whole tribe than to conquer one man?

We most often go astray on a well-trodden and much frequented road.

We must go for walks out of doors, so that the mind can be strengthened and invigorated by a clear sky and plenty of fresh air. At times it will acquire fresh energy from a journey by carriage and a change of scene, or from socializing and drinking freely. Occasionally we should even come to the point of intoxication, sinking into drink but not being totally flooded by it; for it does wash away cares, and stirs the mind to its depths, and heals sorrow just as it heals certain diseases.

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