A major writer and a leading figure in the public life of Rome, Seneca (c. 4BC-AD 65) ranks among the most eloquent and influential masters of Latin prose. This selection explores his thoughts on philosophy and the trials of life. In the Consolation to Helvia he strives to offer solace to his mother, following his exile in AD 41, while On the Shortness of Life and On Tranquillity of Mind are lucid and compelling explorations of Stoic thought. Witty and self-critical, the Letters - written to his young friend Lucilius - explore Seneca's struggle to acquire philosophical wisdom. A fascinating insight into one of the greatest minds of Ancient Rome, these works inspired writers and thinkers including Montaigne, Rousseau, and Bacon, and continue to intrigue and enlighten.
C. D. N. COSTA is Professor of Classics and Chairman of the School of Antiquity at Birmingham University. His main research has been writing commentaries on the world of Seneca, Letters, Dialogues and the tragedy Medea, and he has also edited Lucretius V and a book of essays on Horace. Some of his translations of Seneca's Letters have been given broadcast readings by Paul Scofield on BBC Radio 3.