Seneca to Lucilius: on festivals and fasting

As part of my running commentary on Seneca’s Letters to Lucilius, a very extensive collection of Stoic philosophical precepts, let me say a few words on Letter XVIII, about festivals and fasting, as it deals with the recurring issue — very much relevant still today — of how to comport ourselves on special occasions in […]

Stoic role models: Ulysses in Seneca and Dante, and the difference between curiositas and studiositas

I have recently written three essays about Odysseus as interpreted philosophically by the Cynics, the Stoics, and the Epicureans, a reflection of my interest in the idea of Stoic role models, as well as my personal passion for the cunning Greek hero. While those three entries were based on a highly recommended book by Silvia […]

Seneca On Leisure

“What an advantage it will be to retire into the society of the best of men, and to choose some example by which we may guide our lives! This cannot be done without leisure: with leisure we can carry out that which we have once for all decided to be best, when there is no […]

Seneca to Nero: On Clemency

Seneca is controversial even within Stoic circles, because of his association with the emperor Nero, which has been marred by alleged complicity in some of Nero’s most egregious crimes, chiefly the murder of his mother, Agrippina. As I have written in the past, Seneca was no Sage, and indeed he himself pointed that out several […]