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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10243
Seneca The Younger, Letters, 18.4-18.13


nanDo you think that there can be fulness on such fare? Yes, and there is pleasure also, – not that shifty and fleeting pleasure which needs a fillip now and then, but a pleasure that is steadfast and sure. For though water, barley-meal, and crusts of barley-bread, are not a cheerful diet, yet it is the highest kind of pleasure to be able to derive pleasure from this sort of food, and to have reduced one's needs to that modicum which no unfairness of Fortune can snatch away.


nanEven prison fare is more generous; and those who have been set apart for capital punishment are not so meanly fed by the man who is to execute them. Therefore, what a noble soul must one have, to descend of one's own free will to a diet which even those who have been sentenced to death have not to fear! This is indeed forestalling the spear-thrusts of Fortune.


nanSo begin, my dear Lucilius, to follow the custom of these men, and set apart certain days on which you shall withdraw from your business and make yourself at home with the scantiest fare. Establish business relations with poverty. Dare, O my friend, to scorn the sight of wealth, And mould thyself to kinship with thy God.[8]


nanFor he alone is in kinship with God who has scorned wealth. Of course I do not forbid you to possess it, but I would have you reach the point at which you possess it dauntlessly; this can be accomplished only by persuading yourself that you can live happily without it as well as with it, and by regarding riches always as likely to elude you.


nanIt shows much more courage to remain dry and sober when the mob is drunk and vomiting; but it shows greater self-control to refuse to withdraw oneself and to do what the crowd does, but in a different way, – thus neither making oneself conspicuous nor becoming one of the crowd. For one may keep holiday without extravagance.


nanI am so firmly determined, however, to test the constancy of your mind that, drawing from the teachings of great men, I shall give you also a lesson: Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: "Is this the condition that I feared?


nanIt is precisely in times of immunity from care that the soul should toughen itself beforehand for occasions of greater stress, and it is while Fortune is kind that it should fortify itself against her violence. In days of peace the soldier performs manœuvres, throws up earthworks with no enemy in sight, and wearies himself by gratuitous toil, in order that he may be equal to unavoidable toil. If you would not have a man flinch when the crisis comes, train him before it comes. Such is the course which those men[4] have followed who, in their imitation of poverty, have every month come almost to want, that they might never recoil from what they had so often rehearsed.


nanYou need not suppose that I mean meals like Timon's, or "paupers' huts,"[5] or any other device which luxurious millionaires use to beguile the tedium of their lives. Let the pallet be a real one, and the coarse cloak; let the bread be hard and grimy. Endure all this for three or four days at a time, sometimes for more, so that it may be a test of yourself instead of a mere hobby. Then, I assure you, my dear Lucilius, you will leap for joy when filled with a pennyworth of food, and you will understand that a man's peace of mind does not depend upon Fortune; for, even when angry she grants enough for our needs.


nanThere is no reason, however, why you should think that you are doing anything great; for you will merely be doing what many thousands of slaves and many thousands of poor men are doing every day. But you may credit yourself with this item, – that you will not be doing it under compulsion, and that it will be as easy for you to endure it permanently as to make the experiment from time to time. Let us practise our strokes on the "dummy";[6] let us become intimate with poverty, so that Fortune may not catch us off our guard. We shall be rich with all the more comfort, if we once learn how far poverty is from being a burden.


nanEven Epicurus, the teacher of pleasure, used to observe stated intervals, during which he satisfied his hunger in niggardly fashion; he wished to see whether he thereby fell short of full and complete happiness, and, if so, by what amount he fell short, and whether this amount was worth purchasing at the price of great effort. At any rate, he makes such a statement in the well known letter written to Polyaenus in the archonship of Charinus.[7] Indeed, he boasts that he himself lived on less than a penny, but that Metrodorus, whose progress was not yet so great, needed a whole penny.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

20 results
1. Plato, Euthydemus, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

277d. perceiving the lad was going under, and wishing to give him some breathing-space lest he should shame us by losing heart, encouraged him with these words: Cleinias, do not be surprised that these arguments seem strange to you; for perhaps you do not discern what our two visitors are doing to you. They are acting just like the celebrants of the Corybantic rites, when they perform the enthronement of the person whom they are about to initiate. There, as you know, if you have been through it, they have dancing and merrymaking: so here these two
2. Plato, Symposium, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

3. Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, 3.29 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3.29. haec igitur praemeditatio futurorum malorum lenit eorum adventum, quae venientia longe ante videris. itaque apud Euripiden a Theseo dicta laudantur; licet Eurip. fr. 964 euripidĕ K thesseo GKR 1 enim, ut saepe facimus, in Latinum illa convertere: Nam qui hae/c audita a do/cto meminisse/m viro, Futu/ras mecum co/mmentabar mi/serias: Aut mo/rtem acerbam aut alt. aut add. G 2 exilii X e/xili maesta/m fugam Aut se/mper aliquam mo/lem meditaba/r mali, Ut, si/ qua invecta di/ritas casu/ foret, Ne me i/nparatum cu/ra lacerare/t repens. lacerare trepens G 1 R 1
4. Philo of Alexandria, Allegorical Interpretation, 3.18 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

5. Philo of Alexandria, Who Is The Heir, 235 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

235. For it is the divine Word which divided and distributed every thing in nature; and it is our own mind which divides every thing and every body which it comprehends, by the exertion of its intellect in an infinite manner, into an infinite number of parts, and which, in fact, never ceased from dividing.
6. Epictetus, Discourses, 1.2.8-1.2.9, 3.13.21, 3.24.86-3.24.88, 4.5.27 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

7. Epictetus, Enchiridion, 26, 34, 21 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

8. Martial, Epigrams, 14.1.1, 14.142 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

9. Martial, Epigrams, 14.1.1, 14.142 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

10. Musonius Rufus, Fragments, 19, 38, 17 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

11. New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 9.19-9.23 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

9.19. For though I was free fromall, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more. 9.20. To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to thosewho are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain those whoare under the law; 9.21. to those who are without law, as without law(not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that Imight win those who are without law. 9.22. To the weak I became asweak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all men,that I may by all means save some. 9.23. Now I do this for thegospel's sake, that I may be a joint partaker of it.
12. New Testament, 1 Timothy, 6.3-6.19 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

6.3. If anyone teaches a different doctrine, and doesn't consent to sound words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness 6.4. he is conceited, knowing nothing, but obsessed with arguments, disputes, and word battles, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions 6.5. constant friction of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. Withdraw yourself from such. 6.6. But godliness with contentment is great gain. 6.7. For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly can't carry anything out. 6.8. But having food and clothing, we will be content with that. 6.9. But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction. 6.10. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 6.11. But you, man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. 6.12. Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you confessed the good confession in the sight of many witnesses. 6.13. I charge you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate testified the good confession 6.14. that you keep the commandment without spot, blameless, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; 6.15. which in its own times he will show, who is the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 6.16. who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and eternal power. Amen. 6.17. Charge those who are rich in this present world that they not be haughty, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on the living God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy; 6.18. that they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 6.19. laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold of eternal life.
13. Seneca The Younger, De Consolatione Ad Marciam, 1.7, 9.2, 9.5 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

14. Seneca The Younger, On Leisure, 9.5, 11.6 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

15. Seneca The Younger, De Vita Beata (Dialogorum Liber Vii), 3.3-3.4, 11.2 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

16. Seneca The Younger, Letters, 7.1, 7.3, 12.8, 15.5, 18.4-18.9, 18.11-18.13, 20.13, 59.16, 122.4 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

17. Suetonius, Nero, 51 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

18. Marcus Aurelius Emperor of Rome, Meditations, 2.1-2.2, 5.1, 5.16, 5.26 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

19. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 10.11, 10.130 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

10.11. This is stated by Apollodorus, who also says that he purchased the garden for eighty minae; and to the same effect Diocles in the third book of his Epitome speaks of them as living a very simple and frugal life; at all events they were content with half a pint of thin wine and were, for the rest, thorough-going water-drinkers. He further says that Epicurus did not think it right that their property should be held in common, as required by the maxim of Pythagoras about the goods of friends; such a practice in his opinion implied mistrust, and without confidence there is no friendship. In his correspondence he himself mentions that he was content with plain bread and water. And again: Send me a little pot of cheese, that, when I like, I may fare sumptuously. Such was the man who laid down that pleasure was the end of life. And here is the epigram in which Athenaeus eulogizes him: 10.130. It is, however, by measuring one against another, and by looking at the conveniences and inconveniences, that all these matters must be judged. Sometimes we treat the good as an evil, and the evil, on the contrary, as a good. Again, we regard independence of outward things as a great good, not so as in all cases to use little, but so as to be contented with little if we have not much, being honestly persuaded that they have the sweetest enjoyment of luxury who stand least in need of it, and that whatever is natural is easily procured and only the vain and worthless hard to win. Plain fare gives as much pleasure as a costly diet, when once the pain of want has been removed
20. Epicurus, Vatican Sayings, 67, 33



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
(zēloun, zēlōtos), of other things / objects Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
agency / agent, human Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
athletics/training Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 57
banquets Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152, 153
bion of borysthenes Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
body / bodies (corporeal, material, matter, physical) Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
cato, m. porcius (the censor, the elder) Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 153
choice (hairesis) / choosing (haireisthai) Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
cicero Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
clothing Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152
courage (andreia, bravery) Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
craft/craftsman (technē) Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 57
crates Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
cynics/cynicism Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
diastrophe Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 153
diogenes, the cynic Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
distress (lupē, grief, pain) Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
epictetus Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360; Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 57
epicureanism, autarkeia Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
epicureanism, rational living Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
epicureanism, simplicity of life Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
epicureanism, wealth Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
epicurus, self-sufficiency Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
epicurus, simple life Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
epicurus Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
epistle, pastorals Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
gnomologies Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
goal (telos) Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
injustice (adikia) / unjust Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
joy (chara) Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
law of nature/natural law, stoic politics Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 57
lucilius iunior Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152
marcus aurelius Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
metaphor Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
musonius rufus Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
nature Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152, 153
nero claudius caesar augustus germanicus Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152
night Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 153
ovid, ars and remedia as philosophical in their own right Williams and Vol, Philosophy in Ovid, Ovid as Philosopher (2022) 134
ovid, as praeceptor amoris Williams and Vol, Philosophy in Ovid, Ovid as Philosopher (2022) 134
ovid, erotodidaxis similar to philosophy in Williams and Vol, Philosophy in Ovid, Ovid as Philosopher (2022) 134
passions (pathē) Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 57
pastoral epistles Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
pastorals Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
perversion Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152, 153
philo of alexandria Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
philosopher Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
philosophy as a way of life Williams and Vol, Philosophy in Ovid, Ovid as Philosopher (2022) 134
pleasure Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152, 153
pleasure (hēdonē) Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
poverty vii Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152, 153
power (in nostra potestate) Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
precepts (praecepta) Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
proverb Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
saturnalia Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152, 153
seneca Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
simplicity Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
sobrietas Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152, 153
socrates Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152; Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 57
soul / mind (psuchē, animus) vii Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
spiritual / mental exercises Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
stoicism Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152, 153
stoicism / stoic / stoa, neostoicism (greco-roman) Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
stoicism / stoic / stoa Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
torture Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 153
training (askēsis) Lee, Moral Transformation in Greco-Roman Philosophy of Mind: Mapping the Moral Milieu of the Apostle Paul and His Diaspora Jewish Contemporaries (2020) 360
virtue Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152, 153; Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 57
vomit Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152
warm Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152
weakening Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 153
wealth' Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 525
wine Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 152