Try free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

1 credit a month to use on any title, yours to keep (you’ll use your first credit on this title).
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
Access to exclusive deals and discounts.
$16.45 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy Now for $63.37

Buy Now for $63.37

Pay using coupon balance (if available) then card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions Of Use and Privacy Notice and authorise Audible to charge your designated credit card or another available credit card on file.

Publisher's Summary

Towards the end of his life, Seneca the Younger (c4 BCE-65 CE) began a correspondence with a friend in Sicily, later collected under the title The Moral Epistles.

In these 124 letters, Seneca expresses, in a wise, steady and calm manner, the philosophy by which he lived - derived essentially from the Stoics. The letters deal with a variety of specific topics - often eminently practical - such as 'On Saving Time', 'On the Terrors of Death', 'On True and False Friendships', 'On Brawn and Brains' and 'On Old Age and Death'.

His views are as relevant to us today as in his own time. He remarks on how we waste our time through lack of clarity of purpose, how we jump from one attraction to another and how fleeting life is. But these are letters to a friend, so the tone is not grandly didactic but friendly, personal and direct and speak to us across the centuries.

Though not so well known as Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, The Moral Epistles are approachable, memorable and immensely rich in content - and especially so in this sympathetic reading by James Cameron Stewart.

Translation Richard Gummere.

Public Domain (P)2016 Ukemi Audiobooks

What listeners say about The Moral Epistles

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not as good as other of Seneca but still worth lis

Not as good, as other books of Seneca but still worth listening too in quest of stoic perfection.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Must Listen!

The Roman philosopher and politician Seneca provides outstanding guidance and support in this chaotic world, his analogy of the storm of life is fitting. These letters not only serve as a great source of philosophy and emotional training but vividly describe Roman and the author’s life, the narrator conveys Seneca’s intelligence, energy, craft and wisdom in every sentence he speaks. This is the best audiobook I have ever purchased.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for zen cowboy
  • zen cowboy
  • 31-01-2016

Outstanding!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Moral Epistles to be better than the print version?

I love audiobooks because I can listen to them on the go. In this case, I would like to get the print version as well.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The narrator is absolutely outstanding! Seneca has these awesome one-liners, and it is easy to miss the punch line if the text is not read properly. James Cameron Stewart does a masterful job of helping me "get" it, even if I'm not paying 100% attention.

If you could give The Moral Epistles a new subtitle, what would it be?

The things Seneca knew 2000 years ago that everyone should know now.

Any additional comments?

I love Tim Ferris, but this reading of Seneca is soo much better!

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Howard Crawford
  • Howard Crawford
  • 04-03-2016

This is THE reading of Seneca's Moral Epistles.

What made the experience of listening to The Moral Epistles the most enjoyable?

James Cameron Stewart reads Seneca's Moral Epistles to Lucilius as though he was born to read these letters of the great Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman and dramatist.

What does James Cameron Stewart bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I really can't imagine anyone else who could read these letters with such authority and understanding. These letters are of a unique historical value that give us insights into Roman life in the years 64-65 CE. One of the greatest works on the philosophy of Stoicism that has come down through the centuries.
The only other reading that I can even compare with it is Jeremy Irons amazing reading of Nabokov's "Lolita" which is also a masterpiece. The reader as a medium for the author.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Written in the first century CE.
Moral letters to Lucilius by Seneca Letter 47. "On Master and Slave"

"I am glad to learn, through those who come from you, that you live on friendly terms with your slaves. This befits a sensible and well-educated man like yourself. "They are slaves," people declare Nay, rather they are men. "Slaves!" No, comrades. "Slaves!" No, they are unpretentious friends. "Slaves!" No, they are our fellow-slaves, if one reflects that Fortune has equal rights over slaves and free men alike."

"I shall pass over other cruel and inhuman conduct towards them; for we maltreat them, not as if they were men, but as if they were beasts of burden.'

"Kindly remember that he whom you call your slave sprang from the same stock, is smiled upon by the same skies, and on equal terms with yourself breathes, lives, and dies."
"Do you mean to say," comes the retort, "that I must seat all my slaves at my own table?" No, not any more than that you should invite all free men to it. You are mistaken if you think that I would bar from my table certain slaves whose duties are more humble, as, for example, yonder muleteer or yonder herdsman; I propose to value them according to their character, and not according to their duties. (echoes of MLK) Each man acquires his character for himself, but accident assigns his duties. Invite some to your table because they deserve the honor, and others that they may come to deserve it.

You need not, my dear Lucilius, hunt for friends only in the forum or in the Senate-house; if you are careful and attentive, you will find them at home also. Good material often stands idle for want of an artist; make the experiment, and you will find it so. As he is a fool who, when purchasing a horse, does not consider the animal's points, but merely his saddle and bridle; so he is doubly a fool who values a man from his clothes or from his rank, which indeed is only a robe that clothes us.

"He is a slave." His soul, however, may be that of a freeman. "He is a slave." But shall that stand in his way? Show me a man who is not a slave; one is a slave to lust, another to greed, another to ambition, and all men are slaves to fear. I will name you an ex-consul who is slave to an old hag, a millionaire who is slave to a serving-maid; I will show you youths of the noblest birth in serfdom to pantomime players! No servitude is more disgraceful than that which is self-imposed.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anne McGrath
  • Anne McGrath
  • 13-02-2018

Could Have Been Written Yesterday

Amazingly, all this wisdom is still super relevant today. Even my 16 year son agreed. And he doesn't like much besides hip-hop.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dave from Florida
  • Dave from Florida
  • 05-02-2016

Fantastic reading of the Epistles.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Moral Epistles to be better than the print version?

James Cameron Stewart did a fantastic job narrating the Epistles. I enjoy reading the Epistles but being able to listen to them on the way to work is a true blessing. I really do hope that Mr. Stewart will take on the task of narrating the Dialogues and Epictetus's discourses as well.

Audible, please help make it happen!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Seneca!

Which scene was your favorite?

Every scene that Seneca advises his friend to weather hardships, rethink his priorities, value the present, ext. This book is full of excellent advice delivered in a no nonsense manner.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lior Gerson
  • Lior Gerson
  • 26-12-2018

A delightful book

I didn't get into this book with any expectations. It was long and hard to listen to. However i enjoyed it very much. It is remarkebly relevant and contemporary and is filled with amazing jewels of wisdom.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ron Peters
  • Ron Peters
  • 10-03-2017

Accessible, practical Stoic philosophical practice

What made the experience of listening to The Moral Epistles the most enjoyable?

Excellent narrator, and the material itself focuses on practical application of Stoic philosophy in daily life - nothing dry or theoretical about it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Zero
  • Zero
  • 13-09-2021

An epic must read for everyone

Amazingly good narrator. I really couldn't wish for better. I will be looking for other titles he has read. It's not the kind of book you finish all at once. I probably spent a year reading it between other books. I just stuck it on when I wanted to give my attitude a boost, or just absorb some wisdom. By far my favorite stoic so far. And I have read the other great stoics. If you just wan to have read the book, I don't recommend, since it is damn long. Almost too long, and if you are not enjoying it, there is no way you will have the stamina for it. 10/10 will re-read again (in a few years).

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for CG
  • CG
  • 12-07-2021

Excellent narration

An excellent narration of one of my favorite books! Seneca's observations about humanity and his advice for living the good life hold up, even after 2000 years.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rebecca A.
  • Rebecca A.
  • 30-05-2021

Listen to this book

Amazing. I can’t even overstate how baffled I am at how well this book holds up in today’s time. This guys making fun of people who takes baths with a view in the year 50. What a total badass 10/10.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mark Lindsey Parham
  • Mark Lindsey Parham
  • 28-06-2020

Supreme Narration

is there a better narrator out there? I'm sure there are some comparable, but he's got to be right up there. I listen to this all the time to try and soak in the concepts while I'm out working on my own. I also use it to get back to sleep in the middle of the night which is only possible because of the quality of his voice and calmness.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Miss F E Campbell
  • Miss F E Campbell
  • 19-07-2019

Superb Epistles, Great Narration

Fascinating and while these letters were written so long ago amazing how relevant they are to life today.
EXCELLENT narration from James Cameron Stewart. Perfectly paced, lovely to listen to and while it might seem LONG at 23 hours 18 minutes great to dip in to from time to time.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Kunde
  • Amazon Kunde
  • 15-10-2020

excellent, very interesting

beautiful wisdom, knowing that there is nothing new under the sun. wisdom one will still apply today. what really counts in life. makes alot of sense

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-07-2017

A long listen

its a very long listen but totally worth it. its well narrated throughout. I'd highly recommend...

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mjl
  • Mjl
  • 21-07-2021

Timeless wisdom, superb narration

The writing matches the beauty of the insights of Seneca into the human condition. Its rare to find thoughts in this volume which haven't aged well.
I'll return to it purely to enjoy the many sweet turns of phrase. The narrator has more than done it justice, a superb performance.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.