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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10243
Seneca The Younger, Letters, 59.6-59.8


nanI do, however, find some metaphors, not, indeed, daring ones, but the kind which have stood the test of use. I find similes also; of course, if anyone forbids us to use them, maintaining that poets alone have that privilege, he has not, apparently, read any of our ancient prose writers, who had not yet learned to affect a style that should win applause. For those writers, whose eloquence was simple and directed only towards proving their case, are full of comparisons; and I think that these are necessary, not for the same reason which makes them necessary for the poets, but in order that they may serve as props to our feebleness, to bring both speaker and listener face to face with the subject under discussion.


nanI do, however,[5] find some metaphors, not, indeed, daring ones, but the kind which have stood the test of use. I find similes also; of course, if anyone forbids us to use them, maintaining that poets alone have that privilege, he has not, apparently, read any of our ancient prose writers, who had not yet learned to affect a style that should win applause. For those writers, whose eloquence was simple and directed only towards proving their case, are full of comparisons; and I think that these are necessary, not for the same reason which makes them necessary for the poets, but in order that they may serve as props to our feebleness, to bring both speaker and listener face to face with the subject under discussion.


nanFor example, I am at this very moment reading Sextius; he is a keen man, and a philosopher who, though he writes in Greek, has the Roman standard of ethics. One of his similes appealed especially to me, that of an army marching in hollow square, in a place where the enemy might be expected to appear from any quarter, ready for battle. "This," said he, "is just what the wise man ought to do; he should have all his fighting qualities deployed on every side, so that wherever the attack threatens, there his supports may be ready to hand and may obey the captain's command without confusion." This is what we notice in armies which serve under great leaders; we see how all the troops simultaneously understand their general's orders, since they are so arranged that a signal given by one man passes down the ranks of cavalry and infantry at the same moment.


nanFor example, I am at this very moment reading Sextius;[6] he is a keen man, and a philosopher who, though he writes in Greek, has the Roman standard of ethics. One of his similes appealed especially to me, that of an army marching in hollow square,[7] in a place where the enemy might be expected to appear from any quarter, ready for battle. "This," said he, "is just what the wise man ought to do; he should have all his fighting qualities deployed on every side, so that wherever the attack threatens, there his supports may be ready to hand and may obey the captain's command without confusion." This is what we notice in armies which serve under great leaders; we see how all the troops simultaneously understand their general's orders, since they are so arranged that a signal given by one man passes down the ranks of cavalry and infantry at the same moment.


nanThis, he declares, is still more necessary for men like ourselves; for soldiers have often feared an enemy without reason, and the march which they thought most dangerous has in fact been most secure; but folly brings no repose, fear haunts it both in the van and in the rear of the column, and both flanks are in a panic. Folly is pursued, and confronted, by peril. It blenches at everything; it is unprepared; it is frightened even by auxiliary troops. But the wise man is fortified against all inroads; he is alert; he will not retreat before the attack of poverty, or of sorrow, or of disgrace, or of pain. He will walk undaunted both against them and among them.


nanThis, he declares, is still more necessary for men like ourselves; for soldiers have often feared an enemy without reason, and the march which they thought most dangerous has in fact been most secure; but folly brings no repose, fear haunts it both in the van and in the rear of the column, and both flanks are in a panic. Folly is pursued, and confronted, by peril. It blenches at everything; it is unprepared; it is frightened even by auxiliary troops.[8] But the wise man is fortified against all inroads; he is alert; he will not retreat before the attack of poverty, or of sorrow, or of disgrace, or of pain. He will walk undaunted both against them and among them.


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

7 results
1. Cicero, On Duties, 3.15 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3.15. Cum autem aliquid actum est, in quo media officia compareant, id cumulate videtur esse perfectum, propterea quod volgus quid absit a perfecto, non fere intellegit; quatenus autem intellegit, nihil putat praetermissum; quod idem in poematis, in picturis usu venit in aliisque compluribus, ut delectentur imperiti laudentque ea, quae laudanda non sint, ob eam, credo, causam, quod insit in iis aliquid probi, quod capiat ignaros, qui quidem, quid in una quaque re vitii sit, nequeant iudicare; itaque, cum sunt docti a peritis, desistunt facile sententia. Haec igitur officia, de quibus his libris disserimus, quasi secunda quaedam honesta esse dicunt, non sapientium modo propria, sed cum omni hominum genere communia. 3.15.  On the other hand, when some act is performed in which we see "mean" duties manifested, that is generally regarded as fully perfect, for the reason that the common crowd does not, as a rule, comprehend how far it falls short of real perfection; but, as far as their comprehension does go, they think there is no deficiency. This same thing ordinarily occurs in the estimation of poems, paintings, and a great many other works of art: ordinary people enjoy and praise things that do not deserve praise. The reason for this, I suppose, is that those productions have some point of excellence which catches the fancy of the uneducated, because these have not the ability to discover the points of weakness in any particular piece of work before them. And so, when they are instructed by experts, they readily abandon their former opinion. The performance of the duties, then, which I am discussing in these books, is called by the Stoics a sort of second-grade moral goodness, not the peculiar property of their wise men, but shared by them with all mankind.
2. Horace, Letters, 1.1.60 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3. Epictetus, Discourses, 2.2.21-2.2.26, 2.17.29, 2.17.31, 2.17.33, 3.12.7-3.12.12, 3.22.13-3.22.19, 3.22.94-3.22.95, 3.24.31, 4.3.7 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

4. New Testament, 2 Corinthians, 10.3-10.6 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

5. Seneca The Younger, De Constantia Sapientis, 3.4-3.5 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

6. Seneca The Younger, Letters, 47.9-47.10, 51.4-51.6, 51.8-51.12, 56.15, 59.7-59.8, 74.19, 94.1-94.3, 95.4-95.5 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

7. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 7.91 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

7.91. These are called non-intellectual, because they do not require the mind's assent; they supervene and they occur even in bad men: for instance, health, courage. The proof, says Posidonius in the first book of his treatise on Ethics, that virtue really exists is the fact that Socrates, Diogenes, and Antisthenes and their followers made moral progress. And for the existence of vice as a fundamental fact the proof is that it is the opposite of virtue. That it, virtue, can be taught is laid down by Chrysippus in the first book of his work On the End, by Cleanthes, by Posidonius in his Protreptica, and by Hecato; that it can be taught is clear from the case of bad men becoming good.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
analogy Clay and Vergados, Teaching through Images: Imagery in Greco-Roman Didactic Poetry (2022) 9
anxiety, sage, free from Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
armament Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
athletics/training Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 56
bravery Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
censure Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
cicero Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 56
clarity/clear Clay and Vergados, Teaching through Images: Imagery in Greco-Roman Didactic Poetry (2022) 9
comparison Clay and Vergados, Teaching through Images: Imagery in Greco-Roman Didactic Poetry (2022) 9
conscience Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
craft/craftsman (technē) Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 56
cynics/cynicism Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
dahl, influence, paraenesis Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
damasippus Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
defense Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
doctrine, sound Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
eikon/eikazo (είκών/εἰκάζω) Clay and Vergados, Teaching through Images: Imagery in Greco-Roman Didactic Poetry (2022) 9
energeia (ἐνάργεια) Clay and Vergados, Teaching through Images: Imagery in Greco-Roman Didactic Poetry (2022) 9
epistle, pastorals Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
epistolary, paraenesis Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
euripides Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
example Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
gentleness Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
heresy Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
law of nature/natural law, stoic politics Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 56
lucian Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
metaphor Clay and Vergados, Teaching through Images: Imagery in Greco-Roman Didactic Poetry (2022) 9
panaetius generally Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 56
paraenesis, epistolary Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
paraenesis Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
pastoral epistles Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
pastorals Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
pleasure Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147, 410
plutarch Clay and Vergados, Teaching through Images: Imagery in Greco-Roman Didactic Poetry (2022) 9
praecepta Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
proverbs, titus, letter of Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
sage Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
seneca Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
seneca generally Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 56
shepherd of hermas Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
slavery Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 56
stertinius Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
stoicism, military imagery Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
stoicism Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
style, paraenetic Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
teaching Clay and Vergados, Teaching through Images: Imagery in Greco-Roman Didactic Poetry (2022) 9
titus Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 410
virtue Wilson, Paul and the Jewish Law: A Stoic Ethical Perspective on his Inconsistency (2022) 56
war Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
weapon Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147
wise, man' Malherbe et al., Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity: Collected Essays of Abraham J (2014) 147