Seneca on Society: A Guide to De Beneficiis

Paperback | August 14, 2014

byMiriam T. Griffin

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Seneca's De Beneficiis (On Benefits) is the only work surviving from antiquity that discusses the exchange of gifts and services. Though the topic is of great importance, in practical moral philosophy, sociology, and in the historical study of how Roman society worked, the treatise hasreceived comparatively little scholarly notice in modern times. This is partly attributable to its length, Seneca's fullest treatment of a single subject, and its puzzling structure. In this volume Griffin aims to explain the philosophical, sociological, and historical significance of De Beneficiis,and make it more accessible to readers. Divided into three sections, the volume firstly defines the phenomenon Seneca treats in De Beneficiis, pointing out his Stoic orientation and the relevance of his discussion to the Roman elite's code of conduct and to the phenomenon of the Princeps. The second section explores the work itself: itsdate, addressee, structure, teaching strategy, its relation to other works of Seneca, and its later reputation up to the Renaissance. The final section provides a detailed synopsis of each book, accompanied by notes in commentary form, as well as separate biographical notes on the persons mentionedin De Beneficiis.

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Seneca's De Beneficiis (On Benefits) is the only work surviving from antiquity that discusses the exchange of gifts and services. Though the topic is of great importance, in practical moral philosophy, sociology, and in the historical study of how Roman society worked, the treatise hasreceived comparatively little scholarly notice in m...

Miriam T. Griffin is Emeritus Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.89 inPublished:August 14, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198723318

ISBN - 13:9780198723318

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAbbreviationsIntroductionPart I: The Subject-Matter of De beneficiis1. Cicero and Seneca2. De beneficiis and Philosophy3. De beneficiis and Roman SocietyPart II: Seneca's Treatise4. The Date and Addressee5. The Title6. The Structure of De beneficiis7. The Pedagogic Strategy of De beneficiis8. De beneficiis and Seneca's Other Philosophical Works9. The Afterlife of De beneficiis up to the RenaissancePart III: A Map of De beneficiisSynopsis of Book 1Notes to Synopsis of Book 1Synopsis of Book 2Notes to Synopsis of Book 2Synopsis of Book 3Notes to Synopsis of Book 3Synopsis of Book 4Notes to Synopsis of Book 4Synopsis of Book 5Notes to Synopsis of Book 5Synopsis of Book 6Notes to Synopsis of Book 6Synopsis of Book 7Notes to Synopsis of Book 7Biographical Notes on Persons Mentioned in De beneficiisBibliographyIndex LocorumGeneral Index

Editorial Reviews

"Here is a work that completely fulfils its declared aim of guiding students and teachers but which, through its depth, originality, and weight, goes beyond that and considerably advances our understanding of the treatise. ...Griffin offers us an instrument of the first order to accompany thereading of a work that is at times perplexing." --Sehephunkte