Lucius Annaeus Seneca

(Seneca the Younger)

Quote Topics Cited
A hated government does not last long. Public Opinion & Polling
A trifling debt makes a man your debtor; a large one makes him an enemy. Budgets & Budgeting
A well-governed appetite is the greater part of liberty. Freedom & Liberty
Enmity immediately tumbles away when one side lets it fall. Intergovernmental Relations
If one doesn't know his mistakes, he won't want to correct them. Leaders & Leadership
Kindly remember that he whom you call your slave sprang from the same stock, is smiled upon by the same skies, and on equal terms with yourself breathes, lives and dies. It is just as possible for you to see in him a free-born man as for him to see in you a slave. Equality & Equal Opportunity ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Laws do not persuade just because they threaten. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Let the other side also have a hearing. Legislating & Legislative Process
Men love their country, not because it is great, but because it is their own. Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism
No one is able to rule unless he is also able to be ruled. Leaders & Leadership
Nothing deters a good man from what honor requires of him Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
Of war men ask the outcome, not the cause. War & Peace
One man’s exile is but a drop in the sea of human misery Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful. Religion & God
Some laws are not written, but are more decisive than any written law. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
The best ideas are common property. Copyrights, Patents & Intellectual Property
To Err Is Human. To Persist is Diabolical. Errare humanum est, sed perseverare diabolicum. Human Nature
Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your betters. Leaders & Leadership
Unjust rule never lasts continually over time Justice & Injustice
We are mad, not only individually, but nationally. We check manslaughter and isolated murders; but what of war and the much-vaunted crime of slaughtering whole peoples? War & Peace
We shall never desist from working for the common good, helping one another, and even our enemies, till our helping hand is stricken with age Public Works & Natural Resources
Who can be forced has not learned how to die. Miscellaneous
Worse than war is the very fear of war. War & Peace
A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.
A great fortune is a great slavery.
A great mind becomes a great fortune.
A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature. Life ;Nature
A kingdom founded on injustice never lasts.
A large part of mankind is angry not with the sins, but with the sinners.
A man who suffers before it is necessary, suffers more than is necessary.
A man's as miserable as he thinks he is.
A person's fears are lighter when the danger is at hand.
A physician is not angry at the intemperance of a mad patient, nor does he take it ill to be railed at by a man in fever. Just so should a wise man treat all mankind, as a physician does his patient, and look upon them only as sick and extravagant. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
A punishment to some, to some a gift, and to many a favor.
A quarrel is quickly settled when deserted by one party; there is no battle unless there be two.
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand.
All art is but imitation of nature. Nature ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
All cruelty springs from weakness.
Anger is like those ruins which smash themselves on what they fall.
Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.
Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters. Life
As long as you live, keep learning how to live. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk.
Behold a worthy sight, to which the God, turning his attention to his own work, may direct his gaze. Behold an equal thing, worthy of a God, a brave man matched in conflict with evil fortune. Religion & God ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Believe me, that was a happy age, before the days of architects, before the days of builders.
Brave men rejoice in adversity, just as brave soldiers triumph in war. War & Peace
Call it Nature, Fate, Fortune; all these are names of the one and selfsame God. Nature ;Religion & God
Consider, when you are enraged at any one, what you would probably think if he should die during the dispute.
Constant exposure to dangers will breed contempt for them.
Consult your friend on all things, especially on those which respect yourself. His counsel may then be useful where your own self-love might impair your judgment. Respect
Crime when it succeeds is called virtue.
Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all. Death
Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.
Do everything as in the eye of another.
Do not ask for what you will wish you had not got.
Even after a bad harvest there must be sowing.
Every guilty person is his own hangman.
Every man prefers belief to the exercise of judgment.
Every reign must submit to a greater reign. Power
Every sin is the result of a collaboration.
Everything is the product of one universal creative effort. There is nothing dead in Nature. Everything is organic and living, and therefore the whole world appears to be a living organism. Nature
Everywhere is nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends. Time ;Travel
Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.
For greed all nature is too little. Nature
For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them.
Genius always gives its best at first; prudence, at last.
God is the universal substance in existing things. He comprises all things. He is the fountain of all being. In Him exists everything that is. Religion & God
Great grief does not of itself put an end to itself. Sympathy
He has committed the crime who profits by it.
He that does good to another does good also to himself.
He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it.
He who dreads hostility too much is unfit to rule.
He who has great power should use it lightly. Power
He who has made a fair compact with poverty is rich.
He who is brave is free.
Health is the soul that animates all the enjoyments of life, which fade and are tasteless without it. Life ;Health, Healthcare & Medicine
I don't trust liberals, I trust conservatives. Trust
I never come back home with the same moral character I went out with; something or other becomes unsettled where I had achieved internal peace; some one or other of the things I had put to flight reappears on the scene. War & Peace
I shall never be ashamed of citing a bad author if the line is good.
I will govern my life and thoughts as if the whole world were to see the one and read the other, for what does it signify to make anything a secret to my neighbor, when to God, who is the searcher of our hearts, all our privacies are open? Life ;Religion & God
If a man knows not what harbor he seeks, any wind is the right wind.
If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. Business, Commerce & Finance
If thou art a man, admire those who attempt great things, even though they fail. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
If you judge, investigate.
If you wished to be loved, love. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
If you would judge, understand.
Ignorant people see life as either existence or non-existence, but wise men see it beyond both existence and non-existence to something that transcends them both; this is an observation of the Middle Way. Life
In war there is no prize for runner-up. War & Peace
In war, when a commander becomes so bereft of reason and perspective that he fails to understand the dependence of arms on Divine guidance, he no longer deserves victory. War & Peace
It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.
It is another's fault if he be ungrateful, but it is mine if I do not give. To find one thankful man, I will oblige a great many that are not so.
It is better, of course, to know useless things than to know nothing.
It is more fitting for a man to laugh at life than to lament over it. Life
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
It is quality rather than quantity that matters.
It is the failing of youth not to be able to restrain its own violence.
It is the sign of a great mind to dislike greatness, and to prefer things in measure to things in excess.
It is the superfluous things for which men sweat, - superfluous things that wear our togas theadbare, that force us to grow old in camp, that dash us upon foreign shores.
It is true greatness to have in one the frailty of a man and the security of a god. Religion & God
It makes a great deal of difference whether one wills not to sin or has not the knowledge to sin. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
It's not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It's because we dare not venture that they are difficult.
Let us train our minds to desire what the situation demands.
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. Life
Life is warfare. Life
Life, if well lived, is long enough. Life
Life's like a play: it's not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters. Life
Light troubles speak; the weighty are struck dumb.
Love in its essence is spiritual fire. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.
May be is very well, but Must is the master. It is my duty to show justice without recompense.
Modesty forbids what the law does not.
Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power. Power
Night brings our troubles to the light, rather than banishes them.
No evil propensity of the human heart is so powerful that it may not be subdued by discipline.
No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.
No man enjoys the true taste of life, but he who is ready and willing to quit it. Life
No man was ever wise by chance.
No one can be happy who has been thrust outside the pale of truth. And there are two ways that one can be removed from this realm: by lying, or by being lied to. Truth
No one is laughable who laughs at himself.
No untroubled day has ever dawned for me.
Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing.
Nothing becomes so offensive so quickly as grief. When fresh it finds someone to console it, but when it becomes chronic, it is ridiculed, and rightly.
Nothing is so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes. What madness is it to be expecting evil before it comes.
Nothing is void of God, his work is everywhere his full of himself. Religion & God ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
One crime has to be concealed by another.
One must steer, not talk.
One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood. Friendship
Our care should not be to have lived long as to have lived enough.
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.
Poverty wants some, luxury many, and avarice all things.
Precepts or maxims are of great weight; and a few useful ones on hand do more to produce a happy life than the volumes we can't find. Life
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. Religion & God
See how many are better off than you are, but consider how many are worse.
Shall I tell you what the real evil is? To cringe to the things that are called evils, to surrender to them our freedom, in defiance of which we ought to face any suffering. Freedom & Liberty
Shame may restrain what law does not prohibit.
Shun no toil to make yourself remarkable by some talent or other; yet do not devote yourself to one branch exclusively. Strive to get clear notions about all. Give up no science entirely; for science is but one. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Slavery takes hold of few, but many take hold of slavery.
So live with men as if God saw you and speak to God, as if men heard you. Religion & God
Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.
Success consecrates the most offensive crimes. Success
Success is not greedy, as people think, but insignificant. That is why it satisfies nobody. Success
Successful and fortunate crime is called virtue.
That is never too often repeated, which is never sufficiently learned.
That which is given with pride and ostentation is rather an ambition than a bounty.
The approach of liberty makes even an old man brave.
The bad fortune of the good turns their faces up to heaven; the good fortune of the bad bows their heads down to the earth.
The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity.
The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity. Death
The deferring of anger is the best antidote to anger.
The display of grief makes more demands than grief itself. How few men are sad in their own company.
The first and greatest punishment of the sinner is the conscience of sin.
The first step in a person's salvation is knowledge of their sin. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The good things of prosperity are to be wished; but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired.
The greatest remedy for anger is delay.
The heart is great which shows moderation in the midst of prosperity.
The less we deserve good fortune, the more we hope for it. Hope
The mind that is anxious about the future is miserable. Future
The mind unlearns with difficulty what it has long learned.
The pressure of adversity does not affect the mind of the brave man... It is more powerful than external circumstances.
The things hardest to bear are sweetest to remember.
The way is long if one follows precepts, but short... if one follows patterns.
There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality.
There is a noble manner of being poor, and who does not know it will never be rich.
There is as much greatness of mind in acknowledging a good turn, as in doing it.
There is no delight in owning anything unshared.
There is no person so severely punished, as those who subject themselves to the whip of their own remorse.
There is none made so great, but he may both need the help and service, and stand in fear of the power and unkindness, even of the meanest of mortals. Power
There is nothing in the world so much admired as a man who knows how to bear unhappiness with courage.
Those who boast of their descent, brag on what they owe to others.
Time discovers truth. Truth ;Time
To be able to endure odium is the first art to be learned by those who aspire to power. Power ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
To keep oneself safe does not mean to bury oneself.
True happiness is... to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future. Future ;Happiness & Unhappiness
True praise comes often even to the lowly; false praise only to the strong.
We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.
We become wiser by adversity; prosperity destroys our appreciation of the right.
We can be thankful to a friend for a few acres, or a little money; and yet for the freedom and command of the whole earth, and for the great benefits of our being, our life, health, and reason, we look upon ourselves as under no obligation. Life ;Money, Coins & Minting
We often want one thing and pray for another, not telling the truth even to the gods. Truth
We should every night call ourselves to an account: what infirmity have I mastered today? what passions opposed? what temptation resisted? what virtue acquired? Our vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.
We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.
What difference does it make how much you have? What you do not have amounts to much more.
What is true belongs to me!
What nature requires is obtainable, and within easy reach. It is for the superfluous we sweat. Nature
Whatever fortune has raised to a height, she has raised only to cast it down.
Whatever is well said by another, is mine.
Whatever one of us blames in another, each one will find in his own heart.
When an author is too meticulous about his style, you may presume that his mind is frivolous and his content flimsy.
When I think over what I have said, I envy dumb people.
When we are well, we all have good advice for those who are ill.
Whenever the speech is corrupted so is the mind.
Where fear is, happiness is not. Happiness & Unhappiness
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.
While we are postponing, life speeds by. Life
Why do I not seek some real good; one which I could feel, not one which I could display?
Wisdom allows nothing to be good that will not be so forever; no man to be happy but he that needs no other happiness than what he has within himself; no man to be great or powerful that is not master of himself. Happiness & Unhappiness
Wisdom does not show itself so much in precept as in life - in firmness of mind and a mastery of appetite. It teaches us to do as well as to talk; and to make our words and actions all of a color. Life
You learn to know a pilot in a storm.
You must live for another if you wish to live for yourself.