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probably lived till near the end of the reign of Tiberius, and died at Rome or in Italy. It appears that he was at Rome early in life, from what has been stated as to Ovid ; and he must have returned to Spain, because his son Lucius was brought to Rome from Spain when he was an infant. (L. Seneca, ConsoL ad Helviam.)
Seneca was gifted with a prodigious memory. He was a man of letters, after the fashion of his time, when rhetoric or false eloquence was most in vogue. His Controversiarum Libri decem, which he addressed to his three sons, were written when he was an old man. The first, second, seventh, eighth, and tenth books only, are extant, and these are somewhat mutilated: of the other books only fragments remain. These Controversiae are rhetorical exercises on imaginary cases, rilled with common-places, such as a man of large verbal memory and great reading carries about with him as his ready money. Another work of the same class, attributed to Seneca, and written after the Controversiae, is the Suasoriarum Liber, which is probably not complete. We may collect, from its contents, what the subjects were on which the rhetoricians of that age exercised their wits: one of them is, " Shall Cicero apologise to Marcus Anto-mus ? Shall he agree to burn his Philippics, if Antonius requires it ?" Another is, " Shall Alexander embark on the ocean ?" If there are some good ideas and apt expressions in these puerile declamations, they have no value where they stand ; and probably most of them are borrowed. No merit of form can compensate for worthlessness of matter. The eloquence of the Roman orators, which was derived from their political institutions, was silenced after the Civil Wars ; and the puerilities of the rhetoricians were the signs of declining taste.
The Controversiae and Suasoriarum Liber have often been published with the works of Seneca the son. The edition of A. Schottus appeared at Heidelberg, 1603 and 1604, Paris, 1607 and 1613. The Elzivir print of 1672, 8vo., contains the notes of N. Faber, A. Schottus, J. F. Gronovius, and others.
The confusion between Seneca, the father, and Seneca, the philosopher, is fully cleared up by Lipsius, Electorum Lib. /. cap. 1, Opera, vol. i. p. 631, ed. 1675. [G. L.J
SENECA, L. ANNAEUS, the son of M. An-naeus Seneca, was born at Corduba, probably about a few years b. c., and brought to Rome by his parents when he was a child. Though he was naturally of a weak body, he was a hard student from his youth, and he devoted himself with great ardour to rhetoric and philosophy. He also soon gained distinction as a pleader of causes, and he excited the jealousy and hatred of Caligula by the ability with which he conducted a case in the senate before the emperor. He was spared, it is said, because Caligula was assured by one of his mistresses that Seneca would soon die of disease. The emperor also affected to despise the eloquence of Seneca: he said that it was sand without lime (Sueton. Calig. 53). Seneca obtained the quaes-torship, but the time is uncertain. In the first year of the reign of Claudius (a. d. 41), the successor of Caligula, Seneca was banished to Corsica. Claudius had recalled to Rome his nieces Agrippina and Julia, whom their brother Caligula had exiled to the island of Pontia (Ponza). It seems probable that Messalina, the wife of Claudius, was
jealous of the influence of Julia with Claudius, and hated her for her haughty behaviour. Julia was again exiled, and Seneca's intimacy with her was a pretext for making him share her disgrace. What the facts really were is unknown ; and the innocence of Seneca and Julia is at least as probable as their guilt, when Messalina was the accuser.
In his exile in Corsica Seneca had the opportunity of practising the philosophy of the Stoics, to which he had attached himself. His Consolatio ad Helviam, or consolatory letter to his mother, was written during his residence in the island. If the Consolatio ad Polybium, which was also written during his exile, is the work of Seneca, it does him no credit. Polybius was the powerful freedman of Claudius, and the Consolatio is intended to comfort him on the occasion of the loss of his brother. But it also contains adulation of the emperor, and many expressions unworthy of a true Stoic, or of an honest man. The object of the address to Polybius was to have his sentence of exile recalled, even at the cost of his character.
After eight years' residence in Corsica Seneca was recalled A. d. 49, by the influence of Agrippina (Tac. Ann. xii. 8), who had just married her uncle the emperor Claudius. From this time the life of Seneca is closely connected with that of Nero, and Tacitus is the chief authority for both. On his return he obtained a praetorship, and was made the tutor of the young Domitius, afterwards the emperor Nero, who was the son of Agrippina by a former husband. Agrippina relied on the reputation of Seneca and his advice as a means of securing the succession to her son; and she trusted to his gratitude to herself as a guarantee for his fidelity to her interests, and to his hatred of Claudius for the wrongs that he had suffered from him.
It was unfortunate that the philosopher had so bad a pupil, but we cannot blame him for all that Nero learned and all that he did not learn. The youth had a taste for what was showy and superficial : he had no capacity for the studies which befit a man who has to govern a state. If Seneca had made a rhetorician of him after his own taste, that would have been something, but Domitius had not even the low ability to distinguish himself as a talker. There is no evidence to justify the imputation that Seneca encouraged his vicious propensities ; and if Nero had followed the advice contained in Seneca's treatise, De dementia ad Neronem Caesarem, written in the second year of Nero's reign, the young emperor might have been happy, and his administration beneficent. That Seneca would look upon his connection with Nero as a means of improving his fortunes and enjoying power, is just what most other men would have done, and would do now in the same circumstances ; and that a man with such views would not be very rigid towards an unruly pupil is a reasonable inference. We know that he did not make Nero a wise man or a good man ; we do not know that he helped to make him worse than he would have been ; and in the absence of positive evidence of his corrupting the youth, and with the positive evidence of his own writings in his favour, it is a fair and just conclusion that he did as much with Nero as a man could who had accepted, and chose to retain a post in which his character could not possibly escape some impu-