Seneca the Elder

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Marcus Annaeus Seneca (c. 54 BC – c. 37 AD), often known as Seneca the Rhetorician or Seneca the Elder, was a Roman authority on the history and techniques of oratory. He was father of Seneca the Younger and grandfather of Lucan.

Quotes[edit]

  • Magni pectoris est inter secunda moderatio.
    • Of a great spirit is moderation in prosperity.
      • Suasoriae; Chapter I

Controversiae[edit]

  • Perierat totus orbis, nisi iram finiret misericordia.
    • The whole world would have been destroyed if compassion did not put an end to anger.
      • Book I, Chapter I; slightly modified translation from Michael Winterbottom, Declamations of the Elder Seneca (London: Heinemann, 1974) vol. 1 p. 33
  • Iniquum est conlapsis manum non porrigere; commune hoc ius generis humani est.
    • It is wrong not to give a hand to the fallen; this law is universal to the whole human race.
      • Book I, Chapter I; slightly modified translation from Norman T. Pratt Seneca's Drama (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983) p. 140
  • Quædam iura non scripta, sed omnibus scriptis certiora sunt.
    • Some laws are not written, but are more decisive than any written law.
      • Book I, Chapter I; slightly modified translation from Norman T. Pratt Seneca's Drama (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983) p. 140
  • Vivamus, moriendum est.
    • Let us live – we must die.
      • Book II, Chapter VI; translation from Michael Winterbottom, Declamations of the Elder Seneca (London: Heinemann, 1974) vol. 1 p. 349
        • Note: Some editions of Seneca prefer the reading Bibamus, moriendum est (Let us drink – we must die).


Misattributed[edit]

Many quotations have been incorrectly attributed to Seneca the Elder which are actually from his son Seneca the Younger.

  • Quid enim refert, quantum habeas? multo illud plus est, quod non habes.
    • What difference does it make how much you have? What you do not have amounts to much more.
    • Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, bk. 12, ch. 2, sect. 13; translation from Riad Aziz Kassis The Book of Proverbs and Arabic Proverbial Works (Leiden: Brill, 1999) p. 159.
  • Si vis amari, ama.
    • If you wish to be loved, love.
  • He that is a friend to himself, is a friend to all mankind.
"I shall tell you what pleased me today in the writings of Hecato; it is these words: 'What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.' That was indeed a great benefit; such a person can never be alone. You may be sure that such a man is a friend to all mankind." ["Interim quoniam diurnam tibi mercedulam debeo, quid me hodie apud Hecatonem delectaverit dicam. 'Quaeris' inquit 'quid profecerim? amicus esse mihi coepi.' Multum profecit: numquam erit solus. Scito esse hunc amicum omnibus."]

External links[edit]

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