©Wellcome Library, London

Lucius Anneaus Seneca (4 BCE-CE 65), Stoic philosopher, statesman, orator and tragedian, was Rome's leading intellectual figure in the 1st century CE. He and his friends were virtual rulers of the Roman Empire between 54-62 during the first years of the emperor Nero's reign (54-68). In 66, Seneca was accused along with many others of involvement in a plot to murder Nero and replace him with an obscure senator called Piso. He was ordered to commit suicide.

Etching by Barthel Beham (1502-1540).