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Lodovico Lana, Death of Seneca, National Gallery of Art.

c. 4 BC. Was born in Cordoba in Hispania.

c. 20 AD. Appears to have been struck down with tuberculosis.

31 AD. Returned to Rome with his aunt, his uncle dying en route in a shipwreck.

41 AD. Exiled to the island of Corsica under emperor Claudius. Seneca was accused by the new empress Messalina of adultery with Julia Livilla, sister to Caligula and Agrippina.

49 AD. Return to become a tutor to Nero.

50 AD. Became praetor and married Pompeia Paulina, a wealthy woman.

54 AD. Became Nero’s advisor.

55 AD. Wrote On Clemency following Nero’s murder of Britannicus.

56 AD. Was appointed suffect consul. *If a consul died during his term (not uncommon when consuls were in the forefront of battle) or was removed from office, another would be elected by the Comitia Centuriata to serve the remainder of the term as consul suffectus (“suffect consul”).

58 AD. Senator Publius Suillius Rufus made a series of public attacks on Seneca. These attacks, reported by Tacitus and Cassius Dio, included charges that, in a mere four years of service to Nero, Seneca had acquired a vast personal fortune of three hundred million sestertii by charging high interest on loans throughout Italy and the provinces.

59 AD. Reluctantly agreed to Agrippina’s murder, and afterward, Tacitus reports that Seneca had to write a letter justifying the murder to the Senate.

62 AD. He tries to retire, Nero refuses.

64 AD. He tries to retire, Nero refuses again.

65 AD. Was forced to take his own life for alleged complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero (likely to have been innocent).


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