Book Six

A. at Milan in 385. The central section of the book takes the focus away from A. for the first time, to recount the early life of Alypius; cf. 9.8.17-9.9.22 for sim. treatment of Monnica: the two `digressions', each a conversion story in its own right, bracket A.'s central conversion story--in all three cases an admonitory word (see Brown 32) is decisive in effect.

The first section recounts doctrinal progress under the tutelage of Ambrose (with a reminder of the moral distance that remained to go), while the last section describes in detail the difficult personal choices that remained. The plans for the future that preoccupy A. now show the vanity of such undertakings and the underlying failure of his ambition. In this regard, measured against the three temptations, the book represents undiluted, though often painful, progress.

6.1.1 - 6.6.10
  • A. (and Monnica) at Milan
  • 6.1.1 - 6.3.4
  • Encounters with Ambrose
  • 6.4.5 - 6.5.8
  • Doctrinal lessons
  • 6.6.9
  • A beggar in the street
  • 6.6.10 - 6.10.17
  • Friends (esp. Alypius, but also Nebridius)
  • 6.11.18 - 6.16.26
  • Perplexities
  • 6.11.18 - 6.11.20
  • State of mind: interior monologue
  • 6.12.21 - 6.13.23
  • Marriage plans
  • 6.14.24
  • Philosophical plans
  • 6.15.25
  • Dismissal of A.'s concubine
  • 6.16.26
  • Dismay
  • text of 6.1.1


    The density of scriptural allusion here is a mark that an important stage has been reached.

    We seem to have reached spring 385, after the seas opened again to allow Monnica to take ship (BA 13.141n, arguing that his change of view regarding scripture must be dated to 385, leaving winter and spring 386 for reflection). Thus Courcelle, Recherches 86-87, marks these pages for the first weeks of June 385. Courcelle, Les Confessions 65: `Les sermons d'Ambroise ont pour effet provisoire de mettre Augustin en un péril plus grand, du point de vue de la foi chrétienne, qu'au temps ou il était manichéen.' In other words, they plunged him headlong (`précipité trop avidement') into the Platonists and the Christology of Porphyry. C. errs here chiefly because he takes the last lines of this paragraph too literally; he misreads the calendar besides, for A. clearly imbibed the Ambrosian view of scripture before he ever went near the platonicorum libri.

    Who came with Monnica? At least Navigius and probably Lartidianus and Rusticus. What about Nebridius? Trygetius? Licentius? If A. made a brilliant career, there would be lagniappe for the others. See M. G. Mara, Lectio VI-IX, 76; C. Lepelley, Bull. litt. eccl. 88(1987), 243, speaks of `une manière de roman balzacien avant la lettre . . . la suite logique d'une stratégie familiale élaborée de longue date,' from the time when Patricius and Monnica began to promote A.'s education and prospects in the great world. In A.'s rise, they would profit all.

    spes mea a iuventute mea: Ps. 70.5, `quoniam tu es patientia mea, domine, domine, spes mea a iuventute mea, in te confirmatus sum ex utero de ventre matris meae tu es protector meus'; en. Ps. 70. s. 1.7, `ante enim non in te sperabam; quamvis tu fueris protector meus, qui me salvum perduxisti ad tempus quo in te discerem sperare.' A. was about to cross (aged thirty) one of the boundaries, which he marked carefully, between the six ages of mortal life (see on 1.8.13): 7.1.1, `ibam in iuventutem'.

    Knauer 41, `und daher scheint es, als habe Augustin durch den Teil des Psalmverses, der die ersten Worte des 6. Buches bildet, sofort angeben wollen, in welchem Zustand er sich befand: er wartet auf das “certum”' : K. observes the frequency of spes and its derivatives in Bk. 6 (it has a similar role in Bks. 10 and 13). Besides this paragraph, cf. 6.3.3, 6.6.10, 6.7.11, 6.7.12, 6.11.18, 6.11.19, 6.16.26, and per contra 6.15.25, `desperatius dolebat'. Cf. on 5.13.23, on despair in Bk. 5.

    et quo recesseras: Cf. Ps. 9.22, `utquid, domine, recessisti longe? despicis in opportunitatibus, in tribulationibus'; en. Ps. 9.20, `id est, opportune despicis, et facis tribulationes ad inflammandos animos desiderio adventus tui. his enim iucundior est fons ille vitae, qui multum sitierint.'

    an vero: On et (8x in succession here), see on 1.1.1. For the citation, see on 10.17.26: Job 35.11 (VL), `ubi est deus qui fecit me? qui distribuit custodias nocturnas, qui separat me a quadrupedibus terrae, et a volatilibus caeli sapientiorem me fecit'; adn. Iob on 35.11, `“qui separat me a quadrupedibus terrae et a volatilibus caeli sapientiorem me fecit.” sic enim quaerendus est dominus in adflictionibus vitae huius, ut non ab eo terrena bona desideremus, quia iam bestiis meliores sumus antequam illa accipiamus.' See L. Verheijen, Augustinianum 17(1977), 541-544. But cf. also 5.3.4, `volatilia . . . pisces . . . pecora', and the echo discussed there of Ps. 8.8. If the three temptations are in mind here, the beasts of earth and the birds of air represent concupiscentia carnis and ambitio saeculi respectively.

    a volatilibus a volatilibus C D O Ver.:   volatilibus GS Knöll Skut.

    et ambulabam per tenebras: Is. 50.10, `qui ambulavit in tenebris et non est lumen ei, speret in nomine domini'; Ps. 34.6, `fiat tamquam pulvis ante faciem venti, et angelus domini tribulans eos; fiat via eorum tenebrae et lubricum'; en. Ps. 34.9, `sunt ista duo mala magnae poenae hominum: tenebrae, ignorantia; lubricum, luxuria.'

    foris: See on 1.18.28, and cf. esp. 10.27.38, `et ecce intus eras et ego foris et ibi te quaerebam'. vera rel. 39.72, `noli foras ire, in te ipsum redi. in interiore homine habitat veritas.'

    deum cordis mei: Ps. 72.26, `deus cordis mei, pars mea deus meus'; civ. 10.25, `non subiecit, deus cordis et carnis meae, sed deus cordis mei. per cor quippe caro mundatur. unde dicit dominus, “mundate, quae intus sunt, et quae foris sunt munda erunt.” [Mt. 23.26]' See also 4.2.3, 9.13.35

    et veneram in profundum maris: Cf. Ps. 67.23, `convertam in profundum maris'; en. Ps. 67.31, `sed ibi convertit eos qui in profundo huius saeculi iacent demersi pondere peccatorum'. Metaphor becomes reality with the narrative of M.'s voyage, then returns as metaphor. M. appears comforting mariners, but it is A. who is lost at sea (`et invenit me periclitantem . . . graviter').

    desperabam de inventione veri: A standard way of describing his predicament at the time; cf. ep. 1.3 (to Hermogenianus, in the winter of 386/7, commenting on A.'s own c. acad.), `non tam me delectat, ut scribis, quod academicos vicerim--scribis enim hoc amantius forte quam verius--quam quod mihi abruperim odiosissimum retinaculum quo a philosophiae ubere desperatione veri, quod est animi pabulum, refrenabar.'

    terra marique me sequens: Aen. 9.492 (the mother of Euryalus speaks: see also on 5.8.15), `hoc sum terraque marique secuta?' cura mort. 13.16, `si rebus viventium interessent animae mortuorum et ipsae nos, quando eas videmus, adloquerentur in somnis, ut de aliis taceam, me ipsum pia mater nulla nocte desereret, quae terra marique secuta est ut mecum viveret.' C. Bennett, REAug 34(1988), 64n33: `Although Euryalus' mother was an obscure character in the Aeneid, knowing who she was (or what her name was [she is not named in the Aeneid itself]) seems to have been one of those pieces of Aeneid-trivia that the educated prided themselves on knowing (ord. 2.12.37, `qui si non responderint, quid vocata sit mater Euryali, accusantur inscitiae, cum ipsi eos a quibus ea rogantur vanos et ineptos nec curiosos audeant appellare?').' (See Schelkle, Virgil in der Deutung Augustins [Stuttgart, 1939], 160-1, for other examples of this grammarian's curiositas [already satirized by Juv. 7.230-236].)

    consolabatur . . . consolari: deponent, then passive; both uses classical, but the mixture is unusual. To the manifold roles of M. in conf., add that of Paul, consoling mariners on the authority of a vision: Act. 27.23-4, `adstitit enim mihi hac nocte angelus dei cuius sum ego et cui deservio (24) dicens, “ne timeas Paule”.' (See 6.13.23 for the source of M.'s confidence in her own visions.)

    visum: Regularly in conf. for `dream-vision': 3.11.20 (Monnica's vision in regula: confirmed to be a dream from 6.13.23), 6.13.23 (Monnica again), 9.7.16 (Ambrose's discovery of the relics of Protasius and Gervasius). Cicero attempts to regularize visum as a translation for phantasia (acad. post. 1.11.40), but his own usage of the word includes dreams, which should be phantasmata (e.g., Lucullus 15.47, 27.88).

    non quasi: Knöll, Skut. and Ver. follow Maur. in printing a comma after `non'. On that reading, A. is made to say that M. was not delighted at his news, because she expected it; with the comma deleted, M. is allowed her joy, while A. officiously explains that she really was not at all surprised because of the hope she had that made her so like the mother in the gospel. With `nulla ergo' below, A. offers a qualification in accord with his explanation: there was nothing inordinate about her rejoicing to leave her a prey to emotion.

    cum iam: The cum is causal; to salvage the comma after non, Pusey had to make the cum concessive: `she was not overjoyed, as at something unexpected; although she was now assured . . .' --that reading of her motives makes no sense at all; BA ignores the cum: `elle ne sursauta pas de joie, comme à une nouvelle inattendue; désormais pourtant, elle était rassurée . . .'

    exilivit exilivit C D G O Maur. Ver.:   exiluit S Knöll Skut.
    The same verb at 2.3.6, of Monnica at the thought of grandchildren, and at 9.7.16, of a blind man at Milan at the news of the discovery of the relics of Protasius and Gervasius; cf. `exultatione' below.

    tamquam mortuum sed resuscitandum: cura mort. 18.22, `ut corpori mortuo sed tamen resurrecturo et in aeternitate mansuro'.

    offerebat offerebat G O S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   efferebat CD Maur.
    (cf. Lk. 7.12 [Vg.], `efferebatur') G-M: `A. may well have intended to imply that M., in contrast with the widow of Nain, was consciously seeking Christ's aid for her son.'

    ut diceres filio viduae: Lk. 7.12-15 (Vg. modified by adn. Iob on 29.13: see Milne 96), `cum autem appropinquaret portae civitatis et ecce ferebatur mortuus filius unicus matris suae, quae erat vidua, et turba civitatis multa cum illa. (13) quam cum vidisset dominus, misericordia motus super ea dixit illi, “noli flere,” (14) et accessit et tetigit loculum. hii autem qui portabant steterunt, et ait, “adulescens tibi dico surge,” (15) et resedit qui erat mortuus et coepit loqui et dedit illum matri suae.' s. 98.2.2, `de iuvene illo resuscitato gavisa est mater vidua: de hominibus in spiritu cotidie suscitatis gaudet mater ecclesia.' See also en. Ps. 97.1, lib. arb. 3.23.67 (c. 395, on infant baptism), `quid enim filio viduae profuit fides sua, quam utique mortuus non habebat, cui tamen profuit matris ut resurgeret?' (Cf. s. dom. m. 1.12.35 and s. 98.5.5, on three kinds of resurrection.) C. Bennett, REAug 34(1988), 64: `Monnica . . . is transformed before our very eyes into a different character, the widow mother of Luke 7. . . . The juxtaposition of Vergilian and Biblical figures is a critique of the `pagan' text, but not merely that. It is also a reinterpretation. Read aright, the desires and griefs of Vergil's character point to the same longings and values as Scripture, and the Scriptural figures illuminate the real significance of the Vergilian for us.'

    revivesceret revivesceret O S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   revivesce et G:   revivisceret CD Maur.

    (certa erat) et: = etiam.

    pleno fiduciae: an expression thought `étonnamment rare' by L. G. Engels, Graecitas et Latinitas Christianorum Primaeva: Supplementa III (Nijmegen 1970), 109n4; he can instance in A. only en. Ps. 55.15, `confessionem veram, piam, plenam fiduciae,' but for the near-match `plena fiducia' and the like, cf. doctr. chr. 1.8.8, en. Ps. 143.7, s. 211.1.1, c. Faust. 12.32, Gal. exp. 42.

    fidelem catholicum: See on 2.3.6; the confidence descends from her earlier vision at 3.11.19.

    fons misericordiarum: Same expression at 4.4.7, prefacing the story of his friend's death, and at the end of this book, 6.16.26.

    accelerares: Ps. 30.3, `accelera ut eximas me'; en. Ps. 30. en. 2 s. 1.8, `ad hoc enim positum est verbum, ut hoc totum quod nobis diu videtur quamdiu volvitur saeculum, intellegas punctum esse. non est diu quod habet extremum.'

    adiutorium: Ps. 69.2, `deus in adiutorium meum intende'; Ps. 37.23, `intende in adiutorium meum, domine salutis meae.'

    et inluminares tenebras meas: Ps. 17.29, `quoniam tu inluminabis lucernam meam, deus meus, inluminabis tenebras meas'; en. Ps. 17.29, `nos enim peccatis nostris tenebrae sumus.' Sim. at 7.1.2, 11.2.2, 11.25.32, 13.8.9.

    currere . . . suspendi: historic infinitives, connected to `preces et lacrimas' above, all without a finite verb.

    ad fontem salientis aquae in vitam aeternam: Jn. 4.14, `sed aqua quam dabo ei fiet in eo fons aquae salientis in vitam aeternam'; Io. ev. tr. 15.16, `hinc eam hauriunt homines hydria cupiditatum. . . . cum pervenerit quisque ad voluptatem saeculi huius, cibus est, potus est, lavacrum est, spectaculum est, concubitus est; numquid non iterum sitiet? ergo “de hac aqua qui biberit, iterum”, inquit, “sitiet”: si autem acceperit a me aquam, “non sitiet in aeternum”.' An exact parallel is ep. 25.2, where Paulinus of Nola uses the same expression of A.: `os enim tuum fistulam aquae vivae et venam fontis aeterni merito dixerim, quia fons in te aquae salientis in vitam aeternam Christus effectus est.' Though Pusey wants to take this as a baptismal reference, that specification is difficult to corroborate from A.: en. Ps. 62.8, `et fecit nobis consolationem in deserto, mittendo ad nos praedicatores verbi sui; et dedit nobis aquam in deserto, implens spiritu sancto praedicatores suos, ut fieret in eis fons aquae salientis in vitam aeternam'; sim. at en. Ps. 1.3; four other citations (en. Ps. 17.16, 67.35, 73.17, and 147.26) have no baptismal overtones. It is Amb. as preacher to whom M. looks now (and his preaching will reach A. before ever his baptizing can). That interpretation goes well with `angelum' just below.

    diligebat: See on 5.13.23 for diligere as a less carnal verb for love than amare.

    sicut angelum dei: Gal. 4.14, `sed sicut angelum dei excepistis me, sicut Christum Iesum'.

    fluctuationem: 5.14.25, `inter omnia fluctuans', 6.5.8, `fluctuabam'.

    criticam criticam C D G O1 Maur. Knöll Skut. Ver.:   creticam O2 S
    How familiar would the word be to A.'s audience? He introduces it as a technical term; TLL 4.1211 presents it as uncommon.

    text of 6.2.2


    Nothing here says that A. or M. ever took this query to Ambrose. The plain sense of the text is that the ostiarius turned M. away with some variant of, `Sorry, ma'am, bishop's orders,' and that was enough for her. No private consultation need be inferred. (The remark of Amb. reported has no connection with the question of laetitiae [see on 6.6.9, `laetitiam'] and an encounter of that sort could have been public, at a time when the bishop was receiving callers of various kinds.)

    It is commoner to assume that A. went to ask Amb. about the practice on M.'s behalf. Courcelle, Recherches 91n3, typically reconstructs a sequence of events: M. is prohibited by the shrine-keeper from her usual practice; she is shocked; A. goes to Amb., who says his piece, which A. reports to M., who is then willing to obey. Her first instinct was negative reaction, and the request to Amb. was not in the main for an explanation but for permission to continue the practice. The only ground for this scenario lies not in conf. but in A.'s letters (see below).

    The practice of the laetitiae made orthodox Christians vulnerable to Manichean criticism: see Faustus' attack quoted at c. Faust. 20.4, `defunctorum umbras vino placatis et dapibus,' and A.'s response at c. Faust. 20.21, `qui autem se in memoriis martyrum inebriant, quomodo a nobis approbari possunt, cum eos, etiamsi in domibus suis id faciant, sana doctrina condemnet? sed aliud est quod docemus, aliud quod sustinemus'.

    memorias: See on 5.8.15, `memoria beati Cypriani'.

    ostiario: Not a servant, but a functionary in minor orders known from the third century on. The only other ecclesiastical ostiarius of whom we hear in A. is a rather disreputable character at ep. 26*.1, who had been ordained a deacon in a way A. judged fraudulent; when the circumstances came to light, A. appointed him as ostiarius at the shrine of saint Theogenes at Hippo, where he lasted only a short time before being expelled from office by the presbyteri of Hippo while A. was out of town. The appointment was meant to provide him with a modest livelihood. (The ostiarius is better attested after rather than before A.'s time, but the office was so modest that it is probably underreported; see H. Leclercq, `Portier', DACL 14.1525-33.)

    hoc episcopum vetuisse: Amb.'s only surviving comment: de Helia et ieiunio, 17.62, `et haec vota ad deum pervenire iudicant, sicut illi qui calices ad sepulchra martyrum deferunt atque illic in vesperam bibunt: aliter se exaudiri posse non credunt.' From A.'s description of the state of affairs at the Vatican basilica of St. Peter, one surmises why the ostiarius was so firm in dealing with a foreigner: ep. 29.10 (to Alypius), `deinde hortatus sum [Hipponenses], ut transmarinarum ecclesiarum, in quibus partim ista recepta numquam sunt, partim iam per bonos rectores populo obtemperante correcta, imitatores esse vellemus. et quoniam de basilica beati apostoli Petri cotidianae vinulentiae proferebantur exempla, dixi primo audisse nos saepe esse prohibitum, sed quod remotus sit locus ab episcopi conversatione et in tanta civitate magna sit carnalium multitudo peregrinis praesertim, qui novi subinde veniunt tanto violentius quanto inscitius illam consuetudinem retinentibus, tam immanem pestem nondum compesci sedarique potuisse.'

    A. wrote to Aurelius of Carthage c. 393 (Goldbacher links this to the council of Hippo of 393, occasion of A.'s preaching f. et symb.) on the best strategies for controlling these folkways in Africa. These puritanical efforts by the young bishops were not enthusiastically received. (See van der Meer 498-526 for survey of burial practices and ceremonies.) A.'s criticism of these customs almost a decade after M. was dissuaded from them need not be distorted to exempt her from any retrospective criticism (as van der Meer 516-517 does). M. was to A. no plaster saint, the more so because the present passage in conf. has the effect of showing her lack of concupiscentia carnis; n.b. `consuetudine' : see 8.5.10 for A.'s analysis of the role of `habit' in inveterate concupiscence; M. has the habit but not the concupiscence, hence the habit is easily broken. See esp. ep. 22.1.3-4: `comissationes enim et ebrietates ita concessae et licitae putantur, ut in honore etiam beatissimorum martyrum non solum per dies sollemnes, quod ipsum quis non lugendum videat, qui haec non carneis oculis inspicit, sed etiam cotidie celebrentur. . . . saltem de sanctorum corporum sepulchris, saltem de locis sacramentorum, de domibus orationum tantum dedecus arceatur. . . . (4) haec si prima Africa temptaret auferre, a ceteris terris imitatione digna esse deberet; cum vero et per Italiae maximam partem et in aliis omnibus aut prope omnibus transmarinis ecclesiis, partim quia numquam facta sunt, partim quia vel orta vel inveterata sanctorum et vere de vita futura cogitantium episcoporum diligentia et animadversione extincta atque deleta sunt, . . . dubitare1 quo modo possumus tantam morum labem vel proposito tam lato exemplo emendare?' A. suggests (ep. 22.1.6) that the offerings be replaced by alms for the poor. The official ban is breviarium Hipponense, canon 29 (393), `ut nulli episcopi vel clerici in ecclesia conviventur, nisi forte transeuntes hospitiorum necessitiate illic reficiant; populi etiam ab huiusmodi conviviis, quantum potest fieri, prohibeantur.'

    A.'s own local triumph, and the making of his reputation as a figure of authority at Hippo (it may almost have coincided with his elevation as `coadjutor' bishop), is recounted in ep. 29. (to Alypius: c. 395): ep. 29.2, `cum post profectionem tuam nobis nuntiatum esset tumultuari homines et dicere se ferre non posse ut illa sollemnitas prohiberetur, quam laetitiam nominantes vinulentiae nomen frustra conantur abscondere, sicut etiam te praesente iam iam nuntiabatur, opportune nobis accidit occulta ordinatione omnipotentis dei, ut quarta feria illud in evangelio capitulum consequenter tractaretur: “nolite dare sanctum canibus neque proieceritis margaritas vestras ante porcos.” tractatum est ergo de canibus et de porcis ita ut et pervicaci latratu adversus dei praecepta rixantes et voluptatum carnalium sordibus dediti erubescere cogerentur, conclusumque ita, ut viderent quam esset nefarium intra ecclesiae parietes id agere nomine religionis quod in suis domibus si agere perseverarent, sancto et margaritis ecclesiasticis eos arceri oporteret.' (See van der Meer, 515-525, and Mandouze 643-52.) But twenty years after the ban, at civ. 8.27, he still attacks the custom as something alive, at least in some regions.

    The instinct of grave-cultivation was strong and persistent, even among Christians, as witness cura mort. A disdain for such conduct was strongly rooted in the doctrine of Christianity, but difficult to inculcate in practice; the official church hierarchy was indisputably closer to the gospel message than was the flock that followed. Of course prayer, esp. eucharistic prayer, for the dead was accepted on all sides (see on 9.11.27). On the history, see J. Quasten, HThR 33(1940), 253-266, who loyally defends A.'s campaign against excesses while showing sensitively the depth of genuine pietas at work in the custom; the classic text is an inscription from Satafis (Quasten 257, from Diehl, ILCV 1570 [1.301]).2

    Courcelle, Recherches 90: `C'est cet état d'esprit autoritaire qu'Augustin avait détesté de tout temps dans l'église catholique; c'est le grief manichéen qui l'avait détourné, dès sa jeunesse, de sa foi de sa mère. Vers juin 385, nous apprenons donc que le premier réflexe d'Augustin devant la réponse d'Ambroise est un réflexe hostile, un réflex manichéen: il se cabre à l'idée que cet homme impose une règle, alors qu'on lui demande une raison. Suivre la coutume n'est pas une raison.' Courcelle returned to the question at Les Confessions 21, but seems to be straining. Recall that the narrative of Bk. 5 shows ratio beginning the process of detaching A. from Manicheism and pushing him into Academicism.

    On two occasions, A. described a separate question of church practice and discipline on which he consulted Amb. at Monnica's request. Courcelle wondered (Recherches 91) why the fasting query is not reported in conf. The answer is surely that the problem of the laetitiae was one where Amb. commanded a higher, more demanding discipline; in the case of the fast, he was recommending laxity. M.'s willingness to obey was more remarkable in the former case.

    ep. 36.14.32 (date controversial, probably rather late), `indicabo tibi quid mihi de hoc requirenti responderit venerandus Ambrosius, a quo baptizatus sum, Mediolanensis episcopus. nam cum in eadem civitate mater mea mecum esset et nobis adhuc catechumenis parum ista curantibus illa sollicitudinem gereret, utrum secundum morem nostrae civitatis sibi esset sabbato ieiunandum, an ecclesiae Mediolanensis more prandendum, ut hac eam cunctatione liberarem, interrogavi hoc supra dictum hominem dei. at ille: “quid possum”, inquit, “hinc docere amplius, quam ipse facio?” ubi ego putaveram nihil eum ista responsione praecepisse, nisi ut sabbato pranderemus; hoc quippe ipsum facere sciebam. sed ille secutus adiecit: “quando hic sum, non ieiuno sabbato; quando Romae sum, ieiuno sabbato. et ad quamcumque ecclesiam veneritis”, inquit, “eius morem servate, si pati scandalum non vultis aut facere.” hoc responsum rettuli ad matrem eique suffecit nec dubitavit esse oboediendum; hoc etiam nos secuti sumus.'

    ep. 54.2.3, has a narrative using many of the same words (esp. those of Amb.), adding: `hoc cum matri renuntiassem, libenter amplexa est. ego vero de hac sententia etiam atque etiam cogitans ita semper habui, tamquam eam caelesti oraculo [cf. 6.3.4, `oraculo'] acceperim. sensi enim saepe dolens et gemens multas infirmorum perturbationes fieri per quorundam fratrum contentiosam obstinationem vel superstitiosam timiditatem, qui in rebus huius modi, quae neque sanctae scripturae auctoritate neque universalis ecclesiae traditione neque vitae corrigendae utilitate ad certum possunt terminum pervenire, . . . tam litigiosas excitant quaestiones, ut nisi quod ipsi faciunt, nihil rectum aestiment.'

    vinulentia: M. appears here center stage engaged in a practice that many thought bibulous; cf. 9.8.18 for the story of her childhood temptation to just such a fault (and see there for why this was a serious matter among women). In after years, Julian (c. Iul. imp. 1.68: see on 9.8.18) would attend sharply to just this aspect of her personality.

    dignationem: G-M: `here . . . used (abstract for concrete) for the sip of wine which she took “for courtesy” before handing the cup to others. In beata v. 2.10 quando dignaberis appears to mean “when you will be in the position of host.”' Their reading of the context here is unexceptionable, but in the passage cited, we need understand nothing more than `s'il vous plaît'. TLL s.v. merely speculates `(i.e., libationem?)'; the word also occurs elsewhere, e.g., epp. 28.4.6, 151.1, s. 43.5.6, but not in a similar sense, and cf. s. 58.1.2, `sic enim debet vivere, qui invenit talem patrem ut dignus sit venire ad eius haereditatem. dicimus autem communiter, “pater noster”. quanta dignatio? hoc dicit imperator, hoc dicit mendicus; hoc dicit servus, hoc dicit dominus eius. . . .. intellegunt ergo se esse fratres, quando unum habent patrem.' In conf., it occurs at 10.25.36, `tu dedisti hanc dignationem memoriae meae, ut maneas in ea' (which closely resembles Amb. Iacob 1.6.25, `sed vereris dubios vitae anfractus et adversarii insidias, cum habeas auxilium dei, habeas tantam eius dignationem, ut filio proprio pro te non pepercerit?').

    partiretur: J. le Clercq (see PL 47.207) emended to potaretur.

    antistite: Elsewhere in conf. at 6.7.12 (Alypius), 9.5.13 (Amb.), 9.7.16 (Amb.): elsewhere in A., an infrequent substitute for `episcopus'. The word had the advantage of being a native Latin term, and in many late antique authors (e.g., Ammianus) that virtue made this word preferable to the Grecism, but not so ordinarily for A., who also uses antistes for non-Christian religious leaders (civ. 8.5, 10.11). The several appearances in conf. (`episcopus' appears only 8x in conf.) raise the possibility that the deliberately ambitious style of the work makes him--perhaps unconsciously--just slightly more fastidious in diction.

    parentalia: The authentic Parentalia were celebrated February 13-21, with offerings to the shades of ancestors (Ov. fast. 2.533-616). On Christian refrigerium, see BA 13.676-677 note and Quasten art. cit. above. Courcelle, Recherches 87n1, offers lengthy bibliography. J. W. Halporn, JbAC 19(1976), 82-108, dates s. Guelf. 29 to this same period, in which A. attempts to deal with the explicitly `pagan' character of some other drinking parties. For criticism of `pagan' practices from 410/11, see s. 361.6.6.

    gentilium: The word paganus never appears in conf., and is rare elsewhere in A.; for reasons, see my note at Class. Folia 31(1977), 163-169.

    ut et ut et S Maur. Knöll Skut.:   et ut CDGO Ver.

    (et) sic sic B P Z Maur. Knöll Skut.:   si CDGOS Ver.
    Vega suggests that sic became si because the next word begins com-. The reading si follows the MSS tradition impeccably, but the resulting text can scarcely be translated. It is, in view of the manuscripts, possible that the text printed here (as Skut. and Vega etc.) is an attempt in one later family of MSS to clean up something impossible in the best manuscripts; but it is also possible that it is authentic and it is clearly better than the paradosis. On this reading, her change of heart makes two things possible: she could better dispose of the money she spent on grave-offerings, and eucharist could be celebrated at the memoriae (because the eucharistic fast could be observed).

    in conspectu tuo: See on 1.16.26, `deus meus, in cuius conspectu'.

    conversationem: The word in this acceptation is classical, but owes its frequency in Christian authors to biblical usage (esp. 8x in 1 and 2 Petr.): H. Hoppenbrouwers, Graecitas et Latinitas Christianorum Primaeva 1 (Nijmegen, 1964), 47-95.

    in bonis operibus: cf. 1 Tim. 5.9-10, `vidua eligatur non minus sexaginta annorum, quae fuerit unius viri uxor, (10) in operibus bonis testimonium habens, si filios educavit.'

    fervens spiritu: cf. Acts. 18.25, `et fervens spiritu loquebatur'; Rom. 12.11-12, `spiritu ferventes, domino servientes, (12) spe gaudentes, in tribulatione patientes, oratione instantes'.

    viam vitae: Cf. Ps. 15.11, `notas mihi fecisti vias vitae', quoted verbatim at Act. 2.28; Prov. 6.23, `quia mandatum lucerna est, et lex lux, et via vitae increpatio disciplinae'; Prov. 10.17, `via vitae custodienti disciplinam'; Prov. 15.10, `doctrina mala deserenti viam vitae, qui increpationes odit morietur'. The via vitae is undoubtedly partly to be explained as a periphrasis for Christ (see on 7.7.11), but the Proverbs use of disciplina is important. This story about M. dealt with discipline, submission to church authority, walls and Christians (8.2.4); it is that discipline that A. is beginning to face here as a guide to the via vitae.

    text of 6.3.3


    This paragraph has drawn a variety of incompatible explanations, tinged with disapproval (from which A. carefully refrains: see `quolibet tamen animo' below) and suspicions that A. exaggerates. Courcelle, Recherches 92: `l'évêque catholique de Milan, si occupé fût-il, n'eût sans doute pas refusé au rheteur officiel de sa ville quelques heures de conversation intime, comme l'évêque manichéen Faustus, fort accaparé lui aussi, avait fini par accorder à Augustin, alors rhéteur à Carthage, l'honneur d'une audience particuliére.' But not all readers are put off by the portrayal: J. H. Newman, Letters 6 (Oxford, 1984), 246 (to H. Wilberforce [19 May 1838]): `Rogers well suggests that St. Aug.'s account of St. Ambrose's conduct to him, (sitting still and reading a book) is a remarkable and happy specimen by way of contrast of the Catholic mode of effecting conversions.' It is also important to remember that Amb. was away from Milan at a crucial time, in the summer of 386, to attend on the fate of Priscillian at Trier (cf. H. Chadwick, Priscillian of Avila [Oxford, 1976], 136-137; Palanque, Saint Ambroise et l'empire Romain [Paris, 1933] 516-518, 579).

    Newman's insight over Courcelle is in the phrase `by way of contrast'. Amb. here is presented in a way that contradistinguishes him from Faustus in Bk. 5. A. approached F. to obtain from him private guidance and explanation of his difficulties; instead of profound wisdom, he found only a superficial eloquence. A. approached Amb. to examine his outward eloquence, but was led instead to surmise deeper wisdom. But when A. then sought to approach Amb. as he had approached Faustus, for private tutelage (or, as Courcelle, Recherches 155n2, put it, a `lecture à deux' : cf. 4.8.13, where friendship includes `simul legere libros dulciloquos'), he found himself rebuffed and compelled to extract Amb.'s teaching from his public, episcopal proclamations (6.3.4). (Neither at 5.6.11 nor here did he want or get a completely private hearing from his teacher: here the plural verbs [`adessemus', `discedebamus', `coniectabamus'] convey that; cf. 5.6.11, `et aures eius cum familiaribus meis eoque tempore occupare coepi'.) The private study-circle of master and disciples was a feature of late antique life both inside and outside Christian communities; A. here marks a deliberate turn away from that tradition to a more public, less gnostic form of instruction. On the tradition, G. Fowden, The Egyptian Hermes (Cambridge, 1986), 190-191, with notes on the relevance to Christianity in Brown, Body and Society 104-107. See below on 7.9.13 for reservations about the conventional view of the neo-Platonic `circle' at Milan, which seems to have few of the features that Fowden and Brown identify in other contexts.

    A.'s Manicheism may have played a part in Amb.'s reserve, and A. may himself have seen this, as another passage (clearly echoing the situation here, with perhaps a less sophisticated interpretation but offering both an excuse for the clergy and hope for the seeker) shows: mor. 1.1.1, `nec si ea discere cupiens, in aliquos forte inciderit vel episcopos vel presbyteros vel cuiuscemodi ecclesiae catholicae antistites et ministros, qui aut passim caveant nudare mysteria aut contenti simplici fide altiora cognoscere non curarint, desperet ibi scientiam esse veritatis, ubi neque omnes a quibus quaeritur docere possunt, neque omnes qui quaerunt discere digni sunt. et diligentia igitur et pietas adhibenda est: altero fiet ut scientes inveniamus, altero ut scire mereamur.' Convenient conversions at court were not new to Amb.: Amb. exp. Ps. 118.20.48--see Brown 82.

    J. Mazzeo, Jour. Hist. Ideas 23(1962), 192: `Ambrose's "good reason" for silence was nothing else than listening to the instruction of the inner teacher.' He quotes Ignatius ep. ad Eph. 15.1-3, but could have quoted en. Ps. 126.3, `tamquam vobis ex hoc loco doctores sumus; sed sub illo uno magistro in hac schola vobiscum condiscipuli sumus' (sim. at s. 278.11.11, s. Guelf. 32.4; cf. s. 298.5.5, `superiore loco propter praeconium praesidemus, sed in una schola communem magistrum in caelis habemus'), or s. 52.1.1, `ab illo [domino] enim exspectavit cor meum tamquam iussionem proferendi sermonis, ut hinc cum intellegerem loqui me velle quod recitari ipse voluisset.' For a larger collection of texts on that subject, see Madec, BA 6.545-548.

    A further juxtaposition is often overlooked. Ambrose is presented here as a man who divides his time between service to his flock, refreshing his physical powers, and nourishing his mind with reading (cf. `reparandae menti suae nanciscebatur'). At 11.2.2, bishop Augustine proposes to divide his time similarly: `et olim inardesco meditari in lege tua . . . et nolo in aliud horae diffluant quas invenio liberas a necessitatibus reficiendi corporis et intentionis animi et servitutis quam debemus hominibus et quam non debemus et tamen reddimus.' (A similar partition of his preoccupations at ep. 151.13.) Similarly, Amb. here is portrayed facing warily the temptations to pride to be found in episcopal office; at 10.36.59ff, the same temptations are the subject of A.'s meditation on the lingering threat he faced from the temptation of ambitio saeculi, and that theme recurs in Bk. 13 (see on 13.25.38) as well. The parallel is so strong that we must infer that Amb. is portrayed here as a model of episcopal conduct against which A. later measures himself. Amb. emerges as anything but aloof, but as too accessible and too prone to be distracted by the demands of his flock.3

    But why would a bishop read silently? A. sees the bishop as the Christian orator par excellence (see doctr. chr., esp. Bk. 4); at sol. 2.14.26, Ratio evokes `ille in quo ipsam eloquentiam, quam mortuam dolebamus, perfectam revixisse cognovimus' : see below for further quotation to indicate that Ambrose is meant. As far as A.'s own overt, public discussion of episcopal office is concerned, his oratorical function looms largest. (The priestly function of the bishop is one about which he has much less to say, but A.'s reticence about liturgical matters may be responsible for a distortion in our view here.) As the present passage suggests, Amb. must have been A.'s main model from life. Amb. shared A.'s view that the bishop's role centered on his teaching from the pulpit, and began his own de officiis (389) with a long disquisition on the merits of silence and of knowing your place and when to speak:

    Amb. off. 1.1.2-125, `. . . officium docendi, quod nobis refugientibus imposuit sacerdotii necessitudo. . . . (3) non prophetarum gratiam, non virtutem evangelistarum, non pastorum circumspectionem, sed tantummodo intentionem et diligentiam circa scripturas divinas opto adsequi . . . ut docendi studio possim discere. . . . (4) ego enim, raptus de tribunalibus atque administrationis infulis ad sacerdotium, docere vos coepi quod ipse non didici. itaque factum est ut prius docere inciperem quam discere, discendum igitur mihi simul et docendum, quoniam non vacavit ante discere. (5) quid autem prae ceteris debemus discere quam tacere, ut possimus loqui, ne prius me vox condemnet mea quam absolvat aliena? . . . complures vidi loquendo peccatum incidisse, vix quemquam tacendo, ideoque tacere nosse quam loqui difficilius est.' The discussion continues in that vein as a proem to the de officiis through 1.6.22, when Amb. turns to address his Ciceronian model. In a similar vein is Amb. exp. Ps. 36.66, `ideo meditare semper, loquere quae dei sunt, sedens in domo [Deut. 6.7]. domum possumus accipere ecclesiam, possumum domum accipere interiorem in nobis, ut intra nos loquamur.'

    That A. himself took the lesson of such behavior is corroborated indirectly by his own words: s. 179.1.1-2.2 (date uncertain but probably earlier than 410), `verbi dei enim inanis est forinsecus praedicator, qui non est intus auditor. nec ita aversi ab humanitate et fideli consideratione sumus ut pericula nostra non intelligamus, qui verbum dei populis praedicamus. . . . nam ut noveritis, fratres, quam tutiore loco stetis quam nos. . . (2) ego qui vobis assidue loquor . . . tunc solidum gaudeo, dum audio.' Cf. also en. Ps. 85.7, `oratio tua locutio est ad deum; quando legis, deus tibi loquitur; quando oras, deo loqueris.'

    In order, therefore, for the Christian bishop to teach authoritatively in the church, he must himself first hear attentively the word of God speaking in scripture. That message the bishop preaches openly in church, and it contains the fullness of Christian doctrine. There is no secret gnosis reserved for the elect. Both these ideas A. recalled as momentary stumbling blocks to him, his expectations conditioned by his Manicheism, but they both became essential elements of his own self-image as bishop. This view of the bishop's role appears stylized in the vita Ambrosii written under A.'s patronage by Paulinus of Milan c. 422:4 v. Amb. 17, `is constitutus in ecclesia, tractante episcopo, vidit (ut ipse postmodum loquebatur) angelum ad aures episcopi tractantis loquentem, ut verba angeli populo episcopus renuntiare videretur.'

    That Christianity has no secret gnosis remained important for A. The dialectic that he weaves throughout his career between fides and intellegentia reveals itself in one text (Io. ev. tr. 98) to be a sophisticated way of escaping the temptations of gnosis while retaining many of the benefits of such a system. A.'s Christianity makes a distinction not between kinds of doctrine but between kinds of believers--those who have penetrated further have themselves changed, but they have been given no essential teaching that was withheld from them before. For 1 Cor. 3.1 interpreted in this light, see on 12.27.37. (The implicit issues raised here about the position of the bishop in the church return for their most important development later: see on 10.36.59).

    There is controversy about a parallel text in A. that would throw light on the present passage, showing that the frustration at Amb.'s aloofness lasted through the winter of 386-7: sol. 2.14.26, `[Ratio] . . . ante oculos nostros . . . ille in quo ipsam eloquentiam, quam mortuam dolebamus, perfectam revixisse cognovimus. illene nos sinet, cum scriptis suis vivendi modum docuerit, vivendi ignorare naturam? [A.] non arbitror equidem et multum inde spero, sed unum doleo, quod vel erga se vel erga sapientiam studium nostrum non ei, ut volumus, valemus aperire. nam profecto ille miseraretur sitim nostram et exundaret multo citius quam nunc. securus enim est, quod sibi iam totum de animae immortalitate persuasit, nec scit aliquos esse fortasse, qui huius ignorationis miseriam satis cognoverint, et quibus praesertim rogantibus non subvenire crudele sit.' This passage was applied to Amb. by the Maurists, and M. Ihm (`Studia Ambrosiana', Jahrbücher für classische Philologie 17 [Supplementband, 1. Heft: Leipzig, 1890], 76) astutely suggested that the reference in scriptis is to the de philosophia; but Courcelle, Recherches 206-207, rejected the identification in favor of Mallius Theodorus (on the grounds that what is required here is a philosopher rather than a theologian, and one known for his writings) and, though Madec 252-256 rightly sees that Courcelle completely misunderstood the nature and contents of the de philosophia, Madec follows Courcelle. There is no reason not to apply the sol. passage to Amb.: (1) on the bishop as model of eloquence, see above; (2) his writings abundantly provided a `modus vivendi', specifically the life of continent pursuit of wisdom; (3) A. had been unable to share his inmost feelings with him; (4) A. had almost certainly heard his sermon of 386, de Isaac vel de anima, on the immortality of the soul. The `cruelty' A. attributes then to this remote figure is a sign the intensity of his frustration during that Cassiciacum winter, which is certainly compatible with the re-evocations of 6.3.4 and 6.11.18 (`quando quaeretur [veritas]? non vacat Ambrosio').

    ad quaerendum intentus: A.'s situation is not entirely bad: he is not yet ready to pray, but at least ready to seek--see on 1.1.1.

    et ad disserendum inquietus: A. seeks dialogue that he never gets from Amb. He must learn to seek by listening, but if there is `Manichean reflex' here it is in his own eagerness to speak and quarrel--the loquacitas of Manicheism he often rebukes (1.4.4, 3.6.10, 7.2.3, etc.).

    caelibatus: caelebs is infrequent in A., and its use suggests that it is the masculine equivalent of innupta, `unmarried' (c. Faust. 29.4, virg. 27.27, b. vid. 5.7, en. Ps. 40.4); hence here an observation without overt moral coloration. Cf. 6.12.22, `ut me affirmarem . . . caelibem vitam nullo modo posse degere'; to this point, continence is a puzzle not apparently related to A.'s own search. It does not seem that in early 385, hearing Amb. at Milan, A. imagined that his own future would be conditioned by a decision to emulate the continence of the `pagan' and Christian sages; A. still sought an intellectual resolution to his perplexities. Bk. 8 testifies to the redirection of his quest under Amb.'s influence. Here in conf., however, he tells us less than the whole story; later he will suggest (see on 8.7.17, `petieram') that the search for continence had been with him ever since adolescence, but for the moment he merely says that there was in Amb.'s own conduct that which was a stumbling block for A. and a sign of things to come. Psychologically, A. clearly seeks in Amb. something of a father figure (cf. 5.13.23, `paterne', and c. Iul. 1.3.10, `[Ambrosius] excellentem dei dispensatorem, quem ut patrem veneror'), but if Amb. is celibate, on some subconscious level that makes it impossible for A. to accept him as a father.

    quid autem: Courcelle, Recherches 219-221, takes this text as evidence that at some time after conversion A. and Amb. had what Bertie Wooster would call a bit of the old heart-to-heart; not one word in the text suggests that. The words `nec conicere noveram nec expertus eram' suggest that A.'s later enlightenment came from conjecture and his own episcopal experience.

    et adversus et adversus C D G O Maur. Ver.:   adversus S Knöll Skut.

    excellentiae: In conf. of God and things divine (1.20.31, 2.6.13, 3.7.14, 6.5.8) and of human affairs (both in a good sense [4.16.30, 7.19.25 [2x], 8.6.14) and a bad sense (here and 10.38.63, 1.19.30, 2.6.13).

    ruminaret: c. Faust. 6.7, `immundum quippe illud animal in lege positum est eo quod non ruminet; . . . sunt autem homines qui per hoc animal significantur, immundi proprio vitio, non natura; qui cum libenter audiant verba sapientiae, postea de his omnino non cogitant. quod enim utile audieris, velut ab intestino memoriae tamquam ad os cogitationis recordandi dulcedine revocare quid est aliud quam spiritaliter quodam modo ruminare?'

    foveam: The image is biblical (cf. Ps. 56.7) and familiar in A.'s other works, but appears only three times in conf., and on each occasion one of the three friends, A., Alypius, and Nebridius, is imperilled: 6.7.12, `proripuit [Alypius] se ex fovea tam alta'; 9.3.6, `in illam foveam perniciosissimi erroris inciderat [Nebridius]'. Parallels suggest that with this image A. has in mind specifically the Manichees, sinners through concupiscence of the eyes and hence most aptly the blind leading the blind (Mt. 15.14, `caecus autem si caeco ducatum praestet, ambo in foveam cadunt'), preparing traps for their brethren and falling in themselves, rejoicing in their iniquity: en. Ps. 56.14, `omnis qui parat foveam fratri suo, necesse est ut ipse incidat in eam. . . . ipsa laetitia iniqua facientis, ipsa est fovea.'

    non enim quaerere ab eo poteram: The same frustration was encountered on first seeing Faustus, but then overcome: see on 5.6.11, `sed moleste habebam'.

    negotiosorum negotiosorum A H2 B P Z Maur. Knöll Skut.:   negotiorum C D G O S Ver.
    A crux. (1) The paradosis negotiorum is solid. (2) How to read it is less obvious: punctuate with a comma and assume asyndeton: `crowds of affairs, of men who . . .'? (3) If negotiosorum is read, an easier sense is given, not unparalleled in A. (c. Faust. 22.56, `actuosi et negotiosi homines'; the adj. 23x in all in A.). (4) Catervis is much more common with genitives of people than of things. It is hard to resist the idea the negotiosorum is at least the best emendation to date.

    sed cum legebat: Silent reading: This passage has attracted much notice, seeming to show Amb. as the veritable inventor of silent reading (J. Balogh, Philologus 82[1926], 84-109, 202-40), but it has since been shown (B. M. W. Knox, GRBS 9[1968], 421-436) that the practice was known from much earlier in antiquity (Cicero, Tusc. 5.40.116, describes the pleasure the deaf can derive from reading, without hearing, poetry). Reading aloud remained a--probably the--common practice for many centuries (sometimes a necessary one: in ep. 101.3 A. says that his de musica is hard to understand unless you have somebody to read it out loud who can vocalize the quantities properly); being-read-to also attested at Io. ev. tr. 112.1. A near contemporary recommended reading aloud softly as an aid to memorization (Mart. Cap. 5.539, in the persona of Rhetoric). The written word was prompt-copy for a text that was still essentially oral in nature; only when read aloud did the symbols on the page become words in a useful sense. With some kinds of texts, A. was a perfectly competent consumer of a purely textual artefact (see on 4.16.28, the categ. of Aristotle); but his earlier, purely textual, encounter with scripture (3.5.9) had failed, and here he betrays his need for a more traditional, orally-mediated reading of the text. There remains to be written a history of reading that would do justice to the variety of techniques and situations across the centuries, on the one hand, and to the way reading techniques affected the ways people thought and acted.

    The significance of this passage is to be found elsewhere; see above. (Balogh already noted that if Amb. invented the skill, A. was a quick learner; cf. 8.12.29, `aperui et legi in silentio'; G. Lawless, REAug 26[1980], 55, also notes that 10.8.13 offers the parallel of `silent singing' : `et quiescente lingua ac silente gutture canto quantum volo'; and cf. 11.27.36, `et voce atque ore cessante peragimus cogitando carmina et versus et quemque sermonem'.) A better context is the history of vocal and silent prayer, on which see J. Balogh, Archiv für Religionswissenschaft 23(1925), 345-8. For example, Cassian, conl. 9.35, `in abscondito oramus, quando corde tantum et intenta mente petitiones nostras soli pandemus deo, ita ut ne ipsae quidem adversae valeant potestates genus nostrae petitionis agnoscere. propter quod summo est orandum silentio, non solum ne fratres adstantes nostris susurris vel clamoribus avocemus . . . sed ut ipsos quoque inimicos nostros, qui orantibus nobis maxime insidiantur, lateat nostrae petitionis intentio.' From Amb., cf. exp. Ps. 118.17.9, `Anna, cum oraret tacita clamabat, labia non movebat et interioris voce pia mentis excitabat Iesum,' reflecting the text of 1 Sam. 1.13, `Anna loquebatur in corde suo, tantumque labia illius movebantur, et vox penitus non audiebatur'.

    coniectabamus: The reason given here is conjecture dating from the time of the event. It is almost correct. Amb. was moved not simply by the desire not to get bogged down explaining things (and hence waste of time), but by the desire to hear for himself, and to reserve his explanations for the pulpit (see above). Note that A. here recalls no displeasure on his part at this frustration; contrast 5.6.11, `sed moleste habebam', for a contrasting recollection when faced with a similar frustration reaching Faustus; see above on sol. 2.14.26 for possible different feelings closer to the event.

    obtundebatur: OLD (as G-M): `to make (the voice) husky or hoarse'; Cic. de orat. 2.70.282., `cum vocem in dicendo obtundisset'.

    text of 6.3.4


    See Courcelle, Recherches 98-132, on the sermons A. could have heard at Milan 385/7 (see on 5.14.24). In such studies, two errors must be avoided: (1) of conflating too quickly what we learn there with the biographical narrative of conf.; this narrative is directed by definite rhetorical strategies, and what it contains and what it omits is an important distinction that must be borne in mind; (2) of reading only the works of Amb. that present sermons A. might actually have heard in 385/7; we have just seen, e.g., on 6.3.3 that Amb.'s de officiis of 389 offers useful illumination to conf.

    An earlier passage should be kept in mind: 5.10.20, `cum enim conaretur animus meus recurrere in catholicam fidem, repercutiebar, quia non erat catholica fides quam esse arbitrabar.' It would be wrong here to speak of what A. reports as `conversion' of any kind. A. is not changing his mind about any doctrine of faith, but correcting his impression of Christian doctrine, finding that doctrine compatible with what he believed. This remains an aspect of his narrative as late as 7.19.25, when A. and Alypius sort out their Christological views. Of the three Manichean challenges to Christianity whose force A. acknowledged at 3.7.12, only the last of them, to the authority of the Old Testament, is in any way affected by the teachings of Amb. reported here (6.4.6 on 2 Cor. 3.6).

    oraculo: Other oracula in conf. are scriptural in authority: 8.12.29, of the text that converted Antonius; 11.9.11, the text of Ps. 103.24; 12.15.22, Moses and his books (`oracula sancti spiritus'). This is high praise for Amb. in his role as master of divine eloquence.

    pectore illius: See on 3.4.7, `pectus'. Cf. ep. 31.8 (addressing Paulinus of Nola), `nam pectus tuum tale domini oraculum est'.

    nisi . . . audiendum: e.g., the inquiries A. made on behalf of Monnica.

    aestus: 6.3.3.

    in populo . . . tractantem: Unlike Faustus, with Amb. the public proclamation has a considerable positive effect, public, in church, on Sunday. 2 Tim. 2.15, `sollicite cura teipsum probabilem exhibere deo, operarium inconfusibilem recte tractantem verbum veritatis.'

    omni die dominico: Cf. beata v. 1.4, `saepe' (see below).

    deceptores: 7.2.3, `adversus illos deceptos deceptores'.

    comperi: Cf. 6.11.18, `nefas habent docti eius credere deum figura humani corporis terminatum'. beata v. 1.4 reports a slightly more advanced view derived from Amb.'s sermons and the words of Mallius Theodorus: `animadverti enim et saepe in sacerdotis nostri et aliquando in sermonibus tuis, cum de deo cogitaretur, nihil omnino corporis esse cogitandum, neque cum de anima.' In conf. that more accurate statement of the immateriality of God is impossible before Bk. 7; here A. presumably encounters a non-anthropomorphic view that encourages but does not satisfy him fully.

    ad imaginem tuam: Gn. 1.26, `faciamus hominem ad imaginem nostram'; Gn. 9.6, `ad imaginem quippe dei factus est homo'; Sirach 17.1, `deus creavit de terra hominem et secundum imaginem suam fecit illum.' The doctrine of creation of the first human in God's image and likeness is a potent one for A., and its appearance in conf. is carefully controlled and restrained: hinted at in 3.7.12 (as the Christian truth contrary to the error attributed to Christianity by the Manichees), here, then twice just as the platonicorum libri are coming into view in Bk. 7 (7.9.13, 7.9.15), then not at all until the important and climactic passage beginning at 13.22.32.

    Amb.'s teaching freed A. from anthropomorphism, but Amb. thought of image and likeness as a goal to be reached, not an inherent quality (hence emphasized the ad of Gn. 1.26: for A.'s development on this subject, see on 13.22.32). See Markus, REAug 10(1964), 137-140, and cf. G. B. Ladner, The Idea of Reform (Cambridge, Mass., 1959), 185ff; H. Somers, REAug 7(1961), 105-125, who neatly deploys the stages in A.'s exegesis of Gn. 1.26, from Gn. c. man., to Gn. litt. imp., to Gn. litt. to the last stage, the late-added conclusion to Gn. litt. imp., showing the increasing influence of Christian sources, esp. Greek ones later in A.'s career. At the time of conf., the principal Christian influence is his contact with anti-Arian polemic (perhaps even including Marius Victorinus' adversus Arium, though this is unlikely). There is value in G. A. McCool's study of Amb.'s influence on A. in this regard, Theol. Stud. 20(1959), 62-81, even if the attempt to show direct and immediate dependence on Amb. is judged unsuccessful: the analogies of approach retain their interest.

    catholica: Not adj. but noun; see on 5.14.24.

    regenerasti: The verb is regularly (and in conf., only: 8.2.4, 9.3.6, 9.13.34) associated with baptism. Cf. pecc. mer. 2.27.43, `sacramentum autem baptismi profecto sacramentum regenerationis est.'

    te determinatum te determinatum ODonnell  scripsi:   te terminatum Maur. Pusey G-M:   determinatum MSS Knöll Skut. Ver.
    Cf. 5.10.19, `figuram te habere . . . et . . . liniamentis corporalibus terminari'; 6.4.5, `te creatorem . . . undique terminatum membrorum humanorum figura'; 6.11.18, `credere deum figura humani corporis terminatum'. As G-M rightly saw, `The te appears indispensable to the sense,' but despite the parallels in conf. determinatum is more frequent elsewhere (7x: ep. 118.4.31, s. 23.5.5, Io. ev. tr. 53.2, Gn. litt. 6.12.20, nat. b. 41 [`nec ipsi qui hoc agebant formis suis determinati essent, nisi modus ibi esset'], en. Ps. 30. en. 2 s. 1.7, s. Mai 158.4) than terminatum (4x: epp. 148.1.1, 148.1.2, Io. ev. tr. 40.4, s. 23.6.6); note the variation within two paragraphs of s. 23 (happily confirmed by an ed. crit.).

    The accusation of anthropomorphism against orthodox Christianity was not wholly baseless. Apart from the language of the OT, there were sects literal-minded enough to assert anthropomorphism openly (haer. 50; for the difficulties, cf. `Audianer', RAC 1.910-915).

    tenuiter atque in aenigmate: 1 Cor. 13.12, `videmus nunc per speculum in aenigmate'; en. Ps. 130.14, `adhuc ex parte, in aenigmate'.

    discere discere S Maur. Knöll Skut.:   dicere C D G O Ver.
    A. does not associate dicere and quaerere elsewhere.

    altissime et proxime: 5.8.14, `altissimi tui recessus et praesentissima in nos misericordia'; 1.4.4, `secretissime et praesentissime'.

    alia maiora et alia minora: cf. ep. 118.4.23, `qui enim didicerit deum non distendi aut diffundi per locos neque finitos neque infinitos, quasi in aliqua parte maior sit in aliqua minor, sed totum ubique esse praesentem . . . nequaquam eum movebit quod de infinito aere sensit, quicumque sensit quod ipse esset deus.' On `ubique totus', see on 1.3.3.

    text of 6.4.5


    pulsans: Mt. 7.7, `pulsate, et aperietur vobis'; i.e., it is better to have begun the sequence invoke-seek-find-praise (1.1.1), than to go off in the ways of curiositas; the same text in the last words of conf. (13.38.53).

    proponerem: G-M: = quaestionem proponerem. `The reference is apparently to the attitude which A. would have taken up if he had had the opportunity of discussing his difficulties with Ambrose.' For imperfect for pluperfect, cf. 6.11.20, `dares si pulsarem', and 8.6.13, `posset, si vellet'. That reading is preferable to that of the translators: Pusey: `I should have knocked'; BA: `j'aurais dû frapper à la porte.' The preceding sentence (the last of 6.3.4) is a `confessional' interruption that obscures the connection to the last sentence but one. There, A. described and repented his earlier hard-headedness; here, he suggests what his attitude would now have been, after the impact of Amb.'s sermons.

    ita: `in such a way' --i.e., in the way he mistakenly thought Christians took the doctrine.

    rodebat: 8.7.18, `rodebar intus et confundebar' (cf. `confundebar et convertebar' here).

    quid certi retinerem: The indirect question is governed by `cura'.

    certi: The yearning for certainty carries over from Bk. 5, e.g., 5.14.25, `donec aliquid certi eluceret'.

    animositate: See on 2.3.5.

    garrisse: 5.6.10 (of Faustus), 7.20.26 (of himself upon reading the Platonic books), 9.1.1 (of prayer [!] after the garden scene), 12.28.38 (of incautious exegetes). On indiscretion of speech as a Manichean characteristic, see on 1.4.4, `quoniam loquaces muti sunt'.

    confundebar et convertebar: Ps. 6.11, `convertantur et confundantur valde velociter'. There the collocation is a prayer directed against others, leading to their abasement; here, for himself, it is narrative that leads to gaudium; the order of the two verbs is reversed. As Manichee he was acting just as the adversary of the Psalmist would act; and the fate the Psalmist prayed for came down upon him--and it was good for him.

    corpus unici tui: Col. 1.18, `et ipse est caput corporis ecclesiae, qui est principium, primogenitus ex mortuis ut sit in omnibus ipse primatum tenens'; Col. 1.24, `qui nunc gaudeo in passionibus pro vobis et adimpleo ea quae desunt passionum Christi in carne mea pro corpore eius, quod est ecclesia.' Unicus is not in the Vulgate, but not infrequent in A. only for Christ: also at 7.9.14, 9.8.17, 10.43.69, 10.43.70, 11.2.4, 13.2.3, 13.13.14, 13.34.49 (see on 1.7.12 for une of the Father; BA 72.234n34 with parallels); en. Ps. 102.6, `unicus filius dei'.

    nomen Christi: See on 3.4.8. The allusion is to A.'s initiation as catechumen (1.11.17).

    nugas: The slur is directed against others at 3.10.18 (`perductus ad eas nugas ut crederem ficum plorare'), 7.6.8 (`flagrabant in eas nugas [mathematicorum]').

    te creatorem omnium: Amb. hymn. 1.2.1 (see 9.12.32).

    undique terminatum: See on 6.3.4, `te determinatum'.

    text of 6.4.6


    He heard from Ambrose a principle that would lay open all of Christian teaching to him, but he allowed it to work only so far as to weaken his attachment to anything else and to tear down the barriers that separated him from Christianity. He could have looked upon the truth now with `purgatior acies mentis', and he did not. Cf. util. cred. 8.20, quoted in prolegomena. At 5.14.24, A. reported the first impression Amb.'s sermons made: a similar reliance on 2 Cor. 3.6, with perhaps a difference. There he reports that Amb. showed, by the practical application of that verse (echoed there not as attributed to Amb., but as part of A.'s own interpretation in making sense of the episode), that various passages of scripture were not taken by catholics in the way A. had thought they must be; here, Amb. is reported as expounding directly the principle implied by 2 Cor. 3.6.

    illo oculo . . . audiebam: A.'s erroneous reading of scripture is put in visual, literal terms, while the key to his correct reading comes through the sense of hearing.

    quo . . . absurda: 5.14.24, `non absurde obiecta refellerent'.

    popularibus: Cf. 6.3.4, `in populo . . . tractantem'; more than a third of A.'s own surviving œuvre consists of transcripts of sermons (chiefly sermones, en. Ps. and Io. ev. tr.), and he calls them `sermones populares' at civ. 17.17; see on 6.3.3.

    littera occidit, spiritus autem vivificat: 2 Cor. 3.6, `littera occidit, spiritus autem vivificat'; for Amb.'s sermons citing this text, see Courcelle, Recherches 98n4, and Solignac, BA 13.141n1 and see on 5.14.24. This text could have played a much more visible role in A.'s exegetical principle and practice than it did, and we must be careful how we interpret it. The distinction is one that A. often employed, as early as 388/90 in Gn. c. man. 2.2.3, `sane quisquis voluerit omnia quae dicta sunt secundum litteram accipere, id est non aliter intellegere quam littera sonat, et potuerit evitare blasphemias et omnia congruentia fidei catholicae praedicare, non solum ei non est invidendum sed praecipuus multumque laudabilis intellector habendus est. si autem nullus exitus datur, ut pie et digne deo quae scripta sunt intellegantur, nisi figurate atque in aenigmatibus proposita ista credamus, habentes auctoritatem apostolicam, a quibus tam multa de libris veteris testamenti solvuntur aenigmata, modum quem intendimus teneamus, adiuvante illo qui nos petere, quaerere et pulsare adhortatur, ut omnes istas figuras rerum secundum catholicam fidem, sive quae ad historiam sive quae ad prophetiam pertinent, explicemus, non praeiudicantes meliori diligentiorique tractatui, sive per nos sive per alios dominus revelare dignatur.'

    But that passage takes a strongly pro-literal view, seeing allegory as an escape from difficulties and praising the man who can expound scripture without recourse to it--hardly the view of Amb. endorsed here. The first significant appearance of the scripture citation is in the first work A. wrote as an ordained clergyman: util. cred. 3.9, `in quibus tamen legis praeceptis atque mandatis, quibus nunc christianos uti fas non est, quale vel sabbatum est vel circumcisio vel sacrificia et si quid huiusmodi est, tanta mysteria continentur ut omnis pius intellegat nihil esse perniciosius quam quidquid ibi est accipi ad litteram, id est ad verbum; nihil autem salubrius quam spiritu revelari. inde est: “littera occidit, spiritus autem vivificat.”' So also exp. prop. Rom. 10(11), div. qu. Simp. 1.1.17.

    That view persists through conf. and fills the pages of doctr. chr. (e.g., 3.5.9), but it was not A.'s last word on the subject. In commenting on the util. cred. in retr., A. quibbles with his own interpretation: retr. 1.14.1, `in hoc libro dixi, "in quibus tamen legis praeceptis . . . inde est, `littera occidit, spiritus autem vivificat'." sed aliter exposui verba ista apostoli Pauli et, quantum mihi videtur vel potius ipsis rebus apparet, multo convenientius in eo libro qui inscribitur "de spiritu et littera" [spir. et litt. 5.7, `non de figuratis locutionibus dictum, quamvis et illic congruenter accipiatur, sed potius de lege aperte quod malum est prohibente' ], quamvis non sit et sensus iste respuendus.' In spir. et litt. (esp. 4.6-5.8) the passage becomes a key to interpretation not merely of texts but of conduct and history. This re-reading of the verse saves the OT from over-allegorism: spir. et litt. 14.23 makes this clear, for there are for A. precepts of the Law of the OT that are not simply `umbrae futuri' but that remain characteristics of just action (the decalogue is instanced). A similar spirit motivates a work of controverted authenticity, the speculum quis ignorat: most recently vindicated for A. by A. Mutzenbecher, REAug 30(1984), 60-83 and A.-M. La Bonnardière, Augustin et la Bible (Paris, 1986), 401-409, it had been impugned by G. de Plinval (Aug. Mag. 1.187-192) who saw in its commandment-centered approach a virtual Pelagianism. But the tendency is exactly that of spir. et litt., the first anti-Pelagian work from A.'s pen. (On A.'s exegesis there is an extensive literature [for survey, La Bonnardière's Augustin et la Bible is excellent]; on its pertinence here, cf. J. Pépin, RA 1[1958], 243-286.)

    remoto mystico velamento: 2 Cor. 3.14-16, `usque in hodiernum enim diem idipsum velamen in lectione veteris testamenti manet, non revelatum, quoniam in Christo evacuatur; (15) sed usque in hodiernum diem, cum legitur Moyses velamen positum est super cor eorum; (16) cum autem conversus fuerit ad dominum auferetur velamen.' The image of the `veil' serves in lieu of letter/spirit in many of A.'s early works; Mayer, Zeichen 2.465, cites from the anti-Manichean period alone numerous echoes, e.g., Gn. c. man. 1.22.33 (`velamen enim aufertur quando similitudinis et allegoriae cooperimento ablato veritas nudatur ut possit videri'), 2.26.40, Gal. exp. 22, s. dom. m. 2.20.68, c. ep. fund. 11, div. qu. Simp. 2. pr. , c. Faust. 6.3, 12.23, and adn. Iob on 26.8 and 38.32.

    tenebam enim cor: G-M: `A complex word-play. There is, first, an allusion to the suspense of judgment which the Academics advocated (refrenationem et quasi suspensionem assensionis,; c. acad. 2.5.12), further timens praecipitium seems to hint that adsensio plays on ascensio as suspendium does on suspensio. The word-play may be roughly reproduced thus: “I hung back from every assent, dreading precipitation, and died by hanging instead.”'

    septem et tria decem: This truth is a benchmark of certitude for A., early and late in life, even when all else is in doubt: c. acad. 2.3.9 (quoted in next note), lib. arb. 2.8.21, `septem autem et tria decem sunt et non solum nunc sed etiam semper neque ullo modo aliquando septem et tria non fuerunt decem aut aliquando septem et tria non erunt decem'; sim. at lib. arb. 2.12.34, ep. 162.2 (414/15). On the numerology, doctr. chr. 2.16.25, `porro autem denarius numerus creatoris atque creaturae significat scientiam; nam trinitas creatoris est, septenarius autem numerus creaturam indicat propter vitam et corpus. nam in illa tria sunt, unde etiam “toto corde, tota anima, tota mente” diligendus est deus; in corpore autem manifestissima quattuor apparent, quibus constat, elementa.'

    comprehendi: on this word's Academic sense, see on 5.10.19.

    purgatior acies: c. acad. 2.3.9, `ego enim nunc aliud nihil ago quam me ipse purgo a vanis perniciosisque opinionibus. . . . cavete ne quid vos nosse arbitremini, nisi quod ita didiceritis saltem, ut nostis unum duo tria quattuor simul conlecta in summam fieri decem.' Cf. Plotinus, e)a\n de\ i)/h| e)pi\ th\n qe/an lhmw=n kaki/ais kai\ ou) kekaqarme/nos h)\ a)sqenh/s, a)nandri/a| ou) duna/menos ta\ pa/nu lampra\ ble/pein, ou)de\n ble/pei, k)\an a)/llos deiknu/h| paro\n to\ o(raqh=nai duna/menon. to\ ga\r o(rw=n pro\s to\ o(rw/menon suggene\s kai\ o(/moin poihsa/menon dei= e)piba/llein th=| qe/a|. ou) ga\r a)\n pw/pote ei)=den o)fqalmo\s h(/lion h(lioeidh\s mh\ gegenhme/nos, ou)de to\ kalo\n a)\n i)/doi yuxh\ mh\ kalh\ genome/n. He could thus now have attempted with some success the `ascent' of the mind (as he is reported to have done at 7.10.16 and 7.17.23), but he did no such thing. If this be taken as a Plotinian echo, its purpose is to situate this moment on the trajectory leading to and past those `tentatives.' For the purification of vision that does come, see on 7.8.12, `collyrio'.

    veritatem tuam semper manentem: Cf. Ps. 116.2, `et veritas domini manet in aeternum'; en. Ps. 116, `sive in eis quae promisit iustis, sive in eis quae minatus est impiis.'

    ne falsa crederet: What he sought in Manicheism was solid reasonable argument, but he discovered it to be mere, even vulgar, faith. When disabused of that faith, his earlier faith in reason and argument supervenes and leads him towards, but not into, the Christian community.

    resistens manibus tuis: Cf. Ps. 16.8, `a resistentibus dextrae tuae custode me'; cf. Dan. 4.32, `et non est qui resistat manui eius, et dicat ei, quare fecisti?'

    medicamenta fidei: vera rel. 24.45, `animae medicina . . . tribuitur . . . in auctoritatem atque rationem. auctoritas fidem flagitat et rationi praeparat hominem. ratio ad intellectum cognitionemque perducit, quamquam neque auctoritatem ratio penitus deserit, cum consideratur cui credendum sit, et certe summa est ipsius iam cognitae atque perspicuae veritatis auctoritas. sed quia in temporalia devenimus et eorum amore ab aeternis impedimur, quaedam temporalis medicina, quae non scientes sed credentes ad salutem vocat, non naturae excellentia, sed ipsius temporis ordine prior est. nam in quem locum quisque ceciderit, ibi debet incumbere ut surgat.'

    text of 6.5.7


    sive esset quid: Setting aside the question of natural theology: `whether it was something [demonstrable] and there was, as it happened [forte], no one to whom it was [demonstrable/demonstrated], or whether it just was not something [demonstrable] at all.'

    illic: i.e., inter manichaeos.

    absurdissima: Though himself enamored of paradox, A. retains the label absurdus for outwardly contradictory propositions that he himself chooses to disown, and he is fond of introducing such dismissals with the phrase, `nihil absurdius quam' (in conf. cf. 12.2.2, `non absurde', and 12.29.40, `non est absurdus'). In the present context, `fabulosissima' denotes the origin of the Manichean doctrines, `absurdissima' their irrational quality. Contrast the disintegrating absurditas of scripture at 6.5.8.

    credenda imperari: In one way A. became an Academic in 385 and never gave up that sect. He ceased to believe that philosophical argument and demonstration will ever lead to the essential truth. The most that can be expected of the rationalist Manichees is that they will offer scientia, mock credulitas, and then proffer their own implausible credenda.

    consideranti: agrees with `mihi' below.

    quam innumerabilia crederem: Cf. the whole of f. invis., written in 400, one of A.'s post-conf. literary tasks, an extended footnote to this chapter, a sign of the strength he conceded in the arguments of those who felt that Christianity was all authority and no reason. (See also util. cred. 9.21-14.32) f. invis. 1.1, `sunt qui putant christianam religionem propterea ridendam potius quam tenendam, quia in ea non res quae videatur ostenditur, sed fides rerum quae non videntur hominibus imperatur. . . . admonendi sunt quam multa non solum credant, verum etiam sciant, quae talibus oculis videri non possunt. quae cum sint innumerabilia in ipso animo nostro . . .'

    de quibus parentibus ortus essem: See on 1.6.7, `non enim ego memini', from the infancy narrative, on his reliance on others to tell him of his own life; f. invis. 2.4, `coguntur fateri incertos sibi esse parentes suos.'

    persuasisti mihi: Faith comes first as faith in the authority of scripture; not in any doctrines taught by or through scripture, but just in scripture itself (n.b., this is a form of faith in the incarnate Word, incarnate in the scriptural text: see on 6.5.8, `quae via'), as the necessary preliminary to learning any doctrine from the scriptural text. From here forward, everything A. does and hears and says in the rest of Bks. 6-8 are the acts of a man who accepts the authority of scripture. (Note the discretion of this paragraph: specific scriptural authority is cited not at all.)

    quos . . . fundasti: Cf. culmen auctoritatis et sim. of scripture often elsewhere (6.5.8, 6.11.19, 12.16.23, and 12.26.36). It is first glance naive of A. to suggest that Christian scripture holds a special and privileged position of authority that even a Platonist reader (as when such a phrase occurs at civ. 10.32) might be expected to recognize. The kernel of truth is that Christianity was a profoundly and publicly textual and historical community. The scriptures were not an esoteric possession, jealously guarded, and their message was factual and historic in its form, depending on neither mystery nor myth nor mere argument and theory. The advantage was one that Christians jealously guarded and pressed, and, as here, proclaimed proudly. It is thus not mere brag and bluster, but a serious attempt to characterize and explain literary success, when he begins civ. 11.1, `civitatem dei dicimus, cuius ea scriptura testis est quae non fortuitis motibus animorum, sed plane summae dispositione providentiae super omnes omnium gentium litteras omnia sibi genera ingeniorum humanorum divina excellens auctoritate subiecit.' Auctoritas was, inter alia, an antidote to Academic skepticism, as the sketch of his opinions at util. cred. 8.20 (`saepe rursus intuens . . .': quoted in prolegomena). The standard study is K. H. Lütcke, `Auctoritas' bei Augustin (Stuttgart, 1968).

    per tam multa . . . philosophorum: 5.3.3, `multa philosophorum legeram'.

    ut aliquando . . . pertinere: The antecedent faith in the existence of God and divine care for human affairs is one commonly held among the philosophers and sects of the time (cf. Cic., nat. deor. 2.1.3, `primum docent [nostri] esse deos, deinde quales sint, tum mundum ab eis administrari, postremo consulere eos rebus humanis'). A. does not regard that faith as a specifically Christian one, nor does he introduce it to indicate that he regards it as a sign of progress; it is the obverse of one failure he never risked. (The first lines of 6.5.8 further qualify this element of faith.) See Boeth. cons. 1. P6.5 and 1. P6.20 for a similar reduction to the bare minimum of belief in God and his concern for human affairs.

    text of 6.5.8


    id: The minimalist faith just outlined at the end of 6.5.7.

    ignorabam: An ignorance cured in Bk. 7.

    quae via: i.e., Christ--this looks ahead to the end of Bk. 7 and the substance of Bk. 8; see on 7.7.11.

    cum essemus infirmi: Rom. 5.6, `ut quid enim Christus, cum adhuc infirmi essemus, secundum tempus pro impiis mortuus est?' Reception of scripture is thus tied to the incarnation (see on 6.5.7).

    veritatem: i.e., Christ.

    auctoritate sanctarum litterarum: For A. `authority' is in its origin empirical rather than innate; the respect shown to scriptural texts is itself the proof of authority.

    absurditatem: the noun form is first attested in A., in whom it is abundant: cf. TLLs.v. (Hrdlicka 11); see on 6.5.7, `absurdissima'.

    exposita audissem: A rare hint of pre-Ambrosian Christian preaching to which A. gave heed; see 5.11.21 for a more explicit reminiscence.

    sacramentorum altitudinem: No attempt to distinguish rigorously between sacramentum as `mysterious signification within a text' and as `religious ritual, e.g., baptism' will succeed in dealing with A.'s texts. Many texts can be placed under one or the other of those headings, but there are others that defy such categorization. The bishop's role is often characterized in aptly ambiguous form, e.g., 11.2.2, `et sacramentum tuum dispensare populo tuo' (cf. 10.30.41, 6.7.12). Those texts probably speak to the bishop's priestly function, but as preacher he was equally responsible for mediating sacramenta (cf. 6.9.15, `[Alypius] futurus dispensator verbi tui') to his flock. The underlying distinction to be kept in mind is that of `things' and `signs' (doctr. chr. 1): texts and rituals are both `signs' hence `sacraments' in that sense. Scripture is the sacramentum par excellence (BA 13.532n: `le lieu des sacramenta'). See on 1.11.17, `sacramentis'; cf. also G-M on 4.2.3, citing c. Faust. 19.16, `sacramenta legis et prophetarum'.

    verbis apertissimis . . . intentionem eorum: The taste for a text both outwardly accessible and inwardly mysterious is part of A.'s thought, though there is little to say just when the taste arose. Nothing in A.'s own career as student and professor of classical literature aims in such a direction; as he presents himself, he was a literal and downright young man.5 doctr. chr. 2-3 is devoted to the method, which is part of the appeal of Christianity at ep. 137.5.18, `modus autem ipse dicendi quo sancta scriptura contexitur, quam omnibus accessibilis, quamvis paucissimis penetrabilis! ea quae aperta continet, quasi amicus familiaris sine fuco ad cor loquitur indoctorum atque doctorum; ea vero quae in mysteriis occultat, nec ipsa eloquio superbo erigit . . . sed invitat omnes humili sermone, quos non solum manifesta pascat, sed etiam secreta exerceat veritate'. (The notion of a sermo humilis goes back to the classical doctrine of the three styles, and animated A.'s own rhetorical theory: doctr. chr. 4.17.34ff.)

    leves corde: Sirach 19.4, `qui credit cito, levis corde est'.

    sinu: cf. `gremio', apparently the same. The church accepts all and has something to offer for all (unlike a gnostic cult), even though relatively few come through the needle's eye--but more, he hastens to add, than would ever get through were this auctoritas not provided.

    per angusta foramina: Mt. 19.24, `facilius est camelum per foramen acus transire quam divitem intrare in regnum caelorum'; and cf. Mt. 7.13 quoted below.

    auctoritatis: A. seems to have forgotten that the subject of the sentence (hence even of `emineret' here) is itself `auctoritas'.

    suspirabam . . . fluctuabam: The same collocation of verbs of Alypius at 6.10.17.

    viam saeculi latam: Mt. 7.13-14, `intrate per angustam portam, quia lata porta et spatiosa via quae ducit ad perditionem et multi sunt qui intrant per eam. (14) quam angusta porta et arta via quae ducit ad vitam! et pauci sunt qui inveniunt eum.' Cf. the broad ways leading to perdition at 6.14.24 and 7.6.8; cf. also 6.6.9, `inhiabam'.

    text of 6.6.9


    inhiabam: He sees himself firmly in the grip of ambitio saeculi (and probably not concupiscentia carnis: marriage by this time represented career advancement) beginning to go sour; Bk. 6 will mark several stages of disillusionment with such hopes. Cf. in this paragraph `cupiditatibus', `talibus conatibus nostris', `cupiditatum', `ambiebam', `ambitionibus', `placere inde quaerebam hominibus'.

    inridebas: See on 1.6.7, `inrisor meus'.

    dulcescere: See on 1.4.4, `dulcedo mea sancta'.

    vide . . . domine: Lam. 1.9-11, `vide domine adflictionem meum . . . vide domine'.

    vide cor meum: 4.6.11, `ecce cor meum, deus meus, ecce intus; vide, quia memini, spes mea.'

    tibi inhaereat anima mea: Ps. 72.28, `mihi autem ad-/inhaerere deo bonum est' (see on 7.11.17).

    visco: Also at 6.12.22 and cf. 10.30.42; the image more explicitly: s. 255.7.7, `visco malarum cupiditatum involutas pennas habens'; s. 311.4.4, `quod amas in terra, impedimentum est: viscum est pennarum spiritalium, hoc est virtutum, quibus volatur ad deum'; also at trin. 8.2.3, quoted on 7.10.16.

    relictis omnibus: Lk. 5.11, `et subductis ad terram navibus, relictis omnibus secuti sunt illum' (of the call of Peter, James, and John); Lk. 5.28, `et relictis omnibus surgens secutus est eum' (the call of Levi/Matthew).

    converteretur: Ps. 21.28, `et convertentur ad dominum universi fines terrae'; Ps. 50.15, `et impii ad te convertentur'.

    qui es super omnia: Rom. 9.5, `qui est super omnia deus benedictus in saecula'.

    sine quo nulla essent omnia: Sim. at 4.10.15 and 10.27.38.

    converteretur et sanaretur: Is. 6.10, `excaeca cor populi huius. . . . ne forte videat oculis suis, et auribus suis audiat, et corde suo intellegat, et convertatur, et sanem eum' --quoted (via LXX) at Mt. 13.15.

    miser: The adj. to describe A. in conf. at 1.16.26, 2.6.12, 2.8.16, 3.2.4, 3.10.18, 4.5.10, 4.6.11, 4.15.24, 6.6.9, 8.7.17--all in the pre-conversion books; after that only at 10.28.39, `misericors es, miser sum', and 10.40.65, `hic esse valeo nec volo, illic volo nec valeo, miser utrubique' --at the beginning and end of the long examination of conscience that catalogues the remnants of fallenness and unconversion A. sees in himself.

    pararem . . . laudes: The only occasion on which we are certain that A. delivered such a panegyric was the accession to the consulship of Bauto in January 385: c. litt. Pet. 3.25.30, `cum ego Mediolanium ante Bautonem consulem venerim eique consuli calendis Ianuariis laudem in tanto conventu conspectuque hominum pro mea tunc rhetorica professione recitaverim'. The argument of Courcelle, Recherches 80-82, that this passage must refer to the decennalia of Valentinian II, has been confounded by C. Lepelley, Atti-1986 1.109, drawing on the researches of A. Chastagnol to show that the decennalia would have taken place not in 385, as had been generally assumed, but in 384, too soon after A.'s arrival.

    cogitationum . . . aestuaret: Cf. 2.2.3, `exaestuarent fluctus', with 7.7.11, `fluctibus cogitationis'.

    pauperem mendicum: The sight of a beggar would have rubbed a moral sore spot for A. at this period no matter what other reflections it aroused. Manichean doctrine, often stingingly rebuked by A. in after years, taught that beggars should not be aided: e.g., mor. 2.15.36, quoted on 3.10.18, `si quis enim esuriens peteret'.

    amicis: His friends are always around, still unnamed; see on 6.7.11.

    omnibus talibus conatibus nostris: His Manichean efforts similarly went for naught at 5.7.13, `conatus omnis meus . . .'

    sarcinam: 4.7.12, `sarcina miseriae'.

    laetitiam: The word is used in bono and in malo, but esp. (see on 6.2.2) of the African rites at tombs of martyrs that A. tried to abolish.

    emendicatis: The word is unusual, and occurs notably in contexts of ambitio: for details, see on 10.38.63. It is ironic there, and it occurs here in a similar context, with another ironic twist. Where people usually `beg for' the signs of power and position, all this mendicus has acquired is a little loose change, which suffices him.

    anfractibus et circuitibus: A. pursues these circuitus as early as 4.1.1 and as late as 8.2.3. For the vocabulary, mag. 10.31, `quanto tandem circuitu res tantilla peracta sit, meministine quaeso? . . . [Adeodatus:] vellem quidem tantis ambagibus atque anfractibus esset ad certa perventum.'

    sed placere: Ps. 52.6, `quoniam deus dissipavit ossa hominibus placentium'; en. Ps. 52.9, `volentes placere hominibus, timuerunt perdere locum. . . . inde dissipata sunt ossa eorum, illius [sc. Christi in cruce] ossa nemo confregit.'

    baculo disciplinae tuae: Cf. Ps. 22.4, `virga tua et baculus tuus, ipsa me consolata sunt'; en. Ps. 22.4, `disciplina tua tamquam virga ad gregem ovium, et tamquam baculus iam ad grandiores filios et ab animali vita ad spiritalem crescentes, ipsa me non afflixerunt, magis consolata sunt; quia memor es mei.'

    confringebas ossa mea: Ps. 41.11, `utquid contristatus incedo, dum affligit me inimicus, dum confringit ossa mea'; en. Ps. 41.18, `ossa enim fortes sunt, et aliquando ipsi fortes temptationibus cedunt.' Cf. Is. 38.13, `sperabam usque ad mane quasi leo; sic contrivit omnia ossa mea.'

    text of 6.6.10


    recedant ergo ab anima mea: Cf. Jer. 6.8, `erudire Hierusalem, ne forte recedat anima mea a te, ne forte ponam te desertam terram inhabitabilem.'

    qui dicunt: who? the worldly-wise? Just below, `interest vero' admits some truth to the objection, but places it in a different perspective.

    gloria: Cf. 1 Cor. 1.31, `qui gloriatur in domino glorietur'; 2. Cor. 10.17, `qui autem gloriatur in domino glorietur'.

    vertebat: the opposite of `convertebat'.

    vide: Cf. `vide cor meum', 6.6.9: hence the imperative here is probably addressed to God, as at 10.33.50 and 11.2.4.

    felicior: Almost always of worldly happiness (as `hilaritate' following); see on 5.4.7.

    bene optando: G-M: `by wishing good luck (to the passers-by).'

    typhum: i.e., ambitionem saeculi. On typhus, see on 3.3.6.

    caris meis: See on 6.6.9, `amicis'; still unnamed, still not part of anything good.

    in his: G-M: = `on such occasions as this'; so BA, Ryan, Vega. Pusey, `And I often marked in them how it fared with me.'

    dolebam: Cf. 6.6.9, `multos dolores'.

    text of 6.7.11


    On the naming of friends in conf., see on 4.4.7. That he now names his two great friends of this period is a mark of the progress that A. records; they are almost the only friends named in Bk. 7 (the exception is Firminus, in a self-contained episode): see on 7.6.8.

    Courcelle attempted to make this vita Alypii the cardinal point in the genesis of conf. as a whole. His attempt depends on an elaborate reconstruction of the correspondence of A. and Alypius with Paulinus of Nola, and assumes that a single impulse can be given a privileged position in `explaining' the genesis of the work. Courcelle's argument that the vita Alypii had a separate life apart from conf. is not convincing (see excursus following notes on this paragraph), and Paulinus' curiosity was no more than one impulse among many in pushing A. towards conf.

    This is a story of Alypius' conversions. He was converted from the circus at Carthage, and from the gladiatorial games at Rome, turning from the life of pleasure to follow philosophy and Augustine. But notice that Al.'s `garden scene' brings about the first conversion, and he falls again when he gets to Rome--one might take from this the almost subliminal message that garden scenes are not enough when there is no true faith, and the end of 6.8.13, `sed longe postea', would confirm that. His story most resembles A.'s own narrative of Bk. 3 (the Hortensius, etc.).6 In the schematic moral terms of the three temptations, concupiscentia carnis was not a serious problem for Alypius (6.12.21), but ambitio saeculi (8.6.13; but see on 6.8.13) and curiositas (6.7.12f) both had their power over him.

    A. places himself at this stage of his life in the close company of two friends, both from his African days, both of whom lived and praised a life of sexual continence, even from African days (see on 6.7.12). The continence of Nebridius was mentioned in the narrative at 4.3.6, but nothing in the events narrated showed A. aware of continence as a moral issue. Yet the ideal of continence was part of the philosphical tradition he encountered in the Hortensius, and it was part of the Manichean creed. In both cases, however, it was something he could put aside, something that as he now represents it c. 397 did not become an issue for him. What his real feelings were on joining the Manichees and taking a, probably orthodox Christian, concubine at the same time, we can only guess (and probably should not do so). (Not mentioned in conf. is the special role of Romanianus as a model of willed, `converted' continence [c. acad. 2.2.3]: there are reasons for the omission [see on 6.14.24], but we must remember that the model was at hand in these days.)

    For fuller biographical details, see Mandouze, Pros. chr., s.v. Alypius; and E. Feldmann, A. Schindler, and O. Wermelinger, Aug.-Lex. 1.245-267. He was born after 354 of a better family than A.'s (`parentibus primatibus municipalibus'), died after 427/8. This sketch is the only information for any period before his time with A. in Milan. He returned to Thagaste with A. and became bishop there before 4 March 395; at some time in the intervening years, he visited Jerome and the sites of the Holy Land. A. never traveled, Al. traveled much; and Al. has the reputation, right or wrong, chiefly arising from the management of the great conference with the Donatists of 411, of having been the legalist, the `enforcer', to A.'s pastoral and more (at least outwardly) genial role.

    See also Mandouze, Pros. chr. s.v. Nebridius (born at least before 373, died 388/91, probably by 389), and for fuller treatment (and convenient summary of the correspondence), J. J. Gavigan, Cath. Hist. Rev. 32(1946), 47-58. He was born (it is only a guess that he was about the same age as A.) and bred at and near Carthage, where his father had property there he met A., and from there he followed A. to Italy. Of amiable character, retired and studious, he was willing to assist Verecundus in his teaching (8.6.13, 9.3.6). The testimonial here given to Nebridius attracts attention because he otherwise seems to have played little part in the outward drama. He was absent the day of Ponticianus' visit reported in Bk. 8, he was not at Cassiciacum, and not part of the community at Thagaste. (Passages of conf. in which he features include 4.3.6 and 7.6.8 [on his opposition to astrology], 6.10.17, 6.16.26, 8.6.13-14 [with A. and Alypius at Milan], 7.2.3 [against the Manichees early], and 9.3.6-9.4.7 [his absence from Cassiciacum].) He returned to his family property, living there in perfect chastity and converting his household. A.'s correspondence with him offers valuable additional evidence for the tone and direction of the philosophical inquiries of these years. For a sentimental recollection of N.'s ways, see ep. 98.8, `recordatus sum Nebridium amicum meum, qui cum esset rerum obscurarum ad doctrinam pietatis maxime pertinentium diligentissimus et acerrimus inquisitor, valde oderat de quaestione magna responsionem brevem. et quisquis id poposcisset, aegerrime ferebat eumque, si eius persona pateretur, vultu indignabundus et voce cohibebat, indignum deputans qui talia quaereret, cum de re tanta quam multa dici possent deberentque nesciret.'

    maxime ac familiarissime: These words hint that the circle was larger; at 6.14.24, Romanianus is mentioned, and at Cassiciacum we encounter A.'s brother and cousins. This intimate coexistence is not likely meant to embrace such public friends as Zenobius and Mallius Theodorus.

    docere coepi: This dates to 375/6, the year of the death of A.'s other great friend (4.4.7).

    et postea: A. returned to Carthage in 376 and remained until 383/4.

    spectacula: 3.2.2, `spectacula theatrica' (no mention of circus before the present text).

    in insaniam in insaniam S Maur. Knöll Skut.:   in insania C D:   insania GO Ver.

    rhetoricam ibi professus: 4.2.2, `docebam in illis annis artem rhetoricam'.

    exitiabiliter: TLL 5.2.1526 reports the adv. only here, civ. 1.17, `dei misericordiam desperando exitiabiliter paenitens', ep. 188.1.3 (to which add op. mon. 25.32), and in two later authors (Capreolus [430/7 A. D.] and Gildas [6th cent.]).

    text of 6.7.

    Excursus: Alypius, Paulinus, and the genesis of conf.

    Courcelle (Recherches 31-32, reprised at Les Confessions 559-607) saw in the vita Alypii of 6.7.11 a key to the genesis of conf. as a whole. This is the appropriate place to review the evidence, and to see how far we can agree. It must be borne in mind, however, that C. elsewhere assumes that conf. as we have the work is only a torso, and constructs imaginary unwritten sections of the work for which there is no good evidence.

    The story briefly is this: In summer 395, Al. wrote to Paulinus on the occasion of his establishment at Nola. Al. indicated that when he was receiving baptismal catechesis in Milan, he heard well of Paulinus; Al. offered friendship, and sent along five books of A. contra manichaeos (Courcelle suggests: vera rel., Gn. c. man. [in two books], mor. [also in two books]) as rejoinder for the `five writings' of the Manichees (cf. c. Fel. 1.14, `quinque auctores'), seeking a copy of Eusebius chron. Paulinus responded fall 395, sending the Eusebius.

    Then Paulinus (Paul. Nol. ep. 3.4, to Alypius): `specialiter autem hoc a te peto, . . . ut pro hac historia temporum referas mihi omnem tuae sanctitatis historiam, ut “qui genus, unde sis domo” [Aen. 8.114] tanto vocatus a domino, quibus exordiis ”segregatus ab utero matris tuae” [Gal. 1.15] ad matrem filiorum dei prole laetantem abiurata carnis et sanguinis stirpe transieris et in ”genus regale ac sacerdotale” [1 Pet. 2.9] sis translatus edisseras. quod enim indicasti iam de humilitatis nostrae nomine apud Mediolanium te didicisse, cum illic initiareris, fateor curiosius me velle condiscere, ut omni parte te noverim, quo magis gratuler, si a suspiciendo mihi patre nostro Ambrosio vel ad fidem invitatus es vel ad sacerdotium consecratus, ut eundem ambo habere videamur auctorem.'

    A. seems to have answered for Al., with the requested narrative postponed by the premature departure of the courier, Romanianus: A. ep. 27.5, `est etiam aliud quo istum fratrem amplius diligas; nam est cognatus venerabilis et vere beati episcopi Alypii, quem toto pectore amplecteris, et merito. nam quisquis de illo viro benigne cogitat, de magna dei misericordia et de mirabilibus dei muneribus cogitat. itaque cum legisset [sc. Alypius] petitionem tuam, qua desiderare te indicasti ut historiam suam tibi scribat, et volebat facere propter benivolentiam tuam et nolebat propter verecundiam suam. quem cum viderem inter amorem pudoremque fluctuantem, onus ab illo in umeros meos transtuli; nam hoc mihi etiam per epistulam iussit. cito ergo, si dominus adiuverit, totum Alypium inseram praecordiis tuis. . . . quod iam fecissem iamque illum legeres, nisi profectio fratris inprovisa repente placuisset, quem sic commendo cordi et linguae tuae, ut ita comiter ei te praebeas, quasi non nunc illum, sed mecum ante didiceris.'

    Courcelle, Recherches 31-32: `La suite de la correspondance est perdue; mais la biographie d'Alypius a été remployée dans les Confessions. Il y a tout lieu de penser que Paulin, mis en goût par cet opuscule, a incité Augustin à narrer tout au long l'histoire de sa vie, de sa conversion et de son ordination, intimement liées à l'histoire d'Alypius. Lorsqu'Augustin mentionne les "spirituels" qui pourront sourire amicalement en apprenant les bizarres erreurs ou il est tombé dans sa jeunesse [5.10.20], il songe sûrement à Paulin surtout.'7 At Les Confessions 559-607, `Appendice III: La correspondance avec Paulin de Nole et la genèse des Confessions', Courcelle develops extensively his view of the interaction between correspondence and `confession'. There are four surviving letters of Paulinus, eight of Augustine; H. Lietzmann had inferred an additional nine lost letters. Courcelle finds reason to surmise no less than 18 mor., and prints an elaborate chart (Les Confessions 601-3) to accompany his discussion. The claims C. makes for his reconstruction are considerable, e.g., 607, `toute le développement du livre X, relatif aux tentations, est issu directement des impressions échangées entre Paulin et Augustin.' The main argument against his reconstruction is simply that A. did not address or dedicate conf. to Paulinus. The second strongest argument is that there is no mention anywhere in the surviving correspondance of conf. or of the `biography of Alypius' after the fact, nor does A. say anything about Paulinus in retr. The letter to Alypius may well have helped trigger memory and rumination, but to reduce the genesis of this elaborate work to a mechanical response to a friend's curiosity (n.b., curiosius [!] in Paulinus' letter quoted above) is to misread the work as a whole completely.

    On Courcelle's view, Al. can't write about himself out of modesty; so A. agrees to write about him, to make sure that none of God's gifts are omitted; so--to follow Courcelle--A. is quickly convinced to write about himself. Well, perhaps. But a crucial transformation takes place, turning A. the confessor away from an audience and towards God, discovering the whole rhetorical strategy of conf., quite different from what Al. must have conceived in trying to write about himself, or from what A. meant to do writing about Al., or certainly from anything Paulinus expected.

    For all the ferocious attention to detail in Courcelle's treatment of this correspondence, two elements remained undervalued. First, the place in the correspondence and the genesis of conf. of A.'s request to Paulinus (ep. 31.8, of late 396/early 397), asking Paulinus to send a copy of Amb.'s de philosophia sive de sacramento regenerationis (`libros . . . adversus nonnullos imperitissimos et superbissimos, qui de Platonis libris dominum profecisse contendunt'); see the prolegomena to this commentary for the importance of that work in A.'s formation, and in the reformation of his views of Platonic philosophy along Ambrosian lines at about the time he was writing conf. In Courcelle's reconstruction, Paulinus only complied with this request in late 399 (item C in Courcelle's reconstruction: Les Confessions 568-569), but the lack of mention of that request in epp. 42 and 45 to Paulinus of 398 and 399 leaves open the possibility that A. had already obtained the work; and at all events, 399 is well within the conventional range of dates (397/401: see also prolegomena for discussion) within which conf. is agreed to have been written.

    Second, there has been no detailed comparative study of the style of Paulinus' letters and conf. Paulinus is well above average in stylishness for a Christian writer of the time (far more elegant and subtle than Amb., e.g.), and the text of his letters (see, e.g., A.'s ep. 30.) is a tissue of scriptural language to an even greater degree than is true of conf. A. must have been impressed by this, and it was surely one element in the forging of the distinctive style of conf.

    text of 6.7.12


    Courcelle, Recherches 59, `il ne paraît guère douteux non plus qu'Augustin n'ait "arrangé" l'épisode d'après l'exemplum célèbre de Polémon adolescent; celui-ci, dans des circonstances analogues, fut converti à la philosophie par Xénocrate. Augustin connaît bien cette anecdote, qui figurait peut-être, précisément, dans l'Hortensius.' Nothing requires the episode to have come from the Hortensius, however; Solignac, BA 13.543n thinks the source the Celsus-doxography; it may be read in Val. Max. 6.9, a comical little tale of a sermon being taken to heart by the drunkard, who first takes off his crown, then rearranges his clothes and straightens his face. If there is anything to the link Courcelle suggests between this episode and that, it seems clear from ep. 144.2 that A. means to say both that something good can happen entirely outside Christianity, and that it is from the Christian God: `Xenocrates Polemonem, ut scribitis et nos ex illis litteris recordamur, de fruge temperantiae disputando non solum ebriosum verum et tunc ebrium ad mores alios repente convertit. quamquam ergo ille, sicut prudenter et veraciter intellexistis, non deo fuerit adquisitus sed tantum a dominatu luxuriae liberatus, tamen ne idipsum quidem, quod melius in eo factum est, humano operi tribuerim sed divino.' (Also mentioned at c. Iul. 1.4.12, and cf. c. Iul. 1.7.35).

    antistitem: Otherwise only of Amb.; see on 6.2.2.

    sacramenti tui: G-M: `i.e., of the Christian faith': that hardly seems to be an adequate representation, for `antistitem' has a verbal force, and a following genitive is epexegetic of that active sense. See on 6.5.8 for range of meanings of `sacrament.'

    exponerem exponerem C D G O S Vega:   exponerem et Maur. Knöll Skut. (with the support of one minor MS):   exponerem et cum Ver.
    The difficulty is not the conjunction or lack of one, but the punctuation of the whole sentence. As edited in this century (G-M, Skut., Vega, Pellegrino, Verheijen), a single sentence is punctuated to run from quam dum through cogitaverim; the only finite verb in this `sentence' is scis. This means that the editors, who generally print some conjunction, either et or Verheijen's conjecture et cum, before opportune (Vega alone omits the conjunction but retains the punctuation), believe that the dum-clause provides a circumstance that usefully qualifies the statement, `You know, God, that I was not thinking of Alypius.' The weaknesses of that reading are immediately obvious when one attempts to translate the passage.

    corripe . . . te: Prov. 9.8 (VL), `corripe sapientem et amabit te' (quoted in that form at ep. 210.2; trin. 14.1.2 follows Vg.).

    carbones ardentes: Ps. 139.11, `decident supra eos carbones ignis in terra' (at en. Ps. 139.14, the carbones destroy the vices and clear the ground, making way for the positive construction of divine grace: exactly Alypius' situation here); Ps. 119.4, `cum carbonibus desolatoriis'; en. Ps. 119.5, `erant autem in illo multa quae male fronduerant, multae carnales cogitationes, saeculares multi amores; ipsi uruntur carbonibus desolatoriis, ut fiat purus locus desolatus, in cuius loci puritate faciat deus aedificium suum; . . . accedunt carbones desolatorii, et deiciunt quod male fuerat aedificatum, et desolato loco accedit structura felicitatis perpetuae. videte ergo quare dicti sunt carbones: quia qui se convertunt ad dominum, de mortuis reviviscunt. carbones autem quando accenduntur, antequam accenderentur, exstincti erant. nam exstincti carbones, mortui dicuntur; ardentes, vivi appellantur.' (The words `carbonum ignis ardentium' occur at Ez. 1.13 [cited by Ver. here], but the context is not relevant.)

    mentem spei bonae: See on 1.16.26, `bonae spei puer'.

    taceat laudes: Cf. Ps. 106.8, 15, 21, 31: `confiteantur domino miserationes eius et mirabilia eius filiis hominum'.

    quae . . . confitentur: It is not A. that confesses, but the mercy of God working through him; cf. 1.5.5, `miserere ut loquar'.

    ex fovea tam alta: 6.3.3, `foveam periculi mei'.

    et resiluerunt: This sudden conversion on encountering a chance word of rebuke is not without its later lapse in the next paragraph, 6.8.13.

    illa mecum superstitione involutus est: The implication is that Alypius' adherence to Manicheism was on altogether different grounds from that of A.: for Alypius no expiation of his guilt, especially not sexual guilt, but high-minded purity.

    ostentationem: G-M adduce c. Faust. 5.1 (Faustus speaking), `omnia mea dimisi, patrem, matrem, uxorem, filios, aurum, argentum, manducare, bibere, delicias, voluptates.'

    veram et germanam: The Manichees preached much about continence, but what continence they had was not of a good source, not authentic, and much of what they purported to have was false. For Manichean views of sexuality in general, see on 8.1.2; at mor. 2.18.65 and 2.19.68-72, A. took them to task for the inconsistencies of their position and the peccadilloes of their leaders, with lurid stories.

    pretiosas animas captans: Prov. 6.26, `mulier autem virorum prestiosas animas captat' (as cited at civ. 2.5).

    text of 6.8.13


    This episode corresponds to the pear-theft (2.4.9ff), similarly impossible without the company and urging of friends left unnamed.

    incantatam: G-M: perhaps `the path in life which his parents had inaugurated for him,' or merely `dinned it into him.' But the normal usage of the verb has a clear sense of `cast a spell, bewitch'. BA: `la voie terrestre dont ses parents lui avaient chanté les charmes.' The notion of bewitchment/enchantment is borne out by `viam' postponed to the end of the phrase: in light of the weight that via carries in conf., esp. in Bk. 7, the terrena via is no trivial, or value-neutral, thing, but is in a way the worst thing of all. What does emerge is that Alypius was less enslaved to ambitio saeculi than A.: he entered upon that path under his parents' influence and here is said only not to have abandoned it.

    TLL 7.1.847 s.v. incanto instances this passage under the heading, `laxius et non technice . . . fere i.q. decantare, declamare.' But the other passages adduced there do not much resemble this one: they all variously deprecate the object of the incantation, while it certainly does not seem that Alypius' parents opposed his earthly career. Other passages in A. offer a potential parallel to the sense suggested by G-M, but where there is an express object of the verb, it is something unmistakably divine and good: en. Ps. 57.8, `Stephanus martyr praedicabat veritatem, et tamquam tenebrosis mentibus, ut eas in lucem educeret, incantabat'; sim. at en. Ps. 48. s. 1.1, Gn. c. man. 2.26.40 (but no express object). In the end, the usage is unparalleled.

    gladiatorii spectaculi: Again Alypius takes delight in a form of spectacle that A. had not (to our knowledge) patronized (see on 6.7.12). A. attended the blood sports himself in youth (en. Ps. 147.7, `et aliquando nos quoque ibi sedimus et insanivimus'), but they had not the hold on him that the theater did; see W. Weismann, Aug.-Lex. 1.300-303.

    pervium pervium C D G O S and all other MSS with one exception (see next reading) Knöll Skut. Vega Ver.:   per viam M2:   pervius Maur. Pell.
    Pervius is rare in A., and in every case (7.1.2, en. Ps. 67.5, civ. 4.2; used twice in the same way by Julian, quoted at c. Iul. imp. 6.9, 6.33) it is adjectival and unambiguously means not `in the way, across the path' but `permeable, passable, open to transit'; every sense of the word listed by OLD shares this common, root meaning. But the translators have simply compelled the passage to say what they infer it ought to mean and so reversed the sense of this word: Ryan: `whom he chanced to meet'; Pusey: `he was one day by chance met'; BA: `le rencontrèrent'; Pell.: `incontrò per strada.' Reading pervium/pervius = obviam with the translators encounters a further insuperable difficulty. Though any form of pervius is rare in A., obviam is, if infrequent, perfectly common in similar circumstances, occurring no less than 3x elsewhere in conf.: e.g., 6.9.15, `fit eis obviam quidam architectus'; cf. 7.6.8, 8.11.26.

    G-M offer a more complicated and on the surface appealing theory, taking the reading perviam to mean obiter (instancing Charisius inst. gram. 2 (Keil 1.209), who mentions that Augustus found fault with Tiberius for using perviam in the sense of obiter. But that latter allegation from a grammarian is the sole citation in that sense in OLD (TLL unavailable here), it is risky to assume that a sense known only to have been objected to by a famous grammarian is the exact sense required here, and the mere existence of perviam elsewhere is doubtful: it apparently appears only in a conjecture in Plautus, Pseudolus 760, where the meaning offered by OLD for the phrase `perviam est' is `there is a way through.' (Other passages cited in older dictionaries do not preserve the reading in current critical editions.)

    Sc. perhaps `amphitheatrum': `when the stadium happened to be open to them as they were coming back from the mid-day meal'. On that reading, the friends do not, on the way to the show, happen to encounter Alypius, but he is dragged by his friends inside when they decide on the spur of the moment to pass the afternoon that way.

    adero itaque absens: The risks of an absent presence are evidently considerable.

    quo (ubi) quo B P Z F Maur. Knöll Skut. Pell.:   quod C D G O S Vega Ver.
    quo may be an emendation, but a good one.

    curiositate: the temptation afflicting someone in the presence of spectacula (here and at 6.7.11; see on 3.2.2); n.b. concupivit. Curiositas, once it takes root, is not a thing of the physical eyes. When they are blocked off, the temptation can enter through the ears (as here).

    aperuit oculos aperuit oculos C D G O Maur. Ver. Vega:   aperuit S Knöll Skut. Pell.

    de se praesumserat: Cf. Jud. 6.15, `ostende quoniam non derelinquis praesumentes de te; et praesumentes de se . . . humilas.'

    nesciebat: `he was unaware what he was doing'. The verb is abundant through conf. 1-10 (e.g., 14x in Bk. 4, 12x in Bk. 6, 24x in Bk. 10), occurs 12x in Bk. 11, but then only 3x in Bk. 12 and not at all in Bk. 13: an unconscious measure of the progress he makes.

    docuisti docuisti C D G O Maur. Ver. Pell.:   docuisti eum S Knöll Skut. Vega

    non sui habere sed tui fiduciam: Is. 57.13, `qui autem fiduciam habet mei, hereditabit terram'; Prov. 3.5, `habe fiduciam in domino ex toto corde tuo, et ne innitaris prudentiae tuae.'

    text of 6.9.14


    Courcelle, Recherches 45, identifies an apparent want of chronology in these pararaphs: first student days at Carthage, then student days at Rome, then Carthage again, then Rome when A. catches up with him. The only disorder, however, is the placing of the story of the gladiatorial show at Rome, and that is merely the logical conclusion of the curiositas story that begins the chronological sequence.

    The strongest feature of the argument that the Alypius-vita was written beforehand is just that this episode obtrudes. It has no real parallel in A's narrative of his own past; it is comical; it has a moral, but a rather low-powered one, and none of the breast-beating we might expect if A. told it of himself--all the guilt and shame he would have felt for what he had not done, when he never felt guilt and shame for things he had done, etc. But it was, after all, a form of curiositas that got Alypius into his troubles: going to see what was afoot, then picking up the axe . . .

    aeditimis: Not an especially common word, always in CL with religious connections: `temple-guards.' The form is preferred as more archaic to aedituus (Varro and Gellius; cf. civ. 6.7), but the latter form prevails from Cicero on and appears 3x in Vg. in specifically religious contexts, e.g., Ez. 44.11.

    quam . . . credulitate: `how a man should not easily in trials be condemned by another man out of rash credulousness'.

    credulitate credulitate C D G Maur. Knöll Skut. Ver.  (who regards the reading as correct but not in the archetype):   crudelitate O S

    vico argentario: A case of precocious mass-production: civ. 7.4, `ridemus quidem, cum eos [deos] . . . tamquam opifices in vico argentario, ubi unum vasculum, ut perfectum exeat, per multos artifices transit, cum ab uno perfecto perfici posset.'

    furem manifestum: The crime was indeed furtum, and being caught in possession of the axe (taken as evidence that Al. had done the hacking the workmen had heard) was adequate to suggest that he was fur manifestus: the legal texts collected by E. Schepses, SDHI 5(1939), 141-151, are unambiguous.

    text of 6.9.15


    sed hactenus docendus fuit: `but the lesson only had to go so far'.

    cuius testis eras tu solus: Cf. Wisd. 1.6, `quoniam renum illius testis est deus et cordis illius scrutator est verus et linguae eius auditor'; cf. Jer. 29.23, `ego sum iudex et testis, dicit dominus.'

    supplicium: The case was liable to criminal rather than civil proceeding (Schepses, art. cit., 151-3); the nature of the supplicium is not clear, but the context implies either imprisonment or corporal punishment.

    architectus: A respectable official, probably with the rank clarissimus comes (Symm. ep. 5.76, rel. 25.26, etc.); cod. theod. 13.4.1 (334), `architectis quam plurimis opus est; sed quia non sunt, sublimitas tua in provinciis Africanis ad hoc studium eos impellat, qui ad annos ferme duodeviginti nati liberales litteras degustaverint. quibus ut hoc gratum sit, tam ipsos quam eorum parentes ab his quae personis iniungi solent volumus esse immunes, ipsisque qui discent salarium competens statui.'

    in domo . . . senatoris: Alypius' innocence does not get him a hearing; his social connections save him.

    parvus: BA translates as `jeune'; Pusey as `young'; both infer that the slave was so young and innocent as to fail to see the harm that his testimony could do to his master.

    futurus dispensator: Particularly apt: Tit. 1.7, `oportet enim episcopum sine crimine esse, sicut dei dispensatorem'; see on 6.5.8, `sacramentorum'.

    dispensator . . . examinator: On the pre-eminence of preaching and service to his flock (hearing cases) in a bishop's activities, see on 6.3.3, 11.2.2. On bishop as judge, op. mon. 29.37, `tumultuosissimas perplexitates causarum alienarum pati de negotiis saecularibus vel iudicando dirimendis vel interveniendo praecidendis'.

    text of 6.10.16


    The escape to a legal career was strictly illegal if Alypius was really a curialis, as he seems to have been: cod. theod. 12.1, various titles, ad infinitum.

    adhaesit: cf. `inhaerebat' below.

    ter iam adsederat: 8.6.13, `post adsessionem tertiam'; n.b. `adsederat' in the present passage speaks of the moment at which he left Rome for Milan, so the passage in Bk. 8 bespeaks a time when he had been unsuccessful in finding work there. Aul. Gell. 12.13 on adsessores: `iuris studiosi quos adhibere in consilium iudicaturi solent'; cf. `consiliarius'. See S. Poque, Le langage symbolique 122-123.

    indoles: cf. 6.7.11, `propter magnam virtutis indolem'.

    comiti largitionum Italicianarum: The comes Italicianarum was a dignitary of moderate standing, subordinate to the comes sacrarum largitionum (not. dig. 7); cod. theod. 6.19.1 (400), `eos, qui consularitatis functi sunt dignitate [not the consulship, but the office of consularis, i.e., governor of certain provinces--see on 6.11.19], comitibus Italicianarum et Gallicianarum iure praeferimus, si quidem haud exiguus sit titulus meritorum regere et gubernare provincias.' The department of largitiones dealt mainly with collection of old cash-taxes (aurum coronarium, conlatio lustralis, conlatio glebalis) and currency generally (e.g., the mints); see Jones, LRE 429-430.

    pretiis praetorianis: G-M cite Pusey, `who interprets it as referring to the privilege of purchasing at a special tariff enjoyed by officials connected with the court, . . . [i.e.] “at palace prices”' BA 13.555n think of the court's expense fund and imagine Alypius refusing to have the official scribes do copying for his behalf and charging it to the office. These are plausible speculations, but praetorianis is odd unless it is a technical term--but then it is odd that it is not attested elsewhere. (But note that at 6.11.18, A. is worrying about where he will acquire codices. His friend's integrity may have been a minor nuisance.)

    codices: Always of `book-as-artefact', never `book-as-text'.

    qui in parvo . . .: Lk. 16.10-12 (parable of the unjust steward), `qui fidelis est in minimo et in maiori fidelis est, et qui in modico iniquus est et in maiori iniquus est. (11) si ergo in iniquo mammona fideles non fuistis, verum quis credet vobis? (12) et si in alieno fideles non fuistis, vestrum quis dabit vobis?'

    veritatis = Christi.

    verum verum C D O1 S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   vestrum G O2:   quod verum est B P Z Maur.

    vestrum vestrum C D G O S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   quod vestrum est B P Z Maur.
    For both these readings, see the text as quoted at en. Ps. 136.2, and supplement with Milne 108.

    mecumque nutabat . . . modus: Brings us back to Alypius' introduction at the beginning of 6.7.11, `congemescebamus in his qui simul amice vivebamus'.

    text of 6.10.17


    Nebridius: see on 6.7.11 and 4.3.6.

    paterno rure: Hor. epod. 2.1-8:

    beatus ille, qui procul negotiis
         ut prisca gens mortalium,
    paterna rura bubus exercet suis,
         solutus omni faenore,
    neque excitatur classico miles truci,
         neque horret iratum mare,
    forumque vitat et superba civium
         potentiorum limina.

    The poem was well known to A., for at mus. 5.9.18-5.13.27, the first verse is quoted and put through metrical transformations; at qu. hept. 3.74 there is an echo of 2.6, `iratum mare'; see Keseling, Philol. Wochenschr. 51(1931), 1279. The epode would be attractive for the echo of Ps. 1.1 (`beatus vir qui non abiit in consilio impiorum') with which it begins, and it aptly describes the otium cum philosophia to which N. returned after Milan.

    But a distinctly Christian counter-model is mixed into these lines: Mt. 19.29, `et omnis qui reliquit domos vel fratres aut sorores aut patrem aut matrem aut filios aut agros propter nomen meum, centuplum accipiet et vitam aeternam possidebit.' That text is the tag end of Mt. 19.21ff, `Go, sell all you have, and come follow me,' quoted from the Anthony conversion story at 8.12.29, just before A. picks up the codex of Paul.

    non secutura matre: Courcelle, Recherches 86n5, `Il paraît probable qu'elle [Monique] a voyagé en compagnie de Nebridius, car Augustin précise (6.10.17) que la mère de Nebridius avait refusé au dernier moment d'accompagner celui-ci.' The hypothesis is not implausible, though C.'s misreading and faulty translation of the present text beget error. There is no `last moment' here, only the implied contrast (`with his mother not to follow [the way some people's mothers might follow]'). See on 1.11.17, excursus on mothers and fathers in conf.: it is impossible to avoid the suspicion that there is some contrast implied with Monnica here. N.'s conversion resembles A.'s in many ways, but he has no Monnica to pray him home.

    veritatis atque sapientiae: The phrase both reports their aim and hints at the manner of its fulfillment. The friends search, both knowing and not knowing what it is they seek, not seeing the (to A. of 397, ineluctable) epithets of Christ in these words. Cf. `inquisitor' with 9.3.6, `[Nebridius] inquisitor ardentissimus veritatis' and 6.11.19, `ad solam inquisitionem veritatis'. For A. of 397, beata vita and veritas are not two different things (if they ever had been for him: c. acad. 1.3.7, `placuit enim Ciceroni nostro “beatum esse, qui veritatem investigat, etiamsi ad eius inventionem non valeat pervenire.” [Hort. frg. 101 M] . . . quam ob rem si et sapientem necessario beatum esse credendum est et veritatis sola inquisitio perfectum sapientiae munus est, quid dubitamus existimare beatam vitam etiam per se ipsa investigatione veritatis posse contingere?').

    suspirabat . . . fluctuabat: Same verbs of A. already at 6.5.8.

    ad te ad te O S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   a te CDG Maur.

    ad te . . . opportuno: Ps. 103.27, `omnia a te expectant, domine, ut des illis cibum in tempore oportuno'; Ps. 144.15-16, `oculi omnium in te sperant et tu das escam illis in opportunitate, (16) aperis tu manum tuam et imples omne animal [Ps. Veron.: `omnem animam'] benedictione.' The echo recurs at 6.14.24, when they consider retirement from the city. Knauer 139, `beide Male möchte eine “societas” gleichgesinnter Freunde versuchen, gemeinsam die innere Ruhe zu finden, wobei es charakteristisch ist, wie Augustin die Tempora beider Psalmverse . . . ändert in den Konkunktiv des Imperfekts bzw. das Partizip des Futurs: sind doch die Freunde in beiden Fällen von einer solchen “benedictio” Gottes weit entfernt.'

    amaritudine: See on 2.1.1. Here no particular scriptural passage is evoked, but A. often draws upon a private `lexicon' created by consciousness of the frequency of occurrence in scripture and the contexts there.

    tenebrae: 4.15.25, `deus meus, inluminabis tenebras meas' (=Ps. 17.29; cf. 6.1.1 and 7.1.2 for same verse); 6.1.1, `et ambulabam per tenebras et lubricum et quaerebam te foris a me et non inveniebam deum cordis mei.'

    gementes: 6.7.11, `congemescebamus'.

    quamdiu haec: 8.12.28, `quamdiu, quamdiu cras et cras'; that passage and this bracket the search for truth from the naming of the friends to the garden scene. Alypius and Nebridius are drawn into the dismay that A. depicts afflicting himself at 6.6.9-10 (on seeing the beggar).

    quia . . . apprehenderemus: Here the friends are drawn into the Micawberish conclusion of Bk. 5: see on 5.14.25, and cf. 5.7.13 and 5.10.18.

    text of 6.11.18


    Courcelle, Les Confessions 18: `il s'agit sans aucun doute non d'un résumé abstrait et de caractère historique, mais des réflexions que faisait Augustin trentenaire, lorsqu'il partageait à Milan les incertitudes d'Alypius et de Nébridius, eux-mêmes à peine sortis du manichéisme. Le monologue intérieur, qui se prolonge pendant deux pages, décrit sous forme de paragraphes antithétiques les tergiversations d'Augustin entre divers partis possibles, dont les deux extrêmes sont d'une part la conversion à une vie continente catholique, d'autre part un mariage brillant et une carrière profane.'

    This elaborately perverse view of these paragraphs (C. goes on at length, adding inter alia the view that A. actively considered returning to Manicheism at this time!) has already been gently disowned by the BA annotators ad loc. A true view of this text must take into account the ironic quality of the self-representation. These lines take into account the whole development from the reading of the Hortensius to this first moment of renewed hope, and in them accumulate all the false hopes and vain expectations that had accompanied A. on that trajectory. This is almost a parody of his past, often using similar words to those earlier in the narrative, as the notes below show. Take the words `ecce Faustus veniet' --Courcelle, Recherches 45n2, thinks those words require us to consider whether Faustus planned to come to Milan in 386, while Mandouze 279n9 calls this `exclamation anachronique' --but that view only partly abandons Courcelle's error. There is no anachronism at all, for A. neither said this in Milan nor represents himself as having said it there. We reach a genuine present tense only at the end of paragraph 19. (Note that the discussion of life-after-death at the beginning of 6.11.19 anticipates the end of Bk. 6 at 6.16.26, as the mention of marriage later in 6.11.19 anticipates 6.11.20-6.15.25.)

    The theme of this meditation--so little time, so much to know--recurs throughout ep. 21., when A. shortly after taking priestly orders asks Valerius for a short leave from duty to study scripture. Similar anxiety closer to the date here is sol. 2.14.26: `[Ratio] sed quid facimus? an incepta omittimus, et exspectamus ecquid nobis librorum alienorum in manus incidat, quod huic quaestioni satisfaciat? nam et multos ante nostram aetatem scriptos esse arbitror, quos non legimus, et nunc, ut nihil quod nescimus opinemur, manifestum habemus, et carmine de hac re scribi et soluta oratione et ab his viris quorum nec scripta latere nos possunt et eorum ingenia talia novimus, ut nos in eorum litteris quod volumus inventuros desperare non possimus, praesertim cum hic ante oculos nostros sit ille8 in quo ipsam eloquentiam, quam mortuam dolebamus, perfectam revixisse cognovimus.' Most noticeable between that text and this is the disappearance of the hope that solutions would come from new books by learned friends. (On the interior monologue, see on 10.8.14, `dico apud me'; see also 7.5.7 and 8.7.18 for similar representations.)

    recolens: The key, ignored by Courcelle, to the retrospective aspect of this representation.

    quam longum tempus: A similar retrospective on his progress and failures from the time of reading the Hortensius appears at 8.7.17; the age (18) is also insisted upon at 3.4.7, 4.1.1.

    studio sapientiae: See on 3.4.7; `sapientiae studio' recurs below to frame this meditation.

    omnes vanarum cupiditatum spes inanes et insanias mendaces: Ps. 39.5, `beatus vir cuius est nomen domini spes eius et non respexit in vanitates et insanias mendaces'; en. Ps. 39.7, `ecce qua volebas ire, ecce turba viae latae [see on 6.5.8, `viam saeculi latam']: non frustra ipsa ducit ad amphitheatrum, non frustra ipsa ducit ad mortem. . . . sed turbae strepunt, turbae festinant. . .. noli imitari, noli averti; vanitates sunt, et insaniae mendaces. sit dominus deus tuus spes tua.'

    tricenariam aetatem: Reached by A. 13 November 384; on Monnica's arrival as probably early 385, see on 6.1.1; 8.7.17 says `19th year plus 12', which gets us more or less to the same 384/85, though the circumstances are those of August 386.

    in eodem luto haesitans: Ter. Phormio 780, `in eodem luto haesitas'; a copybook formula (cf. Otto, Sprichwörter 201-202): quoted by Lactantius inst. 2.8.24, 7.2.3, Hier. ep. 143.2, c. pel. 1.11, 1.24, in Is. 10 pr., and Marius Mercator (PL 48.158). Cf. 2.2.2, `limosa concupiscentia carnis'.

    fruendi: For the moral error in `enjoying' created things, see doctr. chr. 1.4.4f.

    fugientibus et dissipantibus: Two scriptural echoes already heard elsewhere: the prodigal (1.18.28, `in longinqua regione vivens prodige dissiparet', 4.16.30, `in longinquam regionem ut eam dissiparem in meretrices cupiditates') and Is. 11.12 (1.3.3, `nec tu dissiparis, sed conligis nos').

    cras: See on 8.12.28, `cras et cras'.

    ecce Faustus veniet: 5.6.10, `nimis extento desiderio venturum expectabam istum Faustum'; G-M descry ironical allusion to Jn. 4.25: `dicit ei mulier: scio quia Messias venit (qui dicitur Christus): cum ergo venerit ille, nobis annuntiabit omnia.'

    o magni viri academici: 5.10.19, `prudentiores illos . . . quos academicos appellant . . . nec aliquid veri ab homine comprehendi' (see notes there for comprehendere in Academic vocabulary). The sarcasm recurs with different targets at en. Ps. 31. en. 2.16, `at enim magni viri sunt, qui defendunt peccata sua; magni sunt et qui numerant sidera, et qui computant stellas et tempora, et dicunt quis quando vel peccet vel bene vivat, et quando Mars faciat homicidam, et Venus adulteram; magni, docti viri, et electi videntur in hoc saeculo.'

    comprehendi: See on 5.10.19 (and cf. 6.4.6, `comprehendi').

    immo . . . non desperemus: Mandouze 91n2 takes this as progress over the `dubitans de omnibus' of 5.14.25; for despero/desperatio see on 5.13.23; after this passage, the only occurrence in any form in the narrative books is 6.15.25, of the dismissal of his concubine.

    quae absurda videbantur: 6.4.6, `quo antea videbantur absurda'.

    possunt . . . intellegi: 6.3.4, `non sic intellegi'.

    in eo gradu: See on 5.14.25, `statui ergo tamdiu esse catechumenus . . . donec aliquid certi' (cf. 6.10.17, `quia non elucebat certum aliquid').

    perspicua veritas: 13.18.23, `perspicuae veritatis luce'.

    ubi quaeretur: Mt. 7.7, `quaerite et invenietis' (quaer- occurs 6x in these lines).

    non vacat Ambrosio: 6.3.3, `secludentibus me ab eius aure atque ore catervis'; 6.3.4, `nulla dabatur copia sciscitandi quae cupiebam'.

    codices: Courcelle, Recherches 155n2, `Il paraît clair que les codices en question ne sont pas des libri ecclesiastici.' He thinks that A. here is pining for a `lecture à deux' (see on 6.3.3) of the Enneads with Amb.: this goes too far. There is no reason to think that ecclesiastical books would have been on principle excluded at this time.

    pro salute animae: Ps. 34.3, `dic animae meae, salus tua ego sum'; the same phrase as here at 5.8.14.

    non docet catholica fides: 5.10.20, `non erat catholica fides quam esse arbitrabar'; 5.14.24, `fidem catholicam . . . iam non impudenter adseri existimabam'.

    nefas . . . terminatum: Cf. 6.3.4, `non . . . humani corporis forma te determinatum'.

    pulsare: Mt. 7.7 again; cf. 1.1.1, 13.38.53.

    amicos maiores: See 6.11.19, `amicorum maiorum'.

    sed quando . . . curarum: Cf. 6.3.3 and 11.2.2 on the bishop's daily round, and see on 6.3.3 for the parallel already there between the bishop's and the orator's activities (esp. Cic. orat. 42.143 quoted there): distracted by involvement with others, by time spent on preparing things to say to the public, and by refreshing the body for its labors.

    quando praeparamus: The anxiety of the teacher facing the morrow: cura mort. 11.13, `Carthaginis rhetor Eulogius . . . cum rhetoricos Ciceronis libros discipulis suis traderet, recensens lectionem quam postridie fuerat traditurus, quendam locum offendit obscurum, quo non intellecto vix potuit dormire sollicitus.'

    text of 6.11.19


    quid si mors: Envisions the Epicurean theory; cf. 6.16.26, ending the book, and 7.5.7, `ingravidato curis mordacissimis de timore mortis et non inventa veritate'; `et hoc quaerendum' suggests intellectual investigation of the theory.

    culmen auctoritatis: See on 6.5.7, `quos tanta . . .'

    spe saeculi: i.e., ambitio saeculi, the topic from here to the end of this paragraph. This exposition of the power of ambitio saeculi sets the stage for dismantling that cupiditas through the rest of the book. Not that A. will withdraw from all worldly pursuits, but that his cupiditas for them will die. The phrase `relicta spe saeculi' recurs with variations in the participle at 8.7.18, 8.12.30, 9.10.26, and resonates almost thirty years later: s. 355.1.2, `iuvenis veni ad istam civitatem. . . . spem quippe omnem saeculi reliqueram, et quod esse potui, esse nolui.'

    praesidatus: Auson. prof. Burd. 15.18, `honore gesti praesidatus inclitus'. See Jones, LRE 527-529, on the standing of praesides: the office was originally equestrian and infra dignitatem for senators, but that distinction began to blur in the fourth century; it remained, however, the lowest-ranking of provincial governorships. There were approximately 22 provinces governed by consulares, three by correctores, and 31 by praesides. The `vel' suggests that this was only the lower limit of his ambitions at the time, with good reason: see C. Lepelley, Bull. litt. eccl. 88(1987), 229-246, and Atti-1986, 108 (quoting Symm. ep. 1.20, `iter ad capessendos magistratus saepe litteris promovetur'). A. used the same term for the office exercised by Pontius Pilate (symb. cat. 3.7).

    et ducenda uxor: As the context makes clear, the principle cupidity a wife would satisfy was ambitio saeculi: see sol. 1.11.18, quoted on 6.14.24 below, and cf. beata v. 1.4, `uxoris honorisque inlecebra detinebar.'

    multi magni viri: Cf. 6.12.21, `exemplis eorum qui coniugati coluissent sapientiam et promeruissent deum.'

    text of 6.11.20


    de die in diem: See on 4.8.13; the phrase once each in these central books (here, 7.8.12, 8.7.18). ep. 261.2, `ut de die in diem non solum quantum accedam, sed utrum omnino aliquid accedam, latere me fatear.' (See also en. Ps. 102.16 [quoted at 8.12.28] and 144.11.)

    in sede sua: See 10.20.29-10.23.34.

    putabam: Continence first appears here as the central issue retarding `conversion'; it is prepared in the text by the examples of Ambrose (6.3.3) and of Alypius (6.7.12: to be picked up again at 6.12.21, `erat . . . castissimus'), and earlier of Nebridius (4.3.6). The issue was sharpened by the example and preaching of Amb. (see prolegomena).

    ad eandem infirmitatem sanandam: cf. Mt. 4.23, `et circumibat Iesus totam Galilaiam docens in synagogis eorum et praedicans evangelium regni et sanans omnem languorem et omnem infirmitatem in populo'; cf. Ps. 102.3, `qui propitius fit omnibus iniquitatibus tuis, qui sanat omnes languores tuos' (see on 10.3.3).

    propriarum virium: As Mandouze 191n3 says, this is another of A.'s misconceptions of Christian teaching; it could even be called a `Manichean reflex', insofar as he had thought all along that continence was a heroic achievement of which he, in his weakness, was incapable.

    neminem posse . . . dederis: Wisd. 8.21, `cum scirem quia nemo esse potest continens nisi deus det'; first here (so A. Zumkeller, Aug.-Lex. 1.39) the claim that the virtue of continentia is `donum dei' (cf. 10.29.40, 10.31.45, associated with `da quod iubes' in both cases). Next dated citation not until pecc. mer. 2.5.5 (412), with an important echo of conf.: `cum iubet dicendo, “post concupiscentias tuas non eas” [Sirach 18.30], nosque dicimus, “scimus quoniam nemo esse potest continens, nisi deus det,” quid aliud dicimus quam da quod iubes?' (This is the second of three such `dialogues' in that passage of pecc. mer. ending with `quid aliud dicimus quam da quod iubes?') From that date on, the text is quoted often, in every anti-Pelagian context, to the last years (e.g., persev. 17.43); see on 10.29.40, `da quod iubes'. See La Bonnardière, Biblia Augustiniana: Sagesse 103-107, on the verse in the Pelagian controversy; at 106n124: `Nous insistons sur le fait que saint Augustin ne réduit pas la significance de Sap. 8.21 à la seule continence sexuelle, dans les textes où il cite le Da quod iubes.' For the sentiment, see also Tyconius, liber reg. 3 (ed. Robinson pp. 19-20).

    gemitu interno: Ps. 37.9, `gemitu cordis meae'; en. Ps. 37.13, `est enim gemitus occultus qui ab homine non auditur.' Ps. 37.10-11, `et ante te est omne desiderium meum et gemitus meus non est absconditus a te. (11) cor meum conturbatum est et deseruit me fortitudo mea'; see en. Ps. 37.14, quoted on 5.9.17, `preces . . . sine intermissione'.

    pulsarem: Mt. 7.7.

    in te iactarem curam meam: Ps. 54.23, `iacta in dominum curam tuam, et ipse te enutriet'; en. Ps. 54.24 chooses to emphasize dominum: not to repose hope in any other individual (e.g., Paul, quoting 1 Cor. 1.13, `numquid Paulus pro vobis crucifixus est?'). Here in conf., the analogous argument would be that A. must know the dominus first before he can place hope in him, and hence be released; hence see on 8.12.29 for a Christological interpretation of the garden scene.

    text of 6.12.21


    amore sapientiae: = philosophia (see 3.4.8 and see on 6.10.17).

    diu desideraremus: The idea had probably been to feather their nest with government jobs, then retire to leisured philosophy--not an irrational aim (cf. Mallius Theodorus in this context: see on 7.9.13).

    erat enim ipse: An episode from the vita Alypii not contained in the paragraphs devoted entirely to him; pertinent in the context of these paragraphs on the marriage/continence debate, but revealing the thoroughness of the integration of the Alypius paragraphs in the text as a whole. Surely a few remarks on his friend's noteworthy chastity would have had a part in any independent account of his life.

    promeruissent deum: Heb. 13.16, `beneficientiae autem et communionis nolite oblivisci, talibus enim hostiis promeretur deus'; the verb and the expression promereri deum occur only there in Vg. The natural interpretation is sharply limited at div. qu. Simp. 1.2.3, `Isaac . . . qui utique nullis operibus promeruerat deum'.

    The antonym for promeruere most commonly occurring is offendere; this is a hint that to accord with the rest of A.'s thought, the verb should not be translated `deserve, earn', but something weaker: OLD's weakest reading is `to gain the favour of, win over' (cf. BA here: `acquis la faveur divine', against Ryan's stronger `had gained merit before God', with Pusey between: `and served God acceptably'), but if A. ever looked at the Greek of Hebrews, he found there eu)arestei=tai, which the 1979 Vatican Nova Vulgata more lucidly renders `oblectatur', a sense more neatly opposed to that of `offendere.' The rare passages in which the verb is used in a different expression seems to confirm this: civ. 21.27, `“quique sui memores alios fecere merendo” [Aen. 6.664], id est, qui promeruerunt alios eosque sui memores promerendo fecerunt'.

    suavitate . . . catenam: 3.1.1, `quanto felle mihi suavitatem illam [amoris] . . . aspersisti'; for a possible echo of Persius (Courcelle, Les Confessions 116n4), see on 8.11.25, `versans me in vinculo meo'.

    tamquam: BA renders `c'est à dire'.

    manum manum G A H V B P Z E F M Maur. Knöll Skut. Vega Pell.:   manu C1 D O S:   manus C2 Ver.  (`manus conieci' [sic])
    Ver. p. xl alleges util. ieiun. 9.11, `cogitandum nobis est quia repellit manus medici qui secatur,' but the contexts are not closely parallel. Inter alia, manus in conf. is much more often singular than plural, esp. of the manus dei.

    serpens: Gn. 3.1, Gn. 3.14.

    dulces laqueos: See on 3.6.10, `laquei diaboli', 5.3.3, `[Faustus] magnus laqueus diaboli, et multi implicabantur in eo', and esp. 10.36.59, `instat adversarius verae beatitudinis nostrae ubique spargens in laqueis “euge, euge.”'

    text of 6.12.22


    Monnica's well-intentioned plan to get Augustine baptized and married has the effect of detaching him from a long-term relationship that could have lasted much longer; and of raising the `issue' of marriage vs. continence in a way that an ex-Manichee reader of Cicero, hearer of Ambrose, and friend of Alypius and Nebridius might not unreasonably resolve in favor of continence.

    miraretur: cf. `admiratio' below; both miror and admiror, of course, evoke the sense of sight; see therefore on `libidine . . . curiositatis' below. See also on 13.21.30.

    visco illius voluptatis: See on 6.6.9.

    caelibem vitam: Cf. 6.3.3.

    delectationes consuetudinis meae: Mandouze 178n7 thinks this is A.'s way of saying that what he had known was in many respects closer to marriage than to what Al. had known; `honestum nomen matrimonii' underlines the dilemma of A.'s liaison at the time. It should be borne in mind, however, that consuetudo is a freighted word for A., and not a favorable one: cf. `consuetudo' below and see on 8.5.10.

    oportere oportere C D S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   oporteret G O

    libidine . . . curiositatis: Alypius' characteristic vice was curiositas [2] (6.7.11-12), not concupiscence.

    vinculo: cf. 6.12.21, `catenam'; for vinculum of concupiscentia carnis, see 3.1.1 (`et perveni occulte ad vinculum fruendi'), 8.6.13, 8.11.25, and cf. both 8.1.1 and 9.1.1 (`dirupisti vincula mea'); in a clearly broader but related sense, cf. 5.9.16, `multa et gravia super originalis peccati vinculum'.

    servitutem: 8.1.2 (of the burdens of his life at Milan), 8.5.10 (of concupiscentia carnis).

    sponsionem: Cf. Wisd. 1.16, `impii . . . et sponsiones posuerunt ad illam [mortem]'; not cited elsewhere in A., according to La Bonnardière, Biblia Augustiniana: Sagesse; cf. Is. 28.18, `et delebitur foedus vestrum cum morte et pactum vestrum cum inferno non stabit.' The key word is sponsio, leading from marriage to death through the scriptural echo.

    et qui amat periculum: Sirach 3.27, `cor durum habebit male in novissimo qui amat periculum, in illo peribit.' The two scriptural echoes, both clear and deliberate, taken together constitute a stern rebuke to Alypius as he thought of marriage in 385/6.

    neutrum enim nostrum . . . tenuiter: Another misconception (comparable to A.'s misreadings of Christian doctrine): what they thought of marriage had little enough to do with real marriage, for it was another phantasma.

    altissime: Ps. 91.2, `bonum est confiteri domino et psallere nomini tuo, altissime'; 1.7.12, 3.8.16, 6.3.4.

    deserens: Heb. 13.4-5, `honorabile [sit] conubium in omnibus et torus immaculatus; fornicatores enim et adulteros iudicabit deus. (5) sint mores sine avaritia, contenti praesentibus. ipse enim dixit, “non te deseram, neque derelinquam.”'

    humum: No verbal scriptural echo, but cf. Gn. 2.7 (creation of Adam from dust).

    text of 6.13.23


    Note the passives through here. `instabatur . . . promittebatur . . . instabatur . . . petebatur . . . expectabatur' : control is slipping out of A.'s hands; contrast 6.6.9, `inhiabam honoribus, lucris, coniugio'; so also the hankering for a sign (`ut ei per visum ostenderes').

    maxime matre dante operam: C. Lepelley, Atti-1986 1.110, shrewdly takes it as a sign of the relative social standing of A.'s family that M., `cette petite provinciale africaine', could play such a part among the first families of Milan.

    baptismus: He says nothing here of how he felt about baptism. Baptism was probably part of the marriage bargain with the distinguished Catholic family; but it could all seem slightly unreal and irrelevant, as far A. was concerned, since it was a matter of at least two years before the marriage and `iam coniugatum' implies that baptism need not come first--might even be postponed further?

    rogatu meo: A. already takes M.'s religion, and her aptitude for visions, seriously enough. We lack a name for the degree of faith that acknowledges validity in another's Christianity, without taking it on for oneself. See 3.11.19-12.21, for her vision of A.'s future; there were others: 5.9.17, `absit ut tu falleres eam in illis visionibus et responsis tuis, quae iam commemoravi et quae non commemoravi.' Mandouze 179n2 observes that the want of a vision did not impede Monnica from pushing ahead with plans.

    Courcelle, Recherches 103-105, speaks of an `enquête sur les faits relatifs aux songes' at Milan, and connects that inquiry to this vision of M.'s. He cites also cura mort. 11.13 (story of a father appearing to his son in a dream to tell him where an important financial document could be found, of whose very existence the son was unaware; and at about the same time, as A. learned later,9 A.'s former pupil Eulogius, rhetor at Carthage, had a dream in which A. appeared to explain a passage in Cicero), epp. 9.5 (to Nebridius: `sed huic epistulae adiunge illam quam tibi nuper de imaginibus et de memoria misi'), 159.3 (to Evodius), 169.3.11 (also to Evodius), and quant. an. 18.31 (on deaf-mutes). The present passage makes it more likely that A. was always willing to accept the veridical quality of certain dreams, and it tells us nothing special about his interests or activities at Milan. Courcelle, Recherches ed. 2, 263-264 (and cf. 368-82), quotes civ. 18.18, with a curious story from A.'s Milan days about rumors about women who could turn men into beasts (A. himself compares the story to Apuleius). For a more nuanced view of the development of A.'s ideas from 386-391 in the face of neo-Platonic (and Porphyrian) doctrines, see Dulaey 73-88.

    solebat solebat G Knöll Skut.:   solet CDOS Ver.  (who cites, p. xxxix, sol. 1.14.25 as a parallel: but the cases are not comparable).

    aetas . . . nubilis: Justinian inst. 1.22 says that males achieve puberty at age 14, and that females are `viripotentes' at 12. The legal schools had divided (see inst. ed. Moyle [5th ed., Oxford, 1912], 166]) over whether to wait for physical evidence of maturity in each case or to set a specific age; in any case, patient abstinence of the sort envisioned here was perhaps in practice the exception rather than the rule (A. Rousselle, Porneia 32-33, 73-74).

    text of 6.14.24


    The larger circle of friends (6.5.7, 6.6.9, 6.11.18, 6.11.19, and see on 6.16.26) recurs; see here `amici' and `amicitiae sinceritatem'; cf. this integration with the jarring juxtaposition in Bk. 4. (see on 4.7.12).

    The other text to reflect this undertaking is c. acad. 2.2.4 (addressing Romanianus), `nam cum praesens praesenti tibi exposuissem interiores motus animi mei vehementerque ac saepius assererem nullam mihi videri prosperam fortunam, nisi quae otium philosophandi daret, . . . sed me tanto meorum onere, quorum ex officio meo vita penderet, multisque necessitatibus vel pudoris vel ineptae meorum miseriae refrenari, tam magno es elatus gaudio, tam sancto huius vitae inflammatus ardore, ut te diceres, si tu ab illarum importunarum litium vinculis aliquo modo eximereris, omnia mea vincula etiam patrimonii tui mecum participatione rupturum.' The link between money-worries and the yearning for the otiose life is clear in both the earlier text and the present passage.

    The project imagined here implies the near- (`paene') renunciation of ambitio saeculi (see on 6.6.9-6.7.11, 6.11.19); all that is left of the old enthusiasm is weariness and regret (`suspiria et gemitus'). He is detached from that now at heart, but clings to it outwardly until after the garden scene (rather as he had been detached at heart from Manicheism and curiositas by the Academics); concupiscentia carnis clings to him.

    Courcelle, Recherches 179, arguing again that A. was not completely detached from the Manichees and that Romanianus remained attached, saw in the studious retreat envisaged here an analogue to the Manichean community at Rome led by the auditor Constantius (cf. mor. 2.20.74), which dissolved in embarrassing circumstances while A. was at Milan. The first difficulties with that view are these: (a) even if there was mimesis at work, it means nothing for the question whether A. was entirely detached from the Manichees; (b) it is less clear than it might be whether A. knew anything of the Rome commune before he went to Milan. The tenor of the report suggests otherwise, since A. is eager to show himself a good witness, but makes no claim for knowing anything of the group except ex post facto (`. . . Romae autem me absente quid gestum sit. . . . et ego quidem postea Romae cum essem, omnia vera me audisse firmavi'). Similarly, Constantius is mentioned again at c. Faust. 5.5, still alive as a catholic Christian; again there is no claim of eyewitness testimony by A.

    Courcelle went on to see a Platonic analogue: `Plus récemment, Augustin avait pu lire dans les “livres des Platoniciens” que Plotin et ses amis . . . méditerent de fonder une Platonopolis.' But on the testimony of conf., whatever he found in the platonicorum libri (perhaps the vita Plotini?) at the time recounted at 7.9.13 could not yet have influenced him at this stage. Hence, more credit should be given to the suggestion that A. knew of Pythagorean communities mentioned by Iamblichus (v. Pyth. 30). Varro would be the intermediate source (cf. W. Theiler, reviewing Courcelle, Recherches, in Gnomon 25 [1953], 116, followed by Solignac, BA 13.566-5677n; for Pythagoras in A.'s thought earlier, see on 4.13.20). For praise of Pythagoras, cf. ord. 2.20.53, `illa venerabilis ac prope divina . . . Pythagorae disciplina' (on which cf. esp. retr. 1.3.3, `nec illud placet, quod Pythagorae philosopho tantum laudis dedi, ut qui hanc audit vel legit possit putare, me credidisse nullos errores in Pythagorica esse doctrina, cum sint plures idemque capitales', but from years after Cassiciacum cf. also cons. ev. 1.7.12, `Pythagoras, quo in illa contemplativa virtute nihil tunc habuit Graecia clarius'); c. acad. 3.17.37, `Plato, vir sapientissimus et eruditissimus temporum suorum . . . dicitur post mortem Socratis magistri sui, quem singulariter dilexerat, a Pythagoreis etiam multa didicisse'; civ. 8.4 speaks similarly of Plato's visit to Magna Graecia and is otherwise verbally close to the c. acad. passage.

    Testard, 1.98-99 thought the exercise Ciceronian; a view less compelling than the Pythagorean model, but his best point is worth keeping: that in principle, this community admitted women/wives, which is difficult to imagine of a Manichean community. In practice, they were too much of an obstacle, but only in practice. By the time he wrote Les Confessions 21-25, Courcelle had read Testard and acknowledged that a Ciceronian influence could have been mediated through Faustus (!), but he then conceded that `elle évoque surtout . . . la “vie pythagoricienne”, qui comportait aussi le lien amical, la mise en commun des biens et l'élection de "magistrats" pour leur gestion.' But it is not necessary to insist on written sources; Courcelle, Recherches 108, is right to say that the visit of Ponticianus was important for revealing to A. the existence of Christian communities (monasteries) that did the same thing, only better (8.6.15).

    We should not lose sight of what his friends and associates would have noticed at the time: that the retreat to Cassiciacum in late 386 bore a strong resemblance to the project spoken of here in perhaps late 385, differing mainly in its impermanence; but even that impermanence may not have been obvious to those friends and associates. Cassiciacum may have seemed to others as a nucleus and a beginning of a reorganized project, now undertaken by a smaller cadre consisting entirely of unmarried men (but not excluding women: Monnica). (Mandouze 125n6 reports the suggestion from an unpublished thesis by a student of his that Alypius, and perhaps Navigius, functioned at Cassiciacum rather as the `magistrates' envisioned here.) Further evidence that the project was fresh in mind in some form comes from sol. 1.11.18, where Ratio summarizes A.'s position, deliberating thus: `iam de uxore nihil disputo, fortasse enim non potest ut ducatur existere talis necessitas. quamquam si eius amplo patrimonio certum sit sustentari posse omnes, quos tecum in uno loco vivere otiose cupis, ipsa etiam concorditer id sinente [this phrase seems to counter exactly the problem of the mulierculae raised here], praesertim si generis nobilitate tanta polleat [this may suggest that the `fiancée' arranged for (6.13.23) may have been of a good family], ut honores illos quos esse posse necessarios iam dedisti, per eam facile adipisci possis, nescio utrum pertineat ad officium tuum ista contemnere.'

    The ambition of the otiose life in community lingered, at least for Nebridius, even after both he and A. were back in Africa. How seriously A. took N.'s feelings is unclear, for one often feels in his letters to N. that he was saying what N. wanted to hear, perhaps out of a desire to influence his conversion, perhaps out of pity for his failing health and isolation; but cf. ep. 11.1 to N. (388/91), `cum me vehementer agitaret quaestio a te dudum cum quadam etiam familiari obiurgatione proposita, quonam pacto una vivere possemus, et de hoc solo statuissem et rescribere tibi . . .'

    One feature of the narrative should be retained, without worrying how closely it follows the facts. This is the last episode before the garden scene in which A. consciously plans and controls his destiny. Already here, he is oddly passive (see on 6.13.23 for the verbs there), and the banishment of his concubine is described the same way (6.15.25, `avulsa a latere meo tamquam impedimento coniugii'). The period narrated by Bks. 7 and 8 is one marked by helplessness in the face of divine providence, with volition and control restored by the act of divine grace in the Milan garden.

    conloquentes . . . remoti a turbis: cf. 9.10.23 (Ostia), `ubi remoti a turbis . . . conloquebamur'. Note both A.'s inclination to the idyllic private conversation and his practice, already seen in the paragraphs on the de pulchro et apto, of describing the efforts at enlightenment of his earlier life in terms used as well to describe the more successful efforts later on. Thus he places this project on the same intellectual terrain with the Ostia event.

    decem ferme homines: Mandouze 193n1 reckons this number to include A., Nebridius, Alypius, Romanianus, Verecundus, Adeodatus, Navigius, A.'s two cousins, Licentius, and Trygetius: i.e., the future participants and near-participants at Cassiciacum, but others less intimately bound may have been at least in prospect. Note also `praedivites', plural: in Mandouze's list, only Romanianus would qualify for that adjective; note also `multi amici'; note also `mulierculae' : A.'s fiancée, Monnica, and Romanianus' presumed wife are the only women associated with any of the figures Mandouze names.

    Romanianus: A.'s financial benefactor; for a portrait of the rich man's life, see c. acad. 1.1.2, `edentem te munera ursorum et numquam ibi antea visa spectacula civibus nostris . . . conlocarentur statuae, influerent honores, adderentur etiam potestates . . . conviviis cotidianis mensae opimae struerentur'; for his benefactions to A., see c. acad. 2.2.3. From c. acad. 1.1.3 we know him a Manichee, and he remained one in 390 (vera rel.: dedicated to him and still seeking his conversion); ep. 27.5 (sending a letter to Paulinus in 395 [Courcelle, Les Confessions 601, dates to 397] by hand of Rom.) implies progress but not conversion. Mandouze, Pros. chr. s.v., thinks him related to Alypius and A., but the evidence is thin. But though Romanianus was, in some sense or another of an imprecise phrase, `like a second father' to A., this is the only mention of him in conf. Why this reticence? The answer lies in R.'s own religious history.

    A Thagaste inscription (CIL 8.17226, [COR]NELIVS ROMANIANVS) led A. Gabillon, REAug 24(1978), 58-70, to examine A.'s ep. 259. (AD 408, addressed to `Cornelius') and to show it highly probable that the addressee of the letter is indeed this Romanianus. The story implied there is unpleasant. R. had resisted A.'s various urgent pleas to take baptism, but had later accepted the sacrament at what seemed death's door (ep. 259.3, `in extremo vitae periculo baptizatus'). On his wife's death, he wrote to A. to ask for a letter of consolation, which A. brusquely refuses him out of indignation at his dissolute way of life (ep. 259.3, `plebs mulierum excubat lateribus tuis; crescit in dies pellicum numerus') out of keeping with the recipient's youthful turn to chastity (ep. 259.3, `cum esses non dicam catechumenus sed in errore nobiscum perniciosissimo constitutus iuvenis iunioribus nobis, ab hoc te vitio temperantissima voluntate correxeras, quo non post longum tempus sordidius revolutus'). That rebuke demonstrates (1) that the recipient had been a Manichee with A.; (2) that he had had his own successful `conversion' from sexual profligacy (attested for R. at c. acad. 2.1.2, `quis . . . tam subito umquam tantum intonuit tantumque lumine mentis emicuit, ut sub uno fremitu rationis et quodam coruscamine temperantiae uno die illa pridie saevissima penitus libido moreretur?'; more discreetly hinted at in a letter of A.'s to Paulinus of Nola carried by R. [ep. 31.]: and the recipient's acquaintance with Paulinus is mentioned at ep. 259.1, while at 259.5 A. echoes a verse by Paulinus); (3) that if the recipient was R., he was not much older than A. (his son Licentius, after all, was not much older than Adeodatus, and R.'s patronage of A. would be more intelligible if they were separated more by wealth and social status and not much by age).

    If all this is true, then at the time of conf., A.'s relations with R. were somewhat strained. The hoped-for conversion and baptism had not been forthcoming; the irregularities of private life were perhaps noticeable. (Nothing is known of Licentius' later life, but it seems probable that he either delayed or avoided baptism as well, hence his disappearance from A.'s correspondence and from the narrative here and in Bk. 9.) More important, R. himself was an awkward reminder that not every conversion from sexual profligacy was necessarily permanent. He could not, perhaps, be excised from A.'s story of his early life entirely; but he hardly appears. (The gap between A. and R. probably began with A.'s lapse from Manicheism into Academic skepticism, for Romanianus could not follow him there: c. acad. 2.3.8, `saepius enim suscensuisti academicis, eo quidem gravius, quo minus eruditus esses'.)

    graves aestus negotiorum suorum: c. acad. 1.1.2 on R.'s financial affairs: `non enim tibi alienis exemplis persuadendum est quam fluxa et fragilia et plena calamitatum sint omnia quae bona mortales putant'.

    sed posteaquam: The objections of the mulierculae are the only obstacle given (and even they are unspecified); Mandouze 193n7 says that if A. writing c. 397 had any substantive objections to the scheme, he would not have failed to mention them. This is mainly true, but A. writing c. 397 probably thought that the ease with which the whole enterprise fell apart was itself the most telling criticism; and the diminutive, whatever you make of it for A.'s view of `la femme' (Mandouze 193n7: see on 1.6.10, `muliercularum'), is also meant as an ironic comment on the weakness of the plan. The echo of Matthew that follows offers its own criticism.

    ad suspiria: De Marchi 312 would delete the ad (noting the inconcinnity of construction with the ad that follows almost immediately).

    latas et tritas vias saeculi: Cf. 6.5.8, `viam saeculi latam', and cf. Mt. 7.13-14, quoted there. See also en. Ps. 39.7, quoted on 6.11.18.

    multae cogitationes: Prov. 19.21, `multae cogitationes in corde viri, consilium autem domini manet in aeternum'; see La Bonnardière, Biblia Augustiniana: Proverbes 156-158. A.'s most explicit exegesis of the text (trin. 15.20.38, `neque enim ob aliud scriptum est, “multae cogitationes . . . manet in aeternum,” nisi ut intellegamus sive credamus sicut aeternum deum, ita aeternum eius esse consilium, ac per hoc immutabile sicut ipse est') sees in it a hint of the immutability of God, a vital doctrine to which A. held through his Manichean years and which formed a basis for all his future theological developments; see on 7.1.1. (Cf. also Ps. 32.11, `consilium vero domini manet in aeternum, cogitationes cordis eius in saecula saeculorum'.)

    nostra et tua: Sc. consilia in both cases. It is not impossible that for the first case he had the philosophical `commune' in mind and for the second some combination of the communities at Cassiciacum, Thagaste, and Hippo.

    daturus . . . benedictione: Ps. 144.15-16, `oculi omnium in te sperant, domine, et tu das escam illis in oportuno tempore. (16) aperis tu manum tuam et imples omnem animam benedictionem.' See on 6.10.17, `ut dares eis escam in tempore oportuno'.

    text of 6.15.25


    The woman with whom A. lived from 370/1 (see on 4.2.2) was his wife in all but name, and his situation was not especially irregular. On the facts, see BA 13.677-679, `Augustin et la mere d'Adeodat', A. Zumkeller, in Signum Pietatis 21-35, and P. Brown, `Augustine and Sexuality', Colloquy 46 of the Center for Hermeneutical Studies in Hellenistic and Modern Culture (Berkeley, 1983), 2: `Augustine was well aware that his late Roman readers would have thought that, as a young rhetor, he had come so close, for so long, to achieving an intimate, stable and eminently respectable relationship; and that they knew that this relationship had crumbled, not through “animal passion”, but under the glacial weight of the late Roman caste system.' The concilium Toletanum (400), canon 17, defined the church's position: `si quis habens uxorem fidelem, si concubinam habeat, non communicet. ceterum, qui non habet uxorem, et pro uxore concubinam habet, a communione non repellatur. tantum ut unius mulieris, aut uxoris aut concubinae, ut ei placuerit, sit coniunctione contentus.' At the same time, it should be borne in mind that Amb. may have diapproved of A.'s way of life: Abr., 1.3.19, `discant ergo homines coniugia non spernere nec sibi sociare inpares, ne huiusmodi suscipiant liberos quos heredes habere non possint, ut vel transfundendae hereditatis contemplatione, si nullo contuitu pudoris moventur, digno studeant matrimonio.' In his own later sermons, A. is strict against concubines for the married, or for those who take them cynically as a stopgap before marriage (e.g., s. 224.3.3).

    The new liaison he contracted out of incontinence (see `procuravi aliam' below) scarcely lasts any time at all. Mandouze 178n4, assuming that the sermons A. heard from Amb. at the outset of Bk. 6 were those of the exameron, concludes that the `la terrible séparation10 [from the first woman] est donc très probablement postérieure au 4 Avril 386.' The `chill despair' (`frigidius sed desperatius') is with him through the spring and summer that lead to the garden scene (for the second rupture then, see on 8.12.30).

    In a nearly contemporaneous passage that must refer to this relationship, all the criticism is reserved for the heartless male, and the woman retains her dignity: b. coniug. 5.5, `solet etiam quaeri, cum masculus et femina, nec ille maritus nec illa uxor alterius, sibimet non filiorum procreandorum sed propter incontinentiam solius concubitus causa copulantur, ea fide media ut nec ille cum altera nec illa cum altero id faciat, utrum nuptiae sint vocandae. et potest quidem fortasse non absurde hoc appellari conubium, si usque ad mortem alicuius eorum id inter eos placuerit et prolis generationem, quamvis non ea causa coniuncti sint, non tamen vitaverint,11 ut vel nolint sibi nasci filios vel etiam opere aliquo malo agant ne nascantur. ceterum si vel utrumque vel unum horum desit, non invenio quemadmodum has nuptias appellare possimus. etenim si aliquam sibi vir ad tempus adhibuerit, donec aliam dignam vel honoribus vel facultatibus suis inveniat quam comparem ducat, ipso animo adulter est, nec cum illa quam cupit invenire, sed cum ista cum qua sic cubat ut cum ea non habeat maritale consortium. unde et ipsa hoc sciens ac volens impudice utique miscetur ei cum quo non habet foedus uxorium. verumtamen si ei tori fidem servet et, cum ille uxorem duxerit, nubere ipsa non cogitet atque a tali prorsus opere continere se praeparet, adulteram quidem fortassis facile appellare non audeam; non peccare tamen quis dixerit, cum eam viro cuius uxor non est misceri sciat? iam vero si ex illo concubitu, quantum ad ipsam attinet, nonnisi filios velit et, quidquid ultra causam procreandi patitur invita patiatur, multis quidem ista matronis anteponenda est'. Sim. reflections on a smaller scale at b. coniug. 14.16. Similarly, it is hard to believe that this case was not in A.'s mind when he wrote c. 413 at f. et op. 19.35, `de concubina quoque, si professa fuerit nullum se alium cognituram, etiamsi ab illo cui subdita est dimittatur, merito dubitatur utrum ad percipiendum baptismum non debeat admitti.' The text is from a discussion of divorce questions, and A. is again mustering as much generosity as he can.

    The relationship should not be romanticized or thought in any way untypical of the age, for despite these sensitive remarks, A. could also write: Gn. litt. 9.5.9, `aut si ad hoc adiutorium gignendi filios non est facta mulier viro, ad quod ergo adiutorium facta est? si quae simul operaretur terram, nondum erat labor ut adiumento indigeret, et si opus esset, melius adiutorium masculus fieret. hoc et de solacio dici potest, si solitudinis fortasse taedebat. quanto enim congruentius ad convivendum et conloquendum duo amici pariter quam vir et mulier habitarent?' Similarly, the hard-heartedness for which moderns reproach him as with one voice here needs to be compared to what he said in expounding the sermon on the mount: s. dom. m. 1.15.40-41 deals with `hating your relatives', i.e., deploring the earthly qualities of your connections, while hoping to be joined somehow spiritually in heaven (retr. 1.19.5, to be sure, softens this); s. dom. m. 1.15.41, `sic invenitur bonus christianus diligere in una femina creaturam dei . . . odisse autem coniunctionem copulationemque corruptibilem atque mortalem, hoc est diligere in ea quod homo est, odisse quod uxor est. ita etiam diligit inimicum, non in quantum inimicus est, sed in quantum homo est'.12

    mea peccata multiplicabantur: Sirach 23.2-3, `quis superponet in cogitatu meo flagella et in corde meo doctrinam sapientiae . . . (3) et ne adincrescant ignorantiae meae et multiplicentur delicta mea, et peccata mea abundent.'

    cor . . . sanguinem: Cf. 4.7.12, `portabam enim concisam et cruentam animam meam impatientem portari a me, et ubi eam ponerem non inveniebam' --on losing his friend. A similar image with a prescription for the cure: ep. 263.2, `haec cum cogitantur et consuetudinis violentia requiritur, cor pungitur et tamquam sanguis cordis fletus exoritur. sed sursum sit cor [liturgical!: see on 12.16.23] et sicci erunt oculi.'

    et illa in Africam redierat: The woman offers besides another model of continentia in A.'s circle--so Mandouze 180n5, who adds `sa décision ultérieure de se fair moine . . . s'apparente, si on la rapproche de celle de la mère d'Adéodat, avec ce "commun accord" par lequel on voit dans l'histoire de l'église . . . des époux prendre chacun de leur côté le chemin du couvent.' Stripped of anachronism, the point is valid.

    non amator coniugii sed libidinis servus: Cf. 4.2.2, `sane experirer exemplo meo quid distaret inter coniugalis placiti modum, quod foederatum esset generandi gratia, et pactum libidinosi amoris, ubi proles etiam contra votum nascitur, quamvis iam nata cogat se diligi.'

    procuravi aliam: No mention is ever made again of the second concubine. See on 8.1.2 for the sternness with which A. held that such relationships were an impediment to baptism.

    vulnus illud meum: G-M adduce nat. b. 20, `item in corpore melius est vulnus cum dolore quam putredo sine dolore, quae specialiter corruptio dicitur.'

    text of 6.16.26


    The conclusion summarizes the state of affairs late in 385 or early in 386: disaffection with ambitio saeculi, no progress with curiositas (a subject discussed in this book only in the Alypius narrative), and a looming consciousness that the central problem is concupiscentia carnis.

    tibi laus, tibi gloria: The resonance is liturgical rather than scriptural, but cf. 1 Par. 29.11-12, `tua est domine magnificentia, et potentia, et tibi laus: cuncta enim quae in caelo sunt et in terra, tua sunt; . . . (12) tuae divitiae, et tua est gloria.'

    dextera tua: i.e., Christ; en. Ps. 108.29, `intellegamus itaque manum dei esse Christum,' and frequently in conf. (see on 11.2.4, `Christum . . . virum dexterae tuae').

    raptura me de caeno: Cf. Ps. 39.4, `eduxit me de lacu miseriae et de luto limi'; en. Ps. 39.3, `quis est lacus miseriae? profunditas iniquitatis, ex carnalibus concupiscentiis. . . . limus luti, concupiscentiae carnales, tenebrae iniquitatum.'

    ablutura ablutura C D O2 G Knöll Skut.:   ablutura me Maur.:   ablatura O1 S Ver.
    (cf. 8.1.2, `dextra tua suscepit me et inde ablatum posuisti ubi convalescerem'; but somewhat redundant after `raptura'); the verb abluo elsewhere in conf. only at 1.11.17, 5.8.15 and 6.13.23, always baptismal in force.

    gurgite: 2.2.2, `gurgite flagitiorum', 6.7.11, `gurges tamen morum Carthaginiensium'.

    metus mortis: For the concern, see 6.11.19, `quid si mors ipsa omnem curam cum sensu amputabit et finiet?' Of course, Amb. bono mort. dates from around this time as well, but for all the relevance of the sermon and its topic, A. makes no specific mention. The two powerful deaths in conf. (emphatically not including Patricius) are roughly equally separated by the passage on the fear of death here (from middle of Bk. 4 to end of Bk. 6 = 2 books, the same as from here to the middle, or a bit past the middle, of Bk. 9).

    The topic was urgent in A.'s circle. From Cassiciacum, we have sol. 2.14.26, `ille autem alius [Zenobius?] novit quidem pro familiaritate ardorem nostrum; sed ita longe abest, et ita nunc constituti sumus ut vix ad eum vel epistulae mittendae facultas sit. quem credo iam otio transalpino perfecisse carmen quo mortis metus excantatus effugiat, et antiqua glacie duratus animae stupor frigusque pellatur.' In 387/8, A.'s description of the mind's ascent to God has an important place for the fear of death: quant. an. 33.73, `in ipso enim purgationis negotio subest metus mortis saepe non magnus, saepe vero vehementissimus; non magnus tum cum robustissime creditur (nam videre hoc utrum sit verum, non nisi perpurgatae animae licet) tanta dei providentia iustitiaque gubernari omnia, ut nulli mors inique accidere possit, etiamsi eam forte iniquus intulerit. vehementer autem formidatur mors in hoc iam gradu, cum et illud eo creditur infirmius, quo sollicitius quaeritur. . . . deinde quo magis sentit anima, eo ipso quo proficit, quantum intersit inter puram et contaminatam, eo magis timet, ne deposito isto corpore minus eam deus possit quam se ipsam ferre pollutam. nihil autem difficilius quam et metuere mortem et ab inlecebris huius mundi, sicut pericula ipsa postulant, temperare.' The Pauline verse `absorpta est mors in victoriam' (1 Cor. 15.54) is often met with in the works before conf. (e.g., div. qu. 70.--offering a strained reading). The topic continues (contemporary with conf.): qu. ev. 1.47, `cupiditati quae in curiositate est opponitur timor mortis; sicut enim in illa cognoscendarum rerum est aviditas, ita in ista metus amittendae talis notitiae' (on that reading, which goes on to provide congruent fears for the other two temptations of 1 Jn. 2.16, the exacerbation of the fear makes this a good time to conquer curiositas, and that is exactly what happens in Bk. 7). In 409, A. recalls the argument clearly: ep. 104.1.3 (to Nectarius), `mortem autem malorum omnium esse finem habent quidem vestrae litterae sed nec ipsae omnes; epicureorum est quippe ista sententia et si qui alii mortalem animam putant. at illi quos Tullius quasi consulares philosophos appellat13 . . . non extingui animam sed emigrare censent. . . . hoc congruit et litteris sacris, quarum me cupio litteratorem.' Disdain for the fear of death passes with age: Io. ev. tr. 123.5, `mortis naturalem timorem' (Van Bavel 136-137), and cf. civ. 13.6.

    Bks. 7 and 10 also end with fear: 7.21.27, 10.43.70.

    disputabam: Cannot govern the indirect discourse that follows; hence the colon introduced here to allow an implicit verb of saying.

    Epicurum: For an idea how the argument would have gone, cf. c. acad. 3.7.15 - 3.9.18, a doxographical discussion of the ancient philosophical traditions in competition that has the look and feel of a pre-digested piece of exposition, not anything that has any real intrinsic relation to a dialogue at Cassiciacum. The passage is the most serious critique of Academic philosophy. Solignac, BA 13.572n1: `la doxa d'épicure qu'Augustin rapporte ici ne se trouve pas dans le texte de Cicéron, ni, sauf erreur, dans les autres ouvrages de Cicéron. Ce renseignement semble venir des doxographes par l'intermédiaire du manuel de Celsus', though A. probably also knew Lucretius (RA 15 [1980], 161-162). Epicurus was a learned possibility, not a living one, in A.'s world; mentioned in five of A.'s sermons (one devoted to Act. 17.18ff, where Paul encounters Stoics and Epicureans on the Areopagus), in five letters (esp. 118 to Dioscorus on various queries), and otherwise chiefly in the philosophical treatises c. acad. and util. cred.

    The text here seems deliberately to suggest that A. and Alypius were reading Cicero's de finibus bonorum et malorum (see Testard 1.99-101; this same phrase recurs in this same unattributed way at civ. 19.1); this is the first distinct reference of that sort since 3.4.7, where the Hortensius was invoked. Cicero had what the poet-schoolmaster William Cory called the ability `to express assent or dissent in graduated terms'.14 This produces a text that could well be read by one, like A., making no attempt at historical distancing, as a lively dialogue with no forced conclusion. The presentation of opposing views is fair and comprehensive, and one can well see A. and Al. reading this book with genuinely open minds, considering the merits of the various schools--the moreso because the surviving Latin literature of their day offered few better such expositions.

    There is perhaps a pattern to be detected in A.'s readings as he reports them here. Cicero's first philosophical works after the death of Tullia in 45 were (see Cic. div. 2.1.1-2): consolatio, Hortensius, academica, de finibus, Tusculanae, de natura deorum. We are shown A. reading the Hortensius in Bk. 3, approving the Academic school in Bk. 5,15 debating `de finibus bonorum et malorum' here, and retiring to a country villa for debates on essential issues in Bk. 9 (the five books of the Tusculans deal with, in order, mors, dolor, aegritudo, animi perturbationes, and the question whether `sufficit ad beate vivendum virtus'); and cf. ord. 1.8.26, where they write down their discussion of the night before and then A. adds: `nihilque a me aliud actum est illo die, ut valetudini parcerem, nisi quod ante cenam cum ipsis dimidium volumen Vergili audire cotidie solitus eram' with Cic., Tusc. 1.49.119 (also at the end of the first day's discussion in a narrative of country-house philosophizing: for Tusc./Cassiciacum parallels, see on 9.4.7, `libri disputati'), `sed nunc quidem valetudini tribuamus aliquid, cras autem . . . agamus haec. . . .' Whether to press the pattern and see in Bks. 10-13 (and in trin. beyond) a counterpoint to the de natura deorum is perhaps to take this observation too literally (and note that the concerns and the doctrines of nat. deor. can be descried in 7.1.1f: see C. Baguette, REAug 16[1970], 47-77: see on 7.1.1). But at least it seems clear that A. plants clues through his narrative to show him following in Ciceronian footsteps. Cicero is the preparation for the `Platonic' doctrines that he will discover in Bk. 7. See on 8.1.1 for the way another authoritative text plays a similar role in that book. (Amb. off. dates from 388/9 and offers a model for Ciceronian imitation-with-difference, but we do not know how soon A. would have seen or heard of that work; it stands to Cicero's de officiis even more closely than A.'s civ. stands to Cicero's de republica.)

    voluptate . . . honestatis: Cic. Lucullus 46.140, `unum igitur par quod depugnet reliquum est: voluptas cum honestate. . .. audi contra illos qui nomen honestatis a se ne intellegi quidem dicant . . . fontem omnium bonorum in corpore esse, hanc normam hanc regulam hanc praescriptionem esse naturae.'

    en. Ps. 73.25, on Epicurus: `et forte qui dicit, cum mortuus fuero, postea nihil ero, et litteras didicit, et ab Epicuro didicit hoc, nescio quo deliro philosopho, vel potius amatore vanitatis, non sapientiae, quem ipsi etiam philosophi porcum nominaverunt; qui voluptatem corporis summum bonum dixit'; cf. Cic. fin. 1.12.40., `extremum autem esse bonorum voluptatem ex hoc facillime perspici potest: constituamus aliquem magnis, multis, perpetuis fruentem et animo et corpore voluptatibus, nullo dolore nec impediente nec impendente, quem tandem hoc statu praestabiliorem aut magis expetendum possumus dicere?' Pertinently here, A. was also aware of the Epicurean doctrine that souls decayed more rapidly than bodies after death (s. 150.5.6, `nam epicurei et de corpore et de anima hoc idem sentiunt, quod utrumque mortale est. et quod est gravius et detestabilius, prius dicunt animam post mortem dissolvi quam corpus').

    pulchritudinis: See on 4.13.20 (de pulchro et apto) and 10.27.38.

    vena: 3.1.1, `venam . . . amicitiae'; 3.2.3, `de illa vena amicitiae' : the vein that literally pumps the lifeblood of human society, the vena that is soiled by concupiscentia carnis.

    cum amicis: The place of friendship in Bk. 6 is here recapitulated (in a paragraph that names both Nebridius and Alypius again). The connection is made to both ambitio saeculi directly and, by way of preparing the ground for Bk. 8, to concupiscentia carnis indirectly. Cf. Cic. fin. 1.20.65., `restat locus huic disputationi vel maxime necessarius de amicitia. . . . Epicurus una in domo, et ea quidem angusta, quam magnos quantaque amoris conspiratione consentientes tenuit amicorum greges! quod fit etiam nunc ab epicureis.'

    in quantalibet in quantalibet C D G O Maur. Ver.:   quantalibet S Knöll Skut.

    gratis diligebam: Cic. fin. 2.26.83., of Epicureans again: `hoc foedus facere si potuerunt, faciant etiam illud, ut aequitatem, modestiam, virtutes omnes per se ipsas gratis diligant.'

    o tortuosas vias: 2.3.6, `vias distortas', 4.12.18, `vias difficiles et laboriosas', 10.36.59, `perversa et distorta via'; and recall the `broad way of the world' from 6.5.8 and 6.14.24.

    vae animae audaci: Is. 3.9, `vae animae eorum'.

    quae speravit: See on 6.1.1 for spes throughout this book.

    versa . . . requies: The theme of restlessness (from 1.1.1) takes vivid form in a metaphor from insomnia.

    in tergum: See on 2.3.6 and 4.16.30.

    tu solus requies: Cf. 4.11.16 (the address to the soul), `audi et tu [anima]: verbum ipsum clamat ut redeas, et ibi est locus quietis imperturbabilis, ubi non deseritur amor si ipse non deserat.'

    ecce ades: Ps. 138.8, `si ascendero in caelum, tu ibi es; si descendero in infernum, ades'; see on 1.2.2.

    constituis constituis C D G O Maur. Skut. Ver. Pell.:   constitues S Knöll

    constituis nos in via tua: Cf. Ps. 31.8, `statuam te in via hac qua gradieris'; cf. Ps. 85.11, `deduc me, domine, in via tua, et ambulabo in veritate tua'; en. Ps. 85.15, `via tua, veritas tua, vita tua, Christus'; see on 7.7.11.

    currite: 1 Cor. 9.24, `sic currite ut comprehendatis [bravium]'.

    ego feram et ego perducam et ibi ego feram: Is. 46.4, `ego feci et ego feram et ego portabo et salvabo.' The book ends extraordinarily, with the divine voice speaking, but not in an explicit, obvious, or direct biblical quotation; neither 1 Cor. nor Is. is especially close, and what the editors print in quotation marks does not match either or both. There are five places in conf. where God is `quoted' in direct discourse and where the quotation marks we insert contain no scriptural quotation; but in the last case, the quotation marks contain words that authorize us explicitly to look everywhere else at scriptural quotations as `God speaking' --obviously in a different way: the passages are 4.10.15, 4.11.16, here, 7.10.16, and 13.29.44. See V. Warnach, Aug. Mag. 1.438ff on God speaking to human ears.


    The ellipse here marks a lacuna detected by Goldbacher.


    Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (New York, 1943), 765, recalls a scene in an Orthodox cemetery in Bitolj (Macedonia) in the 1930s: `I saw a peasant woman sitting on a grave under the trees with a dish of wheat and milk on her lap, the sunlight dappling the white kerchief on her head. Another peasant woman came by, who must have been from another village, for her dress was different. I think they were total strangers. They greeted each other, and the woman with the dish held it out to the new-comer and gave her a spoon, and she took some sups of it. To me it was an enchantment; for when St. Monica came to Milan over fifteen hundred years ago . . . [t]hat protocol-loving saint, Ambrose, had forbidden the practice because it was too like picknicking for his type of mind. To see these women gently munching to the glory of God was like finding that I could walk into the past as into another room.'


    The pattern A. constructs for episcopal conduct reflects an old model: Cic. orat. 42.143, `alteri [oratores], cum domesticum tempus in cognoscendis componendisque causis, forense in agendis, reliquum in se ipsis reficiendis omne consumerent, quem habebant instituendi aut docendi locum?' So cf. Macrob. sat. 1.2.1-5, where we even have the hesitation to press a learned query on the time of a busy orator; but the atmosphere there is tellingly different from here. At 6.11.18, A. represents his own activities as orator and professor in a similar distribution: `sed quando salutamus amicos maiores, quorum suffragiis opus habemus? quando praeparamus quod emant scholastici? quando reparamus nos ipsos relaxando animo ab intentione curarum?'


    The later date for Paulinus' vita is preferable in spite of É. Lamirande, Paulin de Milan et la `Vita Ambrosii' (Paris/Montreal, 1983), 21-24. Though Lamirande prefers a date of 412-3, he does not positively rule out 422. He does not discuss the part A. played in the work's genesis; surely it is inescapable that A. wanted the vita as a buttress for his own reiterated appeals to Amb.'s authority at this period. More satisfactory is A. Paredi, Sacris Erudiri 14(1963), 212-13 (good on the anti-Pelagian context of the vita).


    We should remember, however, that the willful creation of puzzles and complex wordplay is not at all alien to the poetry of such fourth century Latin writers as Optatianus Porphyrius, Ausonius, and even (to follow the arguments of M. Malamud, A Poetics of Transformation [Ithaca, 1989]) Prudentius.


    Highlighting incidentally what A. is otherwise content to let go unnoticed, that his own conversion to philosophy in Bk. 3 must have brought some improvement in the tone of his conduct: only one woman, less time at the spectacula, a more regular life suitable to his profession.


    Recherches 32n1: `On remarquera aussi qu' Augustin, dans son plan primitif, pensait narrer l'histoire de son ordination, comme Paulin l'espérait d'Alypius.' This is unlikely: Paulinus had asked about Alypius' ordination only under the impression that he had been ordained by Amb.


    Amb.? See on 6.3.3.


    This offers nothing to C.'s claim that A. was interested in these things already at Milan.


    `Terrible séparation'! As is well known, the banishing of mistresses is taken seriously in France: see L. Bertrand, Celle qui fut aimée d'Augustin (Paris, 1935)-- already sketched in a chapter of his Autour de saint Augustin (Paris, 1921); P. Villemain, Confessions de Numida, l'Innommée de saint Augustin (Paris, 1957--with 80 illustrations and a preface by H.-I. Marrou). The word `mistress' is of course entirely wrong, as Mandouze 178n3 and 178n7 notes, even as he uses `maîtresse' in his text, finding it perhaps less distasteful than `concubine' --the other designator he uses, one often found elsewhere, is the touching `mère d'Adéodat'.


    As B. Shaw points out (Past and Present 115[1987], 45), A. lived with his concubine for a decade and a half and had only one surviving child: A.'s knowledge of contemporary contraceptive techniques thus probably derived from practical expertise (he expressly mentions the `rhythm method' at mor. 2.18.65; Shaw does not notice that passage, but has other refs. suggesting A. was knowledgeable at 45n189).


    On this passage, see now G. Bonner, Homo Spiritalis (Festschrift L. Verheijen: Würzburg, 1987), 276-294.


    Hort. frg. 102 (also at c. Iul. 4.15.76); contrast the non-Platonist philosophers who doubt the immortality of the soul, characterized at Tusc. 1.23.55 as `plebei philosophi'. See M. Ruch, REAug 5(1959), 99-102; J. Glucker, REAug 11(1965), 229-234; W. Görler, Untersuchungen zu Ciceros Philosophie (Heidelberg, 1974), 103-104.


    This quality of C. is a theme, elegantly developed, of W. Görler, Untersuchungen zu Ciceros Philosophie (Heidelberg, 1974).


    By way of illuminating exception, recall that there is no trace of Ciceronian `consolation' in Bk. 4 after the death of A.'s friend.

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