8 seconds left ×

"Der Sterbende Seneca - Seneca Suicide Phlebotomy " (see details) (see related A | B) Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) Alte Pinakothed, Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Seneca is shown here dictating his last thoughts to be shared with posterity. Indeed, many of his sayings are favorite citations and grace many speeches.

Seneca (4 BC - 65 AD), known as "the Younger" (his father was a rhetorcian called "the Elder"), studied Stoic philosophy with Attalos and Sotion. He settled in Rome in 31 AD and conflicts developed with Emperor Caligula and Claudius. Seneca was exciled during which wrote the "Consolations". In 49 he was recalled to tutor the future Emperor Nero. Seneca gained influence but with time it declined and in 65 AD Nero ordered that he kill himself by opening his veins. His wife Pompeia Paulina tried to do likewise but was saved by orders from Nero (accordig to Tacitus). Seneca became popular among emerging Christians as reflected by the choice of Dante to place Seneca in the First Circle of Hell or Limbo, the destination of good non-Christians and infants who lack the "grace" that only Christ can give. 

Seneca is not only celebrated by the early Christian church but also an author. Erasmus, Montaigne Emerson, among others held him in great esteem. Presented as a "stoic" philosopher, it is obvious that is life style was less that stoic. He became rich and rather plump and liked to have affairs with married women. He wrote nine tragedies and many philosophical essays.