Facts about Seneca

Born: c. 5 A.D.
Died: 65 (suicide)
Birthplace: Cordoba, Spain
Best known as: Stoic philospher and playwright of the first century

     
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Seneca Biography

Name at birth: Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, sometimes referred to as Seneca the Younger, was a Stoic philosopher and writer in imperial Rome during the first century AD.

Born in Cordoba, Spain into nobility, little is known about his early life. Given the position of his father, Seneca the Elder, it is assumed he had early training for a public life.

Seneca published frequently and his rhetorical skills made him popular and wealthy, but he ran afoul of emperors from time to time during his political career.

Caligula nearly had him executed and Claudius exiled him to Corsica, but when he returned to Rome he continued to gain wealth and influence. A tutor of young Nero, Seneca later became one of his imperial advisors.

As a philosopher, Seneca’s primary focus was on morals. His advocacy of the simple life and claims that money isn’t everything have drawn criticism over the centuries, given that Seneca was not only rich, he was often drawn into political intrigue.

Widely read during his lifetime, Seneca was also revisited by Renaissance thinkers, and his tragedies are said to have influenced Elizabethan England.

Accused of participating in a plot against Nero, Seneca was compelled to commit suicide in 65 A.D.

Some of his more famous works include Letters to Lucillius and Letters of a Stoic, and his plays Thyestes, Medea and Oedipus.

Extra credit

It has been suggested that one reason for Seneca’s popularity is that her wrote in Latin instead of the Greek usually preferred by philosophers.


     

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