How to Die

An Ancient Guide to the End of Life
Published by Princeton University Press

Edited, translated and introduced by James S. Romm

How to Die brings together the timeless wisdom on death and dying from the philosopher Seneca in one volume.

‘James Romm takes us up close to death with Seneca for his guide. Don’t be afraid, be prepared – be very prepared.’

  1. Mary Beard

‘It takes an entire lifetime to learn how to die,’ wrote the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca (c. 4 BC–AD 65). He advised readers to ‘study death always’, and took his own advice by repeatedly writing about the subject.

Seneca believed that life is merely a journey toward mortality and that a person should rehearse for death throughout life. In this compact book, which is the first to unify his meditations on dying in one volume, he tells us how to prepare for death, how to die well and how to understand the role of a good death in a life well lived. He also stresses death’s universal nature, its importance as life’s final rite of passage, and its ability to free people from pain, slavery and oppression.

‘Seneca, the Roman emperor Nero’s chief adviser, discussed death and how to prepare for it way back in the mid-1st century … This new book, a synthesis of his writings on the subject … remains as timely today as ever.’

  1. Toronto Star

Featuring beautifully rendered new translations by James S. Romm, How to Die also includes an introduction, enlightening notes, the original Latin texts, and an epilogue presenting Tacitus’s description of Seneca’s grim suicide.

‘A sharp introductory primer on Stoicism … Very finely translated.’

  1. Wall Street Journal

Published by Princeton University Press

256 pages


177 mm x 114 mm

Please note that this title is not illustrated

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