Lucius Annaeus Seneca’s Understanding of Virtue

Lucius Annaeus Seneca’s Understanding of Virtue

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

For Seneca, the earth is a great inner site.

He describes this universal site in a wonderful language. Seneca’s love for humanity is not just a fleeting and fuzzy feeling. He insists that people were created to love and help each other. Seneca vigorously and eloquently protests dirty passions; advising generosity and mutual aid, “No one has the right to excuse himself; be human; teach these feelings to those who lack sweetness and paternal feelings.

Rather than punishing them, he says, try to accustom themselves to these feelings and demand the abolition of the death penalty; He recommends not getting tired of doing good: “To live for no one means not to live for oneself.”; “We must have friends to whom we can sacrifice ourselves for their cause.”

His letters to Lucillius, his friend, the governor of Sicily, contain many more serious and pure suggestions in terms of moral philosophy, not theoretical but practical.

For example, he praises poverty, inculcates non-eating meat, avoiding disorder, freeing our soul from the body in which it is imprisoned, obedience to God and imitating the tranquility of the gods as the foundations of virtue. In the work translated into French by Panchoucke with the title “Muximes et Pensaes”, Seneca repeats that he finds real happiness, virtue in happiness, and says, “I do not want to compare myself with the most virtuous and raise them to their rank, but to surpass the wicked. It is enough for me to be happy to correct some of my mistakes every day.” says.

Seneca: “We can achieve virtue when we declare war on our mistakes.” says.

In her work titled Letters, Lucilliuse congratulates this dear friend, whom she learned to eat at the same table with her slaves, and praises the sublimity and happiness of human philanthropy. But Seneca did not always live as he believed, sometimes changing the direction of Stoicism. “Philosophy teaches deeds, not words”; “Philosophy is not a means of passing time, but of salvation.” Seneca, who said, and immediately did not eat mushrooms and mussels throughout his life, amassed a great fortune and, as if by sensing the condemnations (muaheze) to be made about his own life, he gave the necessary responses and as a thought to justify himself for his wealth: not; when I exult against disgrace, I first rejoice against the townspeople; as for me, my riches belong to me; I do not belong to them; on the day they run away from me, they can take nothing but themselves from me.” says.

Seneca realized this idea the day he presented all his wealth to Nero to take. He: “I showed others the right path, which I learned very late.” He seems to admit that his life has not been very clean. As a matter of fact, he sometimes gets angry with the Zenoists and accuses them of not knowing life; sometimes falls short of making Epicurus a stoic; Like Cicero, it is seen that he regarded the doctrines of Aristotle and Plato as identical. Educated as an orator and sophist, these indecisions in Seneca are a necessary expression of his creation and the social environment in which he lives, as well as the result of his very active and changeable imagination.

Because of his ascetic and mystical morality, some think that he secretly converted to Christianity and even corresponded with Saint-Paul. Even if this is not true, it is understood that he admired the great people who were educated in moral and philosophy and wanted to apply the Stoic morality to poetry and Roman customs. He has an artistic and wise side. He dislikes Plato, Carneades, and Epicurus; He likes cynics such as Zenon, Kleant, Posidonius. Throughout his life, he did not cut off his relations with philosophers and especially with Demetrius, one of the cynics.

Although Seneca has many plays, poetic and prose works, these are not of interest to us here. Of her works, Medeia (1954); Selected Epigrams and The Crumbization of the Emperor Claudius (1947), M.E.B. during his publications, Dr. Translated into our language and published by Samim Sinanoğlu. The French version of Seneca’s corpus, whose works have been translated into many languages ​​and published many times, has been published by Panekoucke (8 volumes, Paris, from 1853). At the beginning of this corpus is a remarkable Introduction by M. du Kozoir. Until recently, the works covering this corpus at various dates were also published separately.

This philosopher, M.O. He should not be confused with the orator Seneca, who was born in Cordoba in 55 and died in the 41st AD.


Encyclopedia of Philosophers; Cemil Sena; Remzi Bookstore; Istanbul