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By Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BCE–65 CE) used to be a Roman Stoic thinker, dramatist, statesman, and adviser to the emperor Nero, all in the course of the Silver Age of Latin literature. the total Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca is a clean and compelling sequence of recent English-language translations of his works in 8 obtainable volumes. Edited by means of world-renowned classicists Elizabeth Asmis, Shadi Bartsch, and Martha C. Nussbaum, this attractive assortment restores Seneca—whose works were hugely praised by way of smooth authors from Desiderius Erasmus to Ralph Waldo Emerson—to his rightful position one of the classical writers most generally studied within the humanities.

Anger, Mercy, Revenge comprises 3 key writings: the ethical essays On Anger and On Clemency—which have been penned as recommendation for the then younger emperor, Nero—and the Apocolocyntosis, an excellent satire lampooning the tip of the reign of Claudius. buddy and coach, in addition to thinker, Seneca welcomed the age of Nero in tones alternately severe, poetic, and comic—making Anger, Mercy, Revenge a piece simply as advanced, astute, and bold as its author.

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That sense would have told him that in trying to reach such an audience it was unwise to bet too much on the power of philosophy. 1), he expects any number of other things that serve his pleasure and his will—and he expects it all right now and all the time. Granted, a fair number of the details that Seneca deploys in sketching his implied audience are familiar from the quasi-satirical conventions of Roman moralizing, and some of what he says must be discounted for that reason. , esp. 21), which are offered in a sober, non-satirical mode and—because they mostly stress what should not be done as a matter of principle—can reasonably be taken to show what was often done as a matter of fact.

2) May virtue be far removed from this evil, that reason should ever take refuge in vice! A mind in this state—protected by its own failings, unable to be brave except when angry, or energetic except when desirous, or quiet except when afraid—can find no reliable tranquility but is necessarily shaken and tossed about: a mind that becomes a slave to some passion must exist as though in a tyrant’s realm. Isn’t it shameful to make virtues depend upon the patronage of vices? (3) Furthermore, reason ceases to be capable of anything if it’s capable of nothing without passion; it begins to be passion’s twin, its match.

3) And I’m still talking about punishments visited on individuals; now set aside those whom blazing anger assailed one man at a time and consider whole assemblies mowed down, the common folk butchered when an army was loosed upon them, whole peoples condemned to die in promiscuous slaughter * * * ? 47 (3a) Anger turns everything from what is best and most righteous on anger 16 to the opposite. It causes whoever has come into its clutches to forget his duty: make a father angry, he’s an enemy; make a son angry, he’s a parricide.

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