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Lucilius

(c. 180—102 bc)


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Friend of Seneca 2 the Younger and the recipient of his On Providence, Natural Questions, and Ethical Epistles; b. in Campania, without wealth or prospects. Talent, literary style, and distinguished connections brought him into prominence. His own energy made him an equestrian. He was loyal to victims of Valeria Messallina or Narcissus under Claudius. Under Claudius and Nero he held four procuratorships (see procurator). The date of his death is unknown.

Seneca uses Lucilius as a sounding‐board for the philosophical progression of the Epistles. Many of them start from some question Lucilius has supposedly put—generally philosophical, but sometimes literary, linguistic, or social. In spite of business, travel, ill health, and a tendency to grumble, he is depicted as a philosopher, perhaps an ex‐Epicurean Stoic (see epicurus; stoicism). On one occasion Seneca says to him ‘meum opus es’, ‘you are my work’, which may be read as testimony to Seneca's (re‐)construction of his friend into the ideal philosophical novice and addressee. Seneca also warmly praises Lucilius' own philosophical work.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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