Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

William Burgess Jr.

Committee Members

Brian Maxson, John Rankin



Around 65 AD, the Ancient Roman philosopher Seneca wrote his only text concerning Natural Phenomenon: Natural Questions. Considered since medieval times as part of a trinity of great thinkers including Plato and Aristotle, Seneca’s work in rhetoric, philosophy, and legal theory still receive praise today. The praise is not replicated for Natural Questions, however. Modern historians who consider the work paint it as uninspiring. Pliny, another Roman author and philosopher, wrote a far more encompassing and detailed work called Natural History, and it is this work that is considered the premier Roman comment on Natural Philosophy. These contemporaneous works become juxtaposed and used to criticize Seneca’s work as inferior. A deeper consideration of the texts --primarily the subject material and use of poetry-- will determine that Seneca and Pliny wrote to different audiences and belong to different genres.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.