And finally, some influential scholars have found, in the wake of Foucault's reading of Seneca, that Seneca speaks to some distinctively modern concerns. 1 BCE – CE 65) was born in Corduba (Spain) and educated—in rhetoric and philosophy—in Rome.
Seneca had a highly successful, and quite dramatic, political career.
A brief note is in order here on the relative chronology of Seneca's works, which is hard to establish given that we know so little about Seneca's life apart from his imperial service, as noted above, and its consequences.
On this account, the history of ancient philosophy is a history of decline, the Roman thinkers are mediocre imitators of their Greeks predecessors, and so on (Long 2006).
Such prejudices are hard to shake off; for many centuries watered-down versions of them have shaped the way students learnt Latin and Greek.
Even a brief (and by necessity incomplete) list of events in his life indicates that Seneca had ample occasion for reflection on violent emotions, the dangers of ambition, and the ways in which the life of politics differs from the life of philosophy—among the topics pursued in his writings.
He was accused of adultery with the Emperor Caligula's sister and therefore exiled to Corsica in 41; having been Nero's “tutor” in his adolescent years, he was among Nero's advisors after his accession in 54; Seneca continued to be an advisor in times that became increasingly difficult for anyone in the close proximity of Nero, in spite of requests from his side to be granted permission to retire; he was charged with complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to murder Nero, and compelled to commit suicide in 65 (on Seneca's life, see Griffin 1992; Maurach 2000; Veyne 2003; Wilson 2014; Romm 2014; on his perspective on Nero, see Braund 2009).