Classics Seneca the Younger's Philosophical Works
by
Margaret Graver
  • LAST REVIEWED: 03 October 2018
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 April 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0224

Introduction

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a Roman adherent of Stoicism with a particular interest in ethics, died in 65 CE after an extensive career as a writer and politician. His writings offer an engaging presentation of philosophical ideas and are an important source for earlier Stoic thought. Among Seneca’s most characteristic themes are the realignment of action-guiding values through rational reflection, the transformative power of friendship, and the management of destructive impulses and emotions through self-cultivation. The intention of Seneca’s philosophical works to represent the positions of the founders of Stoicism is not seriously in doubt; there is little to support the claims of an older generation of scholarship for a deliberate program of eclecticism. Nonetheless, doctrinal allegiance does not prevent Seneca from occasionally expressing ideas of Platonic and even Epicurean origin, as long as he finds them to be consistent with his Stoic commitments. The major works in prose include his Moral Epistles to Lucilius, the sizable treatises On Benefits and Natural Questions, and a series of shorter dialogues, among which the most important are On Anger and On Clemency. All these works are interconnected to a large degree by contiguity of philosophical perspective, close stylistic similarities, and internal references to known facts of Seneca’s life or to his family and friends. The same cannot be said of the verse tragedies that are also preserved under Seneca’s name. These offer no internal indication of authorship and are never referred to in Seneca’s prose works or in ancient accounts of his career. Although treatments of the philosophical Seneca’s life and work have often ignored the tragedies, a recent trend in interpretation has sought to trace connections between the two corpora. Readers should be aware that as manuscript attributions are notoriously unreliable for Seneca, the linking of the two corpora rests on one disputed phrase in Quintilian (see Thomas Kohn, “Who Wrote Seneca’s Plays?” Classical World 96 [2003], 271–280). Secondary works devoted primarily to the tragedies are not included here. This article does, however, include the brief prosimetric farce on the death of the emperor Claudius that is generally entitled Apocolocyntosis Divi Claudii (“Pumpkinification of Claudius”), identifying it with a Senecan work mentioned by Cassius Dio. Here, too, the attribution to Seneca is far from secure, but the work is of interest in itself and its association with his literary circle can hardly be doubted.

General Overviews

This first section identifies several general works that attempt a balanced coverage of Seneca’s life and literary output. Helpful starting points include Mannering 2013, which is limited to the philosophical writings, and Ker 2006, which attempts a more holistic reading of Seneca’s literary production. More complete coverage is provided in Grimal 1991 and Maurach 2000, in French and German respectively, and to some extent in Veyne 2003, although Griffin 1992 (cited under Life and Education), remains the best single-author overview in English. Among the three handbook-style compendia, Bartsch and Schiesaro 2015 is the easiest to access and use, whereas Damschen and Heil 2014 gives more extensive coverage of some topics. Rodríguez-Pantoja 1997 (cited under Article Collections) offers a similar level of coverage in Spanish. Motto 1970 indexes topics and themes throughout the philosophical works. For comprehensive works specifically on Seneca’s philosophy, see Thought: Philosophical Overviews.

  • Albrecht, Michael von. 2004. Wort und Wandlung: Senecas Lebenskunst. Mnemosyne Supplementum 252. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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    Close stylistic analysis of several of the Moral Epistles is combined here with themes of personal transformation in both the philosophical works and the tragedies. Closes with three chapters on Seneca’s reception in the Christian tradition, in Montaigne, and in German literature.

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    • Bartsch, Shadi, and Alessandro Schiesaro, eds. 2015. Cambridge companion to Seneca. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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      Substantive chapters on many of the most important themes in Seneca’s literary production—his experiments with epistolary and dialogue form, his scientific writing, his language and style, his political thought, and his influence in later ages.

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      • Damschen, Gregor, and Andreas Heil, eds. 2014. Brill’s companion to Seneca. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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        Massive reference work giving systematic treatment to each of Seneca’s works, to main elements of his philosophy, and to his style and composition. Especially useful for minor works, which are accorded much more detailed treatment than the major treatises and letters.

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        • Grimal, Pierre. 1991. Sénèque, ou la conscience de l’Empire. Paris: Fayard.

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          A deeply learned work treating virtually all aspects of Seneca’s life and writings.

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          • Ker, James. 2006. Seneca, man of many genres. In Seeing Seneca whole: Perspectives on philosophy, poetry, and politics. Edited by Katharina Volk and Gareth D. Williams, 19–41. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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            Beginning from the assumption that all the works preserved under Seneca’s name are his (noting that Quintilian speaks of him as writing in every genre), this short piece ponders the breadth and heterogeneity of his output and seeks to view it holistically.

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            • Mannering, Jonathan. 2013. Seneca’s philosophical writings. In A companion to the Neronian age. Edited by Emma Buckley and Martin Dinter, 188–203. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

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              A short but thoughtful overview of the philosophical corpus, situating it within its cultural and intellectual context. Useful for students.

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              • Maurach, Gregor. 2000. Seneca: Leben und werk. Darmstadt, Germany: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.

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                This is the best short overview of Seneca’s life and writings, seeking not to go beyond the surviving evidence and generous in references to the older literature. Seneca’s works are grouped chronologically to the extent that the evidence will allow, with the tragedies treated separately at the end.

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                • Motto, A. L. 1970. Seneca sourcebook: Guide to the thought of Lucius Annaeus Seneca. Amsterdam: Hakkert.

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                  Useful topical index to all the prose works (except Apocolocyntosis), including names, general terms (“Animals”) and ideas (“Constancy,” “Friendship,” and “Scorn”).

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                  • Veyne, Paul. 2003. Seneca: The life of a stoic. Translated by David Sullivan. New York: Routledge.

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                    English translation of the first 184 pages of Veyne 1993 (cited under Works: Complete Editions). An energetic, though somewhat impressionistic, response to Seneca’s life and writings from a broadly humanistic perspective.

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                    Bibliographies

                    The most comprehensive resource is the version of Senecana available online (see Malaspina, et al. 2005). Older print bibliographies cover fewer years of scholarship but may sometimes be useful for their annotations. This is true especially of Chaumartin 1989 and Motto and Clark 1989, both intended as general bibliographies for Seneca’s prose works. Scholarship specifically on the Natural Questions is assembled and described in Hine 2009 and Hine 2010. For the Apocolocyntosis, both Bonandini 2007 and Roncali 2008 are well-annotated bibliographies covering the last decades of the 20th century. For a bibliography specifically of works in Spanish, consult Rodríguez-Pantoja 1997 (cited under Article Collections).

                    • Bonandini, Alice. 2007. Seneca, Apocolocyntosis 1983–2006. Lexis 25:341–379.

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                      A fairly long bibliographical essay in Italian, followed by five pages of bibliography arranged alphabetically. Categories include date and authorship, title, state of completion, the carnivalesque element, the genre or form of the work, editions and text criticism of the entire work, text and critical analysis of particular passages, and Internet resources. Depth of coverage is somewhat less than that of Roncali 2008, but covers several additional years; the two can be used together to good effect.

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                      • Chaumartin, François-Regis. 1989. Quarante ans de recherche sur les oeuvres philosophiques de Sénèque (Bibliographie 1945–1985). In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Vol. 2, 36.3. Edited by Wolfgang Haase, 1545–1605. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                        Entries are categorized by Senecan work and type of study (e.g., manuscript tradition, commentaries, and studies), then listed chronologically within each category. Minimal annotations in French for some items; reviews listed for book-length studies.

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                        • Hine, Harry M. 2009. Seneca’s Naturales Quaestiones 1960–2005 (Part 1). Lustrum 51:253–329.

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                          The first half of a masterful survey of over 600 items, annotated in paragraph style under each of seventeen headings, most of which are further divided. Part 1 assembles items in the following areas: bibliographies, essay collections, editions, translations, manuscript tradition, textual criticism, concordances, language, citations of the poets, and general books and articles on Seneca. Continued in Lustrum 52.

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                          • Hine, Harry M. 2010. Seneca’s Naturales Quaestiones 1960–2005 (Part 2), with Addenda covering 2006. Lustrum 52:7–160.

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                            The second half of the survey begun in Lustrum 51. Assembles items in the following areas: studies devoted to the Natural Questions, philosophy within the work, its relation to ancient science, major themes, individual books and passages, reception, and addenda and corrigenda to Part 1.

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                            • Malaspina, Ermanno, Italo Lano, and Andrea Balbo, eds. 2005. Bibliografia senecana del XX secolo. Bologna, Italy: Pàtron.

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                              A comprehensive bibliography of 20th-century scholarship on all Seneca’s works, arranged by year, with brief summaries in Italian. Careful tagging and extensive appendixes enable the user to locate items by their modern author, keywords, names of persons, or Senecan works treated. The online version adds numerous records for publications since 2000. Given the scale of the project, the tagging is necessarily selective, so searches here should be supplemented by other approaches.

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                              • Motto, Anna Lydia, and J. R. Clark. 1989. Seneca: A critical bibliography, 1900–1980; Scholarship on his life, thought, prose, and influence. Amsterdam: Hakkert.

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                                Entries are arranged alphabetically within each of eight categories: bibliographies; indexes and concordances; editions, translations, and commentaries; manuscript studies; textual criticism; life, work, and philosophy; individual prose works; language and style; source criticism; and influence. Nearly all items have some annotation, with the most important works receiving a page or more of summary and evaluation.

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                                • Roncali, Renata. 2008. Seneca, Apocolocyntosis 1980–2000. Lustrum 50:303–366.

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                                  Generously annotated (in Italian) in paragraph form for each of seven areas of study: bibliography; editions, translations and commentaries; reception; title; history and politics; literary and stylistic matters; and exegesis. Items are listed chronologically, rather than alphabetically, within each category.

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                                  Article Collections

                                  Much important work on Seneca’s thought has been published in collections. For the most part, the articles in these volumes are of a more specialized nature than those mentioned under General Overviews. Several collections originate as proceedings of academic conferences: Rodríguez-Pantoja 1997 from a large international conference in Spain, Volk and Williams 2006 from a Columbia conference on Seneca’s works generally, Bartsch and Wray 2009 from a Chicago conference on the self, and Wildberger and Colish 2014 from a Paris conference on the philosophical works. Baier, et al. 2005 presents a set of essays in German honoring a senior scholar of Roman drama. Still essential for scholars, the articles in Haase 1989 treat a wide range of topics in considerable depth. The German collection in Maurach 1975 assembles some historically significant essays. Fitch 2008 makes available a series of English-language contributions from 1970 to 2000 that will be of value especially to students.

                                  • Baier, Thomas, Gesine Manuwald, and Bernhard Zimmermann, eds. 2005. Seneca, philosophus et magister: Festschrift für Eckard Lefèvre zum 70 Geburtstag. Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany: Rombach.

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                                    All in German, these papers address a range of topics in Seneca, with most attention given to the Moral Epistles and Natural Questions, but also to two of the tragedies (Troades and Medea). An especially rich section treats Seneca’s reception in Tacitus, Johannes von Hildesheim, Lipsius, and composers of opera.

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                                    • Bartsch, Shadi, and David Wray, eds. 2009. Seneca and the self. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                      Originating in a conference on this topic in 2003, the volume offers twelve particularly strong essays on Seneca’s language of selfhood and self-actualization in various works.

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                                      • Fitch, John, ed. 2008. Seneca. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                        Assembles eighteen often-cited articles from 1970 to 2002; half of these concern the prose writings. Several of the essays have been revised and updated by their authors.

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                                        • Haase, Wolfgang, ed. 1989. Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Vol. 2, 36.3. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                                          This large volume is part of a compendious multivolume encyclopedia to the Roman world. Substantial entries in English, French, and Italian provide in-depth overviews of each of Seneca’s prose works and of his philosophical relations to earlier and contemporary Stoicism, with extensive bibliography.

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                                          • Maurach, Gregor, ed. 1975. Seneca als Philosoph. Darmstadt, Germany: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.

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                                            This collection assembles essays by several historically important scholars, going back as far as Friedländer’s classic “Der Philosoph Seneca” (1900), all either originally in German or translated into that language by the editor. Although much has been written since, some of these older pieces are still of interest, particularly Maurach’s own contributions on the Natural Questions and Moral Epistles.

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                                            • Rodríguez-Pantoja, Miguel, ed. 1997. Séneca, dos mil años después: Actas del congreso internacional conmemorativo del bimilenario de su nacimiento (Córdoba, 24 a 27 de septiembre de 1996). Córdoba, Spain: Publicaciones de la Universidad de Córdoba y Obra Social y Cultural CajaSur.

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                                              This large volume assembles seventy-four papers from an international conference celebrating the bimillennial of Seneca’s birth. The contributions, nearly all in Spanish, are carefully coordinated and arranged to cover nearly all aspects of Seneca’s literary production, with much attention to his influence on European and, especially, Spanish literature and an extensive bibliography.

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                                              • Volk, Katharina, and Gareth D. Williams, eds. 2006. Seeing Seneca whole: Perspectives on philosophy, poetry, and politics. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                Seeks to present a multifaceted, rather than comprehensive, portrait, with ten in-depth essays treating quite different aspects of Seneca’s endeavor.

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                                                • Wildberger, Jula, and Marcia Colish, eds. 2014. Seneca Philosophus. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter.

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                                                  Includes essays taking a range of approaches: some specifically philosophical, others inclining toward literary method or social history, including gender studies.

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                                                  Life and Education

                                                  Ancient sources provide more detail on Seneca’s life than is usual for ancient authors; however, such evidence cannot be assessed properly without considerable depth of knowledge and rigorous historical methodology. Griffin 1992 is exemplary in its handling of sources and avoidance of facile interpretations; Griffin 2008 is similarly admirable in a shorter format. Grimal 1991 and Maurach 2000 (both cited under General Overviews) serve as comparison volumes for Griffin 1992. Romm 2014 is noteworthy for its engaging presentation, whereas Habinek 2000 contextualizes the biographical tradition in an intellectually satisfying way. Two studies—Inwood 1995 and Sellars 2014—are specifically concerned with Seneca’s education and the philosophical milieu within which he worked.

                                                  • Griffin, Miriam. 1992. Seneca: A philosopher in politics. Oxford: Clarendon.

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                                                    The best-researched work on Seneca’s life, also essential for many points of interpretation. Includes in-depth studies of his political role under Nero and his views on slavery, wealth, Rome’s provinces, and suicide. An appendix presents the available evidence and arguments concerning the dating of individual works.

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                                                    • Griffin, Miriam. 2008. Imago vitae suae. In Seneca. Edited by John Fitch, 23–58. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                      An excellent brief biography, thoughtful and detailed without loss of readability. The best entry point for students.

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                                                      • Habinek, Thomas. 2000. Seneca’s renown: “Gloria, Claritudo,” and the replication of the Roman elite. Classical Antiquity 19:264–303.

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                                                        The biographical tradition on Seneca alludes to a wider cultural anxiety that made Nero’s advisor into an exemplum of fame achieved through education and linguistic virtuosity rather than through noble birth and military achievement. This illuminating study includes consideration of the Tacitean narrative, of Quintilian’s assessment, and of Seneca’s representation in the tragedy Octavia.

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                                                        • Inwood, Brad. 1995. Seneca in his philosophical milieu. Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 97:63–76.

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                                                          Considers Seneca’s education, his approach to studying and writing philosophy, and the contemporary philosophical scene. Also in Inwood 2005, pp. 7–22, cited under Thought: Philosophical Overviews.

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                                                          • Romm, James. 2014. Dying every day: Seneca at the court of Nero. New York: Knopf.

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                                                            Aimed at a general audience, this biography interspersed with brief discussions of Seneca’s works is an absorbing read and is generally reliable on points of fact.

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                                                            • Sellars, John. 2014. Seneca’s philosophical predecessors and contemporaries. In Brill’s companion to Seneca. Edited by Gregor Damschen and Andreas Heil, 97–112. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                              Similar in scope to Inwood 1995, but supplies additional detail on some points. An excellent resource for students.

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                                                              Works

                                                              Included in this section are translations, commentaries, editions of the Latin text, and studies that seek to elucidate works as a whole or as broad themes within works. More sharply focused thematic and conceptual studies are cited under Thought.

                                                              Complete Editions

                                                              Readers of English will derive most benefit from the five-volume Complete Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca, which supplies fresh modern translations and more extensive notes than the older Seneca in ten volumes. The latter still deserves mention, however, for the inclusion of a facing-page Latin text. Because of the size of the corpus, a single-volume edition is not easy to produce; the French edition assembled in Veyne 1993 is thus noteworthy as a convenience.

                                                              Consolations

                                                              Among Seneca’s earliest literary productions are consolatory works addressed to Marcia (daughter of the historian Cremutius Cordus), to Claudius’s freedman advisor Polybius, and to his own mother Helvia. These are preserved in the manuscript tradition along with the short dialogues but are grouped together in this section for reasons of generic similarity. The standard Latin text is in Reynolds 1977, whereas Fantham, et al. 2014 gives the most helpful English translation (both are cited under Short Dialogues). Manning 1981 mainly concerns the consolation to Marcia, but is of value for all the consolations; meanwhile, targeted discussions of all three consolations may be found in Abel 1967 (cited under Short Dialogues) or in Damschen and Heil 2014 and Bartsch and Schiesaro 2015 (both cited under General Overviews). Wilcox 2006, Williams 2006, and Fantham 2007, all good-quality article-length pieces, consider thematic dimensions of the consolations within their social context; Graver 2009 studies philosophical elements in Seneca’s last extant consolation.

                                                              • Fantham, Elaine. 2007. Dialogues of displacement: Seneca’s consolations to Helvia and Polybius. In Writing exile: The discourse of displacement in Greco-Roman antiquity and beyond. Edited by J. F. Gaertner, 173–192. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                A sensitive rhetorical analysis, emphasizing the theme of exile and the emotional impact of displacement.

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                                                                • Fantham, Elaine, Harry M. Hine, James Ker, and Gareth Williams, eds. and trans. 2014. Hardship and happiness. Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                  Includes translations by Harry M. Hine of the consolations to Marcia and to Polybius and by Gareth Williams of the consolation to Helvia, each with introduction and notes.

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                                                                  • Graver, Margaret. 2009. The weeping wise: Stoic and epicurean consolations in Seneca’s 99th epistle. In Tears in the Graeco-Roman world. Edited by T. Fögen, 235–252. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter.

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                                                                    Explicates the philosophical basis of the radical Stoic consolation attempted in the letter to Marullus.

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                                                                    • Manning, C. E. 1981. On Seneca’s “Ad Marciam.” Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                      Latin text with introductory essays and an extensive commentary.

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                                                                      • Wilcox, Amanda. 2006. Exemplary grief: Gender and virtue in Seneca’s consolations to women. Helios 33:73–100.

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                                                                        Applies notions of gender and social performance to interpret certain often-noted peculiarities in the consolations to Marcia and Helvia. Thoughtful and well researched, with implications for a wide range of Latin texts.

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                                                                        • Williams, G. 2006. States of exile, states of mind: Paradox and reversal in Seneca’s Consolatio ad Heluiam Matrem. In Seeing Seneca whole: Perspectives on philosophy, poetry, and politics. Edited by Katharina Volk and Gareth D. Williams, 147–174. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                          The theme of exile in the work opens the way to recognizing and claiming what the Stoics consider to be the human’s primary identity as a citizen of the cosmos. Pairs well with Fantham 2007.

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                                                                          On Anger

                                                                          Apart from the consolations, the three-book treatise on anger is the earliest of Seneca’s philosophical efforts. The standard Latin text is that in Reynolds 1977 (cited under Short Dialogues); a modern English translation can be found in Kaster and Nussbaum 2010. Scholars differ considerably concerning apparent defects in the work’s overall structure. Whereas older studies (e.g., Cupaiuolo 1975) tend to emphasize discontinuities, more recent studies (including Fillion-Lahille 1984, Nussbaum 1994, and Ramondetti 1996) argue for an underlying coherence of plan. Philosophical attention has concentrated on the definition of anger stated in Book 2 with explicit reference to the Stoic tradition (treatments of this material are listed under Emotion and Will). See also Ker 2009 (cited under Introspection, Moral Formation, and Ascesis).

                                                                          • Cupaiuolo, Giovanni. 1975. Introduzione al De Ira di Seneca. Naples, Italy: Società Editrice Napoletana.

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                                                                            A straightforward approach to multiple aspects of the treatise—its objectives, dialogue form, structure, philosophical content, Roman cultural content, and style.

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                                                                            • Fillion-Lahille, Janine. 1984. Le De Ira de Sénèque et la philosophie stoïcienne des passions. Paris: Klincksieck.

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                                                                              This comprehensive treatment of the work remains a standard resource, even though some of its arguments fail to convince, notably those that specify a different major source for each book. A more concise treatment of the De Ira by this author may be found in Haase 1989 (cited under Article Collections).

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                                                                              • Kaster, Robert, and Martha C. Nussbaum, trans. 2010. Seneca: Anger, mercy, revenge. Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                Modern translations of On Anger, On Clemency, and Apocolocyntosis (“The Pumpkinification of Claudius the God”), each with informative introduction and notes.

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                                                                                • Nussbaum, Martha. 1994. The therapy of desire. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                  Nussbaum reads On Anger as a unified therapeutic endeavor, from the standpoint of modern concerns about the role of anger in public life (pp. 402–438).

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                                                                                  • Ramondetti, Paola. 1996. Struttura di Seneca, De Ira, II-III: Una proposta d’interpretazione. Bologna, Italy: Pàtron.

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                                                                                    Makes a case for the unity of the dialogue through close study of a series of problematic passages in Books 2 and 3.

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                                                                                    Apocolocyntosis

                                                                                    The engaging “Pumpkinification” farce has attracted considerable attention; the attribution to Seneca is now generally accepted. In addition to the translation with commentary in Eden 1984, which also supplies the Latin text, an annotated translation may be found in Kaster and Nussbaum 2010 (cited under On Anger). Political and cultural readings include Cole 2006 and Osgood 2007, as well as Leach 2008 (cited under On Clemency). More literary approaches are exampled by O’Gorman 2005, Relihan 1993, and Star 2012. An excellent starting point for students is Whitton 2013.

                                                                                    • Cole, Spencer. 2006. Elite scepticism in the Apocolocyntosis: Further qualifications. In Seeing Seneca whole: Perspectives on philosophy, poetry, and politics. Edited by Katharina Volk and Gareth D. Williams, 175–182. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                      Adds the important insight that the Apocolocyntosis does not reject imperial deification in itself; rather, it defends it by denigrating that of Claudius in contrast to the prior deification of Augustus.

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                                                                                      • Eden, P. T., ed. 1984. Seneca: Apocolocyntosis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                        The standard Latin text, with facing-page translation, an informative introduction, notes, and appendixes.

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                                                                                        • O’Gorman, Ellen. 2005. Citation and authority in Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis. In The Cambridge companion to Roman satire. Edited by Kirk Freudenburg, 95–108. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                          Detailed study of Seneca’s satiric mode of expression via practices of quotation, allusion, and parody.

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                                                                                          • Osgood, Josiah. 2007. The Vox and Verba of an emperor: Seneca, Claudius, and le prince idéal. Classical Journal 102:329–354.

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                                                                                            Exposes the ideological purpose of the grotesque treatment of Claudius’s voice, in relation to the Roman cultural and imperial ideal of effective public speaking.

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                                                                                            • Relihan, Joel C. 1993. Ancient Menippean satire. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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                                                                                              Chapter 5 gives a literary reading of Apocolocyntosis emphasizing its humor and its relation to the genre of Menippean satire.

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                                                                                              • Star, Christopher. 2012. The empire of the self. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                Reads Apocolocyntosis and several other Senecan works (On Clemency, Moral Epistles 49–57, and the tragedies) in tandem with the exactly contemporary Satyricon of Petronius. A creative and stimulating approach emphasizing themes of self-command and political speech.

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                                                                                                • Whitton, Christopher L. 2013. Seneca, Apocolocyntosis. In A companion to the Neronian age. Edited by Emma Buckley and Martin Dinter, 151–169. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

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                                                                                                  Cheerful and readable, yet well researched, this brief overview explores the political meaning of Seneca’s satire while remaining sensitive to its humor. Includes a useful guide to further reading.

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                                                                                                  On Clemency

                                                                                                  Although incomplete, Seneca’s treatise addressed to the youthful Nero is of obvious importance for his political stance at the time of Nero’s accession as well as for his reception of Hellenistic political thought. The scholarly yet eminently readable Braund 2009 is the single most important work in this area, but Malaspina 2005 must also be mentioned for extensive work on the Latin text. Kaster and Nussbaum 2010 (cited under On Anger) offers a modern translation with informative commentary. For the historian’s point of view, see Griffin 2003 and Leach 2008; the latter assesses the relation of the work to the Apocolocyntosis. The broader cultural perspective in Star 2012 (cited under Apocolocyntosis) discusses both Apocolocyntosis and Petronius’s Satyricon.

                                                                                                  • Braund, S., ed. and trans. 2009. Seneca: De clementia. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                    The most comprehensive work on the treatise, incorporating Braund’s fresh edition of the Latin text together with an English translation, extensive notes, and a substantive introduction situating the work in its cultural and political context.

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                                                                                                    • Griffin, Miriam. 2003. Clementia after Caesar: From politics to philosophy. In Caesar against liberty? Perspectives on his autocracy. Papers of the Langford Latin Seminar 11. Edited by Francis Cairns and Elaine Fantham, 157–182. Cambridge, UK: F. Cairns.

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                                                                                                      Contextualizes the importance that Seneca gives to clemency within political developments, going back to Caesar’s sloganizing of the term, and then analyzes the content of On Clemency and (briefly) On Benefits as political philosophy.

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                                                                                                      • Ker, James. 2009. Outside and inside: Senecan strategies. In Writing politics in Imperial Rome. Edited by W. J. Dominik, J. Garthwaite, and P. A. Roche, 249–271. Leiden, The Netherlands, and Boston: Brill.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1163/9789004217133_012Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                        A more literary piece approaching the work through the powerful image of the “mirror of princes” and the political consciousness that informs much of Seneca’s writing.

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                                                                                                        • Leach, Eleanor Winsor. 2008. The implied reader and the political argument in Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis and De Clementia. In Seneca. Edited by John Fitch, 264–298. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                          Rhetorical analysis reassesses the relation between the two works from a historical/political perspective. Article also published in Arethusa 22 (1989): 197–230.

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                                                                                                          • Malaspina, Ermanno, ed. 2005. L. Annaei Senecae De clementia libri duo: Prolegomena, testo critico e commento. 2d ed. Alessandria, Italy: Ed. dell’Orso.

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                                                                                                            The first modern edition of the Latin text, with extensive discussion of the manuscript history.

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                                                                                                            Short Dialogues

                                                                                                            Six additional dialogues (On Providence, On the Constancy of the Wise Person, On the Happy Life, On Leisure, On Tranquility of Mind, and On the Shortness of Life) are grouped in the manuscript tradition with On Anger and the three consolations. Although labeled dialogi in the most important manuscript, these are dialogues in quite a different sense from those of Plato or even of Cicero; for an entrée to the form, see Roller 2015. The standard Latin text is Reynolds 1977; see also Reynolds 1968 (cited under Reception and Manuscript Tradition). New translations in Fantham, et al. 2014 supersede those in Basore 1928–1935, although the latter offers the convenience of a facing Latin text. For On Leisure and On the Shortness of Life, the introduction and commentary in Williams 2003 provides excellent coverage together with a Latin text. Baraz 2015, on On the Constancy of the Wise Person, is one of only a few studies in English. For analysis of the other dialogues, readers will normally need to consult either Abel 1967 or Haase 1989 (cited under Article Collections) or refer to one of the handbooks cited under General Overviews. A 20th-century French project, Grimal 1965–1976, provides individual concordances for several of the dialogues.

                                                                                                            • Abel, Karlhans. 1967. Bauformen in Senecas Dialogen: Fünf Strukturanalysen; Dial. 6, 11, 12, 1 und 2. Heidelberg, Germany: C. Winter.

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                                                                                                              Close reading and rhetorical structure of On Providence, On the Constancy of the Wise Person, and the three full-length consolations. Also considers the nature of each addressee, as well as a range of chronological and textual issues. An essential resource. (Note also this author’s contribution to Grimal 1991, cited under Manner of Writing).

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                                                                                                              • Baraz, Yelena. 2015. True greatness of soul in Seneca’s De constantia sapientis. In Roman reflections: Studies in Latin philosophy. Edited by Gareth D. Williams and Katharina Volk, 157–171. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199999767.003.0008Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                Considers how On the Constancy of the Wise Person (which Baraz compares helpfully to Cicero’s Stoic Paradoxes) brings the Stoic conception of greatness of soul into contiguity with traditional Roman ways of thinking about greatness.

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                                                                                                                • Basore, John, trans. 1928–1935. Seneca: Moral essays. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                  Volumes 1–3 in the Loeb Classical Library series. Usable translations with minimal notes. Latin on facing pages.

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                                                                                                                  • Fantham, Elaine, Harry M. Hine, James Ker, and Gareth Williams, eds. and trans. 2014. Hardship and happiness. Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                    Modern translations of the six short dialogues together with the three consolations, each with introduction and notes.

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                                                                                                                    • Grimal, Pierre. 1965–1976. L. Annaei Senecae Operum moralium concordantia. 7 vols. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

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                                                                                                                      Old-style (not computer-generated) concordances to the Latin texts, each volume addressing a single Senecan work. Included are the Consolation to Marcia, On the Constancy of the Wise Person, On the Shortness of Life, On Providence, On the Happy Life, and On Tranquility of Mind.

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                                                                                                                      • Reynolds, L. D., ed. 1977. L. Annaei Senecae dialogorum libri duodecim. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                        The standard edition of the Latin text.

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                                                                                                                        • Roller, Matthew. 2015. The dialogue in Seneca’s Dialogues (and other moral essays). In Cambridge companion to Seneca. Edited by Shadi Bartsch and Alessandro Schiesaro, 54–67. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                          An accessible and informative treatment of generic features of the dialogues. Gives consideration to the term dialogi, to the perspective of named addressees and generalized interlocutors, and to the relation of dialogue to epistolary form. Pairs well with Ker 2006 (cited under General Overviews).

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                                                                                                                          • Williams, G., ed. and trans. 2003. Seneca: De otio and De brevitate vitae. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                            Includes Latin text, detailed introduction, and notes.

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                                                                                                                            On Benefits

                                                                                                                            The importance of beneficia (favors done by one individual for another) in Seneca’s conception of practical morality is indicated by the space he devotes to the topic both in this seven-book treatise and in the 81st Moral Epistle. The well-informed translation and commentary in Griffin and Inwood 2011 replaces Volume 3 of the Loeb edition (Basore 1928–1935, cited under Short Dialogues), which is mentioned only for its inclusion of a Latin text. The standard Latin text is still Hosius 1914. Among secondary works, the most important is Griffin 2013, which treats both social and philosophical dimensions of the work, giving a more generally convincing account of Seneca’s motives than does Chaumartin 1985. More specifically philosophical is the analysis of the dialogue in Inwood 2005.

                                                                                                                            • Chaumartin, François-Régis. 1985. Le De beneficiis de Sénèque: Sa signification philosophique, politique, et sociale. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

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                                                                                                                              The first half offers an extensive study of possible sources, favoring Hecaton; the second half argues that Seneca promotes particular social agendas, e.g., reform of the behavior of slaveholders. Griffin 2013 assists with the evaluation of these arguments.

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                                                                                                                              • Griffin, M. 2013. Seneca on society: A guide to De beneficiis. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199245482.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                Written with great clarity and authority, this full-length study elucidates both social and philosophical dimensions of the work, considers its pedagogical strategy, and then provides a section-by-section synopsis and commentary.

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                                                                                                                                • Griffin, Miriam, and Brad Inwood, eds. and trans. 2011. Seneca: On benefits. Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                  Modern translation with an informative introduction and notes.

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                                                                                                                                  • Hosius, C., ed. 1914. Seneca, Lucius Annaeus: Opera quae supersunt. Leipzig: B. G. Teubner.

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                                                                                                                                    Part 2 of Volume 1 contains the standard Latin text.

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                                                                                                                                    • Inwood, Brad. 2005. Politics and paradox in Seneca’s De beneficiis. In Reading Seneca: Stoic philosophy at Rome. By Brad Inwood, 65–94. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                      Explores philosophical puzzles created by the study of benefits within a Stoic context, in which only the wise can give and receive benefits; brings out Seneca’s strategy of appealing to the intention (voluntas) of the giver in order to solve such puzzles.

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                                                                                                                                      Moral Epistles

                                                                                                                                      Philosophically rich yet also innovative in literary form, the deliberately unsystematic Moral Epistles to Lucilius must be studied at length to be properly appreciated. The new translation and commentary in Graver and Long 2015 will be the starting point for most readers; Gummere 1917–1925 is of use primarily for the convenience of a facing Latin text. The standard Latin text is Reynolds 1965. The depth and multivalence of Seneca’s mature work is indicated by the vast divergence among three secondary works cited here—the brilliantly creative Henderson 2004, the philosophically serious Inwood 2007, and the culturally sensitive Wilcox 2012. Schönegg 1999 explores the work from a more aesthetic perspective. A recent general essay providing helpful orientation for students is Schafer 2011; serious scholars should consult Mazzoli 1989 (in Italian) as a reference tool. Wilson 2001 and Wildberger 2014 touch on questions of genre, while Armisen-Marchetti 2004, cited under Manner of Writing, brings out Seneca’s use of humor. In addition to these items, a number of the works cited elsewhere in this article draw extensively on the Moral Epistles; see those cited under Thought: Metaphysics and Theology; Thought: Logic, Epistemology, and the Theoretical Life; Thought: Emotion and Will; and Thought: Introspection, Moral Formation, and Ascesis. For the paired Letters 94–95, virtually a treatise in their own right, see the works cited under Thought: Precepts and Principles.

                                                                                                                                      • Graver, Margaret, and A. A. Long, trans. and eds. 2015. Seneca: Letters on ethics. Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                        Modern translation with informative introduction and notes.

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                                                                                                                                        • Gummere, R. M., ed. and trans. 1917–1925. Seneca: Ad Lucilium epistulae morales. Vols. 4–6. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                          Usable translation with minimal notes. Latin on facing pages. Does not include the fragments.

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                                                                                                                                          • Henderson, John. 2004. Morals and villas in Seneca’s Letters: Places to dwell. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511482229Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Quirky and eclectic, but intelligent. Gives an entrée to the letters as a whole through close study of three letters in which villas figure prominently: Seneca’s own villa (Letter 12), that of Vatia (55), and that of Scipio Africanus (86).

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                                                                                                                                            • Inwood, Brad. 2007. Seneca: Selected philosophical letters. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                              Translation and detailed philosophical commentary for Letters 58, 65, 66, 71, 76, 85, 87, 106, 113, and 117–124. The extensive introduction to this volume gives an especially informative discussion of Seneca’s literary and philosophical motivations in the letters. Includes numerous bibliographical aids.

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                                                                                                                                              • Mazzoli, Giancarlo. 1989. Le “Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium” di Seneca: Valore letterario e filosofico. In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Vol. 2, 36.3. Edited by Wolfgang Haase, 1823–1877. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                Thorough bibliographical study and status quaestionis on such fundamental issues as the authenticity of the correspondence, addressee, chronology, structure, style, and many philosophical issues. An indispensable reference tool.

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                                                                                                                                                • Reynolds, L. D., ed. 1965. L. Annaei Senecae Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                  The standard edition of the Latin text.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Schafer, John. 2011. Seneca’s Epistulae Morales as dramatized education. Classical Philology 106:32–52.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1086/659109Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Reads the collection as an artful “case study” in Stoic moral education. Lucid, sensible, and short; a good entry point for students.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Schönegg, Beat. 1999. Senecas Epistulae morales als philosophisches Kunstwerk. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang.

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                                                                                                                                                      Explores several major themes in the letters: pedagogy, the critique of rhetoric, and artistic creation. Letters receiving sustained attention include 58, 65, 79, and 102. A closing chapter traces Senecan themes in Yukio Mishima’s Seppuku.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Wilcox, Amanda. 2012. The gift of correspondence in classical Rome: Friendship in Cicero’s Ad Familiares and Seneca’s Moral Epistles. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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                                                                                                                                                        Uses the comparison to Cicero and the social mechanisms of friendship and gift exchange to expose the inner dynamics of Seneca’s epistolary technique.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Wildberger, Jula. 2014. The Epicurus trope and the construction of a “letter writer” in Seneca’s Epistulae Morales. In Seneca Philosophus. Edited by Jula Wildberger and Marcia Colish, 431–465. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                          References to Epicurus are a strategy artfully deployed by the author (the historical person L. Annaeus) in the construction of his embedded speaker, “Seneca.”

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                                                                                                                                                          • Wilson, Marcus. 2001. Seneca’s Epistles reclassified. In Texts, ideas, and the classics. Edited by S. J. Harrison, 164–187. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                            Although stressing that the Moral Epistles are intended for a broad readership, this persuasive article resists some earlier efforts to treat them as essays with no serious investment in epistolarity; instead, Wilson classifies them as “serial epistolography.”

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                                                                                                                                                            Natural Questions

                                                                                                                                                            The last of Seneca’s major treatises is on the ancient tradition of meteorology, providing rational explanations for weather events, comets, earthquakes, and other events in which the causes were not directly observable. This once-neglected work has received much attention over the last two decades. Harry M. Hine has contributed a critical edition of the Latin text (Hine 1996), an annotated translation (Hine 2010), and an informative article-length study of the treatise within its political and social context (Hine 2006). Williams 2012 probes the ethical complexities of the work and gives insight into its literary form. Berno 2003 and Gauly 2004 contribute alternative understandings of the relation between ethical and scientific motivations within the work. Inwood 2002 calls attention to epistemological and theological strands in Seneca’s thought.

                                                                                                                                                            • Berno, Francesca. 2003. Lo specchio, il vizio e la virtù: Studio sulle Naturales Quaestiones di Seneca. Bologna, Italy: Pàtron.

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                                                                                                                                                              Emphasizes the ethical dimension of the work and defends its unity. For Berno’s main contentions, see also her contribution in English to Bartsch and Schiesaro 2015 (cited under General Overviews).

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                                                                                                                                                              • Corcoran, Thomas, trans. 1971–1972. Natural questions. Vols. 7 and 10. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                English and Latin on facing pages.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Gauly, Bardo Maria. 2004. Senecas Naturales quaestiones: Naturphilosophie für die römische Kaiserzeit. Zetemata 122. Munich: C. H. Beck.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Offers an in-depth treatment of the work as a whole, advancing some original ideas about Seneca’s political and literary purposes.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Hine, Harry M., ed. 1996. L. Annaei Senecae Naturalium quaestionum libros. Stuttgart and Leipzig: Teubner.

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                                                                                                                                                                    The standard edition of the Latin text.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Hine, Harry M. 2006. Rome, the cosmos, and the emperor in Seneca’s Natural Questions. Journal of Roman Studies 96:42–72.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.3815/000000006784016224Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      A sophisticated and informative study of how the treatise relates to its political and social context. Helpful comparison/contrast with Pliny’s Natural History, written about the same time.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Hine, Harry M., ed. and trans. 2010. Seneca: Natural questions. Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Translation, introduction, and extensive notes by an authoritative classical scholar. Presents the books in what is now agreed to be their original order, beginning with Book 3.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Inwood, Brad. 2002. God and human knowledge in Seneca’s Natural Questions. In Traditions of theology: Studies in Hellenistic theology, its background and aftermath. Edited by Dorothea Frede and André Laks, 119–157. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Argues that the treatise evinces a consistent engagement with theological and epistemological questions. See also Inwood 2005, pp. 157–200, cited under Thought: Philosophical Overviews.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Williams, Gareth. 2012. The cosmic viewpoint: A study of Seneca’s Natural Questions. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199731589.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            A comprehensive study probing the ethical complexities of the work and giving insight into its literary form. All eight books are treated in detail, with extensive bibliographical references.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Fragments and Lost Works

                                                                                                                                                                            A review of known and suspected fragments brings to light many puzzles of authorship. Some compositions that were accepted by writers of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages have since been lost, whereas other works that, in fact, may not be Senecan have survived by spurious association with his name. Vottero 1998 is the standard reference work for the material quoted by later authors; Lausberg 1989 provides a systematic analysis in German. Torre 2000 treats the fragments of On Marriage quoted by Jerome. Likewise valuable is Torre’s contribution in English to Bartsch and Schiesaro 2015 (cited under General Overviews, pp. 266–288), in which she traces the reception of Seneca among the early Christian authors who supply us with most of the credible fragments. Although most of the treatises in question, such as On Marriage, On Superstition, and On Untimely Death, are never referred to in the more well-preserved Senecan works, the Book of Moral Philosophy is mentioned more than once in the Moral Epistles. Leeman 1953 reviews what Seneca tells us of this work, which seems to have been known to the early Christian author Lactantius.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Lausberg, Marion. 1989. Senecae operum fragmenta: Überblick und Forschungsbericht. In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Vol. 2, 36.3. Edited by Wolfgang Haase, 1879–1961. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Systematic review of the evidence for each of the fragmentary and lost works, with comments and bibliographical aids. An essential resource.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Leeman, A. D. 1953. Seneca’s plans for a work “Moralis philosophia” and their influence on his later epistles. Mnemosyne 6:307–313.

                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1163/156852553X00479Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                Reviews evidence from the Moral Epistles that Seneca composed (or intended to compose) a comprehensive work on Stoic ethics, and argues that the nature of this work was dialectical; in turn, the plan to compose such a work altered the conception of the Moral Epistles itself.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Torre, Chiara. 2000. Il matrimonio del Sapiens: Ricerche sul De matrimonio di Seneca. Genoa, Italy: Università di Genova, Dipartimento di archeologia, filologia classica e loro tradizioni dell’ Università.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Treats the fragments of Seneca’s lost treatise On Marriage in context with views stated in his extant works.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Vottero, Dionigi, ed. 1998. Lucio Anneo Seneca: I frammenti. Bologna, Italy: Pàtron.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    The standard text for the fragments, with an extensive critical apparatus in Italian. Does not include the fragments of the Epistulae Morales and De Clementia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Manner of Writing

                                                                                                                                                                                    Seneca’s early rhetorical training manifests itself in his style of writing, which makes extensive use of well-turned phrases, metaphor, and wit; it is evident also in his innovative handling of literary form. Comprehensive works concerned primarily with word choice and arrangement include Traina 1995, a classic study, and the magisterial Setaioli 2000; a shorter study in English is Albrecht 2014. The survey of Seneca’s figurative language in Armisen-Marchetti 1989 is complete enough to serve as a reference tool; Bartsch 2009 is more selective but rich in implications. One essay collection belongs here—Grimal 1991, contributions to which are almost exclusively concerned with questions of style, composition, and genre. Roller 2015 is concerned particularly with Seneca’s use of exemplary anecdotes (exempla), while Dressler 2012 brings exempla together with metaphors. Armisen-Marchetti 2004 studies humor within the Moral Epistles; for issues of genre within the same work, see (among others) Wilson 2001 and Wildberger 2014, cited under Moral Epistles. For generic considerations in the dialogues, see Short Dialogues.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Albrecht, Michael von. 2014. Seneca’s language and style. In Brill’s companion to Seneca. Edited by Gregor Damschen and Andreas Heil, 699–744. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Concise and accessible treatment of numerous aspects of Seneca’s prose style in the philosophical works—his “studied negligence,” conversational elements, imagery, rhythm, and rhetorical purpose. See also Albrecht’s monograph on Seneca (Albrecht 2004, cited under General Overviews).

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Armisen-Marchetti, Mireille. 1989. Sapientiae facies: Étude sur les images de Sénèque. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Systematic treatment of similes, metaphors, scientific analogies, and other figurative language throughout Seneca’s works. Part 1 reviews Seneca’s statements about images and the imagination, Part 2 comprises an extensive alphabetical catalogue of images, and Part 3 considers Seneca’s originality and way in which imagery functions in his writing.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Armisen-Marchetti, Mireille. 2004. La signification de l’humour dans les Lettres à Lucilius de Sénèque. In Epistulae antiquae III: Actes du Ille Coloque international “L’épistolaire antique et ses prolongements européens”(Université François-Rabelaid, Tours, 25–27 septembre 2002). Edited by Léon Nadjo and Elisabeth Gavoille, 311–322. Louvain, Belgium: Peeters.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Explores the use and implications of humorous self-deprecation, arguing that it serves a rhetorical function within the moral instruction offered to Lucilius.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Bartsch, Shadi. 2009. Senecan metaphor and Stoic self-instruction. In Seneca and the self. Edited by Shadi Bartsch and David Wray, 188–217. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Gives careful consideration to Seneca’s handling of metaphor, with particular attention to metaphors of the self and to metaphor as a means of conveying philosophical thought.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Dressler, Alex. 2012. “You must change your life”: Theory and practice, metaphor and exemplum, in Seneca’s prose. Helios 39.2: 145–192.

                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1353/hel.2013.0011Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              Overtheorized, but valuable in that it establishes a connection between Seneca’s use of metaphor and exempla.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Grimal, Pierre, ed. 1991. Sénèque et la prose latine: Neuf exposés suivis de discussions, Vandoeuvres-Genève, 14–18 août [1989]. Geneva, Switzerland: Fondation Hardt.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Papers presented at a high-level conference in Geneva, concentrating on style and composition in the prose works. Essays (in French, English, German, and Italian) address points of dialogue and epistolary form, metaphor, prose rhythms, and historical exempla. Each is followed by back-and-forth dialogue among the contributors, reconstructing live discussion from the conference.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Roller, Matthew. 2015. Precept(or) and example in Seneca. In Roman reflections: Studies in Latin philosophy. Edited by Katharina Volk and Gareth Williams, 129–156. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199999767.003.0007Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Examines Seneca’s practice of exemplary discourse, a standard feature of everyday Roman ethics. Argues that while Seneca makes frequent use of exempla, two of his letters (94 and 120) critique the principles of exemplary discourse and suggest ways of revising that discourse along Stoic lines.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Setaioli, Aldo. 2000. Facundus Seneca: Aspetti della lingua e dell’ideologia senecana. Bologna, Italy: Pàtron. 9–96.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Reprints a series of important articles by Setaioli, note especially “Elementi di sermo cotidianus nella lingua di Seneca prosatore” (first published in 1980), which details the vocabulary, syntax, and turns of phrase that bring Seneca’s prose closer to everyday speech than that of Cicero. Another is “Seneca e lo stile” (first published in 1981), which treats Seneca’s stated views on style in relation to his philosophy and psychagogic aims, with ample consideration of Greek precedents.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Traina, Alfonso. 1995. Lo stile “drammatico” del filosofo Seneca. 4th ed. Bologna, Italy: Pàtron.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      First published in 1973. This densely written work engages closely with the texture of Seneca’s prose, discovering a “dramatic” tension between his turning inward, to the self, and outward, toward proclamation. The abundant documentation should be read along with the text. An appendix considers which Senecan works were read by Augustine of Hippo and to what effect.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thought

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Works in this section are concerned specifically with the content of Seneca’s work, his major themes and arguments, and his relation to earlier philosophical traditions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Philosophical Overviews

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Seneca is, above all, a moral philosopher. Themes of value, other-concern, and the nature of true happiness predominate in his writings, as treated by the earlier Stoics and in opposition to rival schools of thought. These dimensions of his thought are best approached through Vogt 2013 (available online) or through the thematic essays in Damschen and Heil 2014 (cited under General Overviews). More extensive treatments considering multiple issues are Inwood 2005 and Wildberger 2006. A seminal treatment of Seneca’s Stoic affiliations is Rist 1989.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Inwood, Brad. 2005. Reading Seneca: Stoic philosophy at Rome. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        A single-author collection offering in-depth treatment of central topics in Seneca’s major treatises and in the letters, especially such central topics of ethics as normativity, autonomy, and self-command. Informed by the author’s expert knowledge of the Stoic tradition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rist, John. 1989. Seneca and Stoic orthodoxy. In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Vol. 2, 36.3. Edited by Wolfgang Haase, 1993–2012. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Considers in turn each of the philosophical issues on which Seneca has sometimes been thought to have abandoned the doctrines of the early Stoics, arguing that in fact his views are all, or nearly all, orthodox for that school. The starting point for most subsequent work on Seneca’s Stoicism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Vogt, Katja. 2013. Seneca. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            A well-balanced thematic overview of Seneca’s thought, with numerous references to recent scholarship.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Wildberger, Jula. 2006. Seneca und die Stoa: Der Platz des Menschen in der Welt. 2 vols. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              An ambitious study of Seneca’s thought within the context of earlier Stoic philosophy, carefully documented from sources. Takes up such broad questions as conceptions of the divine nature and categories of existing things, then addresses the announced topic—the cosmos and the place of the human being within it. Well indexed and useful for reference.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Influences

                                                                                                                                                                                                              A large proportion of the older literature on Seneca was devoted to identifying earlier authors from whom he might have derived large amounts of his material, or who might have influenced the development of his thought. These more recent studies are inclined neither toward source criticism per se nor toward the perception of Seneca as an eclectic philosopher, but they do recognize the complexity of his intellectual inheritance. Setaioli 1988 documents his onomastic references to older authors; Tieleman 2007 continues this tradition with reference specifically to Plato and known Platonists. (For additional work on Seneca’s Platonic interests, see Metaphysics and Theology.) The influence of Epicurus is treated in Graver 2015 and Schiesaro 2015; relevant also is Wildberger 2014 (cited under Moral Epistles). For the influence of Cicero, the most comprehensive treatment is Setaioli 2003; more specific instances are explored in Wildberger 2010 and also in Orlando 2014 (cited under Logic, Epistemology, and the Theoretical Life). For an assessment of Seneca’s relation to Stoicism, see Rist 1989 (cited under Philosophical Overviews); for his education and philosophical milieu, see Inwood 1995 and Sellars 2014 (both cited under Life and Education).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Graver, Margaret. 2015. The emotional intelligence of Epicureans: Doctrinalism and adaptation in Seneca’s Epistles. In Roman reflections: Studies in Latin philosophy. Edited by Katharina Volk and Gareth Williams, 192–210. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Seneca responds to the achievement of Epicurus at different levels; although hostile to the foundations of Epicurean ethics, he yet appreciates Epicurean educational methods and adapts for his own use some of the school’s observations of psychological phenomena.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Schiesaro, Alessandro. 2015. Seneca and Epicurus: The allure of the other. In Cambridge companion to Seneca. Edited by Shadi Bartsch and Alessandro Schiesaro, 239–251. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A skillful résumé of a complex issue, recognizing the philosophical distance between Seneca and Epicurus. Develops to an unexpected extent the theme of sublimity (in relation to Lucretius) in the Natural Questions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Setaioli, Aldo. 1988. Seneca e i Greci: Citazioni e traduzioni nelle opere filosofiche. Bologna, Italy: Pàtron.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Systematically reviews citations by the name of Greek authors within Seneca’s philosophical works. An invaluable resource for understanding his relation to the philosophical tradition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Setaioli, Aldo. 2003. Seneca e Cicerone. In Aspetti della fortuna di Cicerone nella cultura latina: Atti del III Symposium Ciceronianum Arpinas; Arpino, 10 maggio 2002. Edited by Emanuele Narducci, 55–77. Florence: Felice Le Monnier.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Treats the use of Cicero’s letters as a model (or anti-model) for the Moral Epistles and of his On the Republic for Letter 108; also, with appropriate caution, the role Cicero’s other philosophical works may have played in forming Seneca’s thought and vocabulary.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Tieleman, Teun. 2007. Onomastic reference in Seneca: The case of Plato and the Platonists. In Platonic Stoicism, Stoic Platonism: The dialogue between Platonism and Stoicism in antiquity. Edited by Mauro Bonazzi and Christoph Helmig, 133–148. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Systematically reviews and evaluates each of Seneca’s explicitly labeled references to Plato, Platonists, and the Academy in order to establish the extent of his knowledge and something of his purposes. A valuable piece, thoroughly researched and careful in its method.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Wildberger, Jula. 2010. Praebebam enim me facilem opinionibus magnorum virorum: The reception of Plato in Seneca, Epistulae Morales 102. In Aristotle and the Stoics reading Plato. Edited by Verity Harte, M. M. McCabe, R. W. Sharples, and Anne Sheppard, 205–232. London: Institute of Classical Studies, Univ. of London.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reviews the literature on Seneca’s reception of Plato, noting the absence of a comprehensive treatment, then proceeds to a nuanced study of Moral Epistle 102, arguing for a diffuse Platonic influence mediated through Cicero’s first Tusculan Disputation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Metaphysics and Theology

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Several of the Moral Epistles take up topics in metaphysics, both as inherited from earlier Stoics and as received from the Platonic and Aristotelian tradition. An essential resource for these letters is Inwood 2007 (cited under Moral Epistles). Sedley 2005, Inwood 2007, and Boys-Stones 2013 explore historical and philosophical issues in Letters 58 and 65. Seneca’s understanding of the divine has been studied from numerous angles. Setaioli 2007 gives a comprehensive assessment, whereas Russell 2004 studies passages that speak of virtue as likeness to God, and Asmis 2009 treats quasi-divine personifications of Fortune. Reydams-Schils 2010 helpfully considers those elements of Seneca’s theology and psychology that suggest Platonic antecedents. Hine 1995 offers a highly suggestive study of the problem of evil, with implications for divine virtue. See also Inwood 2002 (cited under Natural Questions).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Asmis, Elizabeth. 2009. Seneca on fortune and the kingdom of God. In Seneca and the self. Edited by Shadi Bartsch and David Wray, 115–138. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Seneca’s distinctive approach to ethics can be connected with his emphasis on contending against an antagonistic fortune; compare the Roman cult of a goddess Fortuna. Less convincing is the author’s contention that this aspect of his thought is in tension with the Stoic view of fate.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Boys-Stones, George. 2013. Seneca against Plato: Letters 58 and 65. In Plato and the Stoics. Edited by A. G. Long, 128–146. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139629157.007Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Reads Letters 58 and 65 as not representing a rapprochement with Platonism but rather a polemic against Platonic metaphysics, engaged not only with the Timaeus but also especially with the Phaedo.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hine, Harry M. 1995. Seneca, Stoicism and the problem of moral evil. In Ethics and Rhetoric: Classical essays for Donald Russell on his seventh-fifth birthday. Edited by Doreen Innes, Harry M. Hine, and Christopher Pelling, 93–106. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A passage from Moral Epistle 90 states in effect that the existence of moral goodness requires that of moral evil, raising questions about the Stoic version of the Problem of Evil. An important implication is that divine virtue is inherently different from human virtue.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Inwood, Brad. 2007. Seneca, Plato and Platonism: The case of Letter 65. In Platonic Stoicism, Stoic Platonism: The dialogue between Platonism and Stoicism in antiquity. Edited by Mauro Bonazzi and Christoph Helmig, 149–168. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Reads Letter 65 (and, to a lesser extent, 58 and 66) in terms of Seneca’s direct reception of Plato’s works, especially Phaedo and Timaeus, but also for what these letters suggest about the nature of philosophical practice at Rome. Compare with Sedley 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Reydams-Schils, Gretchen. 2010. Seneca’s Platonism: The soul and its divine origin. In Ancient models of mind: Studies in human and divine rationality. Edited by Andrea Nightingale and David Sedley, 196–215. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511760389.012Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A detailed and authoritative study of Senecan motifs representing the human soul as a divine element imprisoned within the body. Explicates with philosophical acumen the signification Seneca gives to these Platonic expressions within his own Stoic context.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Russell, Daniel C. 2004. Virtue as “Likeness to God” in Plato and Seneca. Journal of the History of Philosophy 42:241–260.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A wide-ranging study in which Senecan texts on becoming like God are put alongside related Platonic and Aristotelian texts, with intent to show that the theme is less otherworldly than it first appears.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Sedley, David. 2005. Stoic metaphysics at Rome. In Metaphysics, soul and ethics: Themes from the work of Richard Sorabji. Edited by Ricardo Salles, 117–142. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Studies Letters 58 and 65 in context with evidence of contemporary Roman interests in Platonic and Aristotelian metaphysics. Compare this view of Seneca’s philosophical procedure with that of Inwood 1995 (cited under Life and Education).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Setaioli, Aldo. 2007. Seneca and the divine: Stoic tradition and personal developments. International Journal of the Classical Tradition 13:333–368.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/BF02856418Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mentions of God and the divine throughout Seneca’s work give evidence of a strong religious sensibility. This well-researched article emphasizes that, consistent with Seneca’s Stoic commitments, there is no leap into the irrational, but rather that the rational investigation of natural phenomena is itself a quasi-holy activity. A concluding section considers the relationship of Seneca’s religious views to earlier ways of thinking, including Roman traditions and Platonist thought, though not Plato himself.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Logic, Epistemology, and the Theoretical Life

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Issues of knowledge and intellectual formation go to the very heart of Seneca’s thinking about the nature of his own work, as well as his understanding of moral progress. His negative treatments of the liberal arts as conventionally understood and of some standard demonstrations in logic delimit his own approach; for these treatments, see Stückelberger 1965 (treating Moral Epistle 88) and Barnes 1997. Two studies relate Seneca’s stated views in this area to his own endeavor as a writer in different ways—Wildberger 2006 is concerned with questions of coherence; Graver 2012, with the justification offered for study. The distinguished Ilsetraut Hadot responds to Brad Inwood concerning a particularly important problem in concept formation in Hadot 2014. Closely related in topic is Orlando 2014, an excellent terminological and conceptual study of preconceptions in Seneca and related authors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Barnes, Jonathan. 1997. Logic and the imperial Stoa. Leiden, The Netherlands, and New York: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Barnes considers Seneca’s attitude to formal logic, arguing persuasively that the hostility expressed in some of the Moral Epistles is not to logic itself, but to the misuse of logic (pp. 12–23).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Graver, Margaret. 2012. Seneca and the Contemplatio veri. In Theoria, praxis, and the contemplative life after Plato and Aristotle. Edited by T. Bénatouïl and M. Bonazzi, 73–98. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The justifications offered in On Leisure for devoting oneself to the life of study, rather than to political action, are essential to understanding the generic framing of the Moral Epistles.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hadot, Ilsetraut. 2014. Getting to goodness: Reflections on Chapter 10 of Brad Inwood, Reading Seneca. In Seneca Philosophus. Edited by Jula Wildberger and Marcia Colish, 9–42. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Inwood had studied Seneca’s suggestions concerning the formation of the concept of the good, using, in particular, Moral Epistle 120 (see Inwood 2005, cited under Philosophical Overviews). Hadot critiques Inwood’s analysis in part by elucidating older Stoic claims about implanted preconceptions or “seeds of the virtues”; she objects, too, to the connection he draws with Platonic recollection. The original French version can be found in the appendix to Hadot 2014, cited under Thought: Introspection, Moral Formation, and Ascesis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Orlando, Antonello. 2014. Seneca on Prolēpsis: Greek sources and Cicero’s influence. In Seneca Philosophus. Edited by Jula Wildberger and Marcia Colish, 43–63. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A careful treatment of Seneca’s references in Moral Epistles 117 and 120 to preconceptions and implanted conceptions (including preconceptions of the divine), studying these in the context of Greek precedents and of Cicero’s handling of these and related terms. As in earlier Stoicism, this language amounts to innatism of a kind, but remains distinct from Platonic ideas of recollection.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Stückelberger, Alfred. 1965. Senecas 88 Brief: Über Wert und Unwert der freien Künste. Heidelberg, Germany: Carl Winter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Letter 88 gives a long account of what Seneca calls the “liberal arts.” Stückelberger treats the structure of this letter, its probable sources, and its relation to the other prose works, then provides text and translation with detailed notes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Wildberger, Jula. 2006. Seneca and the Stoic theory of cognition: Some preliminary remarks. In Seeing Seneca whole: Perspectives on philosophy, poetry, and politics. Edited by Katharina Volk and Gareth D. Williams, 75–102. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ponders the relation between Seneca’s own writings, with what often seems to be “fading coherence,” and the theory of knowledge he endorses as a Stoic. A lucid entrée to an issue that has not often been addressed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Precepts and Principles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Virtually a treatise in their own right, the disproportionately long 94th and 95th Moral Epistles argue the necessity of, respectively, precepts (praecepta) and principles (decreta) of ethics. Items in this section consider what is at stake in this discussion. Mitsis 1993 and Inwood 1999 are important studies that frame the question in terms of moral rules and are accordingly concerned with Seneca’s possible role in the historical development of notions of natural law. Ioppolo 2000 seeks to move forward from their differences. More recently, Schafer 2009 has argued persuasively that Seneca’s concern is not with moral theory but with techniques of moral instruction (for which perspective, see also Hadot 1969 and Hadot 2014, both cited under Introspection, Moral Formation, and Ascesis).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Inwood, Brad. 1999. Rules and reasoning in Stoic ethics. In Topics in Stoic Philosophy. Edited by Katerina Ierodiakonou, 95–127. Oxford: Clarendon.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Takes up the discussion of rules (compare Mitsis 1993) as a key issue in Stoic ethics; are there any rules to guide action that are at once both substantive and exceptionless? Precepts emerge as defeasible rules of thumb; principles, as very general moral principles. Reprinted in Inwood 2005, pp. 95–131, cited under Philosophical Overviews.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ioppolo, Anna Maria. 2000. Decreta e praecepta in Seneca. In La filosofia in età imperiale: Le scuole e le tradizioni filosofiche; Atti del colloquio, Roma, 17–19 Giugno 1999. Edited by Aldo Brancacci, 13–36. Naples, Italy: Bibliopolis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Seeks to move forward from the difference of interpretation between Mitsis 1993 and Inwood 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Mitsis, Phillip. 1993. Seneca on reason, rules, and moral development. In Passions and perceptions: Studies in Hellenistic philosophy mind; Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium Hellenisticum. Edited by Jacques Brunschwig and Martha Nussbaum, 285–312. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sets the context as a Stoic reaction to Aristotle’s dissatisfaction with intellectualism, then interprets Seneca’s precepts and principles as specific and general moral rules, arguing that the ideal Stoic agent uses these to determine by reason what actions are right.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Schafer, John. 2009. Ars didactica: Seneca’s 94th and 95th letters. Hypomnemata 181. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A thorough study of the two letters, including a review of the literature. Responding primarily to Mitsis 1993 and Inwood 1999, argues that Seneca’s concern is with methods of instruction in ethics. Well argued and sensitive to Seneca’s aims, with much to contribute to understanding the Moral Epistles as a whole.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Emotion and Will

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Although much of Seneca’s philosophical output is concerned in one way or another with the sources of voluntary action and/or the management of the emotions, considerable study is required to make sense of his theoretical positions on the mechanisms of action and emotion. At one time, Seneca’s usage of velle and voluntas was considered responsible for the emergence of the will, as a distinct psychological entity, in European philosophy; to be sure, this may be the case, whether or not Seneca himself was committed to a strong form of volitionalism. Inwood 2000 and Zöller 2003 take different positions on what Seneca’s commitments were in this regard. Specifically on emotion (although the two topics are closely related), attention has been given especially to a passage in Book 2 of On Anger that explicates the Stoic conception with numerous examples of psychological events that do not count as emotion. Inwood 1993, Vogt 2006, and Graver 2007 all treat this passage in detail. Sorabji 2000 treats both topics in the context of a broad-based conceptual history.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Graver, Margaret. 2007. Stoicism and emotion. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Two chapters give extensive treatment to Seneca’s statements on emotion, pre-emotion, and will in the context of the wider Stoic theory. The problematic “third movement” of On Anger 2.4 is interpreted as behavior of the insane.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Inwood, Brad. 1993. Seneca and psychological dualism. In Passions & Perceptions. Edited by Jacques Brunschwig and Martha Nussbaum, 150–183. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Argues against some earlier scholars (including Fillion-Lahille 1984, cited under Works: On Anger) that Seneca’s psychology is primarily monistic and thus orthodox for a Stoic. Also in Inwood 2005, pp. 23–64, cited under Philosophical Overviews.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Inwood, Brad. 2000. The will in Seneca the Younger. Classical Philology 95:44–60.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Seneca is not, as has sometimes been asserted, the originator of the notion of the human will as a specific internal faculty; however, he does use language in a way that shows interest in such ideas as desire, resolve, and second-order wanting. Also in Inwood 2005, pp. 132–156, cited under Philosophical Overviews.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Sorabji, Richard. 2000. Emotion and peace of mind: From Stoic agitation to Christian temptation. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The “first movement” of On Anger 2.4 (which Sorabji treats as a Senecan invention) provides a Stoic answer to questions raised by Posidonius and others. Rich in texts and in conceptual links.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Vogt, K. M. 2006. Anger, present injustice and future revenge in Seneca’s De Ira. In Seeing Seneca whole: Perspectives on philosophy, poetry, and politics. Edited by Katharina Volk and Gareth D. Williams, 57–74. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Philosophical analysis of Seneca’s position in On Anger, Book 2, via Stoic concepts of impression, assent, and impulse.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Zöller, Rainer. 2003. Die Vorstellung vom Willen in der Morallehre Senecas. Munich and Leipzig: K. G. Saur.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This full-length study argues that Seneca has a clearly articulated and innovative conception of will as a separate soul-faculty within the irrational part, controlling both actions and emotions. Important as a synthetic treatment of a central philosophical issue.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Introspection, Moral Formation, and Ascesis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Seneca’s frequent concern with personal development in the individual has given the impetus for a number of studies on the process of moral formation. Hadot 1969 is the seminal work, laying out a line of inquiry followed by (among others) Hachmann 1995 and Edwards 1997. Hadot 2014 updates that earlier study and translates it into French. An interest more specifically in the practices of ascesis—termed by Pierre Hadot “spiritual exercises” and best known through the late work of Michel Foucault—gives rise to such studies as Armisen-Marchetti 1986, Montiglio 2008, and Ker 2009. The more recent Graver 2014 considers the role of writing in self-formation. For underlying questions about the notion of self, see the essays in Bartsch and Wray 2009, cited under Article Collections.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Armisen-Marchetti, Mireille. 1986. Imagination and meditation in Seneca: The example of Praemeditatio. Revue des Études Latines 64:185–195.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Treats the use of imagination in standard exercises of pre-rehearsing future evils and remembering past benefits as techniques of self-consolation and encouragement. Also in Fitch 2008, pp. 102–113, cited under Article Collections.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Edwards, Catharine. 1997. Self-scrutiny and self-transformation in Seneca’s Letters. Greece & Rome 44:23–38.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Situates Seneca’s project within the broader history of autobiographical writing. A suggestive piece, sensitive to the multiplicity of authorial voices in the letters. Also in Fitch 2008, pp. 84–101, cited under Article Collections, 84–101.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Graver, Margaret. 2014. Honeybee reading and self-scripting: Seneca’s Epistle 84. In Seneca Philosophus. Edited by Jula Wildberger and Marcia Colish, 269–293. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A philologically informed reinterpretation of Seneca’s claims about reading and writing as a means of self-creation, responding in part to Foucault’s essay on the same topic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hachmann, Erwin. 1995. Die Führung des Lesers in Senecas Epistulae Morales. Münster, Germany: Aschendorff.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Seeks to discern patterns of theme and metaphor among the letters to reveal a “hidden plan” drawing the reader into deeper commitment. Strongest on Letters 1–65.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hadot, Ilsetraut. 1969. Seneca und die griechisch-römische Tradition der Seelenleitung. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Foundational study of Seneca’s moral philosophy, situating it within an ancient tradition of spiritual guidance. Methodologically careful and grounded in a deep knowledge of the texts. Compare Hadot 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Hadot, Ilsetraut. 2014. Sénèque: Direction spirituelle et pratique de la philosophie. Paris: Vrin.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Revises and updates the author’s earlier work (Hadot 1969), bringing its conclusions into the context of recent scholarship. A long appendix gives Hadot’s response to Chapter 10 of Inwood 2005 (cited under Philosophical Overviews); for an English version, see Hadot 2014, cited under Logic, Epistemology, and the Theoretical Life.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Ker, James. 2009. Seneca on self-examination: Rereading On Anger 3.36. In Seneca and the self. Edited by Shadi Bartsch and David Wray,160–187. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Because the nightly self-examination of the title has been treated as a paradigmatic form of ascesis, it can serve as a test case for how Seneca describes and deploys such exercises. Ker insists on a reading that gives full weight to the language in which the account is couched and to its role in the rhetoric of the treatise.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Montiglio, Silvia. 2008. Meminisse iuvabit: Seneca on controlling memory. Rheinisches Museum fur Philologie 151:168–180.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Considers the use of memory as a means of self-actualization, yielding an awareness of a unified, atemporal identity. A philosophically rich study with far-reaching implications.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Social Issues

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Included in this section are focused studies of Seneca’s views on particular questions of social class and the rights of the individual. Three articles are devoted to Seneca’s attitude to slavery, taking different approaches: Eigler 2005, Bradley 2008, and Edwards 2009. The related topic of gladiators (who were also slaves) is treated exhaustively in Kroppen 2008. Harich 1993 offers an overview of Seneca’s attitudes toward women (see also Wilcox 2006 on this topic, cited under Works: Consolations, and Torre 2000 on marriage, cited under Works: Fragments and Lost Works). Also highly relevant here are Griffin 2013 (cited under Works: On Benefits), and several of the chapters in Griffin 1992 (cited under Life and Education).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Bradley, K. R. 2008. Seneca and slavery. In Seneca. Edited by John Fitch, 335–347. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Updates the author’s 1986 article of the same title (Classica et Medievalia 37 (1986), pp. 161–172). Seneca’s pointed remarks about the treatment of slaves in On Benefits 3.18–28 and Moral Epistle 47 do not show that his attitude was enlightened in any modern sense.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Edwards, Catharine. 2009. Free yourself! Slavery, freedom, and the self in Seneca’s Letters. In Seneca and the self. Edited by Shadi Bartsch and David Wray, 139–159. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A rich and subtle essay examining Seneca’s metaphors of slavery and liberation in light of the realities of social class at Rome.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Eigler, Ulrich. 2005. “Familiariter cum servis vivere”: Einige Überlegungen zu Inhalt und Hintergrund von Senecas Epistel 47. In Seneca, philosophus et magister: Festschrift für Eckard Lefèvre zum 70 Geburtstag. Edited by Thomas Baier, Gesine Manuwald, and Bernhard Zimmermann, 63–79. Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany: Rombach.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Reads Moral Epistle 47 in light of Tacitus’s account of the trial of Pedanius Secundus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Harich, Henriette. 1993. Zur Präsenz des Weiblichen und zur Einschätzung der Frau bei Seneca. Grazer Beitrage 19:129–155.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Proceeds from a close study of the adjectives muliebris, femineus, and effeminatus to a broader consideration of the role of women in Seneca, including both his general assumptions and his mentions of specific women. Particular attention is given to the consolations to Marcia and to Seneca’s mother Helvia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kroppen, Thomas. 2008. Mortis dolorisque contemptio: Athleten und Gladiatoren in Senecas philosophischem Konzept. Hildesheim, Germany: Weidmann.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Catalogues Seneca’s references to gladiatorial games and related arena sports. In addition, gives an overview of his ethical stance and reflections on the frequent comparison of the Stoic sage with the gladiator.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Reception and Manuscript Tradition

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A wide variety of studies have sought to trace Seneca’s influence from antiquity to the modern era or to shed light on how his works were received by specific writers, artists, and musicians. Ross 1974 can serve as a brief introduction to the topic; for more serious study, Trillitzsch 1971 remains indispensable. Ker 2009 treats the subject more expansively than its title suggests. Nothdurft 1963 provides exceptional depth concerning authors of the 12th century. Foundational to all these studies is an account of how the works were transmitted, including what has been believed at different periods about the correct attribution of various works circulated under his name. For these matters, both Reynolds 1965 and Reynolds 1968 are essential resources. Vottero 1998 (cited under Works: Fragments and Lost Works) gives many details concerning Senecan works that are known only through mentions or brief quotations in late antiquity or the medieval period; the appendix to Traina 1995 (cited under Manner of Writing) supplies additional material on Augustine. In addition to the citations in this section, extensive discussions of Seneca’s influence may be found in Bartsch and Schiesaro 2015 (cited under General Overviews), in Baier, et al. 2005 and Rodríguez-Pantoja 1997 (cited under Article Collections), and in the last three chapters of Albrecht 2004 (cited under General Overviews).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Ker, J. 2009. The deaths of Seneca. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Rich treatment of Seneca’s death narrative as interpreted and re-represented by historians in antiquity, by subsequent literary authors, and in the visual arts. Ker sees these interpretations as shaped by Seneca’s own reflections on death in his work.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Nothdurft, Klaus-Dieter. 1963. Studien zum Einfluss Senecas auf die Philosophie und Theologie des zwölften Jahrhunderts. Leiden, The Netherlands, and Cologne: Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A detailed and informative overview of the manuscript tradition and of references in other authors up to 1300, followed by an in-depth study of Seneca’s influence on 12th-century European writers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Reynolds, L. 1965. The medieval tradition of Seneca’s Letters. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Primarily concerned with the manuscript history, but also supplies many details on the reception of the letters in late antiquity and the medieval period.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Reynolds, L. D. 1968. The medieval tradition of Seneca’s Dialogues. Classical Quarterly 18:355–372.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Reconstructs the history of the crucially important Ambrosian manuscript, elucidating the role played by the monastery of Monte Cassino (essential) and by Roger Bacon (much less than Bacon claimed).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ross, G. M. 1974. Seneca’s philosophical influence. In Seneca. Edited by C. D. N. Costa, 116–142. London and Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Traces the influence of Seneca’s philosophical thought in considerable detail down to the 12th century, then more rapidly through such figures as Petrarch, Erasmus, Montaigne, and Lipsius. Careful and reliable.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Trillitzsch, W. 1971. Seneca im literarischen Urteil der Antike: Darstellung und Sammlung der Zeugnisse. Amsterdam: Hakkert.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A deeply learned work tracing hundreds of references to Seneca from his own time to that of Erasmus. Volume 1 provides the historical analysis; Volume 2, the corresponding textual evidence, nearly all of which is in Latin.

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