Sentences from Seneca


Our new Trinity Forum Reading features the aphoristic wisdom of Seneca, the first century Roman philosopher. A new translation by Dana Gioia is printed alongside the original Latin, which will benefit Latin students, scholars, and curious readers.

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We are pleased to present our fall Trinity Forum Reading featuring an insightful curation of the stoic philosopher Seneca’s sententiae, roughly translated as “aphorisms” or “sentences,” selected and translated by poet Dana Gioia.

Considered “the greatest of the Latin Stoic philosophers and tragedians,” Seneca was a fascinating character. Despite a small stature and physical frailty, he was a striking presence, famed for his wit, rhetoric, astute judgment, and service as private tutor to Nero, who eventually turned on him and forced his suicide. His pursuit of wisdom was expressed both in a philosophy and pithy sentences that offered reasoned insight into human nature, even as it lacked the knowledge of revelation or illuminations of grace. In his elegant introduction, Dana Gioia explores both Seneca’s trendiness and enduring appeal as the wittiest articulator of a worldview that the early church saw as “the farthest human reason could go without the Redemption.”

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