Seneca the Younger, De Ira

LCL 214: 106-107

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Liber III

ad novatvmDE IRA

liber i

11. Exegisti a me, Novate, ut scriberem quemadmodum posset ira leniri, nec immerito mihi videris hunc praecipue affectum pertimuisse maxime ex omnibus taetrum ac rabidum. Ceteris enim aliquid quieti placidique inest, hic totus concitatus et in impetu doloris est, armorum sanguinis suppliciorum minime humana furens cupiditate, dum alteri noceat sui neglegens, in ipsa irruens tela et ultionis secum ultorem 2 tracturae avidus. Quidam itaque e sapientibus viris iram dixerunt brevem insaniam; aeque enim impotens sui est, decoris oblita, necessitudinum immemor, in quod coepit pertinax et intenta, rationi consiliisque praeclusa, vanis agitata causis, ad dispectum aequi verique inhabilis, ruinis simillima, quae super id quod 3 oppressere franguntur. Ut scias autem non esse sanos quos ira possedit, ipsum illorum habitum intuere; nam ut furentium certa indicia sunt audax et minax


On Anger

Book III

To Novatus On Anger

book i

You have importuned me, Novatus, to write on the subject of how anger may be allayed, and it seems to me that you had good reason to fear in an especial degree this, the most hideous and frenzied of all the emotions. For the other emotions have in them some element of peace and calm, while this one is wholly violent and has its being in an onrush of resentment, raging with a most inhuman lust for weapons, blood, and punishment, giving no thought to itself if only it can hurt another, hurling itself upon the very point of the dagger, and eager for revenge though it may drag down the avenger along with it. Certain wise men, therefore, have claimed that anger is temporary madness. For it is equally devoid of self-control, forgetful of decency, unmindful of ties, persistent and diligent in whatever it begins, closed to reason and counsel, excited by trifling causes, unfit to discern the right and true—the very counterpart of a ruin that is shattered in pieces where it over-whelms. But you have only to behold the aspect of those possessed by anger to know that they are insane. For as the marks of a madman are unmistakable—a bold and threatening mien, a gloomy

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-de_ira.1928