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 fools these mortals be!

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.

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 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 deceive ourselves in thinking that death only follows life whereas it both goes before and will follow after it for where is the difference in not beginning or ceasing to exist the effect of both is not to be.

We never reflect how pleasant it is to ask for nothing.

We do not learn for school, but for life.

We don?t have too little time, but we do waste most of it. Life is long enough for the completion of the greatest affairs?it is apportioned to us generously, if it is wholly well managed.

We have been born under a monarchy; to obey God is freedom.

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