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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