CW: Slavery, self harm, suicide
Seneca, Moral Epistle 77.14-15
“Now, you think I am going to offer examples of great men? I’ll talk about a boy. There’s a tale of that Spartan youth that people still tell. When he was captured, he was shouting, “I will not serve” in his own Doric dialect. And he kept his promise. As soon as he was ordered to carry out some basic and insulting service–he was ordered to empty a chamber pot–he bashed is head against a wall.
Freedom is so close, yet some people are still slaves? Wouldn’t you prefer your own child to die this way rather than through slow old age. Why are you upset when even a child can die bravely. Imagine you don’t want to follow this example? You will be taken there. Wrest control over what belongs to another! Won’t you take up the that boy’s spirit and say, “I am not a slave!”
Sad man, you are a slave to people, to things, to life. For life is slavery if you are not brave enough to die.”
Exempla nunc magnorum virorum me tibi iudicas relaturum? Puerorum referam. Lacon ille memoriae traditur inpubis adhuc, qui captus clamabat “non serviam” sua illa Dorica lingua, et verbis fidem inposuit; ut primum iussus est servili fungi et contumelioso ministerio, adferre enim vas obscenum iubebatur, inlisum parieti caput rupit. Tam prope libertas est; et servit aliquis? Ita non sic perire filium tuum malles quam per inertiam senem fieri? Quid ergo est, cur perturberis, si mori fortiter etiam puerile est? Puta nolle te sequi; duceris. Fac tui iuris, quod alieni est. Non sumes pueri spiritum, ut dicas “non servio”? Infelix, servis hominibus, servis rebus, servis vitae. Nam vita, si moriendi virtus abest, servitus est.