The writer, philosopher, and statesman Lucius Annaeus, Seneca, born in Correba, Spain 4 BC as the son of a Roman, spent his youth in Rome, where he enjoyed a careful education, and was distinguished early by mental maturity and spiritual superiority. After completing his education, he undertook a long journey to Egypt, where he embraced the Pythagorean way of thinking of reverence for life, the renunciation of flesh, and the fearlessness before death, in the certainty of the return.
On his return, he went to Rome to study the career of an imperial official and dignitary, and soon became a lawyer and a speaker. In the year 41 he was banished from Claudius to Corsica, where he found time to unfold as a writer. Here, in addition to some tragedies, he wrote his philosophical writings on life. In the year 49 he was recalled to Rome, and appointed by Julia Agrippina, the second wife of the Emperor Claudius, to be the tutor of her son, Nero, until he was called to the emperor in the year 54.
Seneca continued to serve Nero as a consultant and finally as a chancellor. He taught him goodness and gentleness as an expression of wisdom and power, but he could not alter the embarrassing character and psychopathic disposition of the Emperor, which became increasingly apparent and caused Nero to have his mother assassinated.
Envious enemies of the philosopher, rich not only in spirit, but also in power and possessions, finally succeeded in suspecting Seneca at Nero, whereupon Seneca retired in the year 62. Three years later, when Caesar's madness broke open, Nero condemned Seneca to death by his own hand for alleged participation in the Pisan conspiracy. Seneca accepted the verdict with the serenity he had lived and taught in the course of his life s time, o pened his pulse arrays in a bath tub, and, smiling, and talking with his friends, died. Superior to his enemies even in death.
With him Rome lost its greatest prose-poet and most important ethic, whose writings, in their tendency, came close to the spirit of Christianity. They not only enjoyed the approval of Church fathers such as Hieronymus and humanists such as Erasmus, but countless philosophers, poets and life-practitioners, who confirmed his words on the Stoic's biographies: "They do not rob you of your time, but enrich your time and your being. Talking to them is a blessing, their friendship is life-giving. They are models that emulate. "
© (Versión Alemán) Karl O. Schmidt, Drei Eichen Verlag, Engelberg / Schweiz
(English traduction by Jörn Malek)