Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium

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Epistulae morales ad Lucilium
15th-century manuscript in the Laurentian Library
CountryAncient Rome
Publication date
c. 65 AD

The Epistulae morales ad Lucilium (in English Moral Letters to Lucilius) is the name for 124 letters Seneca the Younger wrote when he was over sixty-years-old. The Letters were probably written in the last three years of Seneca's life, during the years 62 to 64 AD. All letters start "Seneca Lucilio suo salutem" (Seneca greets his Lucilius) and end with "Vale" (Farewell). Lucilius was the Governor of Sicily at the time, but he is only known through Seneca's writings. Seneca wrote the letters to give Lucilius advice on how to become a better person. The letters are like a diary, or a handbook, of Stoic philosophy. Seneca writes about life, death, and virtue as the supreme good. He writes about the joy that comes from wisdom. He repeatedly refers to the shortness of life.

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The tag Vita sine litteris mors ('Life without learning [is] death') is adapted from Epistle 82 (originally Otium sine litteris mors, 'Leisure without learning [is] death') and is the motto of Derby School and Derby Grammar School in England, Adelphi University, New York, and Manning's High School, Jamaica.

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