Record Nr.



Williams Gareth D


The cosmic viewpoint [[electronic resource] ] : a study of Seneca's Natural questions / / Gareth Williams


Oxford, : Oxford University Press, 2012






Descrizione fisica

1 online resource (408 p.)





Science, Ancient - Historiography

Meteorology - Historiography

Electronic books.

Lingua di pubblicazione



Materiale a stampa

Livello bibliografico


Note generali

Description based upon print version of record.

Nota di bibliografia

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Nota di contenuto

Cover; Preface; Contents; Abbreviations; Introduction; 1. Interiority and Cosmic Consciousness in the Natural Questions; I. Seneca's Totalizing Worldview; II. The Senecan Worldview Defined by Contrast with Cicero; III. Interiorization in the Preface to Book 3; IV. The Differing World Outlooks of Seneca and Pliny; V. The Natural Questions in Sociopolitical Context; 2. Seneca's Moralizing Interludes; I. The Problem; II. Hostius Quadra as the Anti-Sapiens; III. The Unified World as Drawn in Books 1 and 2.1-11; IV. Hostius Quadra and Seneca's Interlocutor in Book 1

V. Of Subterranean Fish and Degenerate Diners in 3.17-18VI. Further Transgressions in 5.15 and 7.31-32; VII. The Textual Containment of Vice; 3. The Cataclysm and the Nile; I. Introduction; II. The Vice of Flattery; III. Lucilius in the Preface; IV. The Cataclysm of 3.27-30; V. Into Egypt; VI. The Nile, the Cataclysm and Ovid; VII. The Missing Link, and Other Theories of the Nile Flood; 4. The Rhetoric of Science; I. Introduction; II. 4b.13 in Context; III. The Rhetoric of Science; IV. Strategies of Argument in 4b.3-7; A. Reliance on Influential Authority; B. Argument by Analogy

C. Argument by Bold InferenceD. Competing Arguments; E. Superstition in Contention with Reason; V. The Better Argument; VI. Book 4b in Context; 5. Seneca on Winds; I. Introduction; II. Pre-Stoic and Stoic Theories of Wind; III. Seneca's Typology of Winds; IV. Mapping the Winds; A. The Cardinal Winds in Ovid; B. The Varronian Compass Card; C. The Twelve Sectors; D. Local Winds; V. Wind Direction, Human Misdirection; VI. The Roman Dimension; 6. Earthquakes, Consolation and the Senecan Sublime; I. Introduction; II. Consolatory Amplification Before Reduction; III. Sublime Superiority over Nature

IV. The Two Verse Quotations at 6.2.1-3 and 6.2.9V. Controlling Nature in the Senecan Inventory (6.4-26); A. Taking Stock of Earlier Seismological Investigation; B. From Sight to Insight; C. From Analogical Inference to Abstract Speculation; D. The Living Cosmos; E. Elemental Interchangeability Revisited; F. The Normalization of Seismic Experience; VI. The Totum in Book 6; VII. The Campanian Earthquake in Perspective; 7. Seneca on Comets and Ancient Cometary Theory; I. Introduction; II. Seneca on Progress, on Hostius Quadra and on Nature's Mysteries

III. Sub- and Supralunary Interpretation of CometsIV. The Whirlwind Theory; V. The Optical Illusion Theory; VI. The Planetary Theory; VII. The Senecan Theory; 8. Seneca on Lightning and Divination; I. Introduction; II. Coordination Between 2.12-30 and 2.54-58; III. The Totalizing Worldview: Strategies of Unification in 2.1, 2.12-30 and 2.54-58; A. 2.1-11; B. 2.12-30 and 2.54-58; C. 2.32-51; IV. Seneca on Divination in 2.32-51; A. Reconciling Prayer and Expiation with a Deterministic View of Fate (2.35-38); B. The "Scientific" Classification of Lightning (2.39-40)

C. Seneca's Rationalization of Etruscan Belief (2.42-46)


Seneca's Natural Questions is an eight-book disquisition on the nature of meteorological phenomena, ranging inter alia from rainbows to earthquakes, from comets to the winds, from the causes of snow and hail to the reasons why the Nile floods in summer. Much of this material had been treated in the earlier Greco-Roman meteorological tradition, but what notoriously sets Seneca's writing apart is his insertion of extended moralizing sections within his technical discourse. How, if at all, are these outbursts against the luxury and vice that are apparently rampant in Seneca's first-century CE Rom