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Moral Letters to Lucilius Volume 1

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  559 ratings  ·  51 reviews
The Epistulae morales ad Lucilium (English: Moral Epistles to Lucilius) is a collection of 124 letters which were written by Seneca the Younger at the end of his life. They are addressed to Lucilius, the then procurator of Sicily, although he is known only through Seneca's writings.
In these letters, Seneca gives Lucilius tips on how to become a more devoted Stoic. Lucilius
Kindle Edition, 185 pages
Published March 17th 2014 by Aegitas (first published 64)
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Jun 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stoicism, ethics
This is a collection of 65 of the 124 letters that Seneca wrote to his friend Lucilius during the last two years of his life. Despite being called "letters," these don't focus on what Seneca was doing or where he was traveling. Instead, these letters are little philosophical essays. Seneca would choose a topic, start by describing it in a rather mundane way, and smoothly expand it into a philosophical discussion. He relates the subject to Stoicism, often by way of Epicureanism. The translation i ...more
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first collection of non-biblical epistles and I really loved reading it. It was so interesting to hear about the world of Seneca and Lucilius. For example, there was the very real threat that one could end up in prison or being executed without having done a whole lot wrong. The best part though was hearing his wisdom about every day kinds of things. For example, be careful of making yourself busy for busy's sake. It's like a really good self-help book, but better than that because i ...more
Bora Gazidede
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It amazes me how the toughest frazes actually are the ones to bare the most human fragility.
Michael Kress
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was feeling a lot of stress at work and thought Stoic philosophy might help me to not react emotionally to it. I listened to this audiobook on the way home from work. Don't get me wrong; there's some good stuff in here. I just felt like there was, for me, a lot of filler. I think Seneca was nearing the end of his life, so he writes a lot about dealing with the idea of death. He references Socrates, who also gave his thoughts on death in The Trial and Death of Socrates. Hopefully, I have a lot ...more
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"When time is so scarce what madness it is to learn superfluous things!"

I am listening to The Moral Epistles: 124 Letters to Lucilius, narrated by the amazing James Cameron Stewart.
Jim Trupp
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Profound letters and thoughts.

Deep philosophical words in letters written 2000 years ago. I found it astonishing how relevant its lessons are in today's age. And how many of today's writings are just paraphrases of this wisdom from two millennium ago. After reading this volume I never felt stronger that "it is time to put the books down and begin living by their hint".

Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Seneca's teachings are pretty enlightening, although quite some parts are common wisdom. It is interesting to notice that this Stoic quotes Epicurus far more than anyone else, which tells me how powerful Epicurus' philosophy is. These two men more than 2000 years ago certainly knew better how to live than almost all people do today. ...more
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laughter, tears, and all that jazz. Thanks, Seneca, I love you.
Read letters: 11,13,33 and 35.
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
But I spend my time in the company of all the best; no matter in what lands they may have lived, or in what age, I let my thoughts fly to them.
Dec 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
These letters from a first century Roman offer a great deal of sound advice on any number of practical topics: find freedom in using one's time wisely, spend one's time reading the masterworks, the fundamental requirement of trust to have friendship, and that true poverty comes from always craving more. The two things I liked best: Seneca's insistence that the best ideas are common property. In other words, he would grab hold of truth wherever he could find it, something he illustrates by quotin ...more
Michael Helvey
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have tremendous respect for the Stoics. Unlike Nietzsche, who also stared into the void of nonbeing, they did not flinch away into madness, but had the courage to pursue virtue. "Let us not fear wrongs, or wounds or bonds, or poverty. And what is death? It is either the end, or a process of change. I have no fear of ceasing to exist; it is the same as not having begun" (Epistle LXV).

Seneca's relentless pursuit of virtue is surprisingly Christian. When he speaks of wisdom, he says, "The effect
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These are the ramblings of a curmudgeonly old Senator who quit politics so he could spend his days sitting around his villa, outside ancient Naples, thinking about death. At one point, he opts to write a letter above a bathhouse, just for the opportunity to complain about how difficult it is to write above a bathhouse.

In regards to Stoicism, though, he is arguably the most important thinker of his time (or any time before him). He brought structure to the school, which had all but completely giv
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mina by: Tim Ferriss, Seneca Anticafé, Goodreads Quote of the Day
An accessible anthology of bite-sized thought-cum-anecdote.

I do like the Stoics; there is something essentially charming in attempting to seek virtue without justifications and excuses, while steadfastly criticizing the situation one finds themselves in.
Rachel Dowling
read most of this . . . in Bobonich's class ...more
Peter J.
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite Author true to form.
Steve Hemmeke
Classic stoic, pagan, view of moral virtue. Impressive on the surface, but empty without Christ
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a brilliant book. I have always reviewed it TWICE, and continue to do so every few months. I find it encouraging and comforting. It made me wanting to learn all about Seneca, a mysterious and controversial figure. But for me, I do not doubt his wisdom. I believe he finally became a top notch philosopher toward the ending part of his life. Plus, he died like the best of Stoics. Read about Nero's suicide, pathetically opposite to Seneca's. Seneca behaved bravely and stoically, Nero be ...more
Levi Borba
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"It is the time for you to reflect: Not only that all things are mortal, but that mortality is subject to no fixed law. Whatever can happen at any time, can happen today."

(On Grief for Lost Friends, Moral Letters to Lucilius, Volume I)

Seneca is my favorite Roman philosopher for a reason: All his letters and manuscripts are atemporal and his thoughts carry invaluable lessons. Some of those even bring the boldest meanings for our times. And at the same time he is brilliant, his writings are a plea
Brian Denton
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These are the letters of Seneca, one of ancient Rome's wisest men. Though he's a student of the stern school of stoicism he's also the most relaxed of that group. None of the cerebral intellectualism of Epictetus here, nor the lofty cosmic vision of Marcus Aurelius. Just plain spoken, practical lessons about how to live the good life. These will be required reading for my son. They should be in the public school curriculum too. ...more
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Seneca, everybody must read him. He writes about the most important event in any human life, our deaths. We must focus on eternity, not this short earthly life. Seneca was open to faith, the immortality of the soul, he did not know for certain if there is life after death. Seneca provides important wisdom on how to live out our short lives. Life is a a beginning for the main event of life after death. One should not value this world, eternity is our home.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
After reading Letters from a Stoic that includes a compilation of dozens of letters extracted from the whole lot, this Volume I seems a little bit tougher to read, many topics and many pages. Skipping some of them is maybe a good option.

I would read first Letters from a Stoic, and then if you want to widen your Stoicism just give a try to these extended volumes.
Amanpreet Singh
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
More verbose/detailed then Epictetus and Marcus whose style i prefer but nonetheless insightful and full of wisdom. I personally skimmed over few of the letters whose topic didn't interest me but got multiple perspectives on the topics i was interested in. For any one interested in stoicism must read at least one. Different angles from which Seneca explains things is his unique style. ...more
"Mouse is a syllable. Now a mouse eats cheese; therefore, a syllable eats cheese." Suppose now that I cannot solve this problem; see what peril hangs over my head as a result of such ignorance! What a scrape I shall be in! Without doubt I must beware, or some day I shall be catching syllables in a mousetrap, or, if I grow careless, a book may devour my cheese! ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not just the writings of a "Stoic", Seneca's writings are the invisible hands that the literary world has provided to help us push forward into the penultimate regions of living. An important piece of writing for all thinking men. Must read. ...more
Russ Johnston
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Was surprised to enjoy this as much as I did. Readable and intuitive, even to 2019. There certainly references made I cannot follow of draw insight from, but much is remarkably similar to guiding an upright life today.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nothing needs to be said about Seneca ...

Note: Loeb are the only ones offering all of Senecas
Writings, while with Penguin / Oxford etc. you only get what the publisher deems good ... that sort of censorship is counterproductive for there is a lot of depth to Senecas writing.
Johan Kwok
Stopped at letter 5. Thought that maybe there were other nonfictions that I should give priority, as to finish all those letters would be too time-consuming. The old-ish English it's a problem, but so far those advices and insights were interesting. ...more
Apr 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-recommended
Not a very good translation. I gave up.
Felipe Athia
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be taught in schools. Probably the most insightful book I've read in years. ...more
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Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca, in Portuguese Séneca (PT) or Sêneca (BR); 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 la ...more

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