The relationship between Seneca's prose works and his career as a first-century Roman statesman is problematic, for while he writes in the first person, he tells little of his external life or of the people and events that formed its setting. In this book, Miriam Griffin addresses the problem by first reconstructing Seneca's career using only outside sources and his de Clementia and Apocolocyntosis. In the second part of the book she studies Seneca's treatment of subjects of political significance, including his views on slavery, provincial policy, wealth, and suicide. Finding that on the whole, the word of the philosopher illuminates the work of the statesman, this book provides an important objective reconstruction of Seneca's political career.
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Miriam T. Griffin is at Somerville College, Oxford.Review:
`Griffin's book is an outstanding contribution to our knowledge of the intellectual climate and the political history of the principate of Nero, and is bound to become a standard work on the complex and elusive personality of Seneca.'
Journal of Roman Studies
`This is a painstaking effort at reconstruction which surpasses in detail and penetration any previous biographical study ... Her work is a substantial contribution to the study not only of Seneca but of the whole Julio-Claudian period and should be required reading well beyond the circle of
'Miriam Griffin's book on Seneca has made a wecome transfer to paperback. This book provides useful material for those studying the history of the Principate in the first century AD. It is also useful for its exxploration of the philosophical background to matters that were important at this
J. Hutchinson. JACT Review
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