A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium, thereby transferring the ink. It marked a dramatic improvement on earlier printing methods in which the cloth, paper or other medium was brushed or rubbed to achieve the transfer of ink, accelerated the process. Used for texts, the invention and global spread of the printing press was one of the most influential events in the second millennium. Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith by profession, circa 1439, a printing system by adapting existing technologies to printing purposes, as well as making inventions of his own. Printing in East Asia had been prevalent since the Tang dynasty, in Europe, woodblock printing based on existing screw presses was common by the 14th century. Gutenberg's most important innovation was the development of hand-molded metal printing matrices, thus producing a movable type-based printing press system, his newly devised hand mould made possible the precise and rapid creation of metal movable type in large quantities.
Movable type had been hitherto unknown in Europe. In Europe, the two inventions, the hand mould and the printing press, together drastically reduced the cost of printing books and other documents in short print runs; the printing press spread within several decades to over two hundred cities in a dozen European countries. By 1500, printing presses in operation throughout Western Europe had produced more than twenty million volumes. In the 16th century, with presses spreading further afield, their output rose tenfold to an estimated 150 to 200 million copies; the operation of a press became synonymous with the enterprise of printing, lent its name to a new medium of expression and communication, "the press". In Renaissance Europe, the arrival of mechanical movable type printing introduced the era of mass communication, which permanently altered the structure of society; the unrestricted circulation of information and ideas transcended borders, captured the masses in the Reformation and threatened the power of political and religious authorities.
The sharp increase in literacy broke the monopoly of the literate elite on education and learning and bolstered the emerging middle class. Across Europe, the increasing cultural self-awareness of its peoples led to the rise of proto-nationalism, accelerated by the development of European vernacular languages, to the detriment of Latin's status as lingua franca. In the 19th century, the replacement of the hand-operated Gutenberg-style press by steam-powered rotary presses allowed printing on an industrial scale; the rapid economic and socio-cultural development of late medieval society in Europe created favorable intellectual and technological conditions for Gutenberg's improved version of the printing press: the entrepreneurial spirit of emerging capitalism made its impact on medieval modes of production, fostering economic thinking and improving the efficiency of traditional work-processes. The sharp rise of medieval learning and literacy amongst the middle class led to an increased demand for books which the time-consuming hand-copying method fell far short of accommodating.
Technologies preceding the press that led to the press's invention included: manufacturing of paper, development of ink, woodblock printing, distribution of eyeglasses. At the same time, a number of medieval products and technological processes had reached a level of maturity which allowed their potential use for printing purposes. Gutenberg took up these far-flung strands, combined them into one complete and functioning system, perfected the printing process through all its stages by adding a number of inventions and innovations of his own: The screw press which allowed direct pressure to be applied on flat-plane was of great antiquity in Gutenberg's time and was used for a wide range of tasks. Introduced in the 1st century AD by the Romans, it was employed in agricultural production for pressing wine grapes and oil fruit, both of which formed an integral part of the mediterranean and medieval diet; the device was used from early on in urban contexts as a cloth press for printing patterns.
Gutenberg may have been inspired by the paper presses which had spread through the German lands since the late 14th century and which worked on the same mechanical principles. Gutenberg adopted the basic design. Printing, put a demand on the machine quite different from pressing. Gutenberg adapted the construction so that the pressing power exerted by the platen on the paper was now applied both evenly and with the required sudden elasticity. To speed up the printing process, he introduced a movable undertable with a plane surface on which the sheets could be swiftly changed; the concept of movable type was not new in the 15th century. In Europe, sporadic evidence that the typographical principle, the idea of creating a text by reusing individual characters, was well understood and employed in pre-Gutenberg Europe had been cropping up since the 12th century and before; the known examples range from Germany to England to Italy. However, the various techniques employed did not have the refinement and efficiency needed to become accepted.
Gutenberg improved the process by treating typesetting and printing as two separate work steps. A goldsmith by profession, he created his type pieces from a lead-based alloy
Erfurt is the capital and largest city in the state of Thuringia, central Germany. Erfurt lies within the wide valley of the Gera river, it is located 100 km south-west of Leipzig, 300 km south-west of Berlin, 400 km north of Munich and 250 km north-east of Frankfurt. Together with neighbouring cities Weimar and Jena it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with 500,000 inhabitants. Erfurt's old town is one of the best preserved medieval city centres in Germany. Tourist attractions include the Krämerbrücke, the Old Synagogue, the ensemble of Erfurt Cathedral and Severikirche and Petersberg Citadel, one of the largest and best preserved town fortresses in Europe; the city's economy is based on agriculture and microelectronics. Its central location has led to it becoming a logistics hub for central Europe. Erfurt hosts the second-largest trade fair in eastern Germany as well as the public television children’s channel KiKa; the city is situated on a medieval trade and pilgrims' road network.
Modern day Erfurt is a hub for ICE high speed trains and other German and European transport networks. Erfurt was first mentioned in 742. Although the town did not belong to any of the Thuringian states politically, it became the economic centre of the region and it was a member of the Hanseatic League, it was part of the Electorate of Mainz during the Holy Roman Empire, became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1802. From 1949 until 1990 Erfurt was part of the German Democratic Republic; the University of Erfurt was founded in 1379, making it the first university to be established within the geographic area which constitutes modern-day Germany. It closed in 1816 and was re-established in 1994, with the main modern campus on what was a teachers' training college. Martin Luther was its most famous student, studying there from 1501 before entering St Augustine's Monastery in 1505. Other noted Erfurters include the medieval philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart, the Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel and the sociologist Max Weber.
Erfurt is an old Germanic settlement. The earliest evidence of human settlement dates from the prehistoric era; the Melchendorf dig in the southern city part showed a settlement from the neolithic period. The Thuringii inhabited the Erfurt area ca. 480 and gave their name to Thuringia ca. 500. The town is first mentioned in 742 under the name of "Erphesfurt": in that year, Saint Boniface wrote to Pope Zachary to inform him that he had established three dioceses in central Germany, one of them "in a place called Erphesfurt, which for a long time has been inhabited by pagan natives." All three dioceses were confirmed by Zachary the next year, though in 755 Erfurt was brought into the diocese of Mainz. That the place was populous is borne out by archeological evidence, which includes 23 graves and six horse burials from the sixth and seventh centuries. Throughout the Middle Ages, Erfurt was an important trading town because of its location, near a ford across the Gera river. Together with the other five Thuringian woad towns of Gotha, Tennstedt and Langensalza it was the centre of the German woad trade, which made those cities wealthy.
Erfurt was the junction of important trade routes: the Via Regia was one of the most used east–west roads between France and Russia and another route in the north–south direction was the connection between the Baltic Sea ports and the potent upper Italian city-states like Venice and Milan. During the 10th and 11th centuries both the Emperor and the Electorate of Mainz held some privileges in Erfurt; the German kings had an important monastery on Petersberg hill and the Archbishops of Mainz collected taxes from the people. Around 1100, some people became free citizens by paying the annual "Freizins", which marks a first step in becoming an independent city. During the 12th century, as a sign of more and more independence, the citizens built a city wall around Erfurt. After 1200, independence was fulfilled and a city council was founded in 1217. In the following decades, the council bought a city-owned territory around Erfurt which consisted at its height of nearly 100 villages and castles and another small town.
Erfurt became an important regional power between the Landgraviate of Thuringia around, the Electorate of Mainz to the west and the Electorate of Saxony to the east. Between 1306 and 1481, Erfurt was allied with the two other major Thuringian cities in the Thuringian City Alliance and the three cities joined the Hanseatic League together in 1430. A peak in economic development was reached in the 15th century, when the city had a population of 20,000 making it one of the largest in Germany. Between 1432 and 1446, a second and higher city wall was established. In 1483, a first city fortress was built on Cyriaksburg hill in the southwestern part of the town; the Jewish community of Erfurt was founded in the 11th century and became, together with Mainz and Speyer, one of the most influential in Germany. Their Old Synagogue is still extant and a museum today, as is the mikveh at Gera river near Krämerbrücke. In 1349, during the wave of Black Death Jewish persecutions across Europe, the Jews of Erfurt were
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past, is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race. If the individual is concerned with events preceding written history, the individual is a historian of prehistory; some historians are recognized by training and experience. "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century as research universities were emerging in Germany and elsewhere. During the Irving v Penguin Books and Lipstadt trial, it became evident that the court needed to identify what was an "objective historian" in the same vein as the reasonable person, reminiscent of the standard traditionally used in English law of "the man on the Clapham omnibus"; this was necessary so that there would be a legal bench mark to compare and contrast the scholarship of an objective historian against the illegitimate methods employed by David Irving, as before the Irving v Penguin Books and Lipstadt trial, there was no legal precedent for what constituted an objective historian.
Justice Gray leant on the research of one of the expert witnesses, Richard J. Evans, who compared illegitimate distortion of the historical record practice by holocaust deniers with established historical methodologies. By summarizing Gray's judgement, in an article published in the Yale Law Journal, Wendie E. Schneider distils these seven points for what he meant by an objective historian: The historian must treat sources with appropriate reservations. Schneider uses the concept of the "objective historian" to suggest that this could be an aid in assessing what makes an historian suitable as an expert witnesses under the Daubert standard in the United States. Schneider proposed this, because, in her opinion, Irving could have passed the standard Daubert tests unless a court was given "a great deal of assistance from historians". Schneider proposes that by testing an historian against the criteria of the "objective historian" even if an historian holds specific political views, providing the historian uses the "objective historian" standards, he or she is a "conscientious historian".
It was Irving's failure as an "objective historian" not his right wing views that caused him to lose his libel case, as a "conscientious historian" would not have "deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence" to support his political views. The process of historical analysis involves investigation and analysis of competing ideas and purported facts to create coherent narratives that explain "what happened" and "why or how it happened". Modern historical analysis draws upon other social sciences, including economics, politics, anthropology and linguistics. While ancient writers do not share modern historical practices, their work remains valuable for its insights within the cultural context of the times. An important part of the contribution of many modern historians is the verification or dismissal of earlier historical accounts through reviewing newly discovered sources and recent scholarship or through parallel disciplines like archaeology. Understanding the past appears to be a universal human need, the telling of history has emerged independently in civilizations around the world.
What constitutes history is a philosophical question. The earliest chronologies date back to Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, though no historical writers in these early civilizations were known by name. Systematic historical thought emerged in ancient Greece, a development that became an important influence on the writing of history elsewhere around the Mediterranean region; the earliest known critical historical works were The Histories, composed by Herodotus of Halicarnassus who became known as the "father of history". Herodotus attempted to distinguish between more and less reliable accounts, conducted research by travelling extensively, giving written accounts of various Mediterranean cultures. Although Herodotus' overall emphasis lay on the actions and characters of men, he attributed an important role to divinity in the determination of historical events. Thucydides eliminated divine causality in his account of the war between Athens and Sparta, establishing a rationalistic element that set a precedent for subsequent Western historical writings.
He was the first to distinguish between cause and immediate origins of an event, while his successor Xenophon introduced autobiographical elements and character studies in his Anabasis. The Romans adopted the Greek tradition. While early Roman works were still written in Greek, the Origines, composed by the Roman statesman Cato the Elder, was written in Latin, in a conscious effort to counteract Greek cultural influence. Strabo was an important exponent of the Greco-Roman tradition of combining geography with history, presenting a descriptive history of peoples and places known to his era. Livy (59 BCE
Wrocław is a city in western Poland and the largest city in the historical region of Silesia. It lies on the banks of the River Oder in the Silesian Lowlands of Central Europe 350 kilometres from the Baltic Sea to the north and 40 kilometres from the Sudeten Mountains to the south; the population of Wrocław in 2018 was 639,258, making it the fourth-largest city in Poland and the main city of the Wrocław agglomeration. Wrocław is the historical capital of Lower Silesia. Today, it is the capital of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship; the history of the city dates back over a thousand years, its extensive heritage combines all religions and cultures of Europe. At various times, it has been part of the Kingdom of Poland, Kingdom of Bohemia, Kingdom of Hungary, Habsburg Monarchy and Germany. Wrocław became part of Poland again in 1945, as a result of the border changes after the Second World War, which included a nearly complete exchange of population. Wrocław is a university city with a student population of over 130,000, making it one of the most youthful cities in the country.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the University of Wrocław Breslau University, produced 9 Nobel Prize laureates and is renowned for its high quality of teaching. Wrocław is classified as a Gamma-global city by GaWC, it was placed among the top 100 cities in the world for the quality of life by the consulting company Mercer and in the top 100 of the smartest cities in the world in the IESE Cities in Motion Index 2017 report. The city hosted the Eucharistic Congress in the Euro 2012 football championships. In 2016, the city was a European Capital of the World Book Capital. In this year, Wrocław hosted the Theatre Olympics, World Bridge Games and the European Film Awards. In 2017, the city was the host of the World Games; the city's name was first recorded as "Wrotizlava" in the chronicle of German chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg, which mentions it as a seat of a newly installed bishopric in the context of the Congress of Gniezno. The first municipal seal stated. A simplified name is given, as Wrezlaw, Prezla or Breslaw.
The Czech spelling was used in Latin documents as Vratislavia. At that time, Prezla was used in Middle High German. In the middle of the 14th century, the Early New High German form of the name, began to replace its earlier versions; the city is traditionally believed to be named after Wrocisław or Vratislav believed to be named after Duke Vratislaus I of Bohemia. It is possible that the city was named after the tribal duke of the Silesians or after an early ruler of the city called Vratislav; the city's name in various other languages is: Hungarian: Boroszló, Czech: Vratislav, German: Breslau, Hebrew: ורוצלב, Yiddish: ברעסלוי, Silesian German: Brassel, Latin: Vratislavia or Budorgis or Wratislavia. The city's name in other languages is available at the list of names of European cities. Persons born or living in the city are known as "Vratislavians". In ancient times at or near Wrocław was a place called Budorigum, it has been mapped to Claudius Ptolemy's map of AD 142–147. The city of Wrocław originated at the intersection of two trade routes, the Via Regia and the Amber Road.
Settlements in the area existed during the migration period. A Slavic tribe Ślężans erected on Ostrów Tumski a gord; the city was first recorded in the 10th century as Vratislavia, the Bohemian duke Vratislaus I founded here a Bohemian stronghold. Vratislavia was derived from the duke's name Vratislav. In 985, Duke Mieszko I of Poland conquered Silesia including Wrocław; the town was mentioned explicitly in the year 1000 AD in connection with a founding of a bishopric during the Congress of Gniezno. The medieval chronicle, Gesta principum Polonorum, written by Gallus Anonymus in 1112–1116, named Wrocław, along with Kraków and Sandomierz, as one of the three capitals of the Polish Kingdom. During Wrocław's early history, the control over it changed hands between Bohemia, the Kingdom of Poland, after the fragmentation of the Kingdom of Poland, the Piast-ruled duchy of Silesia. One of the most important events during this period was the foundation of the Diocese of Wrocław by the Polish Duke Bolesław the Brave in 1000.
Along with the Bishoprics of Kraków and Kołobrzeg, Wrocław was placed under the Archbishopric of Gniezno in Greater Poland, founded by Pope Sylvester II through the intercession of the Emperor Otto III in 1000, during the Congress of Gniezno. In the years 1034–1038 the city was affected by Pagan reaction in Poland; the city became a commercial centre and expanded to Wyspa Piasek, to the left bank of the River Oder. Around 1000, the town had about 1,000 inhabitants. In 1109 during the Polish-German war, Prince Bolesław III Wrymouth defeated the King of Germany Henry V at the Battle of Hundsfeld, stopping the German march into Poland. By 1139, a settlement belonging to Governor Piotr Włostowic was built, another was founded on the left bank of the River Oder, near the present seat of the University. While the city was Polish, there were communities of Bohemians, Jews and Germans. In the 13th century, Wrocław was the political centre of the divided Polish kingdom. In April 1241, during the First Mongol invasion of Poland the city was abandoned by the inhabitants and burned for strategic reason
Aesop was a Greek fabulist and storyteller credited with a number of fables now collectively known as Aesop's Fables. Although his existence remains unclear and no writings by him survive, numerous tales credited to him were gathered across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day. Many of the tales are characterized by animals and inanimate objects that speak, solve problems, have human characteristics. Scattered details of Aesop's life can be found in ancient sources, including Aristotle and Plutarch. An ancient literary work called The Aesop Romance tells an episodic highly fictional version of his life, including the traditional description of him as a strikingly ugly slave who by his cleverness acquires freedom and becomes an adviser to kings and city-states. Older spellings of his name have included Isope. Depictions of Aesop in popular culture over the last 2500 years have included many works of art and his appearance as a character in numerous books, films and television programs.
The name of Aesop is as known as any that has come down from Graeco-Roman antiquity it is far from certain whether a historical Aesop existed... in the latter part of the fifth century something like a coherent Aesop legend appears, Samos seems to be its home. The earliest Greek sources, including Aristotle, indicate that Aesop was born around 620 BCE in Thrace at a site on the Black Sea coast which would become the city Mesembria. A number of writers from the Roman imperial period say that he was born in Phrygia; the 3rd-century poet Callimachus called him "Aesop of Sardis," and the writer Maximus of Tyre called him "the sage of Lydia."From Aristotle and Herodotus we learn that Aesop was a slave in Samos and that his masters were first a man named Xanthus and a man named Iadmon. Plutarch tells us that Aesop had come to Delphi on a diplomatic mission from King Croesus of Lydia, that he insulted the Delphians, was sentenced to death on a trumped-up charge of temple theft, was thrown from a cliff.
Before this fatal episode, Aesop met with Periander of Corinth, where Plutarch has him dining with the Seven Sages of Greece, sitting beside his friend Solon, whom he had met in Sardis. Problems of chronological reconciliation dating the death of Aesop and the reign of Croesus led the Aesop scholar Ben Edwin Perry in 1965 to conclude that "everything in the ancient testimony about Aesop that pertains to his associations with either Croesus or with any of the so-called Seven Wise Men of Greece must be reckoned as literary fiction," and Perry dismissed Aesop's death in Delphi as legendary. Still problematic is the story by Phaedrus which has Aesop in Athens, telling the fable of the frogs who asked for a king, during the reign of Peisistratos, which occurred decades after the presumed date of Aesop's death. Along with the scattered references in the ancient sources regarding the life and death of Aesop, there is a fictional biography now called The Aesop Romance, "an anonymous work of Greek popular literature composed around the second century of our era...
Like The Alexander Romance, The Aesop Romance became a folkbook, a work that belonged to no one, the occasional writer felt free to modify as it might suit him." Multiple, sometimes contradictory, versions of this work exist. The earliest known version was composed in the 1st century CE, but the story may have circulated in different versions for centuries before it was committed to writing, certain elements can be shown to originate in the 4th century BCE. Scholars long dismissed any biographical validity in The Aesop Romance. In The Aesop Romance, Aesop is a slave of Phrygian origin on the island of Samos, ugly. At first he lacks the power of speech, but after showing kindness to a priestess of Isis, is granted by the goddess not only speech but a gift for clever storytelling, which he uses alternately to assist and confound his master, embarrassing the philosopher in front of his students and sleeping with his wife. After interpreting a portent for the people of Samos, Aesop is given his freedom and acts as an emissary between the Samians and King Croesus.
He travels to the courts of Lycurgus of Babylon and Nectanabo of Egypt – both imaginary rulers – in a section that appears to borrow from the romance of Ahiqar. The story ends with Aesop's journey to Delphi, where he angers the citizens by telling insulting fables, is sentenced to death and, after cursing the people of Delphi, is forced to jump to his death. Aesop may not have written his fables; the Aesop Romance claims that he deposited them in the library of Croesus. Scholars speculate that "there existed in the fifth century a written book containing various fables of Aesop, set in a biographical framew
Blood libel or ritual murder libel is an antisemitic canard falsely accusing Jews of kidnapping and murdering Christian children in order to use their blood as part of religious rituals. These claims—alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration—have been a major theme of the persecution of Jews in Europe. Blood libels say that Jews require human blood for the baking of matzos for Passover, although this element was absent in the earliest cases which claimed that then-contemporary Jews reenacted the crucifixion; the accusations assert that the blood of the children of Christians is coveted, blood libel claims have been made in order to account for the otherwise unexplained deaths of children. In some cases, the alleged victim of human sacrifice has become venerated as a martyr, a holy figure around whom a martyr sect might arise. Three of these – William of Norwich, Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, Simon of Trent – became objects of local sects and veneration, in some cases they were added to the General Roman Calendar.
One, Gavriil Belostoksky, was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church. In Jewish lore, blood libels were the impetus for the creation of the Golem of Prague by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel in the 16th century. According to Walter Laqueur: Altogether, there have been about 150 recorded cases of blood libel that resulted in the arrest and killing of Jews throughout history, most of them in the Middle Ages. In every case, Jews were murdered, sometimes by a mob, sometimes following torture and a trial; the term'blood libel' has been used to refer to any unpleasant or damaging false accusation, it has taken on a broader metaphorical meaning. However, this usage remains controversial, Jewish groups have objected to such usage; the supposed torture and human sacrifice alleged in the blood libels run contrary to the teachings of Judaism. According to the Bible, God commanded Abraham in the Binding of Isaac to sacrifice his son, but He provided a ram as a substitute; the Ten Commandments in the Torah forbid murder.
In addition, the use of blood in cooking is prohibited by the kosher dietary laws. Blood from slaughtered animals may not be consumed, it must be drained out of the animal and covered with earth. According to the Book of Leviticus, blood from sacrificed animals may only be placed on the altar of the Great Temple in Jerusalem. Furthermore, the consumption of human flesh would violate kashrut. Stated in Leviticus is that "it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, in all your settlements: you must not eat any fat or any blood," and that "you must not eat any blood whatever, either of bird or of animal, in any of your settlements."While animal sacrifice was part of the practice of ancient Judaism, the Tanakh and Jewish teachings portray human sacrifice as one of the evils that separated the pagans of Canaan from the Hebrews. Jews were prohibited from engaging in these rituals and they were punished for doing so. In fact, ritual cleanliness for priests prohibited them from being in the same room with a human corpse.
The earliest versions of the accusation involved Jews crucifying Christian children on Easter/Passover because of a prophecy. There is no reference to the use of blood in unleavened matzo bread, which evolves as a major motivation for the crime; the earliest known example of a blood libel is from a certain Democritus only mentioned by the Suda, who alleged that "every seven years the Jews captured a stranger, brought him to the temple in Jerusalem, sacrificed him, cutting his flesh into bits." The Graeco-Egyptian author Apion claimed. This accusation is known from Josephus' rebuttal of it in Against Apion. Apion states that when Antiochus Epiphanes entered the temple in Jerusalem, he discovered a Greek captive who told him that he was being fattened for sacrifice; every year, Apion claimed, the Jews would sacrifice a Greek and consume his flesh, at the same time swearing eternal hatred towards the Greeks. Apion's claim repeats ideas in circulation because similar claims are made by Posidonius and Apollonius Molon in the 1st century BCE.
Another example concerns the murder of a Christian boy by a group of Jewish youths. Socrates Scholasticus reported that some Jews in a drunken frolic bound a Christian child on a cross in mockery of the death of Christ and scourged him until he died. Professor Israel Jacob Yuval of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem published an article in 1993 which argues that the blood libel may have originated in the 12th century from Christian views of Jewish behavior during the First Crusade; some Jews committed suicide and killed their own children rather than be subjected to forced conversions. Yuval investigated Christian reports of these events and stated that they were distorted with claims that if Jews could kill their own children, they could kill the children of Christians. Yuval rejects the blood libel story as a fantasy of some Christians which could not contain any element of truth in it due to the precarious nature of the Jewish minority's existence in Christian Europe. In England in 1144, the Jews of Norwich were accused of ritual murder after a boy, William of Norwich, was found dead with stab wounds in the woods.
William's hagiographer, Thomas of Monmouth, claimed that every year there is an international council of Jews at which they
Seneca the Younger
Seneca the Younger Lucius Annaeus Seneca and known as Seneca, was a Roman Stoic philosopher, dramatist, and—in one work—satirist of the Silver Age of Latin literature. Seneca was born in Córdoba in Hispania, raised in Rome, where he was trained in rhetoric and philosophy, his father was Seneca the Elder, his elder brother was Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus, his nephew was the poet Lucan. In AD 41, Seneca was exiled to the island of Corsica by the emperor Claudius, but was allowed to return in 49 to become a tutor to Nero; when Nero became emperor in 54, Seneca became his advisor and, together with the praetorian prefect Sextus Afranius Burrus, provided competent government for the first five years of Nero's reign. Seneca's influence over Nero declined with time, in 64 Seneca was forced to take his own life for alleged complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero, in which he was to have been innocent, his stoic and calm suicide has become the subject of numerous paintings. As a writer Seneca is known for his philosophical works, for his plays, which are all tragedies.
His prose works include a dozen essays and one hundred and twenty-four letters dealing with moral issues. These writings constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for ancient Stoicism; as a tragedian, he is best known for plays such as his Medea and Phaedra. Seneca's influence on generations is immense—during the Renaissance he was "a sage admired and venerated as an oracle of moral of Christian, edification. Seneca was born at Córdoba in the Roman province of Baetica in Hispania, his father was Lucius Annaeus Seneca the elder, a Spanish-born Roman knight who had gained fame as a writer and teacher of rhetoric in Rome. Seneca's mother, was from a prominent Baetician family. Seneca was the second of three brothers. Miriam Griffin says in her biography of Seneca that "the evidence for Seneca's life before his exile in 41 is so slight, the potential interest of these years, for social history as well as for biography, is so great that few writers on Seneca have resisted the temptation to eke out knowledge with imagination."
Griffin infers from the ancient sources that Seneca was born in either 8, 4, or 1 BC. She thinks he was born between 4 and 1 BC and was resident in Rome by AD 5. Seneca tells us that he was taken to Rome in the "arms" of his aunt at a young age when he was about five years old, his father resided for much of his life in the city. Seneca was taught the usual subjects of literature and rhetoric, as part of the standard education of high-born Romans. While still young he received philosophical training from Attalus the Stoic, from Sotion and Papirius Fabianus, both of whom belonged to the short-lived School of the Sextii, which combined Stoicism with Pythagoreanism. Sotion persuaded Seneca when he was a young man to become a vegetarian, which he practised for around a year before his father urged him to desist because the practice was associated with "some foreign rites". Seneca had breathing difficulties throughout his life asthma, at some point in his mid-twenties he appears to have been struck down with tuberculosis.
He was sent to Egypt to live with his aunt, whose husband Gaius Galerius had become Prefect of Egypt. She nursed him through a period of ill-health. In 31 AD he returned to Rome with his uncle dying en route in a shipwreck, his aunt's influence helped Seneca be elected quaestor, which earned him the right to sit in the Roman Senate. Seneca's early career as a senator seems to have been successful and he was praised for his oratory. Cassius Dio relates a story that Caligula was so offended by Seneca's oratorical success in the Senate that he ordered him to commit suicide. Seneca only survived because he was ill and Caligula was told that he would soon die anyway. In his writings Seneca has nothing good to say about Caligula and depicts him as a monster. Seneca explains his own survival as down to his patience and his devotion to his friends: "I wanted to avoid the impression that all I could do for loyalty was die."In 41 AD, Claudius became emperor, Seneca was accused by the new empress Messalina of adultery with Julia Livilla, sister to Caligula and Agrippina.
The affair has been doubted by some historians, since Messalina had clear political motives for getting rid of Julia Livilla and her supporters. The Senate pronounced a death sentence on Seneca, which Claudius commuted to exile, Seneca spent the next eight years on the island of Corsica. Two of Seneca's earliest surviving works date from the period of his exile—both consolations. In his Consolation to Helvia, his mother, Seneca comforts her as a bereaved mother for losing her son to exile. Seneca incidentally mentions the death of a few weeks before his exile. In life Seneca was married to a woman younger than himself, Pompeia Paulina, it has been thought that the infant son may have been from an earlier marriage, but the evidence is "tenuous". Seneca's other work of this period, his Consolation to Polybius, one of Claudius' freedmen, focused on consoling Polybius on the death of his brother, it is noted for its flattery of Claudius, Seneca expresses his hope that the emperor will recall him from exile.
In 49 AD Agrippina married her uncle Claudius, through her influence Seneca was recalled to Rome. Agrippina gained the praetorship for Seneca and ap