In the school of Stoicism, the three most famous figures are usually cited as the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus. While Marcus and Seneca climbed to the summit of Roman society, Epictetus came from a world of slaves and unknowns and turned Stoicism into a way of life for himself and his students.
There’s a lot of great information out there on Epictetus and Michael Tremblay is keen to add to the conversation. In this interview, Michael dives into looking at Epictetus through a new lens, the joys of Stoic exercise and tackling how to be a philosophical consultant.
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When it comes to studying the Stoics, Seneca is often cited as one of the most prolific because of the number of works he produced and the sources about his life. A complicated man, Seneca was a proud Stoic who often lived at odds with the philosophy he claimed to love under the corrupt regime of Nero.
Was Seneca a philosopher who sought the simple life? Was he a hypocrite who failed to practice what he preached? Was he a man who found himself in an impossible situation and did the best he could to mitigate the excesses of an emperor? Was he all of these things and more?
Such questions are the topic of Emily Wilson’s Seneca: A Life, which provides a nuanced portrayal of one of antiquity’s most complex figures.
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For people with an interest in Stoicism and philosophy, the Roman power broker and politician Seneca looms large. His writing offers great insight into the mind of someone who was attempting to put the philosophy into practice, while also serving as a will and testament of a man who was guilty of falling short of what he preached at times.
Letters From A Stoic contains all 124 of the letters Seneca wrote to his friend Lucilius. The book would benefit anyone who wants to pick up a bit of wisdom or change their perception of the world.
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As the old saying goes, in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. The latter is something we have a choice of whether to pay or not and face the consequences. The former is inevitable, so we might as well do the best we can while we’re alive and look back on a life well lived.
All of this ties into the idea of memento mori, a concept the Romans took to heart and it’s the focus of Memento Mori: What The Romans Can Tell Us About Old Age & Death by Peter Jones.
An informative book filled with quirky and resonant themes about how to accept death with grace, Memento Mori may help change your perspective on life beyond the veil.
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