Wikipedia – “The Roman province of Egypt (Latin: Aegyptus, pronounced [ae̯ˈɡʏptʊs]; Greek: Αἴγυπτος Aigyptos [ɛ́ːɡyptos]) was established in 30 BC after Octavian (the future Roman emperor Augustus) defeated his rival Mark Antony, deposed Pharaoh Cleopatra, and annexed the Ptolemaic Kingdom to the Roman Empire.”
The Roman capture of Egypt was twenty-six years before Jesus‘ birth, circa 4 BC, and before Seneca‘s birth, also circa 4 BC. For the whole life of Jesus he and Seneca were age mates, but living in very different circumstances. And yet, both of them were executed by their Roman overlords. Jesus was executed on the cross by Herod the Great, and Seneca was forced to commit suicide by Emperor Nero. Both of these men had huge impacts on our modern 21st-century culture. Jesus’ impact is in the form of religious beliefs, and Seneca’s on our secular ones.
Seneca lived in Alexandria, Egypt, with his aunt, who had brought him to Rome from Cordoba, Spain, as a five-year-old child. Seneca’s uncle Gaius Galerius was the Roman Prefect of Egypt from 16-23 AD. That means Seneca was living as an adolescent and young man in the Governor’s palace in Alexandria. At that time that city was second only to Rome as the powerhouse of the Empire. Wikipedia doesn’t have an entry for Galerius, which is strange because Seneca writes about him in his letters to his aunt. “In 31 AD he returned to Rome with his aunt, his uncle Gaius Galerius dying en route in a shipwreck.”
Here’s the point – All of these people were intimately related to the aristocratic power of Egypt. Moses was a prince of Egypt by adoption, Jesus was called King of the Jews, who had a two thousand years long relationship with Egypt. Gaius Galerius was the ruler of Egypt for seven years, and Seneca was living in the “Royal household” at that time with people steeped in rhetoric and responsibility.
Seneca was the same age as Jesus and returned from the mid-east about the time as Jesus was being crucified, and Seneca’s uncle was dying in the shipwreck on his way back to Rome. Thus for some thirty-three years, these people were living in the same area of the Roman Empire. Jesus must have been aware of the head of state of the country his parents fled to when he was an infant. It isn’t so likely that Seneca or Gaius Galerius would be aware of some smart young man, but who knows. I do know that when I was reading Seneca and Jesus at the same time there is a world view that flows out of each of them that has a concordance.
All of these men projected a world view of responsibility to humanity. To help them live, and to live more abundantly.