In 65, Roman Empire was on its way to decline but there still were some people of great substance. Lucius Annaeus Seneca was one of them.
Agrippina had appointed Seneca, the most brilliant figure of his time, prætor and entrusted with the education of her son Nero, then eleven years old. Seneca, earlier, was Agrippina’s confidential adviser. Nero’s accession increased power of Seneca. He became consul, and for a few years he shared the actual administration of affairs with Burrus, the prætorian præfect. But in the course of time Nero came to dislike him more and more, the death of Burrus, in 62, hastened Seneca’s downfall. In vain did he ask permission to retire, offering Nero at the same time his enormous fortune? Even when he had sought privacy on the plea of ill health he could not avert his doom. On a charge of being concerned in a conspiracy against Nero, he was forced to commit suicide, to avoid a more shameful death.
As a stoic, he approached death with calmness and apathy. First, he slit the arteries in his wrists and legs which let the blood flow freely. His beloved wife wanted to share his fate but was stopped by Nero. To make the time until death shorter, he drank poison which had almost no effect. Afterwards, he finally suffocated himself in a steam bath.
When his manly end came near, he called his wife and children to tell them the secret of an infinite treasure with which they all could live in peace and prosperity for ever. In hope they all drew near with hope, “where?” Like me, always live the life of self-complacency, he revealed. They all started crying on this.