Letter 19: On Worldliness and Retirement

I leap for joy whenever I receive letters from you. For they fill me with hope; they are now not mere assurances concerning you, but guarantees. And I beg and pray you to proceed in this course; for what better request could I make of a friend than one which is to be made for […]

Letter 18: On Festivals and Fasting

It is the month of December, and yet the city is at this very moment in a sweat. License is given to the general merrymaking. Everything resounds with mighty preparations, – as if the Saturnalia differed at all from the usual business day! So true it is that the difference is nil, that I regard […]

Letter 17: On Philosophy and Riches

Cast away everything of that sort, if you are wise. Nay, rather that you may be wise. Strive toward a sound mind at top speed and with your whole strength. If any bond holds you back, untie it, or sever it. “But,” you say, “my estate delays me; I wish to make such disposition of […]

Letter 16: On Philosophy, the Guide of Life

It is clear to you, I am sure, Lucilius, That no man can live a happy life, or even a supportable life, without the study of wisdom. You know also that a happy life is reached when our wisdom is brought to completion, but that life is at least endurable even when our wisdom is […]

Letter 15: On Brawn and Brains

The old Romans had a custom which survived even into my lifetime. They would add to the opening words of a letter: “If you are well, it is well; I also am well.” Persons like ourselves would do well to say. “If you are studying philosophy, it is well.” For this is just what “being […]

Letter 14: On the Reasons for Withdrawing from the World

I confess that we all have an inborn affection for our body; I confess that we are entrusted with its guardianship. I do not maintain that the body is not to be indulged at all; but I maintain that we must not be slaves to it. He will have many masters who makes his body […]

Letter 13: On Groundless Fears

Podcast: Play in new window | EmbedI know that you have plenty of spirit; for even before you began to equip yourself with maxims which were wholesome and potent to overcome obstacles, you were taking pride in your contest with Fortune; and this is all the more true, now that you have grappled with Fortune […]

Letter 12: On Old Age

Podcast: Play in new window | EmbedWherever I turn, I see evidences of my advancing years. I visited lately my country-place, and protested against the money which was spent on the tumble-down building. My bailiff maintained that the flaws were not due to his own carelessness; “he was doing everything possible, but the house was […]

Letter 11: On the Blush of Modesty

Podcast: Play in new window | Embed Your friend and I have had a conversation. He is a man of ability; his very first words showed what spirit and understanding he  possesses, and what progress  he  has  already made. He  gave  me  a foretaste, and he will not fail to answer thereto. For he spoke […]

Letter 10: On Living to Oneself

Podcast: Play in new window | EmbedYes, I do not change my opinion: avoid the many, avoid the few, avoid even the individual. I know of no one with whom I should be willing to have you shared. And see what an opinion of you I have; for I dare to trust you with your […]