Seneca's Minor dialogues - (1880) -PDF-Translated by Aubrey Stewart

Seneca Minor dialogues -together with the dialogue On clemency  

Seneca Minor dialogues



we can say little by way of preface to Seneca's " Minor Dialogues" which I have not already expressed in my preface to " De Beneficiis," except that the " Minor Dialogues " seem to me to be composed in a gloomier key than either the " De Beneficiis " or " De Clementia," and probably were written at a time when the author had already begun to experience the ingratitude of his imperial pupil. 

Some of the Dialogues are dated from Corsica, Seneca's place of exile, which he seems to have found peculiarly uncomfortable, although he remarks that there are people who live there from choice. Nevertheless, mournful as they are in tone, these Dialogues have a certain value, because they teach us what was meant by Stoic philosophy in the time of the Twelve Caesars. 

I have only to add that the value of my work has been materially enhanced by the kindness of the Rev. Professor J. E. B. Mayor, who has been good enough to read and correct almost all the proof-sheets of this volume.

Excerpt 
You have asked me, Lncilius, why, if the world is ruled by providence, so many evils befall good men? The answer to this would be more conveniently given in the course of this work after we have proved that providence governs the universe and that God is amongst us: but, since you wish me to deal with one point apart from the whole, and to answer one replication before the main action has been decided, I will do what is not difficult, and plead the cause of the gods.

 At the present time, it is superfluous to point out that it is not without some guardian that so great a work maintains its position, that the assemblage and movements of the stars do not depend upon accidental impulses, or that objects whose motion is regulated by chance often fall into confusion and soon stumble, whereas this swift and safe movement goes on governed by eternal law, bearing with it so many things both on sea and land, so many most brilliant lights shining in order in the skies; that this regularity does not belong to matter moving at random, and that particles brought together by chance could not arrange themselves wt as to make the heaviest weight, that of the earth remains unmoved, and behold the flight of the heavens as they hasten round it, to make the seas pour into the valleys and so temper the climate of the land, without any sensible increase from the rivers which flow into them, or to cause huge growths to proceed from minute seeds.


Contents :

Of Providence - On the Firmness of the Wise Man - Of Anger. - Or Consolation, To Marcia - Of a Happy Life - Of Leisure - Of Peace of Mind - Of the Shortness of Life - Consolation. To Helvia - To POLYBIUS - Of Clemency. 

Author: Seneca
Translator: Aubrey Stewart
 Publication Date:1889



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