The Life of Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)
Seneca was an important Latin writer for the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and beyond. His themes and philosophy should even appeal to us today, or so says Brian Arkins in "Heavy Seneca: his Influence on Shakespeare's Tragedies." Classics Ireland 2 (1995) 1-8. ISSN 0791-9417.
Seneca the Elder was a rhetorician from Cordoba, Spain, where his son, our thinker, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, was born in about 4 B.C. His aunt or someone took the young boy to be educated in Rome where he studied a philosophy that blended Stoicism with neo-Pythagoreanism.
Seneca began his career in law and politics in about A.D. 31, serving as consul in 57. He soon fell afoul of the first of 3 emperors, Caligula. He survived long enough to serve as advisor of the last of the Julio-Claudians from 54-62 A.D. whom he had earlier served as tutor.
Seneca wrote tragedies that have raised the question of whether they were intended for performance. They may have been meant for recitation. They are not on original topics, but treat familiar themes, often with gruesome detail.
Works of Seneca
Works by Seneca Available at the Latin Library:
Epistulae morales ad Lucilium
de Consolatione ad Polybium, ad Marciam, and ad Helviam
Dialogi: de Providentia, de Constantia, de Otio, de Brevitate Vitae, de Tranquillitate Animi, de Vita Beata, and de Clementia
Fabulae: Medea, Phaedra, Hercules [Oetaeus], Agamemnon, Oedipus, Thyestes, and Octavia
Apocolocyntosis and Proverbs.