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James V. Schall, S. He did stay away from the worst deeds of his friends, but he was ashamed that he did not join their fun wherein most everyone made fools of everyone else. This account is pretty standard stuff about early college life in almost any age, including our own. He was a romantic young man, already settled with a young lady.

Had he continued along in this path, he might well have become rich and famous in his time, but corrupt too. Then something happened that I have always considered one of the great moments in human history. But no one, including Augustine, knew its significance at the time. Great events begin in stillness, in what seem to be sheer accidents.

But no reason can be found why accidents cannot also be elements of providence. Augustine is preparing classes. He chanced on a dialogue of Cicero about a certain Quintus Hortensius Hortalus. In this work, Cicero seeks to convince Hortensius to change his ways. Evidently, Hortensius was quite an eloquent gentleman with a good reputation. The only drawback was that he made his reputation by defending corrupt governors and politicians. Cicero wanted him to see that human happiness is something greater.

He wanted, in other words, to introduce him to philosophy. Saint Augustine by Gerard Seghers, c. The fact is that we do not have this dialogue of Cicero. Yet we know that they existed and changed lives. Or at least we know that the Hortensius changed one life, that of Augustine. Suddenly, all the vanity I had hoped in, I saw as worthless, and with an incredible intensity of desire I longed after immortal wisdom.

Of course, the first thing Augustine did on finishing it was to go out and mess up his already messed-up life further by joining the Manichees. He did this in part because they could justify the way he was living. That is, his philosophy followed his morals, not vice versa as it should be. But the spark was there. Augustine began to realize that Scripture is not as confusing as he thought. He then runs into the Platonists who explain to him why God is not a body. But he adds, in a famous passage, that the Platonists spoke of the Word, but not of the Word made flesh.

It must be either accepted or rejected as the impetus that moves our very being, whether to philosophy or to the kingdoms of men. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info frinstitute. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

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He belonged to the tribus Cornelia. However, being a semi-invalid, he could not enter public life and studied extensively to compensate. The famous family names of Fabius , Lentulus , and Piso come from the Latin names of beans, lentils, and peas, respectively. Plutarch writes that Cicero was urged to change this deprecatory name when he entered politics, but refused, saying that he would make Cicero more glorious than Scaurus "Swollen-ankled" and Catulus "Puppy". Cicero was therefore educated in the teachings of the ancient Greek philosophers, poets and historians; as he obtained much of his understanding of the theory and practice of rhetoric from the Greek poet Archias [21] and from the Greek rhetorician Apollonius. It was precisely his broad education that tied him to the traditional Roman elite.


Hortensius (Cicero)

Biographical background[ edit ] Just before composing the Hortensius, Cicero experienced many hardships. Rabinowitz, argue it simply meant that Cicero wrote in the general protreptic style. Lucullus critiques this opinion, arguing that the study of history is the best use of otium. Hortensius then declares that oratory is the greatest of the arts. Catulus counters by reminding Hortensius of the boons philosophy grants. This, he contended, was additional proof that Cicero depended upon Aristotle.


Quintus Hortensius Hortalus

This hypothesis is not without its detractors. Through his cucero Cicero, who lived four centuries before Augustine, was a mentor to Augustine. The book changed my feelings. Views Read Edit View history. In it, Plasberg provides a hypothesized order to the fragments, and supplies a Latin introduction and gortensius.

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