2. Wife of M. Annaeus Seneca, of Corduba, the rhetorician, and mother of his three sons, M. Annaeus Novatus, L. Annaeus Seneca, the philosopher, and L. Annaeus Mela. (Sen. Consol. ad Helv.
2.) Helvia was probably a native of Spain, and followed her husband to Rome, about A. D. 3-5, while her second son was an infant. (Ibid.
The life of Helvia is contained in Seneca's address of condolence to his mother (Consolatio ad Helviam
) on his exile to Corsica, in the reign of Claudius, A. D. 47-9. Through the rhetorical amplifications of this address we discover that Helvia had borne her full share of the sorrows of life. Her mother died in giving birth to her.
She was brought up by a stepmother.
She had lost her husband and a most indulgent uncle within a month of each other; and her grief for the untimely decease of one of her grandsons was embittered by the exile of her son. Helvia had at least one sister (Cons. ad Helv.
17), but her name is unknown.