Lucius Annaeus Seneca, De Otio [On Leisure]

Robert Wagoner (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)
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Seneca’s De Otio is (c.62) is among the 10 works gathered under the label Dialogi. Our manuscripts for the De Otio are incomplete. We have lost the beginning of the text – which would have included an addressee – and the text ends abruptly. The likely date of the De Otio is 62 CE. This date is itself partly dependent on the conjecture that the De Otio was addressed to Annaeus Serenus (Williams 2003: 12-15; Griffin 1976: 316-7, 396).

Although the text of the De Otio is incomplete, the main argument of the work is clear. Seneca seeks to contrast the Stoic and Epicurean positions on the appropriateness of otium. ‘Otium’ refers to time away from public affairs or the business of public life. Thus, what one does in one’s public career is typically – and especially in Rome – seen

1690 words

Citation: Wagoner, Robert. "De Otio". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 April 2014 [, accessed 09 December 2023.]

35239 De Otio 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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