Seneca, De constantia sapientis 15 (specimen)

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De constantia sapientis (On the Firmness of the Wise) is one of the 12 books composing the collection of Dialogues by the philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca (1st century a.D.).

Although the books are called dialogi, they are mostly not in the form of a dialogue between two persons. Rather, they are the exposition, in a conversational form, of the author’s philosophical theory. Each book covers a specific philosophical theme; for each of the themes, Seneca gives his own views, that are often derived and adapted from the teachings of the Greek philosophical schools of Epicurus, the Cynics and the Stoics.

In the De constantia sapientis, dedicated to Serenus, Seneca demonstrates that a wise man is immune from both insults (contumeliae) and injuries (iniuriae). Since he is contented with his own virtue, and he possesses for the eternity the most important and desirable of goods, he does not need to fear any external circumstance.

The text of the Dialogues can be read on the Perseus Digital Library. In my reading, I followed the edition by John W. Basore, Heineman, London New York 1928, with some minor changes.

The short musical tracks at the beginning and at the end of each book are taken from the song Venus’ Birds, composed by John Bennet (1575-1614) and performed by Andreas Scholl.

 

Seneca, Dialogorum libri XII:

  • De providentia
  • De constantia sapientis
  • De ira (in 3 books)
  • Consolatio ad Marciam
  • De vita beata
  • De otio
  • De tranquillitate animi
  • De brevitate vitae
  • Consolatio ad Polybium
  • Consolatio ad Helviam matrem