Lucius Annaeus Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae [On the Shortness of Life]

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De Brevitate Vitae

(“On the Shortness of Life” and DBV thereafter) is the ninth of Seneca’s twelve books that have been transmitted under the name of


by the

Codex Ambrosianus

. This manuscript in Beneventan script was produced in Cassino after 1075 CE and derives from an


of late antiquity, possibly also originating in southern Italy.



The addressee of DBV is mentioned right at the beginning of the dialogue (1.1) with the vocative Pauline. The man has been identified as the eques Pompeius Paulinus of Arles, father of Pompeia Paulina, Seneca’s wife (Tacitus, Ann. 15.60.4 and Seneca, Ep. 104.1.2), and of a younger Pompeius Paulinus who had served as consular legate in Lower Germany (Tacitus, Ann. 13.53.2 and Pliny, N.H. 33.143) and had also been part, as

2594 words

Citation: Gazzarri, Tommaso. "De Brevitate Vitae". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 October 2015 [, accessed 30 May 2024.]

35683 De Brevitate Vitae 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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