Seneca Day

Submitted by Christopher V. Trinacty (inactive) on Wednesday, 3/24/2010, at 9:02 AM



On Monday, May 10th from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., students from Latin 02 will deliver a series of presentations about aspects of the life and works of Seneca the Younger.  These lively talks will discuss topics such as Stoicism, revenge tragedy, and Seneca's rhetorical style.  



A Select List of Senecan Works & Brief Descriptions

Hercules Furens:  Hercules returns from the Underworld, kills his wife and children, and has to decide whether he should continue living.

The Trojan Women:  Troy has fallen and the women await slavery, while the Greek forces hunt for two surviving members of the Trojan royal family in order to sacrifice them.

Medea:  Jason spurns Medea for another woman.  Medea gets angry.  You wouldn't like her when she is angry...

Phaedra:  Phaedra loves her step-son, Hippolytus.  He's a chaste misogynist hunter.  Not a good match.

Agamemnon:  Agamemnon comes home from Troy.  This is not a happy homecoming.

Thyestes:  Atreus and Thyestes are brothers who hate one another.  Atreus takes revenge on Thyestes through a particularly inventive feat of cooking.

Oedipus:  See how Seneca handles the Sophoclean classic.  Not so much a quest for self-knowledge as a vehicle for fear and guilt and lots of dramatic irony.

Apocolocyntosis:  An interesting satire on the death of Claudius.  Funny and crude.

Natural Questions:  A work of Stoic physics.  If you are interested in science and ancient views of the natural world and events like comets, storms, and earthquakes, this is the treatise for you.

Epistulae Morales:  You can pick letters that we do not cover in class to analyze and elucidate for your classmates.

De Providentia:  Why do bad things happen to good people?

De Otio:  What to do with one's leisure-time?

De Brevitate Vitae:  Do you think your life is short?  You are not thinking correctly.

De Constantia Sapientis:  What exactly does a Stoic sage do all day?  This may provide some hints.

De Ira:  Is anger the equivalent of madness?  How can one control one's anger?  

Consolatio ad Helviam:  Maybe exile is not the worst thing in the world?  Maybe.

De Vita Beata:  How to live a blessed life.

De Beneficiis:  7 books on gift-giving and beneficence.

De Clementia:  Seneca advises Nero on how to rule through mercy.   


Other topics can cover aspects of history, religion, politics, philosophy, or even other literary writers of this period.  Feel free to come see me if you have questions or would like additional bibliographical help!