Anger, Mercy, Revenge (The Complete Works of Lucius Annaeus by Lucius Annaeus Seneca

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By Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BCE–65 CE) was once a Roman Stoic thinker, dramatist, statesman, and adviser to the emperor Nero, all through the Silver Age of Latin literature. the full Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca is a clean and compelling sequence of latest English-language translations of his works in 8 obtainable volumes. Edited by means of world-renowned classicists Elizabeth Asmis, Shadi Bartsch, and Martha C. Nussbaum, this enticing assortment restores Seneca—whose works were hugely praised by means of sleek authors from Desiderius Erasmus to Ralph Waldo Emerson—to his rightful position one of the classical writers most generally studied within the humanities.

Anger, Mercy, Revenge

comprises 3 key writings: the ethical essays On Anger and On Clemency—which have been penned as recommendation for the then younger emperor, Nero—and the Apocolocyntosis, a super satire lampooning the tip of the reign of Claudius. buddy and instruct, in addition to thinker, Seneca welcomed the age of Nero in tones alternately severe, poetic, and comic—making Anger, Mercy, Revenge a piece simply as advanced, astute, and impressive as its author.

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Isn’t it shameful to make virtues depend upon the patronage of vices? (3) Furthermore, reason ceases to be capable of anything if it’s capable of nothing without passion; it begins to be passion’s twin, its match. What difference does it make if passion without reason is as ill-considered as reason without passion is impotent? The two are 23 on anger equal where one cannot exist without the other. Yet who could stand to equate passion with reason? 82 But if it shrugs off reason’s commands, it will achieve by its “moderation” only this: the less there is of it, the less harm it will do.

Some have defined it this way: anger is the arousal of the mind to harm the person who has either harmed oneself or wished to do so. 50 Why else does the crowd become angry with gladiators, and so unfairly that it thinks it an offence that they’re not glad to die? The crowd judges that it’s being treated with contempt, and it changes—in its looks and gestures and passion—from spectator to opponent. (5) Whatever that sort of thing is, it’s not anger but quasi-anger,51 like that of children who want to pummel the ground if they’ve fallen and often don’t even know why they’re angry: they just are, without a reason and without being wronged—yet not without a certain impression of being wronged,52 and not without some desire for payback.

Two elements of that natural equipment are especially important in themselves and in their bearing on the passions. 6 Second, and most important of all nature’s endowments, there is the capacity for reason that mature human beings, alone of all animals, have in common with the gods. To a significant degree, the best human life simply consists 5 on anger in combining these two elements of our natural makeup, using our reason to seek what is good for ourselves. But the matter is not as simple as that formulation makes it seem, because—here the brushstrokes must be especially broad—most of us have great difficulty recognizing that what is good for us is not just what is good for us as living creatures (the “creature comforts”), but what is good for us specifically as human beings with the special capacities humans have.

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