Aliquid and mores : the prefaces and epilogues of Seneca's Naturales Quaestiones

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Aliquid and mores : the prefaces and epilogues of Seneca's Naturales Quaestiones

Type: Doctoral Thesis
Title: Aliquid and mores : the prefaces and epilogues of Seneca's Naturales Quaestiones
Author: Limburg, Florence Julia Gabriella
Publisher: Institute for Art Historical and Literary Studies (Pallas), Faculty of Arts, Leiden University
Issue Date: 2007-05-31
Keywords: Epilogues
Ethics
Hortatory philosophy
Natural philosophy
Prefaces
Roman moralism
Seneca
Abstract: In the Naturales Quaestiones, the Roman philosopher Seneca discusses several natural phenomena in different books. These books are introduced and concluded by mainly moralizing prefaces and epilogues. Scholars disagree about the question how, and to what extent, the different parts of the work are related to each other. In my dissertation, I have adduced material that had not yet been used for the understanding of the Naturales Quaestiones. Thus, I have studied the literary conventions of antiquity concerning prefaces, and concluded, among other things, that in certain genres it was possible to write a preface that was unconnected to the work that followed. I have also placed the Naturales Quaestiones in the context of the discussion about the moral relevance of the study of nature in antiquity. The main part of my dissertation is devoted to a study of the text of the prefaces and epilogues: in my opinion, these texts, which often have a repetitive character, should be understood in the context of Seneca's moral philosophy. For instance, in the preface to his discussion of earthquakes, Seneca emphasizes that earthquakes may happen at any moment or place: this insight is supposed to strengthen man against his fear of dying in an earthquake.
Description: Promotor: P.H. Schrijvers
With summary in Dutch
Faculty: Faculteit der Letteren
Citation: Limburg, F.J.G., 2007, Doctoral thesis, Leiden University
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/12081
 

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