Timothy Wutrich
Senior Instructor of Classics, Case Western Reserve University
Tuesdays, July 9-30
10:00AM to 11:30AM ET

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BCE–CE 65), the Stoic philosopher and tragic dramatist, lived during the early years of the Roman Empire and flourished under the reigns of the emperors Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. Seneca was, in fact, Nero’s tutor and, while the boy-emperor learned to rule, Seneca, with the praetorian prefect Burrus, managed the daily workings of the empire. While his biography itself is fascinating, for centuries students of literature and philosophy have been drawn to his philosophical writings and his tragedies which reflect Seneca’s Stoic vision. Seneca’s tragedies would inspire Shakespeare, Racine, and a number of other early-modern European authors. In this course we will read a selection of Seneca’s shorter philosophical texts and the tragedies Phaedra, Hercules Insane, Trojan Women, and Thyestes.

Read: There are two volumes for this course, both in paperback editions: (1.) Phaedra and Other Plays, translated by R. Scott Smith, New York: Penguin, 2011. ISBN 9780140455519 and (2.) Dialogues and Letters, translated by C.D.N. Costa, New York: Penguin, 1997. ISBN 9780140446791

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