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Seneca and Stoicism

1. Seneca and Stoicism

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think the figure of Seneca and the key principles of Stoicism, focusing in particular on: (i) Seneca's life and times, and his relationship with the imperial family – especially Nero; (ii) the eclecticism of his literary output – tragedies, satires, philosophical treatises, letters, etc.; (iii) the extent to which love and relationships forms a central topic within Seneca's oeuvre; (iv) some of the key principles of Stoicism: the theory of 'indifferents', the importance of acting in accordance with nature (secundum naturam), and the importance of rationality; and (v) the 'cosmopolitanism' of Stoicism, i.e. the belief that every single person no matter who they are has an equal potential for rationality.


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 Stoicism [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

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

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