Seneca and the value of simplicity

Seneca lamented the decadence of the Rome of his day, contrasting the simplicity and austerity of the great days of the Republic, embodied in the restraint of Pompeii’s Forum Baths, with the excesses of the empire. ‘We think ourselves poor and mean if our walls are not resplendent with large and costly mirrors… if our vaulted ceilings are not buried in (mosaic), if our swimming pools are not lined with Thasian marble… What a vast number of statues, of columns that support nothing but are built for decoration, merely in order to spend money… our ancestors did not think that one could have a bath except in darkness’.


John Pawson