GRE Reading Comprehension: JiJing 352-GRE阅读机经352篇 - PE7I055R75FSL228K

The manuscripts of the eight extant Latin tragedies identify the plays as the Marci Lucii Annei Senecae Tragoediae. Since nobody of that name is known, modern scholars believe the dramas to be the work of Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger, the well-known philosopher, orator and politician. Clearly the tragedies were written during Seneca's lifetime: internal references to earlier poets, most notably Ovid, indicate that the dramas cannot have been composed prior to the second decade C.E., and the plays must have been written by 96 C.E., when Quintilian quotes Medea, one of the tragedies. It is remarkably, however, that Seneca himself never mentions the plays, since there are certain passages in them that could be used to illustrate points of his philosophy. There are at least two possible explanations. In the early Roman Empire, playwrights were sometimes exiled or executed for line constructed as directed against the emperor; thus, Seneca's silence may be simple prudence. But if anyone could safely attach his name to dramas, surely it would be Seneca, the emperor's tutor. And although Herrmann offers Seneca's modesty as an explanation, Seneca is not averse to referring to his other writings. The evidence for equating Seneca with the author of the tragedies seems circumstantial.