Letters from a Stoic

Moral Letters to Lucilius - Letters from a Stoic - Lucius Annaeus Seneca,  Richard M. Gummere

     "Greetings from Seneca to his friend Lucillius." Thus begins every letter of this impressive collection. The letters, although often times repetitive, offer a priceless look in Ancient Rome. The noise of the theaters, the roar of the crowds, and the chaotic and crowded streets of the Roman Empire are all described in detail. They are also (and thus their namesake) a collection of Stoic morals and philosophy, as Seneca tries to teach his friend Lucillius (who apparently was  something of an Epicurean) how to live the Stoic life. Knowledge about Stoicism is extremely important for studying Roman history, and some scholars even consider it the unofficial religion of many Romans until the time that Christianity was embraced. How to treat your spouse, your friends, how to eat, how to be content and self controlled no matter how rich or poor you are, and how to abandon the fear of death (and in extension, about everything else) are just some of the topics covered by Seneca the Younger. However, there are some things which most modern readers will consider unusual. His stance on suicide, slavery, and the way he labels certain people "feminine" (with a negative connotation) will be disagreed with by many people. Despite these flaws, these letters are priceless for anyone studying Ancient Rome, Stoic philosophy, or just philosophy in general. Very highly recommended.