Vol. 47 (2021): XLVII - 2021

A meaningful omission: Phaedrus in Seneca’s Ad Pol. 8.3-4

Published June 21, 2021
  • Seneca,
  • Phaedrus,
  • flattery,
  • censorship,
  • freedmen


In this article, I consider the omission of Phaedrus in Seneca’s Consolatio ad Polybium 8.3-4. I suggest that Seneca’s silence on Phaedrus can be read on multiple levels. On the one hand, it may be considered as an ‘homage’ to Polybius, included among the Romana ingenia for having been the first to compose fables defined as ‘intemptatum Romanis ingeniis opus’; on the other, it enacts a censorship toward the entire category of freedmen, who had great impor­tance during the reign of Claudius. The omission of Phaedrus offers another demonstration of how patent flattery and veiled criticism can coalesce in this consolation, generally stigmatized as a work of shameful opportunism.