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Seneca and Stoicism

4. Seneca and Queer Love

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about Seneca's attitude towards homosexual love, focusing in particular on: (i) the attitude towards homosexual love in Greek Stoicism, and the extent to which attitudes had changed by the 1st century AD; (ii) Seneca's mention of a homosexual relationship in one of his letters (122.7-8) and the grounds on which he describes it as being 'against nature'; (iii) contemporary attitudes towards homosexual relationships – from crass stereotypes to tacit acceptance; and (iv) Seneca's issue with Hostius Quadra's sexual predilections (Natural Questions 1.16).


In this course, Dr Liz Gloyn (Royal Holloway, University of London) thinks about Seneca's attitudes towards love and relationships in a course designed for the 'Love and Relationships' option for OCR A Level Classical Civilization (H408/32). in the first module, we think about the figure of Seneca and the key principles of Stoicism. After, we think about the Stoic view of love, before turning in the third module to consider Seneca's attitude to marriage. In the fourth module, we think about Seneca's attitude to homosexual love, before turning in the fifth module to consider how Seneca's views on love and relationships might have been received in contemporary Roman society. To what extent, in other words, do Seneca's views on love and relationships represent prevailing attitudes at the time?

Further details on all the topics discussed in this course, including English translations of the surviving fragments Seneca's On Marriage, can be found on Dr Gloyn's blog Classically Inclined.


Dr Liz Gloyn is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classics at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research focuses on the intersections between Latin literature, ancient philosophy and gender studies, with a particular focus on Seneca the Younger and his approach to Stoicism and family. Her previous publications include The Ethics of the Family in Seneca (2017), while her current book project explores the way that contemporary popular culture imagines and uses classical monsters, and will be published 2019.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Gloyn, L. (2021, February 21). Seneca and Stoicism - Seneca and Queer Love [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Gloyn, L. "Seneca and Stoicism – Seneca and Queer Love." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 21 Feb 2021,