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Fifty Letters of a Roman Stoic

 Translated with an Introduction and Commentary by Margaret Graver and A. A. Long


Fifty Letters of a Roman Stoic

 Translated with an Introduction and Commentary by Margaret Graver and A. A. Long
A selection of Seneca’s most significant letters that illuminate his philosophical and personal life.
“There is only one course of action that can make you happy. . . . rejoice in what is yours. What is it that is yours? Yourself; the best part of you.” 
In the year 62, citing health issues, the Roman philosopher Seneca withdrew from public service and devoted his time to writing. His letters from this period offer a window onto his experience as a landowner, a traveler, and a man coping with the onset of old age. They share his ideas on everything from the treatment of enslaved people to the perils of seafaring, and they provide lucid explanations for many key points of Stoic philosophy.
This selection of fifty letters brings out the essentials of Seneca’s thought, with much that speaks directly to the modern reader. Above all, they explore the inner life of the individual who proceeds through philosophical inquiry from a state of emotional turmoil to true friendship, self-determination, and personal excellence. 

320 pages | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2021

Classical Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: Classical Languages

Philosophy: Ethics, General Philosophy, History and Classic Works

Table of Contents

Margaret Graver and A. A. Long

Fifty Letters
1 Taking charge of your time
2 A beneficial reading program
3 Trusting one’s friends
6 Intimacy within friendship
7 Avoiding the crowd
8 Writing as a form of service
9 Friendship and self-sufficiency
11 Blushing
12 Visiting a childhood home
14 Safety in a dangerous world
15 Exercises for the body and the voice
16 Daily study and practice
18 The Saturnalia festival
20 Consistency
21 How reading can make you famous
23 Real joy is a serious matter
30 An Epicurean on his deathbed
31 Our mind’s godlike potential
33 The use of philosophical maxims
38 Fewer words achieve more
40 Oratory and the philosopher
41 God dwells within us
46 A book by Lucilius
47 The evils of slavery
49 Remembering old times
53 A bad experience at sea
54 A near-fatal asthma attack
56 Noisy lodgings above a bathhouse
57 A dark tunnel
58 A conversation about Plato
63 Consolation for the death of a friend
65 Some analyses of causation
70 Ending one’s own life
75 What it means to make progress
76 Only the honorable is good
79 A trip around Sicily brings thoughts of glory
83 Heavy drinking
84 The writer’s craft
86 The rustic villa of Scipio Africanus
90 The beginnings of civilization
91 A terrible fire at Lyon
97 A trial in the time of Cicero
104 Why travel cannot set you free
108 Vegetarianism and the use of literature
112 A difficult pupil
113 Is a virtue an animate creature?
116 The Stoic view of emotion
121 Self-awareness in animate creatures
123 Resisting external influences
124 The criterion for the human good
Textual Notes

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