Care of the Self and Social Bonding in Seneca: Recruiting Readers for a Global Network of Progressor Friends

Vita Latina 197:117-130 (2018)
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This paper interprets the demonstrative retreat from public life and the promotion of self-improvement in Seneca’s later works as a political undertaking. Developing arguments by THOMAS HABINEK, MATTHEW ROLLER and HARRY HINE, it suggests that Seneca promoted the political vision of a cosmic community of progressors toward virtue constituted by a special form of progressor friendship, a theoretical innovation made in the Epistulae morales. This network of like-minded individuals spanning time and space is open to anyone who shares the other members’ commitment to the improvement of one’s own self and that of others. By advertising such self-care and courting his readers as prospective friends, the author of the Epistulae morales aims to recruit new members for that community, in particular in the first nine letters.

Author's Profile

Jula Wildberger
The American University of Paris


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