Chapter

The Cataclysm and the Nile

Gareth Williams

in The Cosmic Viewpoint

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199731589
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933112 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199731589.003.0004
The Cataclysm and the Nile

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How is Seneca's preface to Book 4a, on the dangers of flattery, to be reconciled with his main agenda in this book, which is to explain the causes of the Nile's summer flooding? This chapter sets the narrowness of life at the human level of social and professional interaction (with its webs of flattery, deceit, dissimulation, etc.) against the guilelessness of nature in the grand theatre of her operations, e.g. in the flooding of the Nile in Book 4a, or in the great cataclysm that brings to the end one world-cycle before universal renewal at the end of Book 3. The Nile proves also to serve as a symbolic model of Senecan world-integration in the harmonious balance of its own eco-system of sorts as drawn in Book 4a.

Keywords: Nile; flattery; cataclysm; Egypt

Chapter.  20053 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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