Abstract: In a biography that the Younger Seneca wrote about his father, he reports that the Elder Seneca composed a history that stretched from the beginning of the civil wars <x-apple-data-detectors://1> to the reign of Caligula. Lactantius preserves a fragment of this text that divides the history of Rome into the stages of a human life: infancy under Romulus, childhood under the kings, adolescence between the foundation of the republic and the Second Punic War, adulthood during the conquest of the Mediterranean, and old age upon the conclusion of the civil wars <x-apple-data-detectors://2>. Within a collection of familiar tropes lies a novel re-periodization of Roman history around the arrival of sole rule.
Drawing attention to the loss of autonomy entailed by the establishment of the principate, the Elder Seneca provides perhaps our earliest extant evidence for the construction of a rupture narrative in Latin historiography. A corrective to the panegyrizing narratives of Velleius and Valerius Maximus, his Historiae looks ahead to the thematic concerns of Neronian literature.