SLRP: LI. On Baiae And Morals



Whew.  There’s a lot here.  I’ve never been to Baiae, but I have spent some time on an Adriatic island called Olib.  That sort of Mediterranean island life certainly is pleasant.  Time moves differently in place like that.

You mention that a wise man might choose to wear certain colors, as befits the simple life.  That reminds me of Cato (IIRC), choosing to wear the darkest dyed fabric he could find when light purple and red were the fashion.

EDIT:  Found it.

“And in general Cato esteemed the customs and manners of men at that time so corrupt, and a reformation in them so necessary, that he thought it requisite, in many things, to go contrary to the ordinary way of the world. Seeing the lightest and gayest purple was then most in fashion, he would always wear that which was the nearest black; and he would often go out of doors, after his morning meal, without either shoes or tunic; not that he sought vain-glory from such novelties, but he would accustom himself to be ashamed only of what deserves shame, and to despise all other sorts of disgrace.”

The fact that these material things, such as the place we live, the colors we might adorn ourselves, the furnishing of our homes, etc., are all indifferents might seem confusing to some.  That these material things themselves are indifferents is not questioned; but how we handle them most certainly is not.

Thank you for the letter.


Part of Michel Daw’s Reading Plan of Seneca’s Letters.

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