Seneca: Stoic philosopher and advisor of Nero
Seneca lived during the time of Jesus Christ, his father was also a well-known writer. He was instructed in the ways of Stoicism, a Hellenistic philosophy emphasizing reason, virtue, and patience, and a rejection of indulgence and other extremes. Stoic philosophers taught that the ”good life” could be attained by not succumbing to the extremes of pleasure or pain, but by steering a balanced, sober course in life. Stoics attempted to not let hardships or good fortune distract them from living a life committed to reason and virtue.
As a young man, Seneca rose to prominence as a philosopher and politician. However, under Emperor Claudius, he was banished to the island of Corsica. Seneca played an huge role in shaping Nero. When Claudius died in 54 A.D., Nero assumed rule of the Roman Empire. became notorious for his tortuous persecution of early Christians.
When Nero became emperor, Seneca served as his advisor. Seneca had a restraining influence on the young emperor. However as Nero became more infatuated with his own power, he forsook the advice of his wise imperial advisor. Seneca was suspected of being involved in a plot to assassinate Nero. It is likely he was not a conspirator, but he was ordered by the Emperor to kill himself. Seneca was made to cut his critical veins, causing him to bleed to death. His wife followed him in this practice, but as she was bleeding, Nero ordered her to be saved. Her wounds were attended to, her bleeding stopped and she survived.