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De Ira

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Title: De Ira  
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De Ira

De ira [ Latin ] is a work by Seneca ( 4 B.C. - 65 A.D.[1])


  • Translation of title 1
  • Dating 2
  • Structure 3
  • Contents 4
  • Subject 5
  • History 6
  • Antecedents 7
  • Possible influence of other thinkers on the work 8
  • Other works of a similar nature 9
  • Contemporaneous manifestations of the considerations of de Ira 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

Translation of title

Ira is defined as anger, wrath, rage, ire, passion, indignation - primarily, to be angry (see Lewis & Short in reference).[2]


The exact date of the writing of the work is unknown, apart from a date being the earliest possible time (terminum post quem), deduced as due to repeated references by Seneca to the episodic anger of the Caesar, Gaius (Caligula), who died on January the 24th, 41 AD.[3][4][5]


Consists of three books.[6]


De Ira is part of Seneca's series of Dialogi (dialogues). The essay is addressed to Seneca's elder brother, Lucius Annaeus Novatus. [7][8][9] The works first sentence reads: [3]

You have asked me Novatus to write on how anger can be mitigated


Within the context of Stoicism, which seeks to aid and guide the person in a development out of a life of slavery to behaviours and ways of the vices, to freedom within a life characterised by virtue, de Ira posits this as achievable by the development of an understanding of how to control the passions, anger being classified as a passion, and to make these subject to reason. [10][11]

Seneca's thoughts of the relationship of the passions to reason, are that the passions arise in a rational mind as a result of a mis-perceiving or misunderstanding of reality. Inwood describes this as when the mind makes errors about the values of things , R Bett as caused by defective belief (c.f. Bett p.546). Seneca denied the assertion of Plato and Aristotle who previously considered the passions to arise from roots within the irrational part of the soul.[12]

The passions are transliterated pathê from Greek.[13][14]


Known of due to being a part of the codex Ambrosian manuscript, dating from the 5th century A.D. [15][16][17][18]


It is not clear to scholars who wrote the first work on the subject of passions or emotions (the terms are thought interchangeable), but while Xenocrates (396/5 - 314/3 BCE) and Aristotle (384 - 322 BCE) were students at Plato's Academy, a discussion on emotions took place which provided likely the impetus for all later work on the subject. The Stoic Posidonius from Apamea (c.135 - 51 BCE[19]) is considered the main source for Seneca, also the work of Theophrastus, Antipater from Tarsus, Philodemus from Gadara, Sotion from Alexandria, Xenocrates (active sometime after 346 BCE [20]) and Aristotle (c. 384-322 BCE[21]).[22][19][3]

Possible influence of other thinkers on the work

Works on Passions were written by Zeno, Chrysippus, Ariston from Chios, Herillus, Hecaton, and Andronicus from Rhodes (c.1st century B.C.[23]).[3]

Other works of a similar nature

Works entitled de Ira were written by both Philodemus of Gadara (ca. 110–30 BCE),an Epicurean, and Bion the Cynic from Borysthenes, (fl early 3rd century BC).[24][25][26]

Contemporaneous manifestations of the considerations of de Ira

The National Health Service of Great Britain provides a guide on anger management.[27]


  1. ^ M. Griffin & Brad Inwood translation of de beneficiis by Lucius Annaeus Seneca (dates taken from copyright notification,etc page) - University of Chicago Press, 1 Apr 2011 ISBN 0226748405 [Retrieved 2015-3-14]
  2. ^ Perseus Digital Library at Tufts University : Latin Word Study Tools - ira [Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  3. ^ a b c d M Monteleone. Companion to Seneca: Philosopher and Dramatist (dating - p.127)(Antecedents & Influences - p.131-2). BRILL, 13 Dec 2013. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  4. ^ Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford University Press) [Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  5. ^
  6. ^ C Stark. The Self-Divided Dialogical Self in Seneca's De Ira. (Society for Classical Studies). Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  7. ^ J Sellars - Stoicism (Routledge, 5 Dec 2014) ISBN 1317493915 [Retrieved 2015-3-16]
  8. ^ Cambridge University Press - Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought shows Moral Essays [Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  9. ^ JM. Cooper - Seneca: Moral and Political Essays - Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought (p.3) (Cambridge University Press, 22 Jun 1995) ISBN 0521348188 [Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  10. ^ R Bett - A Companion to Ancient Philosophy (John Wiley & Sons, 9 Feb 2009) ISBN 1405178256 [Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  11. ^ B.Inwood - Passions and Perceptions: Studies in Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind (p.165 & 166) (Cambridge University Press, 25 Mar 1993) ISBN 0521402026 [Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  12. ^ B.Inwood - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Index (Taylor & Francis, 1 Jan 1998) ISBN 0415073103 [Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  13. ^ Blank, David - "Philodemus"- On individual ethical topics (5th paragraph) Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)(published Wed Apr 10, 2013; substantive revision Mon Aug 4, 2014) [Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  14. ^ Oxford Dictionary - (Oxford University Press)[Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  15. ^ L.D.Reynolds, M.T.Griffin, E.Fantham. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford University Press, 29 Mar 2012 (edited by S Hornblower, A Spawforth, E Eidinow) ISBN 0199545561. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  16. ^ Fritz-Heiner Mutschler in Brill's Companion to Seneca: Philosopher and Dramatist [Retrieved 2015-3-14]
  17. ^ Merriam-Webster [Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  18. ^ C Boyd-Taylor in Thirteenth Congress of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies, Ljubljana, 2007 (International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies. Congress) Society of Biblical Lit, 2008 ISBN 1589833953 [Retrieved 2015-3-14]
  19. ^ a b Israel Institute of the History of Medicine. Koroth. BRILL. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  20. ^ R M. Lawson - Science in the Ancient World: An Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, 2004) ISBN 1851095349[Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  21. ^ R M. Lawson - p.20
  22. ^ JT Fitzgerald referencing - Fortenbough 1975 (quote), Knuuttila & Sihvola 1998, Blank 1993, Diogenes Laertius 4.6. (in) Passions and Morals: Progress in Graeco-Roman thought (Taylor & Francis e-library 2007, Routledge 2008) [Retrieved 2015-3-16]
  23. ^ GE Karamonolis - Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  24. ^ JI Porter - Philosophy of Aristo of Chios (in) The Cynics: The Cynic Movement in Antiquity and Its Legacy - Hellenistic culture and society (University of California Press, 2000, edited by Robert Bracht Branham, Marie-Odile Goulet-Cazé) ISBN 0520216458 [Retrieved 2015-3-15] (ed.... from Borysthenes (fl early 3rd century BC)...)
  25. ^ Blank, David - "Philodemus" Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)(published Wed Apr 10, 2013; substantive revision Mon Aug 4, 2014) [Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  26. ^ K Galinsky - The anger of Aeneas American (Journal of Philology, 1988 - JSTOR) ...The principal extant Epicurean text is Philodemus' De Ira.... shown here [Retrieved 2015-3-15]
  27. ^ NHS choices - How to control your anger [Retrieved 2015-3-16]

External links

University of Minnesota, Morris - De IraSelections from - (parts - 1.1 , 2.9 , 2.1 , 1.7 , 1.9 , 1.16)

Full text of "Moral essays. With an English translation by J.W. Basore

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