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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 4Córdoba, Spain
Date of Death 65Rome, Italy  (suicide)
Birth NameLucius Annaeus Seneca

Mini Bio (1)

Born 4 A.D. in Spain as the second son of rhetorician Seneca the Elder and his wife Helvia. A sickly child, he was taken to Rome by an aunt and trained in rhetoric and Stoic philosophy. Seneca the Younger became a successful advocate, though a conflict in 37 A.D. with the Emperor Caligula almost cost him his life. In 41 A.D. he became embroiled in a Julio-Claudian family squabble when he began a raging affair with comely Julia Livilla, a sister of Caligula. The ambitious Empress Messalina had him exiled on charges of adultery to Corsica, where he passed the time writing "Consolations". The unfortunate princess Julia Livilla was beheaded. Seneca was recalled to Rome in 49 A.D. by the new Empress Agrippina, who employed him as a tutor to her young son, the future Emperor Nero. When Nero succeeded to the throne in 54 A.D. Seneca acted as one of his chief conselors but by 62 A.D. he had lost his influence with the tyrannical Emperor and retired. He spent his time studying and writing until 65 A.D. when he was accused of plotting to assassinate Nero. Convicted without a trial, Seneca and his wife Pompeia Paulina were forced to commit suicide, victims of Nero's tyranny.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Nichol

Personal Quotes (180)

As long as you live, keep learning how to live.
So live with men as if God saw you and speak to God, as if men heard you.
What is true belongs to me!
Whatever is well said by another, is mine.
Whatever fortune has raised to a height, she has raised only to cast it down.
Our care should not be to have lived long as to have lived enough.
One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.
True happiness is... to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.
It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.
If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.
The wish for healing has always been half of health.
The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.
A physician is not angry at the intemperance of a mad patient, nor does he take it ill to be railed at by a man in fever. Just so should a wise man treat all mankind, as a physician does his patient, and look upon them only as sick and extravagant.
A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature.
A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.
Life's like a play: it's not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand.
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity.
It is another's fault if he be ungrateful, but it is mine if I do not give. To find one thankful man, I will oblige a great many that are not so.
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
It is quality rather than quantity that matters.
Life is the fire that burns and the sun that gives light. Life is the wind and the rain and the thunder in the sky. Life is matter and is earth, what is and what is not, and what beyond is in Eternity.
Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.
Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.
For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them.
Success is not greedy, as people think, but insignificant. That is why it satisfies nobody.
Precepts or maxims are of great weight; and a few useful ones on hand do more to produce a happy life than the volumes we can't find.
A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.
You learn to know a pilot in a storm.
The first step in a person's salvation is knowledge of their sin.
There is nothing in the world so much admired as a man who knows how to bear unhappiness with courage.
The pressure of adversity does not affect the mind of the brave man... It is more powerful than external circumstances.
No one can be happy who has been thrust outside the pale of truth. And there are two ways that one can be removed from this realm: by lying, or by being lied to.
All cruelty springs from weakness.
The first and greatest punishment of the sinner is the conscience of sin.
There is no great genius without some touch of madness.
Nothing is so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes. What madness is it to be expecting evil before it comes.
No evil propensity of the human heart is so powerful that it may not be subdued by discipline.
He who has great power should use it lightly.
A person's fears are lighter when the danger is at hand.
Slavery takes hold of few, but many take hold of slavery.
It is better, of course, to know useless things than to know nothing.
In war there is no prize for runner-up.
We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.
We can be thankful to a friend for a few acres, or a little money; and yet for the freedom and command of the whole earth, and for the great benefits of our being, our life, health, and reason, we look upon ourselves as under no obligation.
Health is the soul that animates all the enjoyments of life, which fade and are tasteless without it.
For greed all nature is too little.
Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.
While we are postponing, life speeds by.
If you wished to be loved, love.
Love in its essence is spiritual fire.
Brave men rejoice in adversity, just as brave soldiers triumph in war.
Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.
A kingdom founded on injustice never lasts.
If you judge, investigate.
There is no person so severely punished, as those who subject themselves to the whip of their own remorse.
All art is but imitation of nature.
If a man knows not what harbor he seeks, any wind is the right wind.
Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.
He who is brave is free.
No man was ever wise by chance.
Wisdom does not show itself so much in precept as in life - in firmness of mind and a mastery of appetite. It teaches us to do as well as to talk; and to make our words and actions all of a color.
Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
Every guilty person is his own hangman.
A large part of mankind is angry not with the sins, but with the sinners.
You must live for another if you wish to live for yourself.
No one is laughable who laughs at himself.
Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk.
Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all.
There is as much greatness of mind in acknowledging a good turn, as in doing it.
We should every night call ourselves to an account: what infirmity have I mastered today? what passions opposed? what temptation resisted? what virtue acquired? Our vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.
Poverty wants some, luxury many, and avarice all things.
Ignorant people see life as either existence or non-existence, but wise men see it beyond both existence and non-existence to something that transcends them both; this is an observation of the Middle Way.
Even after a bad harvest there must be sowing.
A quarrel is quickly settled when deserted by one party; there is no battle unless there be two.
We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.
As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.
He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it.
Do everything as in the eye of another.
The less we deserve good fortune, the more we hope for it.
The mind that is anxious about the future is miserable.
We often want one thing and pray for another, not telling the truth even to the gods.
Let us train our minds to desire what the situation demands.
A man's as miserable as he thinks he is.
A man who suffers before it is necessary, suffers more than is necessary.
Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.
Time discovers truth.
The greatest remedy for anger is delay.
The good things of prosperity are to be wished; but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired.
Genius always gives its best at first; prudence, at last.
If you would judge, understand.
It is more fitting for a man to laugh at life than to lament over it.
There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality.
The heart is great which shows moderation in the midst of prosperity.
It's not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It's because we dare not venture that they are difficult.
When we are well, we all have good advice for those who are ill.
We become wiser by adversity; prosperity destroys our appreciation of the right.
When I think over what I have said, I envy dumb people.
Everywhere is nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends.
Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.
Life, if well lived, is long enough.
God is the universal substance in existing things. He comprises all things. He is the fountain of all being. In Him exists everything that is.
The display of grief makes more demands than grief itself. How few men are sad in their own company.
The things hardest to bear are sweetest to remember.
He who dreads hostility too much is unfit to rule.
Believe me, that was a happy age, before the days of architects, before the days of builders.
If thou art a man, admire those who attempt great things, even though they fail.
A great mind becomes a great fortune.
One crime has to be concealed by another.
The way is long if one follows precepts, but short... if one follows patterns.
Successful and fortunate crime is called virtue.
Consider, when you are enraged at any one, what you would probably think if he should die during the dispute.
It is true greatness to have in one the frailty of a man and the security of a god.
To be able to endure odium is the first art to be learned by those who aspire to power.
Why do I not seek some real good; one which I could feel, not one which I could display?
There is a noble manner of being poor, and who does not know it will never be rich.
It is the failing of youth not to be able to restrain its own violence.
A punishment to some, to some a gift, and to many a favor.
Whatever one of us blames in another, each one will find in his own heart.
What difference does it make how much you have? What you do not have amounts to much more.
Constant exposure to dangers will breed contempt for them.
See how many are better off than you are, but consider how many are worse.
The mind unlearns with difficulty what it has long learned.
The bad fortune of the good turns their faces up to heaven; the good fortune of the bad bows their heads down to the earth.
He who has made a fair compact with poverty is rich.
Those who boast of their descent, brag on what they owe to others.
No man enjoys the true taste of life, but he who is ready and willing to quit it.
Light troubles speak; the weighty are struck dumb.
I don't trust liberals, I trust conservatives.
It is the sign of a great mind to dislike greatness, and to prefer things in measure to things in excess.
A well governed appetite is the greater part of liberty.
Anger is like those ruins which smash themselves on what they fall.
Nothing is void of God, his work is everywhere his full of himself.
Do not ask for what you will wish you had not got.
Every reign must submit to a greater reign.
Night brings our troubles to the light, rather than banishes them.
Great grief does not of itself put an end to itself.
Shall I tell you what the real evil is? To cringe to the things that are called evils, to surrender to them our freedom, in defiance of which we ought to face any suffering.
Shame may restrain what law does not prohibit.
Consult your friend on all things, especially on those which respect yourself. His counsel may then be useful where your own self-love might impair your judgment.
What nature requires is obtainable, and within easy reach. It is for the superfluous we sweat.
One must steer, not talk.
Modesty forbids what the law does not.
That is never too often repeated, which is never sufficiently learned.
No untroubled day has ever dawned for me.
When an author is too meticulous about his style, you may presume that his mind is frivolous and his content flimsy.
He that does good to another does good also to himself.
I will govern my life and thoughts as if the whole world were to see the one and read the other, for what does it signify to make anything a secret to my neighbor, when to God, who is the searcher of our hearts, all our privacies are open?
In war, when a commander becomes so bereft of reason and perspective that he fails to understand the dependence of arms on Divine guidance, he no longer deserves victory.
Nothing becomes so offensive so quickly as grief. When fresh it finds someone to console it, but when it becomes chronic, it is ridiculed, and rightly.
Shun no toil to make yourself remarkable by some talent or other; yet do not devote yourself to one branch exclusively. Strive to get clear notions about all. Give up no science entirely; for science is but one.
I never come back home with the same moral character I went out with; something or other becomes unsettled where I had achieved internal peace; some one or other of the things I had put to flight reappears on the scene.
Behold a worthy sight, to which the God, turning his attention to his own work, may direct his gaze. Behold an equal thing, worthy of a God, a brave man matched in conflict with evil fortune.
Wisdom allows nothing to be good that will not be so forever; no man to be happy but he that needs no other happiness than what he has within himself; no man to be great or powerful that is not master of himself.
Everything is the product of one universal creative effort. There is nothing dead in Nature. Everything is organic and living, and therefore the whole world appears to be a living organism.
There is none made so great, but he may both need the help and service, and stand in fear of the power and unkindness, even of the meanest of mortals.
It is the superfluous things for which men sweat, - superfluous things that wear our togas threadbare, that force us to grow old in camp, that dash us upon foreign shores.
The deferring of anger is the best antidote to anger.
Crime when it succeeds is called virtue.
That which is given with pride and ostentation is rather an ambition than a bounty.
It makes a great deal of difference whether one wills not to sin or has not the knowledge to sin.
May be is very well, but Must is the master. It is my duty to show justice without recompense.
Whenever the speech is corrupted so is the mind.
I shall never be ashamed of citing a bad author if the line is good.
Every sin is the result of a collaboration.
Every man prefers belief to the exercise of judgment.
Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing.
There is no delight in owning anything unshared.
A great fortune is a great slavery.
Call it Nature, Fate, Fortune; all these are names of the one and selfsame God.
Where fear is, happiness is not.
True praise comes often even to the lowly; false praise only to the strong.
He has committed the crime who profits by it.
The approach of liberty makes even an old man brave.
To keep oneself safe does not mean to bury oneself.
Life is warfare.
Success consecrates the most offensive crimes.

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