The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Senecio – Sentia Gens

SENECA

work on Friendship in the Vatican, and the begin­ning of another " De Vita Patris."

Besides the works which have been enumerated there are extant ten tragedies, which are attributed to Seneca: Quintilian (Inst. Or. ix. 2. § 9) and other Latin writers quote these plays as the works of Seneca. The plays are entitled Hercules Furens, Thyestes, Thebais or Phoenissae, tlippolytus or Phaedra, Oedipus, Troades or Hecuba, Medea, Agamemnon, Hercules Oetaeus, and Octavia. After all the discussion that there has been about the authorship of these tragedies, there seems no other person to whom we can assign them than Seneca, the teacher of Nero. The titles themselves, with the exception of the Octavia, indicate sufficiently what the tragedies are, Greek mythological subjects treated in a peculiar fashion. They are written in Iambic senarii, interspersed with choral parts, in anapaestic and other metres. The subject of the Octavia is Nero's ill-treatment of his wife, his passion for Poppaea, and the exile of Octavia. Seneca himself is one of the personages of the drama, and he is introduced in the second act, de­ploring the vices of the age and his own unhappi-ness in his elevated station. There seems no reason why this tragedy should not be attributed to the same author as the other nine, except the fact that it is not contained in the oldest Florentine MS. of the tragedies ; nor is there such difference be­tween this and the other tragedies, in character and expression, as to make it a probable conclusion that it is not by the same hand. If it is a work of Seneca, it must have been written after the exile of Octavia, a. d. 62. [octavia.]

These tragedies are not adapted, and certainly were never intended for the stage. They were designed for reading or for recitation after the Roman fashion, and they bear the stamp of a rhetorical age. The Greek tragedies themselves, of which these Latin tragedies are an imitation in form only, are overloaded with declamation, espe­cially those of Euripides. The tragedies of Seneca contain many striking passages, and have some merit as poems. Moral sentiments and maxims abound, and the style and character of Seneca are as conspicuous here as in his prose works. But there is a wonderful difference between the Latin tragic writer and the Greek dramatists. A comparison of the Medea of Euripides and of Seneca is in­structive : the dullest understanding will feel that the Greek play is intended and is suited for acting, and that the Roman play was not intended for the stage, and could not be acted. These Roman tragedies are, in fact, little more than dramas in name and in form: the form, indeed, is precisely Greek, but there is no substance under the form. The Octavia, which some critics violently con­demn, is perhaps the best of them, viewed as a drama. There is something to move the affections : there is a tragical situation of an unhappy woman suffering from a brutal husband and a rival favourite, and a catastrophe in the wretched fate of Octavia. The study of the tragedies of Seneca has had some influence on the French drama.

The editio princeps of Seneca is that of Naples, 1475, folio. The subsequent editions of the whole works of Seneca and of particular treatises are numerous. The edition of J. F. Gronovius, Leiden, 1649—1658, is in 4 vols. 12mo.: that of Ruhkopf, Leipzig, 1797—1811, 5 vols. 8vo.; Bipont edition, Strassburg, 1809, 5 vols. 8vo. There are three

783

SENTIA GENS.

complete French translations of the works of Se­neca, of which that of Lagrange is the last, and is said to be the best. The last edition of Lagrange's version is that of Paris, 1819, 13 vols. 12mo.: the life of Seneca makes the fourteenth volume. The French translations of particular treatises are very numerous.

A list of the English translations of Seneca, or of separate treatises, is contained in Briiggemann's work. The first edition of " The Workes of L. An-naeus Seneca, both Morall and Naturall, translated by Thos. Lodge, D. in Physicke," was published in London in 1614, with a Latin dedication to Chancellor Ellesmere ; and " The Life of L. An-naeus Seneca described by Justus Lipsius." This translation contains all the works of Seneca ex­cept the Apocolocyntosis, and the Epistles to Paul. The translation has considerable merit, and was a great thing for a man to do who also translated Josephus, and in other respects contributed to the literature of England.

One of the best editions of the tragedies of Se­neca is that by Schroder, Delft, 1728, 4to. There is an edition by F. H. Bothe, Leipzig, 1819, 2 vols. 8vo. There are two French translations of the tra­gedies, the latter of which is by M. Levee in his Theatre des Latins, Paris, 3 vols. 8vo. 1822. An English translation of the tragedies by several hands appeared in 1581.

Bahr, Geschichte der Romischen Literatur, vol. i. contains very copious references to all the literature that belongs to the works of Seneca. [G. L.]

SENECIO, CLAU'DIUS, a favourite of Nero at the commencement of his reign, was the son of a freedman of the emperor. (Tac. Ann. xiii. 12.)

SENECIO, HERE'NNIUS, was a native of Baetica in Spain, where he served as quaestor. He was put to death by Domitian on the accusation of Metius Carus, who charged him with having been a candidate for no public office after the quaestor-ship, and with having written the life of Helvidius Priscus. He wrote the latter work at the request of Fannia, the wife of Helvidius. (Dion Cass. Ixvii. 13 ; Tac. Agr. 2, 45 ; Plin. Ep. i. 5, iv. 7, 11, vii. 19, 33.)

SENECIO, C. SO'SIUS, consul suffectus, A. d. 98, and consul a.d. 99, 102, 107, is probably the same person who was a friend of the younger Pliny (Ep. i. 13), and whom Plutarch addresses in several of his lives. (Theseus, 1, Demosth. 1, Brut. 1.)

SENECIO, TU'LLIUS, a friend of Nero, nevertheless took part in Piso's conspiracy against the emperor, and on its detection was obliged to put an end to his life. (Tac. Ann. xv. 50, 56, 70.)

COIN OF THE' SENTIA GENS,

SENTIA GENS, plebeian, is not mentioned till towards the close of the republic. We find in it the cognomens augurinus and saturninus ; and the first member of it who obtained the con­sulship was C. Sentius Saturninus, in b. c. 19,

Pages
About | First

781

782

783
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.