Seneca Moral and Political Essays

ISBN-10: 0521348188
ISBN-13: 9780521348188
Edition: 1995
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Description: This volume offers clear and forceful contemporary translations of the most important of Seneca's 'Moral Essays': On Anger, On Mercy, On the Private Life and the first four books of On Favours. They give an attractive, full picture of the social and  More...

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Book details

List price: $39.99
Copyright year: 1995
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 6/22/1995
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 370
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.880

This volume offers clear and forceful contemporary translations of the most important of Seneca's 'Moral Essays': On Anger, On Mercy, On the Private Life and the first four books of On Favours. They give an attractive, full picture of the social and moral outlook of an ancient Stoic thinker intimately involved in the governance of the Roman empire in the mid first century of the Christian era. A general introduction describes Seneca's life and career and explains the fundamental ideas underlying the Stoic moral, social and political philosophy that informs the essays. Individual introductions, footnotes and biographical notes place the essays in their historical and philosophical contexts, and further assistance to students is provided by section headings in the translations which organize the principal transitions in the argument and the more unfamiliar aspects of Seneca's writing.

Seneca was born in Spain of a wealthy Italian family. His father, Lucius Annaeus Seneca (see Vol. 4), wrote the well-known Controversaie (Controversies) and Suasoriae (Persuasions), which are collections of arguments used in rhetorical training, and his nephew Lucan was the epic poet of the civil war. Educated in rhetoric and philosophy in Rome, he found the Stoic doctrine especially compatible. The younger Seneca became famous as an orator but was exiled by the Emperor Claudius. He was recalled by the Empress Agrippina to become the tutor of her son, the young Nero. After the first five years of Nero's reign, Agrippina was murdered and three years later Octavia, Nero's wife, was exiled. Seneca retired as much as possible from public life and devoted himself to philosophy, writing many treatises at this time. But in 65 he was accused of conspiracy and, by imperial order, committed suicide by opening his veins. He was a Stoic philosopher and met his death with Stoic calm. Seneca's grisly tragedies fascinated the Renaissance and have been successfully performed in recent years. All ten tragedies are believed genuine, with the exception of Octavia, which is now considered to be by a later writer. Translations of the tragedies influenced English dramatists such as Jonson (see Vol. 1), Marlowe (see Vol. 1), and Shakespeare (see Vol. 1), who all imitated Seneca's scenes of horror and his characters---the ghost, nurse, and villain.

John M. Cooper is the Henry Putnam University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. He is the general editor of the authoritative English-language edition of Plato's complete writings, and the author of "Reason and Emotion" and "Knowledge, Nature, and the Good "(both Princeton), among other books.

Editors+ notes
General introduction
Abbreviations
On Anger
On Mercy
On the Private Life
On Favours
Biographical notes
Index

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