Tragoediae – Lucius Annaeus Seneca (1682)


Tragoediae – Lucius Annaeus Seneca (1682)


A nice 17th century edition of Seneca’s Tragedies with an ornately engraved title page. Re-bound with a cloth spine.

Title: Tragoediae cum notis

Author: Lucius Annaeus Seneca, John Frederic Gronovius (ed)

Publisher: Henri et Viduae Theodor Boom Amsterdam, 1682.

Condition: Hardcover, rebound with cloth spine with original leather boards. Neat and strong job. Interior is excellent, with occasional light staining. Previous owner’s bookplate on inner front cover. Overall good.


All text is in the original Latin.

About Seneca’s Tragedies (from wikipedia):

Many scholars have thought, following the ideas of the 19th century German scholar Friedrich Leo, that Seneca’s tragedies were written for recitation only. Other scholars think that they were written for performance and that it is possible that actual performance had taken place in Seneca’s lifetime. Ultimately, this issue cannot be resolved on the basis of our existing knowledge.

The tragedies of Seneca have been successfully staged in modern times. The dating of the tragedies is highly problematic in the absence of any ancient references. A relative chronology has been suggested on metrical grounds but scholars remain divided. It is inconceivable that they were written in the same year. They are not all based on Greek tragedies; they have a five-act form and differ in many respects from extant Attic drama, and while the influence of Euripides on some of these works is considerable, so is the influence of Virgil and Ovid.

Seneca’s plays were widely read in medieval and Renaissance European universities and strongly influenced tragic drama in that time, such as Elizabethan England (William Shakespeare and other playwrights), France (Corneille and Racine), and the Netherlands (Joost van den Vondel). He is regarded as the source and inspiration for what is known as “Revenge Tragedy,” starting with Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy and continuing well into the Jacobean era. Thyestes is considered to be Seneca’s masterpiece, and has been described by scholar Dana Gioia as “one of the most influential plays ever written.” Medea is also highly regarded, and was praised along with Phaedra by T. S. Eliot.

About Seneca (from wikipedia):

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca; ca. 4 BC – AD 65) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero. While he was later forced to commit suicide for alleged complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero, the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, he may have been innocent.

Seneca has been tremendously influential as a moral and political philosopher over the past 2000 years.

About the editor:

Gronovius, John Frederic, an eminent civilian, historian, and critic, was born at Hamburgh in 1613. He had a strong inclination to learning, which induced him to apply to books with indefatigable diligence from his infancy; and, having made great progress in his studies in his own country, he travelled into Germany, Italy, and France, where he searched all the treasures of literature that could be found in those countries, and was returning home by the way of the United Provinces, when he was stopt at Deventer in the province of Over-Issel, and there made professor of polite learning. After acquiring great reputation in this chair, he was promoted to that of Leyden in 1658, vacant by the death of Daniel Heinsius. He died at Leyden in 1672, much regretted. By his wife, whom he married at Deventer, he had two sons that survived him and were both eminent in the republic of letters.