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Quotes of Seneca the Younger

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Seneca the Younger

Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) lived in 3-65 CE. He was a rhetorician, writer, poet and philosopher of Rome. Called “The Philosopher” he was the son of Seneca the Elder (Seneca Maior) known as Seneca Rhetor. He was the tutor of Emperor Nero ; at the beginning of his reign he had considerable influence at the court.

  • “The wise man will live as long as he ought, not as long as he can”
    • latin: [Sapiens vivet quatuni debet, non vuantum potest]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Letters, LXX
  • “Let us set our own conscience fully at rest, but make no efforts to gain credit for ourselves: so long as we deserve well, let us be satisfied, even if we should be ill spoken of”
    • latin: [Conscientiae satis fiat, nil in famam laboremus: sequatur vel mala, dum bene merentis]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Ira, III.41
  • “Prosperity is not only greedy, but it also lies exposed to the greed of others”
    • latin: [Et avida felicitas est et alienae aviditati exposita]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Letter XIX
  • “It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor”
    • latin: [Non qui parum habet, sed qui plus cupit, pauper est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Letter 2
  • “The wise man will live as long as he ought, not as long as he can”
    • latin: [Sapiens vivet quatuni debet, non vuantum potest]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae Morales, LXX.4
  • “It is unbearable to lose one’s native land”
    • latin: [Carere patria intolerabile est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Consolatio ad Helvium, 12.6
  • “The path of virtue is closed to no one, it lies open to all”
    • latin: [Nulli praeclusa virtus est; omnibus patet, omnes admittit]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De beneficiis, 3, 18, 2
  • “For every day a little of our life is taken from us; even when we are growing”
    • latin: [Cotidie morimur, cotidie enim demitur aliqua pars vitae]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, III.24.20
  • “You must expect to be treated by others as you yourself have treated them”
    • latin: [Ab alio exspectes, alteri quod feceris]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 94.43
  • “The vices of others we have before our eyes, our own are behind our backs”
    • latin: [Aliena vitia in oculis habemus, a tergo nostra sunt]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Ira, II, XXVIII, 8
  • “Shame may restrain what law does not prohibit”
  • “The person of affliction is sacred”
    • latin: [Res sacra miser]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epigrams
  • “Man is a social animal”
    • latin: [Homo-sociale animal]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De beneficiis
  • “Man is a sacred thing for man”
    • latin: [Homo homini res sacra]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 95.33
  • “A weary man is quarrelsome”
    • latin: [Vetus dictum est a lasso rixam quaeri]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Ira, III.9
  • “To the sick, honey sometimes seems bitter”
    • latin: [Sunt enim quidam quibus morbi vitio mel amarum videatur]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, CIX.7
  • “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful”
  • “Grief is gradually effaced by time”
    • latin: [Dolorem dies longa consumit]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Consolatione ad Marciam, 8
  • “Good does not come from evil”
    • latin: [Bonum ex malo non fit]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 87.22
  • “A good man differs only in time from God”
    • latin: [Bonus tempore tantum a deo differt]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Providentia, I
  • “While the Fates allow, live cheerfully”
    • latin: [Dum fata sinunt, vivite laeti]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Hercules furens, 178
  • “There is no easy way from the earth to the stars”
    • latin: [Non est ad astra mollis e terris via]
    • description: popular paraphrased: Through hardships to the stars – Per aspera ad astra
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Hercules furens, 437
  • “A plant that is moved too often can never grow”
    • latin: [Non convalescit planta quae saepe transfertur]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Letters, 2.3
  • “The name of mother is too grand and mighty”
    • latin: [Matris superbum est nomen et nimium potens]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Phaedra, 565
  • “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable”
    • latin: [Ignoranti quem portum petat, nullus suus ventus est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 71.3
  • “Hunger is not ambitious”
    • latin: [Ambitiosa non est fames]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, CXIX.14
  • If you wish to be loved, love
    • latin: [Si vis amari, ama]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, IX.6
  • “A man is as wretched as he has convinced himself that he is”
    • latin: [Tam miser est quisque quam credidit]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 78.14
  • “Calamity is virtue’s opportunity”
    • latin: [Calamitas virtutis occasio est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Providentia, 4.6
  • “Women (…) now that they leave their homes in order to marry others, and marry only in order to be divorced”
    • latin: [Feminae (…) exeunt matrimonii causa, nubunt repudii]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Beneficiis, 3,16,2
  • “All men are slaves to fear”
    • latin: [Omnes timori]
    • description: in usage: “Who is not a slave. Some are slaves to greed, some to ambition, all to be feared” (Alius libidini servit, alius avaritiae, alius ambitioni, omnes timori).
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 47
  • “To be everywhere is to be nowhere”
    • latin: [Nusquam est, qui ubique est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, II.2
  • “There are a few men whom slavery holds fast, but there are many more who hold fast to slavery”
    • latin: [Paucos servitus, plures servitutem tenen]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 22.11
  • “You should live for another if you would live for yourself”
    • latin: [Alteri vivas oportet, si vis tibi vivere]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 48.2
  • “The best remedy for anger is delay”
    • latin: [Maximum remedium iræ mora est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Dialogues, 4.29.1
  • “The best possible man take him who is least bad”
    • latin: [Pro optimo sit minime malus]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Peace of Mind, 7,4
  • “To rule yourself is the ultimate power”
    • latin: [Imperare sibi maximum est imperium]
    • description: to emperor Nero.
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 113.31
  • “The highest good is a mind which despises the accidents of fortune, and takes pleasure in virtue”
    • latin: [Summum bonum est animus fortuita despiciens, uirtute laetus]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De vita beata, IV
  • “Men learn while they teach”
    • latin: [Homines dum docent discunt]
    • description: known also as “by teaching, we learn” (Docendo discimus).
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, I.7.8
  • “There is no great genius without a tincture of madness”
    • latin: [Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Tranquillitate Animi, 15
  • “We do not learn for school, but for life”
    • latin: [Non scholae, sed vitae discimus]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, CVI
  • “Nothing is so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes”
    • latin: [Nihil est nec miserius nec stultius quam praetimere]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XCVIII
  • “We neither know how to bestow or how to receive a benefit”
    • latin: [Beneficia nec dare scimus nec accipere]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De beneficiis, I.1
  • “No one will be happy if tormented by the thought of someone else who is happier”
  • “Nobody is good by accident”
    • latin: [Nemo est casu bonus]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, IX.LXXVI
  • “Keen edge is dulled by heavy eating”
    • latin: [Copia ciborum subtilitas animi impeditur]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XV.3
  • “It is from his fellow-man that a man’s everyday danger comes”
    • latin: [Ab homine homini cotidianum periculum]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, CIII.1
  • “Men love their country, not because it is great, but because it is their own”
    • latin: [Nemo enim patriam quia magna est amat, sed quia sua]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, LXVI.26
  • “The fates lead the willing and drag the unwilling”
    • latin: [Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 107.11.5
  • “Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life”
    • latin: [Vivere et singulos dies singulas vitas puta]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 101.10
  • “True joy is a serious matter”
    • latin: [Verum gaudium res severa est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XXIII.4
  • “One hand washes the other”
    • latin: [Manus manum lavat]
    • description: mutually helping one another.
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Apocolocyntosis, 9, 5
  • “Him who lies down the crowd trample on”
    • latin: [Calcat iacentem vulgus]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Octavia, 455
  • “It is the mind which makes men rich”
    • latin: [Animus est, qui divites facit]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Consolatione ad Helviam, XI.5
  • “The other side shall be heard as well”
    • latin: [Audiatur et altera pars]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Medea, 7.42
  • “By teaching, we learn”
    • latin: [Docendo discimus]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, I.7.8
  • “Many animals surpass us gracefully**”
    • latin: [A multis animalibus decore vincimur]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, CXXIV
  • “Ashes (death) levels everything. We are born unequal; we die equal”
    • latin: [Aequat omnes cinis; impares nascimur, pares morimur]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 91.16
  • “Life is like a play: it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters”
  • “Harmony makes small things grow; lack of harmony makes great things decay”
    • latin: [Concordia res parvae crescunt, discordia vel maximae dilabuntur]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, XCIV.46
  • “The conditions of life alternate”
    • latin: [Alternae sunt vices rerum]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Naturales quaestiones, III.7
  • “A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature”
    • latin: [Beata est vita conveniens naturae suae]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, De Vita Beata, III.3
  • “To live is to fight”
    • latin: [Vivere (…) militare est]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 96.5
  • “So live with men as if God saw you and speak to God, as if men heard you”
    • latin: [Vive cum hominibus tamquam deus videat, sic loquere cum deo tamquam homines audiant]
    • source: Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, X.5

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