Seneca the Younger, letter 41.3 (circa 65 CE)


This letter has been translated from the original Latin. In this letter to his friend and correspondent Lucilius Junior, Roman stoic philosopher and author Seneca the Younger (ca. 4 BCE-65 CE), reflects on the Roman “sense of the divine” inspired by nature. These ancient Roman deities were very different from the anthropomorphic Greek Olympic gods, whose features were later incorporated into the gods of Roman pantheon. The spirits or deities found in the environment were usually local and therefore limited in power. This attribution of spirits to natural phenomena such as stones, rivers, and trees is called “animism.”

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