1. See Merivale’s History of the Romans Under the Empire, Chapter XIV.

  2. If it is a pain to dwell upon the thought of lost friends, of course you do not continually refresh the memory of them by speaking of them.

  3. See my note on invidiam facere alicui in Juvenal 15. —⁠J. E. B. Mayor. Dead Souls. (Translator’s note.)

  4. Koch declares that this cannot be the true reading, and suggests deminutio, “degradation.”

  5. This seems to have been part of the ceremony of dedication. Pulvillus was dedicating the Temple of Jupiter in the Capitol. See Livy, II, 8; Cicero, Pro Domo, paragraph cxxi.

  6. Lucius Æmilius Paullus conquered Perses, the last King of Macedonia, BC 168.

  7. “For he had four sons, two, as has been already related, adopted into other families, Scipio and Fabius; and two others, who were still children, by his second wife, who lived in his own house. Of these, one died five days before Æmilius’s triumph, at the age of fourteen, and the other, twelve years old, died three days after it: so that there was no Roman that did not grieve for him,” etc.

    —⁠Plutarch, Life of Æmilius, Chapter XXXV

  8. AUC 695, BC 59.

  9. Virgil, Aeneid, III, 418.

  10. See Mayor’s note on Juvenal I, and above, Chapter 16, §4.

  11. Lipsius points out that this idea is borrowed from the comic poet Antiphanes. See Meineke’s Comic Fragments, p. 3.

  12. This I believe to be the meaning of the text, but Koch reasonably conjectures that the true reading is editur subscriptio, “an indictment was made out against him.” See On Benefits, Book III, Chapter 26.

  13. Ruinae; Koch’s urinae is a misprint.

  14. Here a leaf or more has been lost, including the fragment cited in Lactantius, De Ira Dei, 17: “Ira est cupiditas,” etc. The entire passage is:⁠—“But the Stoics did not perceive that there is a difference between right and wrong; that there is just and unjust anger: and as they could find no remedy for it, they wished to extirpate it. The Peripatetics, on the other hand, declared that it ought not to be destroyed, but restrained. These I have sufficiently answered in the sixth book of my Institutiones. It is clear that the philosophers did not comprehend the reason of anger, from the definitions of it which Seneca has enumerated in the books ‘On Anger’ which he has written. ‘Anger,’ he says, ‘is the desire of avenging an injury.’ Others, as Posidonius says, call it ‘a desire to punish one by whom you think that you have been unjustly injured.’ Some have defined it thus: ‘Anger is an impulse of the mind to injure him who either has injured you or has sought to injure you.’ Aristotle’s definition differs but little from our own. He says, ‘that anger is a desire to repay suffering,’ ” etc.

  15. Ovid, Metamorphoses, VII, 545⁠–⁠6.

  16. τό ἡγεμονικόν of the Stoics.

  17. The gospel rule, Matt, xviii, 15.

  18. Divitis (where there might be an army of slaves).

  19. Lorsque le Preteur devoit prononcer la sentence d’un coupable, il se depouilloit de la robe pretexte, et se revètoit alors d’une simple tunique, ou d’une autre robe, presque usee, et d’un blanc sale (sordida) ou d’un gris très foncé tirant sur le noir (toga pulla), telle qu’en portoient à Rome le peuple et les pauvres (pullaque paupertas). Dans les jours solemnelles et marqués par un deuil public, les Senateurs quittoient le laticlave, et les Magistrats la pretexte. La pourpre, la hache, les faisceaux, aucun de ces signes extérieurs de leur dignité ne les distinguoient alors des autres citoyens: sine insignibus Magistratus. Mais ce n’étoit pas seulement pendant le temps ou la ville était plongée dans le deuil et dans l’affliction, que les magistrats s’habilloient comme le peuple (sordidam vestem induebant); ils en usoient de même lorsqu’ils devoient condamner à mort un citoyen. C’est dans ces tristes circonstances qu’ils quittoient la prétexte et prenoient la robe de deuil: perversam vestem.” (No doubt “inside out.” —⁠J. E. B. M.)

    On pourrait supposer avec assez de vraisemblance que par cette expression, Séneque a voulu faire allusion à ce changement⁠ ⁠… Peut-être les Magistrats qui devoient juger à mort un citoyen, portoient ils aussi leur robe renversée, ou la jettoient ils de travers ou confusément sur leurs épaules, pour mieux peindre par ce desordre le trouble de leur esprit. Si cette conjecture est vraie, comme je serais assez porté à croire, l’expression perversa vestis, dont Séneque s’est servi ici, indiqueroit plus d’un simple changement d’habit,” etc. (La Grange’s translation of Seneca, edited by J. A. Naigeon. Paris, 1778.)

  20. Ceci fait allusion à une coutume que Caius Gracchus prétend avoir été pratiquée de tout tems à Rome. ‘Lorsqu’un citoyen,’ dit il, ‘avoit un procès criminel qui alloit à la mort, s’il refusoit d’obéir aux sommations qui lui étoient faites; le jour qu’on devoit le juger, en envoyoit des le matin à la porte de sa maison un Officier l’appeller au son de la trompette, et jamais avant que cette cérémonie eût été observée, les Juges ne donneroient leur voix contre lui: tant ces hommes sages,’ ajoute ce hardi Tribun, ‘avoient de retenue et de precaution dans leurs jugements, quand il s’agissoit de la vie d’un citoyen.’

    C’étoit de même au son de la trompette que l’on convoquoit le peuple, lorsqu’on devoit faire mourir un citoyen, afin qu’il fût témoin de ce triste spectacle, et que la supplice du coupable pût lui servir d’exemple. Tacite dit qu’un Astrologue, nommé P. Marcius, fût exécuté, selon l’ancien usage, hors de la porte Esquiline, en presence du peuple Romain que les Consuls firent convoquer au son de la trompette. (Tacitus, Annals, II, 32.) L. Grom.

  21. I.e., not only for counsel, but for action.

  22. Prorsus parum certis. (I.e., the thunderbolts missed their aim in not striking him dead.)

  23. Vehiculorum ridicule Koch,” says Gertz, justly, “viliorum makes excellent sense.” —⁠J. E. B. M.

  24. The murder of Pompeius, BC 48. Achillas and Theodotus acted under the nominal orders of Ptolemy XII, Cleopatra’s brother, then about seventeen years of age.

  25. “On Clemency,” Book II, 6, 4, I emended many years ago ένὸϛ χανότος με ΤΕΣΧΗΚεν into έ. χ., με ΤΑΚΕΧΗΝεν ϋτεροϛ: “when one has yawned, the other yawns.” —⁠J. E. B. M.

  26. The voting-place in the Campus Martius.

  27. Ovid, Metamorphoses, I, 144, sqq. The same lines are quoted in the essay On Benefits, Book V, Chapter 15.

  28. I.e., he can plead that he kept the beaten track.

  29. “On Clemency,” Book I, 12, 5.

  30. Compare Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act V, Scene 5:⁠—

    “His life was gentle, and the elements
    So mixed in him, that nature might stand up
    And say to all the world, this was a man!”

    See Mr. Aldis Wright’s note upon the passage.

  31. Paedagogus was a slave who accompanied a boy to school, etc., to keep him out of mischief; he did not teach him anything.

  32. Tempestiva, beginning before the usual hour.

  33. Fear of self-condemnation.

  34. Lipsius conjectures supprocax, mischievous.

  35. I have adopted the transposition of Haase and Koch.

  36. I adopt Vahlen’s reading. See his Preface, p. viii, ed. Jenae, 1879.

  37. I read onerosos with Vahlen. See his Preface, p. viii, ed. Jenae, 1879.

  38. The lines are from Virgil, Aeneid, VIII, 702, but are inaccurately quoted.

  39. The hook alluded to was fastened to the neck of condemned criminals, and by it they were dragged to the Tiber. Also the bodies of dead gladiators were thus dragged out of the arena. The hook by which the dead bull is drawn away at a modern Spanish bullfight is probably a survival of this custom.

  40. Heroditus, iii, 34, 35.

  41. Seneca’s own death, by opening his veins, gives a melancholy interest to this passage.

  42. Heroditus, iv, 84.

  43. Heroditus, vii, 38, 39.

  44. Plutarch, Life of Demetrius, 27.

  45. Heroditus, iii, 17, sqq.

  46. Heroditus, i, 189, 190.

  47. A mistake: Antigonus (Monophthalmus) was one of Alexander’s generals.

  48. Acerbum = άωρου; the funeral of one who has been cut off in the flower of this youth.

  49. In point of time.

  50. Consul ordinarius, a regular consul, one who administered in office from the first of January, in opposition to consul suffectus, one chosen in the course of the year in the place of one who had died. The consul ordinarius gave his name to the year.

  51. It seems inconceivable that so small an interest, 1⅕ percent per annum, can be meant.

  52. Captatis, Madvig. Adv., II, 394.

  53. See “On Clemency,” Book I, 18, 2.

  54. Corsica.

  55. Seneca himself was of Spanish extraction.

  56. Qu. oysters from Britain.

  57. The allusion is evidently to Regulus.

  58. I think Madvig’s ademisset spoils the sense. Dedisset means: “when you bid me mourn the loss of the Gracchi you bid me blame fortune for having given me such sons.” “ ’Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” —⁠J. E. B. M.

  59. Alcestis.

  60. The context shows that sanctitas is opposed to “rapacity,” “taking bribes,” like the Celaeno of Juvenal viii. —⁠J. E. B. M.

  61. “The Latins had four versions of Homer (Fabric, torn. i 1. ii ch. 3, p. 297), yet, in spite of the phraises of Seneca, ‘Consolations’ chapter 26 (viii), they appear to have been more successful in imitating than in translating the Greek poets.”

    —⁠Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, Chapter 41, ad initium, note

    Polybius had made a prose translation of Homer, and a prose paraphrase of Virgil.

  62. See this note.

  63. “Fortune hath parted stakes with thee, in taking away thy brother, and leaving thee all the rest in securtie and safetie.” —⁠Lodge

  64. See On Benefits, Book V, Chapter 16.

  65. Scipio Africanus Minor, the son of Paulus Æmilius.

  66. Marcellus. See Virgil’s well-known lines, Aeneid, VI, 869, sqq., and “Consolatio ad Marciam,” Chapter 2.

  67. G. Caesar, d. at Limyra, AD 4.

  68. Lucius Caesar, d. at Marseilles, AD 2.

  69. Drusus died by a fall from his horse, BC 9. “A monument was erected in his honour at Moguntiacum (Mayence), and games and military spectacles were exhibited there on the anniversary of his death. An altar had already been raised in his honour on the banks of the Lippe.” Tacitus, Annals, II, 7. “The soldiers began now to regard themselves as a distinct people, with rites and heroes of their own. Augustus required them to surrender the body of their beloved chief as a matter of discipline.” Merivale, Chapter 36.

  70. Pulvinaria. This word properly means “a couch made of cushions, and spread over with a splendid covering, for the gods or persons who received divine honours.”

  71. Pulvinaria. See this note.

  72. Merivale, following Suetonius and Dion Cassius, says: “He declared that if any man dared to mourn for his sister’s death, he should be punished, for she had become a goddess: if anyone ventured to rejoice at her deification, he should be punished also, for she was dead.” The passage in the text, he remarks, gives a less extravagant turn to the story.

  73. On croit que ce Paulin étoit frère de Pauline, épouse de Sénéque.—⁠La Grange

  74. L’un se consume en projets d’ambition, dont le succès dépend du suffrage de l’autrui.—⁠La Grange

  75. Combien d’orateurs qui s’épuisent de sang et de forces pour faire montrer de leur génie!—⁠La Grange

  76. Pour vous, jamais vous ne daignâtes vous regarder seulement, ou vous entendre. Ne faites pas non plus valoir votre condescendance a écouter les autres. Lorsque vous vous y prétez, ce n’est pas que vous aimiez a vous communiquer aux autres; c’est que vous craignez de vous trouver avec vous-même.—⁠La Grange.

    “It is a folly therefore beyond Sence,
    When great men will not give us Audience
    To count them proud; how dare we call it pride
    When we the same have to ourselves deny’d.

    Yet they how great, how proud so e’re, have bin
    Sometimes so courteous as to call thee in,
    And hear thee speak; but thou could’st nere afford
    Thyself the leisure of a look or word.

    Thou should’st not then herein another blame,
    Because when thou thyself do’st do the same,
    Thou would’st not be with others, but we see
    Plainly thou can’st not with thine own self be.”

    L. Annaeus Seneca, the Philosopher, his book of the Shortness of Life, translated into an English poem. Imprinted at London, by William Goldbird, for the Author.

  77. Dans une lettre qu’il envoya au Sénat apres avoir promis que son repos n’aura rièn indigne de la gloire de ses premières années, il ajoute: Mais l’execution y mettra un prix, que ne peuvent y mettre les promesses. J’obeis cependant à la vive passion que j’ai, de me voir a ce temps si désiré; et puisque l’heureuse situation d’affaires m’en tient encore éloigné, j’ai voulu du moins me satisfaire en partie, par la douceur que je trouve à vous en parler.—⁠La Grange

    “Such words I find. But these things rather ought
    Be done, then said; yet so far hath the thought
    Of that wish’d time prevail’d, that though the glad
    Fruition of the thing be not yet had,
    Yet I,”


  78. The rods carried by the lictors as symbols of office. See Smith’s Dictionary of Antiquities, s.v.

  79. See Smith’s Dictionary of Antiquities.

  80. Xerxes.

  81. Sénéque parle ici du pont que Caligula fit construire sur le golphe de Baies, I’an de Rome 791, 40 de J. C.⁠ ⁠… Il rassembla et fit entrer dans la construction de son pont tous les vaisseaux qui se trouverent dans les ports d’Italie et des contrées voisines. Il n’excepta pas même ceux qui etoient destinés a y apporter des grains étrangers,” etc. —⁠La Grange

  82. For vis tu see Juvenal V, vis tu consuetis, etc. Mayor’s note.

  83. As those of children were.

  84. Virgil, Aeneid, IX, 612. Compare Sir Walter Scott, Lay of the Last Minstrel, canto IV:⁠—

    “And still, in age, he spurned at rest,
    And still his brows the helmet pressed,
    Albeit the blanched looks below
    Were white as Dinlay’s spotless snow,”


  85. Cf. Juvenal II, 150.

  86. The chief magistrate of the Greeks.

  87. The chief magistrate of the Uscans.

  88. The chief magistrate of the Carthaginians.

  89. “Livy himself styled the Alexandrian library elegantiae regum curaeque egregium opus: a liberal encomium, for which he is pertly criticised by the narrow stoicism of Seneca (‘On Peace of Mind,’ Chapter II), whose wisdom, on this occasion, deviates into nonsense.”

    —⁠Gibbon, Decline and Fall, Chapter LI, note

  90. Haase reads “Ptolemaeus.”

  91. Caligula.

  92. It was the duty of the executioner to fasten a hook to the neck of condemned criminals, by which they were dragged to the Tiber.

  93. Caligula.

  94. The Romans reckoned twelve hours from sunrise to sunset. These “two hours” were therefore the two last of the day.

  95. Honestior is opposed to the gladiator⁠—the loftier the station of the combatant. The Gracchus of Juvenal, Satires II and VIII, illustrates the passage.

  96. Par, a technical term in the language of sport (worthy of such a spectator).

  97. Vidirint⁠—Let them see to it: it is no matter of mine.

  98. That is, to triumph over.

    “Two spears were set upright⁠ ⁠… and a third was fastened across them at the top; and through this gateway the vanquished army marched out, as a token that they had been conquered in war, and owed their lives to the enemy’s mercy. It was no peculiar insult devised for this occasion, but a common usage, so far as appears, in similar cases; like the modern ceremony of piling arms when a garrison or army surrender themselves as prisoners of war.”

    —⁠Arnold’s History of Rome, Chapter XXXI

  99. He was a mirmillo, a kind of gladiator who was armed with a Gaulish helmet.

  100. E lorica.

  101. The lines occur in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, II, 63. Phoebus is telling Phaethon how to drive the chariot of the Sun.

  102. Compare Walter Scott:

    “All⁠ ⁠… must have felt that but for the dictates of religion, or the natural recoil of the mind from the idea of dissolution, there have been times when they would have been willing to throw away life as a child does a broken toy. I am sure I know one who has often felt so. O God! what are we?⁠—Lords of nature?⁠—Why, a tile drops from a housetop, which an elephant would not feel more than a sheet of pasteboard, and there lies his lordship. Or something of inconceivably minute origin, the pressure of a bone, or the inflammation of a particle of the brain takes place, and the emblem of the Deity destroys himself or someone else. We hold our health and our reason on terms slighter than anyone would desire, were it in their choice, to hold an Irish cabin.”

    —⁠Lockhart’s Life of Sir Walter Scott, Volume VII, p. 11

  103. Xerxes.

  104. Scipio.

  105. The Stoics.

  106. Seneca here speaks of men wearing the toga as officials, contrasted with the mass of Roman citizens, among whom the wearing of the toga was already falling into disuse in the time of Augustus. See Macrobius, Saturnalia, VI, 5 extr., and Suetonius, Life of Octavius, 40, where the author mentions that Augustus used sarcastically to apply the verse, Virgil, Aeneid, I, 282, to the Romans of his day.

  107. See this note.

  108. Gertz reads “decet emere venalia,” “there is no harm in buying what is for sale.”

  109. Lipsius’s conjecture, “those who are dressed in white as well as those who are dressed in coloured clothes,” alluding to the white robes of candidates for office, seems reasonable.

  110. The Latin words are literally “to divide” their vote, that is, “to separate things of different kinds comprised in a single vote so that they might be voted for separately.” —⁠Andrews

    Sénèque fait allusion ici à une coutume pratiquée dans les assemblés du Sénat; et il nous explique lui-même ailleurs d’un manière très claire: ‘Si quelqu’un dans le Sénat,’ dit il, ‘ouvre un avis, dont une partie me convienne, je le somme de la détacher du reste, et j’y adhère.’

    Ep. 21⁠—La Grange

  111. Parentatur seems to mean where an offering is made to luxury⁠—where they sacrifice to luxury. Perfumes were used at funerals. Lipsius suggests that these feasts were like funerals because the guests were carried away from them dead drunk.

  112. The quotation is from the epitaph on Phaeton. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, II, 327.

  113. The “Pons Sublicius,” or “pile bridge,” was built over the Tiber by Ancus Martius, one of the early kings of Rome, and was always kept in repair out of a superstitious feeling.

  114. A metallic rattle used by the Egyptians in celebrating the rites of Isis, etc. —⁠Andrews

  115. Nobilis.

  116. The text is corrupt. I have followed Gertz’s conjectural emendation, mansuefactionis, but I believe that Lipsius is right in thinking that a great deal more than one word has been lost here.

  117. Pace.

  118. Tutum.

  119. Gertz reads sexagesimum, his sixtieth year, which he calls “the not very audacious conjecture of Wesseling,” and adds that he does so because of the words at the beginning of Chapter XI and the authority of Dion Cassius. The ordinary reading is quadragesimum, “his fortieth year,” and this is the date to which Cinna’s conspiracy is referred to by Merivale, History of the Romans Under the Empire, Volume IV, Chapter 37. “A plot,” he says, “was formed for his destruction, at the head of which was Cornelius Cinna, described as a son of Faustus Sulla by a daughter of the Great Pompeius.” The story of Cinna’s conspiracy is told by Seneca, “On Clemency” Book I, 9, and Dion IV, 14, foll. They agree in the main fact; but Seneca is our authority for the details of the interview between Augustus and his enemy, while Dion has doubtless invented his long conversation between the emperor and Livia. Seneca, however, calls the conspirator Lucius, and places the event in the fortieth year of Augustus (AUC 731), the scene in Gaul: Dion, on the other, gives the names of Gnaeus, and supposes the circumstances to have occurred twenty-six years later, and at Rome. It may be observed that a son of Faustus Sulla must have been at least fifty at this latter date, nor do we know why he should bear the name of Cinna, though an adoption is not impossible.

  120. See Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene 1.

  121. An allusion to the title of “Father of his country,” bestowed by the Senate upon Augustus. See Merivale, Chapter 33.

  122. This whole comparison, which reads so meaninglessly both in Latin and in English, is borrowed from the eternal declamations of Plutarch and the Greek philosophers about βασιλετς and τύραυυοι. See Plutarch, Lives of Philopoemen and Aratus, Plato, Gorgias and Politicus; Arnold, Appendix to Thucydides, Volume I, and Dictionary of Antiquities, s.v.

  123. “On Anger,” Book II, Chapter 2.

  124. Vedius Pollio had a villa on the mountain now called Punta di Posilippo, which projects into the sea between Naples and Puteoli, which he left to Augustus, and which was afterwards possessed by the Emperor Trajan. He was a freedman by birth, and remarkable for nothing except his riches and his cruelty. Cf. Dion Cassius, LIV, 23; Pliny, Naturalis Historia, IX, 23; and Seneca, “On Anger,” Book III, Chapter 40.

  125. The conquered princes who were led through Rome in triumphs were as a rule put to death when the procession was over.

  126. The “civic” crown of oak-leaves was bestowed on him who had saved the life of a fellow-citizen in war. It was bestowed upon Augustus, and after him upon the other emperors, as preservers of the State.

  127. A king of Egypt, who sacrificed strangers, and was himself slain by Hercules.

  128. “Three or four wenches where I stood, cried ‘Alas, good soul!’ and forgave him with all their hearts: but there’s no heed to be taken of them; if Caesar had stabbed their mothers, they would have done no less.”

    —⁠Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene 2

  129. See “On Clemency,” Book II, Chapter 5.

  130. I.e. not vowed to chastity.

  131. That is, he never comes up to his benefactor unless he leaves him behind: he can only make a dead heat of it by getting a start.

  132. Alluding to the practice of gilding the horns of the victims.

  133. The “discharge” alluded to is that which was granted to the beaten one of a pair of gladiators, when their duel was not to the death.

  134. Sinus, the fold of the toga over the breast, used as a pocket by the Romans. The great French actor Talma, when dressed for the first time in correct classical costume, indignantly asked where he was to put his snuffbox.

  135. Nothing is wanted to make a benefit, conferred from good motives, perfect: if it is returned, the gratitude is to be counted as net profit.

  136. See Smith’s Dictionary of Antiquities, s.v.

  137. 400,000 sesterces.

  138. There is an allusion to the surname of both the father and the son, “Imperiosus,” given them on account of their severity.

  139. See “On Clemency,” Book I, Chapter IX.

  140. Gertz, “Stud. Crit.,” p. 159, note.

  141. Gertz very reasonably conjectures that he shaved his own head which reading would require a very trifling alteration of the text.

  142. See Book IV, Chapter XXXVI.

  143. “The original word is pyx, which means a box made of boxwood.”

  144. I believe, in spite of Gertz, that this is part of the speech of the Roman general, and that the conjecture of Muretus, “without the command of the senate,” gives better sense.

  145. Crassus.

  146. Pompey was married to Caesar’s daughter. Cf. Virgil, Aeneid, VI, 831, sq., and Lucan’s beautiful verses, Pharsalia, I, 114.

  147. Seneca is careful to avoid the mention of Caesar’s name, which might have given offence to the emperors under whom he lived, who used the name as a title.

  148. The allusion is to Antonius’s connection with Cleopatra. Cf. Virgil, Aeneid, VIII, 688.

  149. Xucar.

  150. The Iliad, I, 39 sqq.

  151. Hesiod, Opera et Dies, 291.

  152. See Viollet-le-Duc’s Dictionnaire d’Architecture, articles “Architecture Militaire” and “Hourds,” for the probable meaning of propugnacula.

  153. I read “Non tamquam amicus videt sed tamquam imperator.

  154. The “nomenclator” was a slave who attended his master in canvassing and on similar occasions, for the purpose of telling him the names of whom he met in the street.

  155. The old saying, “Truth lurks deep in a well (or abyss).”

  156. I.e. in the game of ball.