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

We have lost morals, justice, honour, piety and faith, and that sense of shame which, once lost, can never be restored.

We have not to talk, but to steer the vessel.

We have suffered lightly, if we have suffered what we should weep for.

We learn not for life but for the debating-room.

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.

We must indulge the mind and from time to time allow it the leisure which is its food and strength.

We must limit the running to and fro which most men practice, rambling about houses, theatres, and marketplaces. They mind other men's business, and always seem as though they themselves had something to do. If you ask one of them as he comes out of his own door,? Whither are you going?? He will answer, ?By Hercules, I do not know: but I shall see some people and do something. They wander purposelessly seeking for something to do, and do, not what they have made up their minds to do, but what has casually fallen in their way. They move uselessly and without any plan, just like ants crawling.? over bushes, which creep up to the top and then down to the bottom again without gaining anything. Many men spend their lives in exactly the same fashion, which one may call a state of restless indolence.

We cease to be so angry once we cease to be so hopeful.

We need someone, I say, on whom our character may mould itself: you'll never make the crooked straight without a ruler.

We are at best but stewards of what we falsely call our own; yet avarice is so insatiable that it is not in the power of liberality to content it.

We are born to lose and to perish, to hope and to fear, to vex ourselves and others; and there is no antidote against a common calamity but virtue; for the foundation of true joy is in the conscience.

We are indeed apt to ascribe certain faults to the place or to the time; but those faults will follow us, no matter how we change our place.

We are mad, not only individually, but nationally. We check manslaughter and isolated murders; but what of war and the much-vaunted crime of slaughtering whole peoples? There are no limits to our greed, none to our cruelty. And as long as such crimes are committed by stealth and by individuals, they are less harmful and less portentous; but cruelties are practiced in accordance with acts of senate and popular assembly, and the public is bidden to do that which is forbidden to the individual. Deeds that would be punished by loss of life when committed in secret, are praised by us because uniformed generals have carried them out. Man, naturally the gentlest class of being, is not ashamed to revel in the blood of others, to wage war, and to entrust the waging of war to his sons, when even dumb beasts and wild beasts keep the peace with one another. Against this overmastering and widespread madness philosophy has become a matter of greater effort, and has taken on strength in proportion to the strength which is gained by the opposition forces.

We are members of one great body. Nature planted in us a mutual love, and fitted us for a social life. We must consider that we were born for the good of the whole.

We are more often frightened than hurt: our troubles spring more often from fancy than reality.

We are more wicked together than separately. If you are forced to be in a crowd, then most of all you should withdraw into yourself.

We are not afraid to do things because they are hard, but things are difficult because we fear them.

We are so vain as to set the highest value upon those things to which nature has assigned the lowest place. What can be more coarse and rude in the mind than the precious metals, or more slavish and dirty than the people that dig and work them? And yet they defile our minds more than our bodies, and make the possessor fouler than the artificer of them. Rich men, in fine, are only the greater slaves.

We are sure to get the better of fortune if we do but grapple with her.

We are taught for the schoolroom, not for life.

We are wrong in looking forward to death: in great measure it's past already.

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