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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Seneca The Younger, Letters, 9.12-9.14

nanYou may retort: "We are not now discussing the question whether friendship is to be cultivated for its own sake." On the contrary, nothing more urgently requires demonstration; for if friendship is to be sought for its own sake, he may seek it who is self-sufficient. "How, then," you ask, "does he seek it?" Precisely as he seeks an object of great beauty, not attracted to it by desire for gain, nor yet frightened by the instability of Fortune. One who seeks friendship for favourable occasions, strips it of all its nobility.

nanThe wise man is self-sufficient. This phrase, my dear Lucilius, is incorrectly explained by many; for they withdraw the wise man from the world, and force him to dwell within his own skin. But we must mark with care what this sentence signifies and how far it applies; the wise man is sufficient unto himself for a happy existence, but not for mere existence. For he needs many helps towards mere existence; but for a happy existence he needs only a sound and upright soul, one that despises Fortune.

nanI should like also to state to you one of the distinctions of Chrysippus,[8] who declares that the wise man is in want of nothing, and yet needs many things.[9] "On the other hand," he says, "nothing is needed by the fool, for he does not understand how to use anything, but he is in want of everything." The wise man needs hands, eyes, and many things that are necessary for his daily use; but he is in want of nothing. For want implies a necessity, and nothing is necessary to the wise man.

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

12 results
1. Sappho, Fragments, 47 (7th cent. BCE - 6th cent. BCE)

2. Sappho, Fragments, 47 (7th cent. BCE - 6th cent. BCE)

3. Sappho, Fragments, 47 (7th cent. BCE - 6th cent. BCE)

4. Cicero, On The Ends of Good And Evil, 3.55, 3.68, 3.70 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3.55. Sequitur illa divisio, ut bonorum alia sint ad illud ultimum pertinentia (sic enim appello, quae telika/ dicuntur; nam hoc ipsum instituamus, ut placuit, pluribus verbis dicere, quod uno uno dett., om. ABERNV non poterimus, ut res intellegatur), alia autem efficientia, quae Graeci poihtika/, alia utrumque. de pertinentibus nihil est bonum praeter actiones honestas, de efficientibus nihil praeter amicum, sed et pertinentem et efficientem sapientiam sapientiam deft. sapientem volunt esse. nam quia sapientia est conveniens actio, est in illo est in illo Dav. est illo ABERN 1 est cum illo N 2 cum illo V pertinenti genere, quod dixi; quod autem honestas actiones adfert et efficit, id efficiens dici potest. secl. Mdv. 3.68. Cum autem ad tuendos conservandosque homines hominem natum esse videamus, consentaneum est huic naturae, ut sapiens velit gerere et administrare rem publicam atque, ut e natura vivat, uxorem adiungere et velle ex ea liberos. ne amores quidem sanctos a sapiente alienos esse arbitrantur. arbitramur BE Cynicorum autem rationem atque vitam alii cadere in sapientem dicunt, si qui qui ARN 1 V quis BEN 2 eius modi forte casus inciderit, ut id faciendum sit, alii nullo modo. 3.70. Amicitiam autem adhibendam esse censent, quia sit ex eo genere, quae prosunt. quamquam autem in amicitia alii dicant aeque caram esse sapienti rationem amici ac suam, alii autem sibi cuique cariorem suam, tamen hi quoque posteriores fatentur alienum esse a iustitia, ad quam nati esse videamur, detrahere quid de aliquo, quod sibi adsumat. minime vero probatur huic disciplinae, de qua loquor, aut iustitiam aut amicitiam propter utilitates adscisci aut probari. eaedem enim utilitates poterunt eas labefactare atque pervertere. etenim nec iustitia nec amicitia iustitia nec amicitia Mdv. iusticie nec amicicie esse omnino poterunt, poterunt esse omnino BE nisi ipsae per se expetuntur. expetantur V 3.55.  "Next comes the division of goods into three classes, first those which are 'constituents' of the final end (for so I represent the term telika, this being a case of an idea which we may decide, as we agreed, to express in several words as we cannot do so in one, in order to make the meaning clear), secondly those which are 'productive' of the End, the Greek poiētika; and thirdly those which are both. The only instances of goods of the 'constituent' class are moral action; the only instance of a 'productive' good is a friend. Wisdom, according to the Stoics, is both constituent and productive; for as being itself an appropriate activity it comes under what I called the constituent class; as causing and producing moral actions, it can be called productive. 3.68.  Again, since we see that man is designed by nature to safeguard and protect his fellows, it follows from this natural disposition, that the Wise Man should desire to engage in politics and government, and also to live in accordance with nature by taking to himself a wife and desiring to have children by her. Even the passion of love when pure is not thought incompatible with the character of the Stoic sage. As for the principles and habits of the Cynics, some say that these befit the Wise Man, if circumstances should happen to indicate this course of action; but other Stoics reject the Cynic rule unconditionally. 3.70.  "They recommend the cultivation of friendship, classing it among 'things beneficial.' In friendship some profess that the Wise Man will hold his friends' interests as dear as his own, while others say that a man's own interests must necessarily be dearer to him; at the same time the latter admit that to enrich oneself by another's loss is an action repugt to that justice towards which we seem to possess a natural propensity. But the school I am discussing emphatically rejects the view that we adopt or approve either justice or friendship for the sake of their utility. For if it were so, the same claims of utility would be able to undermine and overthrow them. In fact the very existence of both justice and friendship will be impossible if they are not desired for their own sake.
5. Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, 1.121 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.121. for who could form a mental picture of such images? who could adore them and deem them worthy of worship or reverence? "Epicurus however, in abolishing divine beneficence and divine benevolence, uprooted and exterminated all religion from the human heart. For while asserting the supreme goodness and excellence of the divine nature, he yet denies to god the attribute of benevolence — that is to say, he does away with that which is the most essential element of supreme goodness and excellence. For what can be better or more excellent than kindness and beneficence? Make out god to be devoid of either, and you make him devoid of all love, affection or esteem for any other being, human or divine. It follows not merely that the gods do not care for mankind, but that they have no care for one another. How much more truth there is in the Stoics, whom you censure! They hold that all wise men are friends, even when strangers to each other, since nothing is more lovable than virtue, and he that attains to it will have our esteem in whatever country he dwells.
6. Cicero, On Duties, 3.90 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3.90. Quid? si una tabula sit, duo naufragi, eique sapientes, sibine uter que rapiat, an alter cedat alteri? Cedat vero, sed ei, cuius magis intersit vel sua vel rei publicae causa vivere. Quid, si haec paria in utroque? Nullum erit certamen, sed quasi sorte aut micando victus alteri cedet alter. Quid? si pater fana expilet, cuniculos agat ad aerarium, indicetne id magistratibus filius? Nefas id quidem est, quin etiam defendat patrem, si arguatur. Non igitur patria praestat omnibus officiis? Immo vero, sed ipsi patriae conducit pios habere cives in parentes. Quid? si tyrannidem occupare, si patriam prodere conabitur pater, silebitne filius? Immo vero obsecrabit patrem, ne id faciat. Si nihil proficiet, accusabit, minabitur etiam, ad extremum, si ad perniciem patriae res spectabit, patriae salutem anteponet saluti patris. 3.90.  "Again; suppose there were two to be saved from the sinking ship — both of them wise men — and only one small plank, should both seize it to save themselves? Or should one give place to the other?""Why, of course, one should give place to the other, but that other must be the one whose life is more valuable either for his own sake or for that of his country.""But what if these considerations are of equal weight in both?""Then there will be no contest, but one will give place to the other, as if the point were decided by lot or at a game of odd and even.""Again, suppose a father were robbing temples or making underground passages to the treasury, should a son inform the officers of it?""Nay; that were a crime; rather should he defend his father, in case he were indicted.""Well, then, are not the claims of country paramount to all other duties""Aye, verily; but it is to our country's interest to have citizens who are loyal to their parents.""But once more — if the father attempts to make himself king, or to betray his country, shall the son hold his peace?""Nay, verily; he will plead with his father not to do so. If that accomplishes nothing, he will take him to task; he will even threaten; and in the end, if things point to the destruction of the state, he will sacrifice his father to the safety of his country.
7. Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, 4.72 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4.72. Stoici vero et sapientem amaturum esse St. fr. 3, 652 dicunt et amorem ipsum conatum amicitiae faciendae ex pulchritudinis specie definiunt. qui si qui si quin V quis est in rerum natura sine sollicitudine, sine desiderio, sine cura, sine suspirio, sit sane; vacat enim omni libidine; haec autem de libidine oratio est. sin autem est aliquis amor, ut est certe, qui nihil absit aut non multum ab insania, qualis in Leucadia est: si quidem sit quisquam Turpil. 115 deus, cui cuii Ribb. ad V ego sim curae —
8. Andronicus of Rhodes, On Emotions, 6 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

9. Epictetus, Discourses, 4.1 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

10. Seneca The Younger, Letters, 4.1-4.2, 5.1, 6.1, 9.8-9.9, 9.13-9.14, 9.16-9.17, 59.14-59.17, 70.4-70.6, 71.26-71.28, 73.13-73.15, 83.27, 109.3-109.5 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

11. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, 5.14 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

12. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 7.23, 7.33, 7.36, 7.96, 7.113, 7.124, 7.130, 7.175 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

7.23. Again he would say that if we want to master the sciences there is nothing so fatal as conceit, and again there is nothing we stand so much in need of as time. To the question Who is a friend? his answer was, A second self (alter ego). We are told that he was once chastising a slave for stealing, and when the latter pleaded that it was his fate to steal, Yes, and to be beaten too, said Zeno. Beauty he called the flower of chastity, while according to others it was chastity which he called the flower of beauty. Once when he saw the slave of one of his acquaintance marked with weals, I see, said he, the imprints of your anger. To one who had been drenched with unguent, Who is this, quoth he, who smells of woman? When Dionysius the Renegade asked, Why am I the only pupil you do not correct? the reply was, Because I mistrust you. To a stripling who was talking nonsense his words were, The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth is that we may listen the more and talk the less. 7.33. Again, in the Republic, making an invidious contrast, he declares the good alone to be true citizens or friends or kindred or free men; and accordingly in the view of the Stoics parents and children are enemies, not being wise. Again, it is objected, in the Republic he lays down community of wives, and at line 200 prohibits the building of sanctuaries, law-courts and gymnasia in cities; while as regards a currency he writes that we should not think it need be introduced either for purposes of exchange or for travelling abroad. Further, he bids men and women wear the same dress and keep no part of the body entirely covered. 7.36. of the many disciples of Zeno the following are the most famous: Persaeus, son of Demetrius, of Citium, whom some call a pupil and others one of the household, one of those sent him by Antigonus to act as secretary; he had been tutor to Antigonus's son Halcyoneus. And Antigonus once, wishing to make trial of him, caused some false news to be brought to him that his estate had been ravaged by the enemy, and as his countece fell, Do you see, said he, that wealth is not a matter of indifference?The following works are by Persaeus:of Kingship.The Spartan Constitution.of Marriage.of Impiety.Thyestes.of Love.Exhortations.Interludes.Four books of Anecdotes.Memorabilia.A Reply to Plato's Laws in seven books. 7.96. Similarly of things evil some are mental evils, namely, vices and vicious actions; others are outward evils, as to have a foolish country or a foolish friend and the unhappiness of such; other evils again are neither mental nor outward, e.g. to be yourself bad and unhappy.Again, goods are either of the nature of ends or they are the means to these ends, or they are at the same time end and means. A friend and the advantages derived from him are means to good, whereas confidence, high-spirit, liberty, delight, gladness, freedom from pain, and every virtuous act are of the nature of ends. 7.113. panic is fear with pressure exercised by sound; mental agony is fear felt when some issue is still in suspense.Desire or craving is irrational appetency, and under it are ranged the following states: want, hatred, contentiousness, anger, love, wrath, resentment. Want, then, is a craving when it is baulked and, as it were, cut off from its object, but kept at full stretch and attracted towards it in vain. Hatred is a growing and lasting desire or craving that it should go ill with somebody. Contentiousness is a craving or desire connected with partisanship; anger a craving or desire to punish one who is thought to have done you an undeserved injury. The passion of love is a craving from which good men are free; for it is an effort to win affection due to the visible presence of beauty. 7.124. He will, however, submit to training to augment his powers of bodily endurance.And the wise man, they say, will offer prayers, and ask for good things from the gods: so Posidonius in the first book of his treatise On Duties, and Hecato in his third book On Paradoxes. Friendship, they declare, exists only between the wise and good, by reason of their likeness to one another. And by friendship they mean a common use of all that has to do with life, wherein we treat our friends as we should ourselves. They argue that a friend is worth having for his own sake and that it is a good thing to have many friends. But among the bad there is, they hold, no such thing as friendship, and thus no bad man has a friend. Another of their tenets is that the unwise are all mad, inasmuch as they are not wise but do what they do from that madness which is the equivalent of their folly. 7.130. Their definition of love is an effort toward friendliness due to visible beauty appearing, its sole end being friendship, not bodily enjoyment. At all events, they allege that Thrasonides, although he had his mistress in his power, abstained from her because she hated him. By which it is shown, they think, that love depends upon regard, as Chrysippus says in his treatise of Love, and is not sent by the gods. And beauty they describe as the bloom or flower of virtue.of the three kinds of life, the contemplative, the practical, and the rational, they declare that we ought to choose the last, for that a rational being is expressly produced by nature for contemplation and for action. They tell us that the wise man will for reasonable cause make his own exit from life, on his country's behalf or for the sake of his friends, or if he suffer intolerable pain, mutilation, or incurable disease. 7.175. Antiquities.of the Gods.of Giants.of Marriage.On Homer.of Duty, three books.of Good Counsel.of Gratitude.An Exhortation.of the Virtues.of Natural Ability.of Gorgippus.of Envy.of Love.of Freedom.The Art of Love.of Honour.of Fame.The Statesman.of Deliberation.of Laws.of Litigation.of Education.of Logic, three books.of the End.of Beauty.of Conduct.of Knowledge.of Kingship.of Friendship.On the Banquet.On the Thesis that Virtue is the same in Man and in Woman.On the Wise Man turning Sophist.of Usages.Lectures, two books.of Pleasure.On Properties.On Insoluble Problems.of Dialectic.of Moods or Tropes.of Predicates.This, then, is the list of his works.

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
becker,lawrence Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
body,dispensable Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
brutishness Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
chrysippus,on moral development Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
chrysippus,on self-sufficiency Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
cicero Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
concord (homonoia) Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
death Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
desire,and erotic love Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
emotions,as contumacious Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
emotions,modern theories Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
epictetus Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
ethics,of stoicism Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
eupatheiai,include erotic love Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
friendship,concord within Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
goods,within friendship Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
hecato Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
honourableness Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
identity Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
lesses,glenn Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
love,erotic or sexual,eupathic Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
love,erotic or sexual,ordinary Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
normative self or identity Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
officium,oikeiosis Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
progress,moral Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
reaching (orexis) Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
reason Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
self-concern Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
self-sufficiency,within friendship Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251
seneca Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
telos,temporality Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
wise man' Long (2006), From Epicurus to Epictetus Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy, 372
wise person,falls in love Graver (2007), Stoicism and Emotion, 251