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Book 1 of Seneca’s "Epistulae Morales</I> – A Commentary


Christine Richardson-Hay

This book provides a detailed commentary on Book 1 (epistulae 1-12) of Seneca’s Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales, written in the last years (62-65 AD) of the philosopher’s life. The importance of the Epistulae Morales as an example, possibly the consummation, of Seneca’s writings and a discussion of Roman (Stoic) moral philosophy, is universally acknowledged. The purpose in focusing upon these first twelve epistles, which establish the principle and intention of this large collection of twenty extant Books, is to interpret and annotate the letters and add insight to the understanding of the Epistulae Morales overall. Every letter in Book 1 is discussed in the form of a commentary. Areas of comment include vocabulary and style, personal allusions to Seneca, relevant issues of history and social environment and, inevitably, the moral and philosophical concepts which form the substance of Seneca’s argument throughout the Epistulae Morales. Two further issues, the Structure and Style of Book 1, are discussed in separate chapters.
Contents: Two introductory discussions on genre, structure and style of Book 1 – Separate in-depth Commentaries of epistulae 1-12.