No degree of absolute certainty about the date of writing is possible, but it is thought by a majority of critics to have been written 62 AD or shortly after. A possible alternative dating would be that the earliest possible time of a beginning of its writing would be during the years 63–64 (cf. R Scot Smith for this).
Title and contents
De Otio is part of Seneca's series of Dialogi (dialogues). It is generally agreed that the work is addressed to Seneca's friend Annaeus Serenus. De Otio survives only in fragmentary form. The manuscript text begins mid-sentence, and ends rather abruptly.
In respect to otio, Seneca understood the word to represent something more than absolute free-time, instead he understood the word to mean leisure used in service to the state, by intellectual activity (according to TE Beck):
... hoc nempe ab homine exigitur, ut prosit hominibus
The superior position ho sophos (the sage) inhabits, of detachment from earthly (terena) concerns, and an according freedom from the possibility of future events of detrimental nature, is the unifying theme of the dialogue.
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