Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Roman ReflectionsStudies in Latin Philosophy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Gareth D. Williams and Katharina Volk

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199999767

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199999767.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 22 March 2019

True Greatness of Soul in Seneca’s De constantia sapientis

True Greatness of Soul in Seneca’s De constantia sapientis

(p.157) 8 True Greatness of Soul in Seneca’s De constantia sapientis
Roman Reflections

Yelena Baraz

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the quality of magnanimitas or magnitudo animi fundamental to Seneca’s conceptualization of the sapiens in De constantia sapientis. Seneca constructs the concept of greatness of soul in opposition to traditional Roman ways of conceiving greatness; the evaluative structure of the conventional social hierarchy is displaced through Seneca’s assertion of a virtue-based hierarchy in which the sapiens is located at its summit. In critiquing this alternative hierarchical model, the chapter argues that the pattern of ranking plausible models for the sapiens against each other is ultimately self-undermining. By setting his two major exempla, Cato and Stilbo, in a hierarchical ranking, with Cato the “higher” exemplar, Seneca in effect destabilizes Cato’s credentials as the “true” sage: the ranking technique presupposes a measurability, or a comparativeness of standing, to which any aspiring sapiens is subject, whereas the conceptual paragon of the sage can exist only at the hierarchical summit.

Keywords:   Seneca, magnitudo animi, magnanimitas, Cato, Stilbo, Stoic sapiens

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .