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Tragedies, Volume I: Hercules. Trojan Women. Phoenician Women. Medea. Phaedra

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  29 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Seneca is a figure of first importance in both Roman politics and literature: a leading adviser to Nero who attempted to restrain the emperor's megalomania; a prolific moral philosopher; and the author of verse tragedies that strongly influenced Shakespeare and other Renaissance dramatists. Here is the first of a new two-volume edition of Seneca's tragedies, with a fully a ...more
Hardcover, 551 pages
Published September 30th 2002 by Harvard University Press
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Apr 25, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
As they did with much of Greek culture, the Romans appropriated and transformed Athenian tragedy beginning in the third century BCE. When the originals were lost to Western Europe during the Middle Ages, these Latin adaptations would go on to heavily influence playwrights in England, most notably Shakespeare.

Enduring to our time is the hugely impactful work of Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a Stoic philosopher born in what is now Cordoba, Spain. Tutor and later advisor to the Emperor Nero, he was implic
Tim Byrne
May 11, 2009 Tim Byrne rated it really liked it
Seneca's Latin is amazing, building on the strengths of the language: it's terseness and it's power. He's not as fluid as Ovid or Vergil, but his speeches pack more power than their prose does. The pithy expressions that tend to follow sections of monologue are thought provoking, very poetic, and very memorable: monstra iam desunt mihi - tellus colenda est paelices caelum tenent - si posset una caede satiari manus nullam petisset. I wish we had read this in Latin classes rather than Cicero and a ...more
Dec 13, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing
I re-read Seneca's Phaedra for the first time in almost forty years. There is a lot of set-piece rhetorical declamation, but the actual dramatic dialog is amazing. I can easily understand Seneca's enormous influence on subsequent drama. The confrontation between the prig Hippolytus and his possessed step-mother Phaedra is astounding. Latin tragedy is generally discounted among classicists let alone comparatistes, but "connais donc Phedre et toute sa fureur" is fully foreshadowed here.
I am reading these plays to look for a classical monologue, and I am loving the beautiful lyrical language in these plays.
I loved Medea and Hercules, I found the others a bit boring and tedious
Aug 06, 2010 Ibis3 marked it as to-read
Bilingual edition preferred.
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Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca) (ca. 4 BC – 65 AD) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero. While he was later forced to commit suicide for alleged complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero, the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, he may ...more
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“...sola est quies,
mecum ruina cuncta si video abruta;
mecum omnia abeant. Trahere cum pereas, libet.
(...the only calm for me -
if with me I see the whole universe o'erwhelmed in ruins;
with me let all things pass away; 'tis sweet to drag others down when thou art perishing.)”
“Istam terra de fossam premat,
gravisque terrus impio capiti incubet!
(As for her, let her be buried deep in earth,
and heavy may the soil lie on her unholy head.)”
More quotes…