You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Seneca: Letters

4. Prose Style

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about Seneca's distinctive prose style, including (among other things) his use of questions and imagined interjections, his distinctive use of the reflexive adjective, his short, choppy sentences, his use of alliteration and other acoustic effects, his use of sententiae, and his moral exhortation to Lucilius.


In this course, Professor Catharine Edwards (Birkbeck, University of London) provides an introduction to Seneca the Younger and his Epistulae Morales. We begin by providing a broad introduction to Seneca's life, career, and literary output, before moving on in the second module to think about the philosophy of Stoicism. In the third module, we explore the letter as both a means of communication in the Roman world as well as a well-developed literary genre, before turning in the fourth module to consider Seneca's distinctive prose style. Finally, in the fifth module, we provide a close reading of one of Seneca's letters – Letter 53.


Professor Catharine Edwards is Professor of Classics and Ancient History at Birkbeck, University of London. Her work focuses on the cultural history of the Roman world, especially Rome in the early principate, Seneca and the Younger and his Letters, and responses to the city of Rome in antiquity and later periods. Her recent publications include Suetonious: Lives of the Caesars (Oxford World's Classics, 2000), (as co-editor with Greg Woolf) Rome the Cosmopolis (CUP, 2002), and Death in Ancient Rome (Yale, 2007).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Edwards, C. (2018, August 15). Seneca: Letters - Prose Style [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Edwards, C. "Seneca: Letters – Prose Style." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,