Quotes From Seneca – Stoic Wisdom on Life
These quotes from Seneca are thought provoking and inspirational. They show reason, wisdom, composure and common sense.
Who Was Seneca?
Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger, aka ‘Seneca’, was a Roman philosopher who lived from 4 BC to 65 AD. He was well-known during his time as an advisor for Emperor Nero, the infamous emperor at the center of controversy about whether or not he ordered the killing of his stepbrother.
Although Seneca’s writings often focused on topics related to philosophy and morality, he is probably best known for his seven tragedies plays and his contribution to stoic philosophy.
What Did Seneca Believe In?
One of Seneca’s main tenets was stoicism, a philosophical school developed in Ancient Greece. Alongside Seneca, the most renowned stoics were the likes of Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus.
Stoicism was built around the idea that it is virtuous to be in control of your emotions, as you’re essentially choosing how you wish to react to an event no matter what other factors may come into play.
The idea drew upon the teachings of Zeno, a Greek thinker who proposed that the world is orderly, and that it follows a rational system which can be deciphered.
Stoicism developed from Zeno’s teachings into three different branches: Cynics, who were pessimistic about the outside world; Epicureans, who believed in moderation and self-control; and Stoics, whose focus was on controlling desires and emotions.
What Did Seneca Say?
One of Seneca’s best-known quotes is “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
As a stoic, he believed that some things are out of our control, but that we can prepare ourselves for future contingencies. Therefore, this quote shows both his belief in the virtue of self-control as well as an acknowledgement that time and thinking ahead is also necessary.
In terms of ethics, Seneca believed that the highest good was virtuous action, which resulted from a person following their nature to its fullest extent. He did not believe in a standard of value outside of human fulfillment – instead, everything that exists is part of an interconnected system for the purpose of happiness.
We hope the following collection of quotes from Seneca provide useful insight and inspiring words.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca Quotes
Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
While we are postponing, life speeds by. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
The greatest remedy for anger is delay. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Let us train our minds to desire what the situation demands. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Time discovers truth. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
All cruelty springs from weakness. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Seneca Quotes About Life
One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Life’s like a play: it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Everywhere is nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
He who is brave is free. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
As long as you live, keep learning how to live. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Sometimes even to live is an act of courage. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
All art is but imitation of nature. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Health is the soul that animates all the enjoyments of life, which fade and are tasteless without it. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Life is the fire that burns and the sun that gives light. Life is the wind and the rain and the thunder in the sky. Life is matter and is earth, what is and what is not, and what beyond is in Eternity. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Seneca Quotes on Love
Love in its essence is spiritual fire. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
If you wished to be loved, love. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
The things hardest to bear are sweetest to remember. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Seneca Quotes on Stoicism
The less we deserve good fortune, the more we hope for it. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
If a man knows not what harbor he seeks, any wind is the right wind. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Success is not greedy, as people think, but insignificant. That is why it satisfies nobody. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
A man who suffers before it is necessary, suffers more than is necessary. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Nothing is so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes. What madness is it to be expecting evil before it comes. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Seneca Quotes Death
Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Life, if well lived, is long enough. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
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