Seneca Quotes

1 | 2
No evil propensity of the human heart is so powerful that it may not be subdued by discipline.
Seneca
The works which philosophy has consecrated cannot be harmed; no age will destroy them, no age reduce them.
Seneca (On The Shortness of Life - Chapter XV)
We are all chained to fortune: the chain of one is made of gold, and wide, while that of another is short and rusty.
Seneca (Letter to Serenus - On Tranquility of the Mind)
Before I became old I tried to live well; now that I am old, I shall try to die well; but dying well means dying gladly.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic - Letter LXI:  On Meeting Death Cheerfully)
Good men are at peace among themselves; bad ones are equally mischievous to the good and to one another.
Seneca (Letter to Serenus - On the Firmness of the Wise Man - Chapter VII)
But those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear for the future have a life that is very brief and troubled.
Seneca (On The Shortness of Life - Chapter XVI)
Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbour he is making for, no wind is the right wind.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic - Letter LXXI: On the First Cause)
Just as we suffer from excess in all things, so we suffer from excess in literature; thus we learn our lessons, not for life, but for the lecture room.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic - Letter CVI: On the Terrors of Death)
It takes the whole of life to learn how to live, and - what will perhaps make you wonder more - it takes the whole of life to learn how to die.
Seneca (On The Shortness of Life - Chapter VII)
Everywhere means nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic - Letter II: On Discursiveness in Reading)
You are younger; but what does that matter? There is no fixed count of our years. You do not know where death awaits you; so be ready for it everywhere.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Men do not care how nobly they live, but only how long, although it is within the reach of every man to live nobly, but within no man's power to live long.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic - Letter XXII:  On the Futility of Half-way Measures)


It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. ... The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.
Seneca (On The Shortness of Life - Chapter I)
Apply reason to difficulties; harsh circumstances can be softened, narrow limits can be widened, and burdensome things can be made to press less severely on those who bear them cleverly.
Seneca (Letter to Serenus - On Tranquility of the Mind)
In guarding their fortune men are often closefisted, yet, when it comes to the matter of wasting time, in the case of the one thing in which it is right to be miserly, they show themselves most prodigal.
Seneca (On The Shortness of Life - Chapter III)
Withdraw into yourself, as far as you can. Associate with those who will make a better man of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve. The process is mutual; for men learn while they teach.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic - Letter VII: On Crowds)
Remember, however, before all else, to strip things of all that disturbs and confuses, and to see what each is at bottom; you will then comprehend that they contain nothing fearful except the actual fear.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic - Letter XXIV: On Despising Death)
The greatest hindrance to living is expectancy, which depends upon the morrow and wastes to-day. You dispose of that which lies in the hands of Fortune, you let go that which lies in your own.
Seneca (On The Shortness of Life - Chapter IX)
Shun no toil to make yourself remarkable by some talent or other; yet do not devote yourself to one branch exclusively. Strive to get clear notions about all. Give up no science entirely; for science is but one.
Seneca
Everyone hurries his life on and suffers from a yearning for the future and a weariness of the present. But he who bestows all of his time on his own needs, who plans out every day as if it were his last, neither longs for nor fears the morrow.
Seneca (On The Shortness of Life - Chapter VII)
Kindly remember that he whom you call your slave sprang from the same stock, is smiled upon by the same skies, and on equal terms with yourself breathes, lives and dies. It is just as possible for you to see in him a free-born man as for him to see in you a slave.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic - Letter XLVII: On Master and Slave)
The space you have, which reason can prolong, although it naturally hurries away, of necessity escapes from you quickly; for you do not seize it, you neither hold it back, nor impose delay upon the swiftest thing in the world, but you allow it to slip away as if it were something superfluous and that could be replaced.
Seneca (On The Shortness of Life - Chapter VI)
The time will come when diligent research over periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden...Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memories of us will have been effaced. Our universe is a sorry little affair unless it has something for every age to investigate. nature does not reveal her mysteries once and for all.
Seneca (Opera: Naturalium Quaestionum Libri)
Do not quarrel with your own good advantage, and, until you shall have made your way to the truth, keep alive this hope in your minds, be willing to receive the news of a better life, and encourage it by your admiration and your prayers; it is to the interest of the commonwealth of mankind that there should be someone who is unconquered, someone against whom fortune has no power.
Seneca (Letter to Serenus - On the Firmness of the Wise Man - Chapter XIX)
No man is ever made braver through anger, except the one who would never have been brave without anger. It comes, then, not as a help to virtue, but as a substitute for it. And is it not true that if anger were a good, it would come naturally to those who are the most perfect? But the fact is, children, old men, and the sick are most prone to anger, and weakness of any sort is by nature captious.
Seneca (Of Anger - Book I)
And, on the other hand, if death comes near with its summons, even though it be untimely in its arrival, though it cut one off in one’s prime, a man has had a taste of all that the longest life can give. Such a man has in great measure come to understand the universe. He knows that honourable things do not depend on time for their growth; but any life must seem short to those who measure its length by pleasures which are empty and for that reason unbounded.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Life is divided into three periods - that which has been, that which is, that which will be. Of these the present time is short, the future is doubtful, the past is certain. For the last is the one over which Fortune has lost control, is the one which cannot be brought back under any man's power. But men who are engrossed lose this; for they have no time to look back upon the past, and even if they should have, it is not pleasant to recall something they must view with regret.
Seneca (On The Shortness of Life - Chapter X)
But the very thing they do not know is whether they are suffering loss; therefore, the removal of something that is lost without being noticed they find is bearable. Yet no one will bring back the years, no one will bestow you once more on yourself. Life will follow the path it started upon, and will neither reverse nor check its course; it will make no noise, it will not remind you of its swiftness. Silent it will glide on; it will not prolong itself at the command of a king, or at the applause of the populace.
Seneca (On The Shortness of Life - Chapter VIII)
Death is a release from and an end of all pains: beyond it our sufferings cannot extend: it restores us to the peaceful rest in which we lay before we were born. If anyone pities the dead, he ought also to pity those who have not been born. Death is neither a good nor a bad thing, for that alone which is something can be a good or a bad thing: but that which is nothing, and reduces all things to nothing, does not hand us over to either fortune, because good and bad require some material to work upon. Fortune cannot take ahold of that which Nature has let go, nor can a man be unhappy if he is nothing.
Seneca (Of Consolation, To Marcia)

Seneca Quote: What is harder than rock? what is softer than water?...
What is harder than rock? What is softer than water? Yet hard rocks are hollowed out by soft water?
Seneca (Natural Questions)
There are times when we ought to die and are unwilling; sometimes we die and are unwilling. No one is so ignorant as not to know that we must at some time die; nevertheless, when one draws near death, one turns to flight, trembles, and laments. Would you not think him an utter fool who wept because he was not alive a thousand years ago? And is he not just as much of a fool who weeps because he will not be alive a thousand years from now? It is all the same; you will not be, and you were not. Neither of these periods of time belongs to you. You have been cast upon this point of time; if you would make it longer, how much longer shall you make it? Why weep? Why pray? You are taking pains to no purpose.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Just as the mother's womb holds us for ten months not in preparation for itself but for the region to which we seem to be discharged when we are capable of drawing breath and surviving in the open, so in the span extending from infancy to old age we are ripening for another birth. Another beginning awaits us, another status. We cannot yet bear heaven's light except at intervals; look unfalteringly, then, to that decisive hour which is the body's last but not the soul's. All that lies about you look upon as the luggage in a posting station; you must push on. At your departure Nature strips you as bare as at your entry. You cannot carry out more than you brought in; indeed, you must lay down a good part of what you brought into life. The envelope of skin, which is your last covering, will be stripped off; the flesh and the blood which is diffused and courses through the whole of it will be stripped off; the bones and sinews which are the structural support of the shapeless and precarious mass will be stripped off. That day which you dread as the end is your birth into eternity.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
For more quotes by other wise Stoics, have a look here! »
1 | 2

Seneca Biography

Born: 4 BCE
Died: 65 ACE

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, also known as Seneca the Younger, was a Roman statesman, dramatist and Stoic philosopher. He was chiefly known as a philosopher and advisor to the emperor Nero.

Notable Works

Letters from a Stoic
Of Anger
Of Benefits
Of Clemency
Of Peace of Mind
On the Shortness of Life
Of Consolation:
  To Marcia
  To Helvia
  To Polybius

Picture Quotes


Featured Idea: Change

Popular Quotes

Stoicism Quotes and Excerpts (On a Variety of Topics)

Christian Mysticism Quotes and Excerpts (20+ Mystics)

27 Inspirational One-Liners (Short & Sweet Quotes)

Sufism Quotes and Poems (Islamic Mysticism)


More Topics »

More Authors »

Quotes by Authors