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A N N O T A TI O NS,
THE TENETS OF THE ANTIENT PHILOSOPHERS
ARE CONTRASTED WITH
THE DIVINE PRECEPTS OF THE GOSPEL,
WITH REGARD TO THE
MORAL DUTIES OF MANKIN D.
In TWO VOLUME S.
Ι ο Ν D ο Ν :
A SKETCH of the LIFE and WRITINGS of LU
CIUS ANN ÆUS SENECA; so far as they con. cern the English Reader.
L. ANN ÆUS SENECA, the author and publisher of the following Epistles (in Latin), was born at Corduba, an old flourishing colony in Bætic Spain, still retaining the name of Cordova veia. It was inhabited originally by a select body of Romans and Spaniards (a). It may be difficult therefore to determine, whether the Annæan (b) race were originally Spanish, or belonging to a colony from Italy: but this we may be certain of, from the testimony of Seneca himself, that they were of the equestrian order : Am I, saith he, (Tac. 1. 14) one, by rank no higher than a knight; by birth no other than a foreigner ; am I numbered with the grandees of the Imperial city? Is it so indeed, that my new name, my modern quality has thus blazed forth amongst the illustrious Lords of Rome? His father therefore, and perhaps his grandfather, were of the equestrian order, but no higher; for scarce would he have mentioned his new name, if his ancestors had attained to honours.
(a) And was in high repute by means of Marcus Marcellus, the prætor, who governed Spain, (according to Livy, 1. 43) in the year U. C. DLXXXV. at that time it seems in peace and quietness; which inclines me, says Lipfius, to believe this to be the time when the colony was introduced, and the city greatly enlarged and beautified; for that it was not built anew we may learn from Silius, who in Hannibal's time called it Corduba.
Nec decus auriferæ cessavit Corduba terræ. 3. 406. It obtained the privilege of being called Colonia Patricia. So Pliny (1. 3. c. 1.) expressly: and on the coin of Augustus, with his head, Permisu Cæfaris Augufti; and on the reverse, Colonia Patricia, as it was both a splendid and a rich city, and supplied the Roman commonwealth with fathers and senators. For in the age of Auguftus, men were selected out of every province to make up the senate. L.
(6) Lipfius observes that this firname was used likewise in another family, the Accian; as, M. Accio. Seneca (Gruter. p. 490.) • Vol. I.
His father, L. Annæus Seneca, who is generally distinguished from the son by the title of the orator, or declaimer (c), married a Spanish lady, named Helvia, a woman of great understanding and other accomplishments. He came from Corduba to Rome in the time of Augustus, and was soon after followed by his wife and children. Here he continued some time managing his affairs with the favour and good report of all men, and I think, says Lipfius, he lived till about the latter time of Tiberius. Be that as it will, Seneca was brought to Rome as yet in his infancy, and of a weakly and sickly conftitution, under the care of his aunt (d).
§ II. He had two brothers, one older, called Marcus Anni&us Novatus, and the other younger, called L. Annæus Mela. The former soon after changed his name to that of Junius Gallio, by adoption (e); and accordingly in the Eufebian Chronicle is stiled Junius Annæus Gallio, Seneca's brother; an excellent orator, He it is to whom our Seneca addressed his books (de Irâ), concerning anger, under the name of Novatus; and whom in his title to the treatise on a happy life, he calls his Brother Gallio, and in his epistles his Lord Gallio; properly enough, as he was his elder brother, says Lipsius; who likewise observes that Anneus Mela (f) the youngest brother, was only a Roman knight, (i. e. 110€ a fenator) but the father of Lucan, from whence (fays Tacitus) accrued a vast accession to his fame and splendor. These then were the three brothers, of whom says Martial,
Et docti Senecæ tres numeranda domus.
The triple house of learned Seneca: i.e. the three sons or families of the learned orator,
(c) Declamation being his peculiar talent: though there are many declamations under his name, which were really not his own, but having been digested by him and distinguished with titles and annotations, they sufficiently speak his pleasing manner and ingenuity.
(d) As he testifies himself, when praising his aunt, he says, By her tender care was I brought unto the city, and by her pious and motherly nursing was I there recovered of a fit of sickness. Consol.. ad Helv. c. 16.
re) of one of this name, who is often mentioned by Seneca, the father, (in his Declamations) and. is called our Gallio, either by reason of their common country Spain, or of the friend hip that sublisted between them.
(8) Mela or Mella (as Tacitus writes it) forbore suing for the great offices of state, from a wayward ambition, that a Roman knight might be seen to vie with senators of consular dignity: he likewise judged, that acting as comptroller to the prince in the ministration of his private revenues was a quicker road to wealth. He was accused however to Nero by Fabius Romanus, (a friend of Lucan, who had suffered before) and anticipated his fate by broaching his veins, as the quickest and most frequent passage to death in those days. Ib.