A Florilegium of Seneca’s Apothegms

Without an antagonist prowess fades away.

Prosperity unbruised cannot endure a single blow, but a man
who has been at constant feud with misfortune acquires a
skin calloused by suffering; he yields to no evil and even
if he stumbles carries the fight on upon his knee.

A gladiator counts it a disgrace to be matched with an
inferior; he knows that a victory devoid of danger is a
victory devoid of glory.

But the greater the torment, the greater the glory shall be.

Prosperity can come to the vulgar and to ordinary talents,
but to triumph over the disasters and terrors of mortal
life is the privilege of the great man.

No one can discover what he can do except by trying.

Disaster is virtue’s opportunity. Those whom an excess
of prosperity has rendered sluggish may justly be called
unfortunate.

All excesses are injurious, but immoderate prosperity is
the most dangerous of all.

By suffering misfortune the mind grows able to belittle suffering.

Your good fortune is not to need good fortune.

The life we receive is not short but we make it so.

Procrastination is the greatest waste of time.

Expectancy is the greatest impediment to living: in
anticipation of tomorrow it loses today.

The present is fleeting. . . it ceases to be before it has become.

The only people really at leisure are those who take
time for philosophy. They alone really live.

All virtues are fragile in the beginning and acquire
toughness and stability in time.

Less labor is needed when your concern is for the present.

For however unadvertised virtue may be, it is never wholly
unknown but gives signs of its presence, and the worthy will
track it down.

Nothing can equal the pleasure of faithful and congenial friendship.

It is important to withdraw into one’s self.

What is the happy life? Self-sufficiency and abiding tranquility.

The good lies not in the thing but in the quality of selection.

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