Seneca the Younger, De Constantia

LCL 214: 48-49

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Liber II

ad serenvm

Nec Inivriam Nec Contvmeliam Accipere Sapientem

(De Constantia Sapientis)

11. Tantum inter Stoicos, Serene, et ceteros sapientiam professos interesse quantum inter feminas et mares non immerito dixerim, cum utraque turba ad vitae societatem tantundem conferat, sed altera pars ad obsequendum, altera imperio nata sit. Ceteri sapientes molliter et blande, ut fere domestici et familiares medici aegris corporibus, non qua optimum et celerrimum est medentur sed qua licet; Stoici virilem ingressi viam non ut amoena ineuntibus videatur curae habent, sed ut quam primum nos eripiat et in illum editum verticem educat, qui adeo extra omnem teli iactum surrexit, ut supra fortunam 2 emineat. “At ardua per quae vocamur et confragosa sunt.” Quid enim? Plano aditur excelsum? Sed ne tam abrupta quidem sunt quam quidam putant. Prima tantum pars saxa rupesque habet et invii speciem, sicut pleraque ex longinquo speculantibus


On Firmness

Book II

To Serenus On The Firmness Of The Wise Man

The Wise Man can receive neither Injury nor Insult.

I might say with good reason, Serenus, that there is as great a difference between the Stoics and the other schools of philosophy as there is between males and females, since while each set contributes equally to human society, the one class is born to obey, the other to command. Other philosophers, using gentle and persuasive measures, are like the intimate family physician, who, commonly, tries to cure his patients, not by the best and the quickest method, but as he is allowed. The Stoics, having adopted the heroic course, are not so much concerned in making it attractive to us who enter upon it, as in having it rescue us as soon as possible and guide us to that lofty summit which rises so far beyond the reach of any missile as to tower high above all fortune. “But,” you say, “the path by which we are called to go is steep and rugged.” What of it? Can the heights be reached by a level path? But the way is not so sheer as some suppose. The first part only has rocks and cliffs, and appears impassable, just as many places, when viewed from afar, seem often to

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-de_constantia.1928