In this Note, we’re gonna take a quick look at Seneca: a statesman, Stoic philosopher, contemporary of Jesus, and tutor to the Roman Emperor Nero (who must not have liked Seneca’s Stoic principles too much because he eventually had him killed… either that or there may have been some political issues going on, eh? :).
Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic is packed full of Big Ideas I think you’ll enjoy! First, let’s take a quick look at his life and philosophy then we’ll jump in.
The reliability of the details of Seneca’s early life are shaky at best, but he was believed to be born in Cordoba, then the most prominent city in Spain (Hispania), at about the same time as Jesus (between 4 and 1 BCE). Seneca was a statesman and a philosopher and is widely known for his skilled essays and, in fact, is recognized by many as the founder of the Essay. In 49 CE, Seneca became the tutor to the 12-year old boy who would become the emperor Nero. For eight years, he acted as Nero’s unofficial chief minister before Nero compelled him to commit suicide after the discovery of a plot that may have elevated him to the throne as emperor.