Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Death Sentence

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius 71.15 (the words are put into the mouth of Cato; tr. Richard M. Gummere):
The whole race of man, both that which is and that which is to be, is condemned to die. Of all the cities that at any time have held sway over the world, and of all that have been the splendid ornaments of empires not their own, men shall some day ask where they were, and they shall be swept away by destructions of various kinds; some shall be ruined by wars, others shall be wasted away by inactivity and by the kind of peace which ends in sloth, or by that vice which is fraught with destruction even for mighty dynasties,—luxury. All these fertile plains shall be buried out of sight by a sudden overflowing of the sea, or a slipping of the soil, as it settles to lower levels, shall draw them suddenly into a yawning chasm. Why then should I be angry or feel sorrow, if I precede the general destruction by a tiny interval of time?

omne humanum genus, quodque est quodque erit, morte damnatum est. omnes, quae usquam rerum potiuntur urbes quaeque alienorum imperiorum magna sunt decora, ubi fuerint, aliquando quaeretur et vario exitii genere tollentur; alias destruent bella, alias desidia paxque ad inertiam versa consumet et magnis opibus exitiosa res, luxus. omnes hos fertiles campos repentina maris inundatio abscondet aut in subitam cavernam considentis soli lapsus abducet. quid est ergo quare indigner aut doleam, si exiguo momento publica fata praecedo?

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