169+ Best Seneca Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Seneca the Younger, fully Lucius Annaeus Seneca and also known simply as Seneca, was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and—in one work—satirist of the Silver Age of Latin literature. Profoundly inspirational Seneca quotes will encourage you to think a little deeper than you usually would and broaden your perspective.

Famous Seneca Quotes

God is near you, is with you, is inside you. – Seneca

We must take care to live not merely a long life, but a full one; for living a long life requires only good fortune, but living a full life requires character. Long is the life that is fully lived; it is fulfilled only when the mind supplies its own good qualities and empowers itself from within. – Seneca

It’s unknown the place and uncertain the time where death awaits you; thus you must expect death to find you, every time, at every place. – Seneca

The great blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach; but we shut our eyes, and, like people in the dark, we fall foul upon the very thing we search for, without finding it. – Seneca

The Best sign of Wisdom is the consistency between the words and deeds. – Seneca

What does reason demand of a man? A very easy thing-to live in accord with his own nature. – Seneca

Wisdom teaches us to do, as well as to talk; and to make our words and actions all of a colour. – Seneca

Praise thyself never. – Seneca

Most people fancy themselves innocent of those crimes of which they cannot be convicted. – Seneca

The most miserable mortals are they that deliver themselves up to their palates, or to their lusts; the pleasure is short, and turns presently nauseous, and the end of it is either shame or repentance. – Seneca

Calamity is virtue’s opportunity. – Seneca

We should every night call ourselves to an account: What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift. – Seneca

We suffer more in imagination than in reality. – Seneca

Let wickedness escape as it may at the bar, it never fails of doing justice upon itself; for every guilty person is his own hangman. – Seneca

Nobody becomes guilty by fate. – Seneca

He who would do great things should not attempt them all alone. – Seneca

It takes the whole of life to learn how to live, and – even more surprising – it takes the whole of life to learn how to die. – Seneca

On him does death lie heavily, who, but too well known to all, dies to himself unknown. – Seneca

Death takes us piecemeal, not at a gulp. – Seneca

What should a wise person do when given a blow? Same as Cato when he was attacked; not fire up or revenge the insult., or even return the blow, but simply ignore it. – Seneca

Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power. – Seneca

Abstinence is easier than temperance. – Seneca

If true, the Pythagorean principles as to abstain from flesh, foster innocence; if ill-founded they at least teach us frugality, and what loss have you in losing your cruelty? It merely deprives you of the food of lions and vultures…let us ask what is best – not what is customary. Let us love temperance – let us be just – let us refrain from bloodshed. – Seneca

The things that are essential are acquired with little bother; it is the luxuries that call for toil and effort. – Seneca

Demand not that I am the equal of the greatest, only that I am better than the wicked. – Seneca

The abundance of books is distraction – Seneca

Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk. – Seneca

If you wish another to keep your secret, first keep it to yourself. – Seneca

The thing that matters is not what you bear, but how you bear it – Seneca

We are members of one great body. Nature planted in us a mutual love, and fitted us for a social life. We must consider that we were born for the good of the whole. – Seneca

When you see a man in distress, recognize him as a fellow man. – Seneca

Many men provoke others to overreach them by excessive suspicion; their extraordinary distrust in some sort justifies the deceit. – Seneca

There are no greater wretches in the world than many of those whom people in general take to be happy. – Seneca

Greed’s worst point is its ingratitude. – Seneca

If you don’t know, ask. You will be a fool for the moment, but a wise man for the rest of your life. – Seneca

We learn not in the school, but in life. – Seneca

Some cures are worse than the dangers they combat. – Seneca

No work is of such merit as to instruct from a mere cursory perusal. – Seneca

Learn how to feel joy. – Seneca

Live for thy neighbor if thou wouldst live for thyself. – Seneca

The sun shines even on the wicked. – Seneca

No man is free who is a slave to the flesh. – Seneca

There is nothing more miserable and foolish than anticipation. – Seneca

Everything may happen. – Seneca

Let me therefore live as if every moment were to be my last. – Seneca

To be feared is to fear. No one has been able to strike terror into others and at the same time enjoy peace of mind. – Seneca

No one loves his country for its size or eminence, but because it’s his own. – Seneca

The heart is great which shows moderation in the midst of prosperity. – Seneca

Great men rejoice in adversity, just as brave soldiers triumph in war. – Seneca

The worst thing about getting old is evil men cease to fear you – Seneca

Our minds must relax: they will rise better and keener after rest. Just as you must not force fertile farmland, as uninterrupted productivity will soon exhaust it, so constant effort will sap our mental vigour, while a short period of rest and relaxation will restore our powers. Unremitting effort leads to a kind of mental dullness and lethargy. – Seneca

It is proof of a bad cause when it is applauded by the mob. – Seneca

It is the characteristic of a weak and diseased mind to fear the unfamiliar. – Seneca

Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness. – Seneca

Voyage, travel, and change of place impart vigor – Seneca

Money has never yet made anyone rich. – Seneca

While we are postponing, life speeds by. – Seneca

Courage leads to heaven; fear leads to death. – Seneca

Night brings our troubles to the light, rather than banishes them. – Seneca

Small sorrows speak great ones are silent. – Seneca

Refuse to let the thought of death bother you: nothing is grim when we have escaped that fear. – Seneca

True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not. – Seneca

Why do I not seek some real good; one which I could feel, not one which I could display? – Seneca

If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable. – Seneca

Never to wrong others takes one a long way towards peace of mind. – Seneca

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult – Seneca

If thou art a man, admire those who attempt great things, even though they fail. – Seneca

Reason wishes that the judgement it gives be just; anger wishes that the judgement it has given seem to be just. – Seneca

Believe me, that was a happy age, before the days of architects, before the days of builders. – Seneca

To be able to endure odium is the first art to be learned by those who aspire to power. – Seneca

Some lack the fickleness to live as they wish and just live as they have begun. – Seneca

Men do not care how nobly they live, but only how long, although it is within the reach of every man to live nobly, but within no man’s power to live long. – Seneca

Find a path or make one. – Seneca

A consciousness of wrongdoing is the first step to salvation…you have to catch yourself doing it before you can correct it. – Seneca

I have withdrawn not only from men, but from affairs, especially my own affairs; I am working for later generations, writing down some ideas that may be of assistance to them. – Seneca

The mind, unless it is pure and holy, cannot see God. – Seneca

Delay not; swift the flight of fortune’s greatest favours. – Seneca

He is ungrateful who denies that he has received a kindness which has been bestowed upon him; he is ungrateful who conceals it; he is ungrateful who makes no return for it; most ungrateful of all is he who forgets it. – Seneca

There is nothing that we can properly call our own but our time, and yet everybody fools us out of it who has a mind to do it. If a man borrows a paltry sum of money, there must needs be bonds and securities, and every common civility is presently charged upon account. But he who has my time thinks he owes me nothing for it, though it be a debt that gratitude itself can never repay. – Seneca

Vice may be learnt, even without a teacher – Seneca

He who asks with timidity invites a refusal. – Seneca

Epileptics know by signs when attacks are imminent and take precautions accordingly; we must do the same in regard to anger – Seneca

He will live ill who does not know how to die well. – Seneca

Tranqility is a certain quality of mind, which no condition or fortune can either exalt or depress. – Seneca

Be silent as to services you have rendered, but speak of favours you have received. – Seneca

A good mind is a lord of a kingdom. – Seneca

Leisure without study is death, and the grave of a living man. – Seneca

Anger is like those ruins which smash themselves on what they fall. – Seneca

When I think over what I have said, I envy dumb people. – Seneca

What difference does it make, after all, what your position in life is if you dislike it yourself? – Seneca

Misfortune is the test of a person’s merit. – Seneca

Nothing will ever please me, no matter how excellent or beneficial, if I must retain the knowledge of it to myself. . . . . . No good thing is pleasant to possess, without friends to share it. – Seneca

There in no one more unfortunate than the man who has never been unfortunate. for it has never been in his power to try himself. – Seneca

When thou hast profited so much that thou respectest even thyself, thou mayst let go thy tutor. – Seneca

There is nothing more despicable than an old man who has no other proof than his age to offer of his having lived long in the world. – Seneca

Life without the courage to die is slavery. – Seneca

One crime has to be concealed by another. – Seneca

The mind is a matter over every kind of fortune; itself acts in both ways, being the cause of its own happiness and misery. – Seneca

Men can be divided into 2 groups: one that goes ahead and achieves something, and one that comes after and criticizes. – Seneca

The best cure for anger is delay. – Seneca

Levity of behavior is the bane of all that is good and virtuous. – Seneca

A lesson that is never learned can never be too often taught. – Seneca

Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body. – Seneca

The worse a person is the less he feels it. – Seneca

I am ashamed of my master and not of my servitude. – Seneca

Disease is not of the body but of the place. – Seneca

To err is human. To repeat error is of the Devil. – Seneca

Whenever you hold a fellow creature in distress, remember that he is a man. – Seneca

Be not dazzled by beauty, but look for those inward qualities which are lasting. – Seneca

As the mother’s womb holds us for ten months, making us ready, not for the womb itself, but for life, just so, through our lives, we are making ourselves ready for another birth…Therefore look forward without fear to that appointed hour- the last hour of the body, but not of the soul…That day, which you fear as being the end of all things, is the birthday of your eternity. – Seneca

It is the practice of the multitude to bark at eminent men, as little dogs do at strangers. – Seneca

Let us say what we feel, and feel what we say; let speech harmonize with life. – Seneca

We become wiser by adversity; prosperity destroys our appreciation of the right. – Seneca

Obedience is yielded more readily to one who commands gently. – Seneca

The largest part of goodness is the will to become good. – Seneca

The state of that man’s mind who feels too intense an interest as to future events, must be most deplorable. – Seneca

It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable. – Seneca

I am telling you to be a slow-speaking person. – Seneca

Away with the world’s opinion of you-it’s always unsettled and divided. – Seneca

Many shed tears merely for show, and have dry eyes when no one’s around to observe them. – Seneca

We most often go astray on a well trodden and much frequented road. – Seneca

Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it. – Seneca

Watch over yourself. Be your own accuser, then your judge; ask yourself grace sometimes, and, if there is need, impose upon yourself some pain. – Seneca

A well-governed appetite is a great part of liberty – Seneca

The man who while he gives thinks of what he will get in return, deserves to be deceived. – Seneca

Poverty with joy isn’t poverty at all. The poor man is not one who has little, but one who hankers after more. – Seneca

Virtue is shut out from no one; she is open to all, accepts all, invites all, gentlemen, freedmen, slaves, kings, and exiles; she selects neither house nor fortune; she is satisfied with a human being without adjuncts. – Seneca

The Germans, a race eager for war. – Seneca

A man who has taken your time recognises no debt; yet it is the one he can never repay. – Seneca

What you think is the summit is only a step up. – Seneca

No tree becomes rooted and sturdy unless many a wind assails it. For by its very tossing it tightens its grip and plants its roots more securely; the fragile trees are those that have grown in a sunny valley. – Seneca

The greatest man is he who chooses right with the most invincible resolution; who resists to sorest temptation from within and without; who bears the heaviest burdens cheerfully; who is calmest in storms, and most fearless under menaces and frowns; whose reliance on truth, on virtue, and on God is most unfaltering. – Seneca

The greatest power of ruling consists in the exercise of self-control. – Seneca

The man who can be compelled knows not how to die. – Seneca

No good thing is pleasant without friends to share it. – Seneca

Philosophy is the art and law of life, and it teaches us what to do in all cases, and, like good marksmen, to hit the white at any distance. – Seneca

Retire into yourself as much as possible. Associate with people who are likely to improve you. Welcome those whom you are capable of improving. The process is a mutual one. People learn as they teach. – Seneca

Men’s language is as their lives. – Seneca

Success consecrates the most offensive crimes. – Seneca

The mind unlearns with difficulty what it has long learned. – Seneca

The important thing about a problem is not its solution, but the strength we gain in finding the solution – Seneca

To forgive all is as inhuman as to forgive none – Seneca

Virtue depends partly upon training and partly upon practice; you must learn first, and then strengthen your learning by action. If this be true, not only do the doctrines of wisdom help us but the precepts also, which check and banish our emotions by a sort of official decree. – Seneca

After death there is nothing. – Seneca

I know that nothing comes to pass but what God appoints; our fate is decreed, and things do not happen by chance, but every man’s portion of joy and sorrow is predetermined. – Seneca

What’s the good of dragging up sufferings which are over, of being unhappy now just because you were then. – Seneca

Our fears are always more numerous than our dangers. – Seneca

Lay hold of today’s task, and you will not depend so much upon tomorrow’s. – Seneca

The worst evil of all is to leave the ranks of the living before one dies. – Seneca

Drunkenness doesn’t create vices, but it brings them to the fore. – Seneca

Prosperity asks for fidelity; adversity exacts it. – Seneca

Truths open to everyone, and the claims aren’t all staked yet. – Seneca

The way to good conduct is never too late. – Seneca

Some there are that torment themselves afresh with the memory of what is past; others, again, afflict themselves with the apprehension of evils to come; and very ridiculously both – for the one does not now concern us, and the other not yet … One should count each day as a separate life. – Seneca

He who does not want to die should not want to live. For life is tendered to us with the proviso of death. Life is the way to this destination. – Seneca

Luck never made a man wise. – Seneca

I was shipwrecked before I got aboard. – Seneca

Death’s the discharge of our debt of sorrow. – Seneca

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. – Seneca

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful. – Seneca

Many things have fallen only to rise higher. – Seneca

The man who has learned to triumph over sorrow wears his miseries as though they were sacred fillets upon his brow; and nothing is so entirely admirable as a man bravely wretched. – Seneca

We all sorely complain of the shortness of time, and yet have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are either spent in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them. – Seneca

I require myself not to be equal to the best, but to be better then the bad. – Seneca

He who does not prevent a crime, when he can, encourages it. – Seneca

Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all. – Seneca

Laugh at your problems; everybody else does. – Seneca

Begin at once to live, and count each day as a separate life. – Seneca

Don’t stumble over something behind you. – Seneca

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