Seneca's letters to his friend Lucilius are powerful moral essays that also yield illuminating insight into Seneca's personal life and the truly turbulent times in which he lived. One of the great Stoic philosophers, Seneca here guides Lucilius' struggle to achieve wisdom and serenity, uninfluenced by worldly emotions. He advises his friend on how to do without what is superfluous, whether in terms of happiness, riches, reputation, or the emotions. The letters include literary discussions, moral exhortation, exemplary heroes and episodes from Roman history, and a lurid picture of contemporary luxury. And under Nero's chaotic reign, the topic of death is never far away. This marvelous new translation by eminent scholar Elaine Fantham offers the largest selection of Seneca's letters currently available. Fantham's invaluable introduction discusses Seneca's family and political career, his many and varied writings, the nature of the letters as genuine epistles or fiction, their philosophical concerns, and other social and cultural aspects. Short head-notes to each letter summarize its themes and parallels with other letters, opening a window on to Seneca's world.
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About the Author
Elaine Fantham is Giger professor of Latin Emeritus at Princeton University.