Lucius Annaeus Seneca, traditionally known as Seneca the Younger, was one of the best-known of Stoic philosophers. He was the son of Marcus Annaeus Seneca, a Roman historian and rhetorician, who was also known as Seneca the Elder, and brother to that proconsul of Achaea, Gallio, who is said to have impartially judged the charges of insurrection brought against the Apostle Paul by the Jews of Corinth (Acts 18: 12-17).

The Seneca family came from the city of Corduba (modern Cordoba) in the province of Baetica in Spain, which was one of the wealthiest provinces in the Roman Empire. The family is thought to have moved from Spain to Rome when Seneca was still a child.

As a young man, Seneca trained for the bar and rose to the rank of a quaestor, eventually becoming one of the leading speakers in the Senate. He was exiled to the island of Corsica by the emperor Claudius, supposedly for having committed adultery with the emperor's sister, where he lived for eight years. Seneca was then recalled to Rome in 49 A.D. by the emperor's new wife Agrippina, and became tutor to her son, the future emperor Nero.

When Nero became emperor after the death of Claudius, Seneca and an army officer named Sextus Afranius Burrus, who was then prefect of the Praetorian Guard took over the running of the Roman Empire. These two men are said to have exercised their authority in the most just way conceivable. However, their power and influence waned after Nero had his own mother killed in 59 A.D., and Seneca retired from public life three years later. He devoted the final three years of his life to philosophy and writing, until he was forced to commit suicide by Nero in 65 A.D.

Seneca is perhaps best known for a series of letters (the Epistulae Morales) that he wrote to a friend of his named Lucilius Junior, who was a native of the city of Pompeii. He he also wrote a number of philosophical treatises, the most widely quoted of which is On the Shortness of Life.

This short video provides an interesting review of this treatise...

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