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Tacitus and Dio suggest that Nero's early rule, during which time he listened to Seneca and Burrus, was quite competent.
However, the ancient sources suggest, over time, Seneca and Burrus lost their influence over the emperor.
Dio Cassius even reports that the Boudica uprising in Britannia was caused by Seneca forcing large loans on the indigenous British aristocracy in the aftermath of Claudius's conquest of Britain, and then calling them in suddenly and aggressively.
Seneca was sensitive to such accusations: his De Vita Beata ("On the Happy Life") dates from around this time and includes a defense of wealth along Stoic lines, arguing that wealth which is properly gained and spent is appropriate behaviour for a philosopher.
), was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and—in one work—humorist of the Silver Age of Latin literature.
Seneca was born in Cordoba in Hispania, and raised in Rome, where he was trained in rhetoric and philosophy. He was forced to take his own life for alleged complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero, in which he was likely to have been innocent.
His father was Seneca the Elder, his elder brother was Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus, and his nephew was the poet Lucan.
His stoic and calm suicide has become the subject of numerous paintings.
In 55 AD Seneca wrote his On Clemency which was written following Nero's murder of Britannicus, perhaps as a means of assuring the citizenry that the murder would be the end, not the beginning of bloodshed.Seneca followed tradition by severing several veins in order to bleed to death, and his wife Pompeia Paulina attempted to share his fate.Cassius Dio, who wished to emphasize the relentlessness of Nero, focused on how Seneca had attended to his last-minute letters, and how his death was hastened by soldiers.As a writer Seneca is known for his philosophical works, and for his plays which are all tragedies.His philosophical writings include a dozen philosophical essays, and one hundred and twenty-four letters dealing with moral issues.