The world according to Augustine: education

Confessions is doubtless the most widely read of Augustine's books nowadays and his schooldays, which so interest Classicsts and other literature-minded academics, might be the most famous phase in his life, apart from that decisive day of his conversion to monastic chastity in Milan in 386 and the "gap-year," occasioned by some financial difficulties on … Continue reading The world according to Augustine: education

Fragments

I’ve talked about Augustine’s manuscripts a little bit. We have a great deal of his writing, including the vast majority of the treatises discussed in the Retractationes or in the surviving letters he wrote after he had finished going through his library, but, as I have said, we have what must be only a small … Continue reading Fragments

Getting into Augustine, 1: Manuscripts and the Retractationes

Five million is a lot of words. It’s also the standard estimate for the length of works, actually written by Augustine, that come down to us. If we throw in the various wrongly attributed (“pseudo-Augustinian”) writings, they’re much longer yet, but, like most people who work on Augustine, I’ve hardly touched on those. The first, … Continue reading Getting into Augustine, 1: Manuscripts and the Retractationes

Thoughts on late antiquity, 2: disciplines and their uses

Imagine a forest in a park. It’s a big forest, full of old and young trees. Big trees, small trees, fruit trees, evergreen trees, weird, gnarly, twisted trees, bushes that aren’t quite trees. The ground is covered with undergrowth—creeping charley, sparse grass and wildflowers that are thicker in open patches, brambles—and of course with old … Continue reading Thoughts on late antiquity, 2: disciplines and their uses

Thoughts on late antiquity: an introduction

The ancient Greco-Roman world is a big place. Classics, the discipline that focuses, on Greek and Latin literature and history, customarily runs in two main streams. One starts with the prehistory of Greece and Crete, where the civilizations we name “Minoan” (pre-Greek) and “Mycenaean” (earliest Greek) rose and fell in the second millennium B.C. It … Continue reading Thoughts on late antiquity: an introduction