Seneca's Tragedies

Seneca's Tragedies – Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana - Treccani – C.F. 2.5 – Biblioteca Oratoriana dei Girolamini (Naples, Italy)

Italy — Last quarter of the 14th century

Hercules and Cerberus, Orpheus and Eurydice: Seneca's unbiased view of man in his tragedies embedded in the elegant aesthetics of 14th century book art

  1. Seneca (ca. 4 BC – AD 65) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist

  2. Seneca’s works were rediscovered during the Middle Ages by Italian Humanists who greatly admired him

  3. His tragedies were hugely influential on the emerging theatrical traditions of both England and France

Seneca's Tragedies

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Seneca's Tragedies

During the Middle Ages, Italian humanists rediscovered the works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (ca. 4 BC – AD 65), a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist. Among the most important were his tragedies, which were hugely influential on both the French neoclassical and Elizabethan tragedies. As such, Seneca’s influence can be seen in both the works of Jean Racine (1639-99) and William Shakespeare (1564-1616). An exceptionally illuminated 14th century manuscript of the work was created by the so-called Master of the Seneca dei Girolamini, one of the most representative and skilled illuminators of the Angevin age. Tabular miniatures making use of dreamy blue backgrounds and glimmering gold leaf in the margins surround and illustrate the text along with extensive ornamentation and decorative friezes. An exceptional visual and emotional impact arouse in the reader some myths that Seneca recalls in his tragedies and that the illuminator accurately portrays, such as the descent of Hercules into Hades and the capture of Cerberus, or the poignant story of Orpheus and Eurydice.


Alternative Titles
Tragedie di Seneca
Seneca Girolamini
Senecas Tragödien
Size / Format
458 pages / 32.0 × 23.0 cm
Last quarter of the 14th century
87 pages illuminated by miniatures, historiated initials and borders
Hercules Furens; Troades; Phoenissae; Medea; Phedra; Agamemnon; Hercules Oetaeus; Oedipus, Thyestes; Hyppolitus
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Giuseppe Valletta

Available facsimile editions:
Seneca's Tragedies – Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana - Treccani – C.F. 2.5 – Biblioteca Oratoriana dei Girolamini (Naples, Italy)
Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana - Treccani – Rome, 2018
Limited Edition: 290 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Seneca. Il Teatro

Limited Edition: 290 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Marco Cursi, Carla Maria Monti, Maria Perriccioli Saggese, Massimo; Bray, and Alma Serena Lucianelli
Language: Italian
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
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