Seneca the Younger, Epistles

LCL 76: 468-469

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The Epistles Of Seneca

orientis occidentisque terminis finiat1 deorumque ritu cuncta possideat,2 cum opibus suis divites superne despiciat, quorum nemo tam suo laetus est 33quam tristis alieno. Cum se in hanc sublimitatem tulit, corporis quoque ut3 oneris necessarii non amator, sed procurator est nec se illi, cui inpositus est, subicit. Nemo liber est, qui corpori servit. Nam ut alios dominos, quos nimia pro illo sollicitudo invenit, transeas, ipsius morosum imperium delicatumque 34est. Ab hoc modo aequo animo exit, modo magno prosilit, nec quis deinde relicti eius futurus sit exitus quaerit. Sed ut ex barba capilloque tonsa neglegimus, ita ille divinus animus egressurus hominem, quo receptaculum suum conferatur, ignis illud exurat an lapis includat4 an terra contegat an ferae distrahant, non magis ad se iudicat pertinere quam secundas ad editum infantem. Utrum proiectum aves differant, an consumatur

Canibus data praeda marinis,5

35quid ad illum, qui nullus est6? Sed tunc quoque, cum inter homines est, non timet ullas7 post mortem minas eorum, quibus usque ad mortem timeri parum est. Non conterret, inquit, me nec uncus nec proiecti .


Epistle XCII.

by the boundaries of East and West, and, like the gods, may possess all things; and that it may, with its own vast resources, look down from on high upon the wealthy, no one of whom rejoices as much in his own wealth as he resents the wealth of another. When the soul has transported itself to this lofty height, it regards the body also, since it is a burden which must be borne, not as a thing to love, but as a thing to oversee; nor is it subservient to that over which it is set in mastery. For no man is free who is a slave to his body. Indeed, omitting all the other masters which are brought into being by excessive care for the body, the sway which the body itself exercises is captious and fastidious. Forth from this body the soul issues, now with unruffled spirit, now with exultation, and, when once it has gone forth, asks not what shall be the end of the deserted clay. No; just as we do not take thought for the clippings of the hair and the beard, even so that divine soul, when it is about to issue forth from the mortal man, regards the destination of its earthly vessel—whether it be consumed by fire, or shut in by a stone, or buried in the earth, or torn by wild beasts—as being of no more concern to itself than is the afterbirth to a child just born. And whether this body shall be cast out and plucked to pieces by birds, or devoured when

thrown to the sea-dogs as prey,a

how does that concern him who is nothing? Nay, even when it is among the living, the soul fears nothing that may happen to the body after death; for though such things may have been threats, they were not enough to terrify the soul previous to the moment of death. It says: “I am not frightened

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-epistles.1917