Seneca > Seneca Quotes
Seneca (actually, Seneca the Younger) was a Stoic philosopher and writer of Silver Age Latin literature, including tragedies and satire. He served as a tutor to the future Emperor Nero, but then was forced to commit suicide.Here are some of the famous sayings of Seneca:
Aptari onus viribus debet, nec plus occupari quam cui sufficere possimus.
The burden should be fitted to our strength, nor should more work be undertaken than we can fairly carry through."
Arma non servant modum.
"Armed hands observe no limit."
Hercules Furens 407
Artes serviunt vitae; sapientia imperat.
"The arts are the servants of life; wisdom its master."
Alium silere quod voles, primus sile.
"If you know aught another should not tell, then tell it not yourself."
Alius est fructus artis, alius artifieii: artis est fecisse quod voluit, artifieii fecisse cum fructu. Perfecit opus suum Phidias, etiamsi non vendidit.
"There is this difference between the products of the artist and of the craftsman : the artist produces what he himself finds good, the craftsman what is profitable. Phidias, for instance, finished his work with the greatest care, even though he did not sell it."
De beneficiis, II., 33, 2
In virtute posita est vera felicitas.
"True happiness is centred in virtue."
De Vita Beata, XVI., 1
Beatus enim nemo dici potest extra veritatem projectus.
"No one can be called happy who is living a life of falsehood."
De Vita Beata V.2
Divitiae meae sunt; tu divitiarum es.
"My wealth belongs to me; you belong to your wealth."
De Vita Beata XXII.5
Divitiae enim apud sapientem virum in servitute sunt, apud stultum in imperio.
"Wealth is the slave of a wise man, the master of a fool." De Vita Beata XXVI. 1
Idem est ergo beate vivere et secundum naturam.
"To live happily is the same thing as to live in accordance with nature's laws." De Vita Beata, VIII. 2
Id facere laus est quod decet, non quod licet.
"That your actions are becoming is praiseworthy, not that they are lawful merely." Octavia, 466
Homines amplius oculis quam auribus credunt.
"Men are readier to believe their eyes than their ears."
Qui amicus est, amat; qui amat non utique amicus est. Itaque amicitia semper prodest, amor etiam aliquando nocet.
"He who is your friend loves you, but he who loves you is not always your friend. Thus friendshp always benefits, but love sometimes injures."
Facilius est se a certamine abstinere quam abducere.
"It is easier to keep out of a quarrel than to get out of one."
De Ira, III., 8, 8.
Nemo autem regere potest, nisi qui et regi.
"No one can rule who cannot also submit to authority."
De ira II.15.4
Neminem cito laudaveris, neminem cito accusaveris: semper puta te coram diis testimonium dicere.
Neither praise nor blame too quickly: always think that you are giving witness before the gods."
Imago animi sermo est.
"Speech is the mirror of the mind."
Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit.
"There is no great genius without a tincture of madness."
De Tranquilitate animi XVII.10
Ignis aurum probat, miseria fortes viros.
"Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men."
De Providentia V.9
Quos laeserunt et oderunt.
"Whom they have injured they also hate."
De ira II.33.1
Si volumus aequi rerum omnium judices esse, hoc primum nobis persuadeamus, neminem nostrum esse sine culpa.
"If we desire to judge all things justly, we must first persuade ourselves that none of us is without sin."
De ira II.28.1
Rex est qui metuit nihil,
Rex est qui cupiet nihil.
Mens regnum bona possidet;
Hoc regnum sibi quisque dat.
"A king is he who naught will fear,
A king is he who naught desires;
'Tis a clean heart the kingdom holds,
That kingdom each to himself may give."
Homesta quaedam scelera successus facit.
"Some crimes are by success made honourable."
Nunquam imperator ita paci credit, ut non se praeparet bello.
"No ruler can be so confident of peace as to neglect to prepare for war."
De vita beata XXVI.2
Prosperum ac felix scelus virtus vocatur.
"The crime that brings prosperity and fortune is called virtue."
Hercules Furens 255
Vitium impotens virtus vocatur
"Vice that is powerless is called virtue."
Hercules Oetaeus 424
Quaeris Alcidae parem? Nemo est nisi ipse.
"You seek Alcides' equal? He has none beside himself."
Hercules Furens 84
Saepe in magistrum scelera redierunt sua.
"Crime oft recoils upon its author's head."
Omnibus illo nobis commune est iter: quid fata deflemus? non reliquit ille nos, sed antecessit.
"The path is one which we must all tread: why, then, mourn his death? He is not lost, but gone before."
A Polybium de consolatione IX.9
Quicquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est.
"Whatever has been well said by anyone is my property."
Ignoranti quem portum petat nullus suus ventus est.
"If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable."
Epistulae ad Lucilium no. 71, sect. 3
Oculis de homine non credo, habeo melius et certius lumen quo a falsis uera diiudicem: animi bonum animus inueniat.
"I do not distinguish by the eye, but by the mind, which is the proper judge of the man."
On a Happy Life. 2.
Et homines,dum docent, discunt. "Even while they teach, men learn."
Epistulae Morales VII.8
Eripere uitam nemo non homini potest;
At nemo mortem: mille ad hanc aditus patent. "Anyone can stop a man's life, but no one his death; a thousand doors open on to it."
Phoenissae l. 152
- Dictionary of Quotations (Classical), by Thomas Benfield Harbottle (New York: 1897).
- Source: "Seneca" The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Ed. Susan Ratcliffe. Oxford University Press, 2006
"Gravior multo poena videtur, quae a miti viro constituitur"
A punishment always seems much more severe when inflicted by a gentle man.
De clementia I.XXII
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