This is the Practical World. It's Aristotle's way of saying theory is different than practice. There is theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge. We need both, of course, but politics is in the doing. and theory be damned in many ways.


    An Excellent history of Humanism- from http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/REN/HUMANISM.HTM

    {included in book and put online thewholenchilada.com Some of the refs have been lost. I added the footnotes.}

                   Of all the practices of Renaissance Europe, nothing is used to distinguish the Renaissance from the Middle Ages more than humanism as both a program and a philosophy. Textbooks will tell you that the humanists of the Renaissance rediscovered the Latin and Greek classics (hence the "rebirth" or "renaissance" of the classical world), that humanist philosophy stressed the dignity of humanity, and that humanists shifted intellectual emphasis off of theology and logic to specifically human studies. In pursuing this program, the argument goes, the humanists literally created the European Renaissance and paved the way for the modern, secular world.

       Like all mythologies of origins, however, this account is both partially true and partially false. First, there really was no such thing as a "humanist movement" either in philosophical or other terms. The term "humanism" was coined in 1808 by a German educator, F. J. Niethammer, to describe a program of study distinct from scientific and engineering educational programs. In the fifteenth century, the term "umanista," or "humanist," was current and described a professional group of teachers whose subject matter consisted of those areas that were called studia humanitatis. The studia humanitatis originated in the mddle ages and were all those educational disciplines outside of theology and natural science. Humanism was not opposed to logic, as is commonly held, but opposed to the particular brand of logic known as Scholasticism. In point of fact, the humanists actively revised the science of logic. Humanism, then, really begins during the middle ages in Europe; while the humanist scholars of the Renaissance made great strides and discoveries in this field, humanistic studies were really a product of middle ages. Not only that, the "rediscovery" of the classical world which was the hallmark of Renaissance humanism in reality began much earlier in the middle ages; as Europeans began to see themselves as a single ethnic group with a common origin in the middle ages, the recovery of classical literature, both Latin and Greek, became a concern for all the medieval centers of learning.

       The studia humanitatis consisted of more or less five disciplines drawn from the classical educational curriculum, called the trivium ("the three part curriculum": grammar, logic, rhetoric) and the quadrivium (the "four part curriculum": geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, music), all of which had been outlined in antiquity and bequeathed to Christian Europe by writers such as Cassiodorus in the fifth century and Martianus Capella in the sixth century AD. In antiquity, these disciplines were called the artes liberales, or "liberal arts," for they were the skills and knowledge necessary for a human being to be truly free. The Renaissance studia humanitatis generally correspond to what we would call grammar, rhetoric, history, literary studies and moral philosophy, though in the middle ages and Renaissance both history and literary studies were a part of grammar.

       In classical Rome, higher education consisted almost entirely of the quadrivium and the trivium; all the major patriarchs of the Christian religion were raised in this tradition, including Augustine and Boethius. The perpetuation of the quadrivium and the trivium throughout the early and high middle ages was naturally a continuation of the educational background of the early Christian authors. The central difference between the Roman and the medieval trivium and quadrivium is that the medievals had pretty much lost the Greek language and the classical Greek authors. While the emphasis in Roman education was on Greek authors, the emphasis in the medieval quadrivium and trivium was Latin authors, especially Christian authors, which students read in anthologies more than in the original.

     Ancient Greece Aristotle

                   The trivium, the center of medieval and classical education, was made up of grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic. Grammar was the study of not only the proper use of language, but how authors used language to make meaning, especially poets and historians. A great deal of what we consider literary criticism, literary studies, and history was in the middle ages the province of grammar. Dialectic was the science of disputation, proof, and propositions. In the high middle ages, dialectic was dominated by the Aristotelean or Averroistic tradition (named after Aristotle*, the Greek philospoher, and the medieval Arabic commentator on Aristotle, Averroes); this was called the Scholastic tradition in logic because its advocates were the university teachers, or "schoolmen." Scholastic dialectic aimed at using language to produce certainty; as such, it focussed on syllogism, which is the construction of a truthful conclusion from truthful premises. The third art of the trivium, rhetoric, was the art of persuasion and included all those techniques with language, including syllogism, whereby a speaker could convince an audience of the truth or correctness of what he was saying. It was in these arts, the arts of language, that the humanists centered their attention.

       Yet for all that, the very first humanists were not educators, but rather private men of independent means or lawyers. The most famous in the former group, and the person often acknowledged as a founding figure of humanism, was Petrarch (1304-1374), and the most famous representative of the latter group was Coluccio Salutati (1331-1406).


                   Although he is known in the present age primarily for his poetry, particularly his Italian sonnets to Laura, Francesco Petrarca, or Petrarch, in his own time was primarily known for his work in discovering and disseminating classical literature as well as his works in Latin and his imitations of classical literature, such as his letters. As an originary figure, Petrarch represents the way humanism (which didn't exist until the nineteenth century) was really experienced. He was famous for discovering several texts of Cicero, including letters, and verifying that these were actually written by Cicero. This activity of rediscovering ancient texts became the hallmark of humanism throughout the fourteenth and most of the fifteenth centuries. Although Petrarch collected Greek texts, he doesn't seem to have read the language, so his focus on rediscovering classical literature rested firmly on Latin literature.

        Most accounts of the Renaissance stress the "rediscovery" of classical Greek literature, since only a handful of medieval scholars knew Greek and only a handful of Greek texts circulated in medieval Europe. This is, however, only half the story. The humanists began by rediscovering lost Latin texts and this activity was more important to the humanists than recovering the classical Greek past. The two most important classical authors of the Renaissance were not Greek authors, but Cicero and Quintilian. Cicero was a famous politician and orator in the last years of the Roman Republic; he also wrote extensive treatises on moral and religious philosophy as well as handbooks in oratory. Quintilian wrote the most extensive discussion of the curriculum in classical education, as well as the principles and theories of rhetorical education. Both of these authors were known in the middle ages; Cicero through a few texts and commentaries on these texts, and Quintilian in fragments. Petrarch actively began the rediscovery of Cicero and one of the texts he rediscovered, the Brutus , a handbook on rhetoric, became one of the most important books in the Renaissance. Quintilian, rediscovered in his entirety a bit later, became the foundation of the humanistic education curriculum.

    Rome Cicero**

                   The greatest influences on Petrarch were Cicero and Augustine; from Cicero he derived principles of composing Latin and much of his philosophy; from Augustine he derived his ideas about the relationship of the human to the divine. While there is a strong current of Augustinianism throughout the Renaissance, the single most important author, classical or otherwise, all throughout the humanist movement is Cicero. Cicero represented several ideals: his language and composition was a model for any use of language, particularly Latin. He was, for the humanists, the highest source of eloquence, or the appropriate use of language. As a philosopher, he combined both wisdom and eloquence: this combination became the ideal throughout the Renaissance. Even visual artists, such as Michelangelo Buonarotti, prided themselves on wisdom and eloquence and began to attach both values to visual arts. Finally, as an orator, Cicero did not lead a rarefied life removed from social concerns, rather he prided himself on his participation in politics and numbered among his greatest accomplishments the aversion of the Catiline conspiracy in Rome. In this, Cicero represented the ideal of employing both wisdom and eloquence in the public good; this application of wisdom and eloquence, however, had its personal cost, so the virtue that Cicero represented above everything else was his sense of duty to the state. All of these things: eloquence, the combination of eloquence with wisdom, and service to the public good and the state became foundations of the humanist educational curriculum.

     Early Christianity Augustine

                   The medieval and early Christian heritage is largely downplayed in summary histories of humanism, but it's helpful to focus on what Petrarch learned from Augustine. The Augustinian tradition was a strong and vital tradition all throughout the European middle ages; however, it was eclipsed in the schools by Scholasticism. From Augustine, Petrarch learned that the only proper study for a human being to engage in was to study oneself, to look within oneself and work within oneself to guarantee one's salvation. This idea would eventually develop into the hallmark of humanist belief, the dignity of humanity. For the humanists, humanity is something special in creation and has a special relationship to God. This relationship is expressed in salvation and the principle concern of every human being should be precisely this salvation. The humanists saw such studies as Scholastic logic, arithmetic, theology (the study of divinity) and natural science as completely unrelated to this most important mission of one's life; of all the studies, the highest studies involved moral philosophy and its application in the real world.

     Coluccio Salutati

                   Like Petrarch, Salutati was not involved in education but was one of the originary figures in that educational movement we would eventually call humanism. Salutati was more typical of the early humanists that followed in the path that Petrarch had set down, that is, in recovering the literature of antiquity. Most of these early humanists were lawyers that worked as high officials or notaries for the the church or the various Italian states. Salutati and others followed the model Petrarch had set down and used their positions to disseminate classical culture and apply it to civic government and education. They became models of a new kind of public official, one that was schooled in antiquity and represented the Ciceronian ideals of eloquence, wisdom, and duty.


                   It has been stressed over and over again that humanism was neither a philosophy nor a movement, but an educational curriculum. In its earliest stages, the groundwork for this curriculum was laid down by private individuals such as Petrarch and public officials, such as Salutati. Humanism as an educational curriculum began in the early years of the fourteenth century in Italy. The two foundational figures in humanist education were Guarino Veronese (1374-1406) in Ferrara and Vittorino da Feltre (1373-1446) at Mantua. They each independently designed an entire curriculum for their young students consisting of physical and intellectual eduation. They used the newly rediscovered texts of Quintilian as the model of their educational program; students had to master both Latin and Greek as well as acquire a thorough grounding in the works of Cicero, Plato, and Aristotle. This would become the model of Renaissance education in the century to follow.


                   From the beginning, the humanistic program, whether that of Petrarch or the educators, was the cultivation of eloquence. Cicero argued that the greatest profession was that of the orator; in the modern age, when we are suspicious of "empty rhetoric" and rhetorical deception, it's hard for us to recover the ancient view towards the rhetorician. Cicero argued that the rhetorician was superior in three senses: as a politician, the orator was actively engaged in the public life and the pursuit of the common good. He pursued that common good with a thorough grounding in moral philosophy. Unlike other philosophers, however, the orator was able to convince others, through the power of his language, to leave off ill-advised or wrong actions and pursue the morally correct path. This triad functions became the centerpiece of whatever "humanist" philosophy one might discover in the Renaissance. The center of this triad, however, was the ability to use language to persuade others to pursue the right course, for public service and moral philosophy had no value unless others could be persuaded to adopt the right policies.

        The ability to persuade others by using the arts of language was called eloquence. The study of eloquence involved learning both grammar and rhetoric. Through the study of language and poetry, students learned in grammar how to create meaning in language as well as appropriateness. The Renaissance humanists also stressed grammar as teaching students how to use Latin properly. The best way to use Latin was to imitate the style of the classical authors. (The imitation of the classics was a staple in European education right into the early years of the twentieth century). Rhetoric involved a whole host of processes; the central processes were invention and elocution. Elocution refers to the way in which one delivers a speech. Invention, however, is the process whereby a speaker finds the material to make his argument. That's the core of rhetoric and the stuff that the average student spent learning from humanist teachers. The material of argument included arguments, proofs, and the fashioning of language; the entire purpose of the invention process was to persuade the audience that what you were arguing was true. You didn't have to convince them that your argument was absolutely true, you only had to persuade them to act as if what you were arguing was true.

     Ancient Greece Skepticism

                   This was a profound change in the European world view. It harks back to late classical philosophy, such as skepticism, which argued that no-one could know anything for certain. The only knowledge available to human beings was probable knowledge; this probable knowledge is the area in which rhetoric and eloquence does its work. Early Christian writers, such as Augustine, refuted this point of view and argued that Christian faith meant that there was some level of certainty in the world. It should also be remembered that the probable knowledge viewpoint was also an anti-dogmatic viewpoint, that is, it stressed toleration to different points of view, including different religious points of view.


                   Before the humanist program in education, logic (ir dialectic) was taught in the Scholastic tradition which was largely concerned with using language to produce statements that were absolutely true. One produced certainty by using the syllogism which produced certain conclusions from truthfull premises. Here's an example of a syllogism: "All humans are animals. Socrates is human. Therefore, Socrates is an animal." That's the kind of crap people did in logic class. Part of this process involved learning fallacioius reasoning, how to spot it and how to avoid it. The humanists changed this program entirely; by the first decades of the sixteenth century, Scholastic logic had almost disappeared from education. The humanists stressed invention over syllogism, that is, discovering arguments that would persuade people of the truth of what they were saying rather than convincing them of the certainty of that truth. So logic began to look a lot more like rhetoric; not only that, the humanists taught argumentative strategies in their courses that the strict logicians had always regarded as fallacious. So even bad arguments were good if they could persuade your audience!

     Literary Studies

                   The humanist movement energetically recovered much of the literature of antiquity. While the recovery of Greek texts began literally at the start of the middle ages in Europe, Renaissance humanism is accurately regarded as the movement which introduced Europeans to he whole panoply of classical Greek texts, especially literary texts. They were helped in part by a flood of Byzantine scholars. The first scholars simply came to teach; after 1453, when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottomans, there was a veritable flood of Greek scholars into Italy. In addition, up until 1453, some Italian humanists would travel to Byzantium and bring back Greek texts; one year, in 1423, a humanist named Giovanni Aurispa travelled to Byzantium and brought back almost 240 manuscripts, including the first copies of Sophocles and Thucydides to enter the European world!

     Discovery and Reformation Discovery and Reformation

                   Even more important than the recovery of massive amounts of Greek texts was the development of new modes of literary analysis that focussed on the use of language by classical authors. Although this may seem trivial, it was employed to verify or falsify important documents in European history, such as the Donation of Constantine. It was not long, however, until the humanistic literary scholars turned their attention to Christian scriptures, especially the New Testament. Armed with their new skills in the Greek language and Greek composition, they set about trying to recover the original spirit and meaning of foundational Christianity by reading the original Greek texts. They argued that the Latin translation of the New Testament had deeply corrupted the sense of the original; they, through the study of Greek, would arrive at the original meaning. This work laid the foundation of the European Reformation.

     Lorenzo Valla

                   No one represents the full maturity of the humanistic program better than Lorenzo Valla (1407-1454). In the recovery of classical literature, he greatly enhanced the program by developing sophisticated models of linguistic analysis to determine age and authenticity. His most famous textual project was proving through language analysis that the Donation of Constantine, a testament in which Constantine bequeathed his power and wealth to the church, was actually a forgery. His work on eloquence, The Eloquence of the Latin Language , provided a program of study in eloquence and composition based on the imitation of classical models, especially Cicero.**

     Ancient Greece Epicureanism

     The Enlightenment The Enlightenment

                   In the area of moral philosophy, his most influential work was On The True Good . Like so many classical authors before him, Valla was trying to answer the question, "what made humans happy?" Valla reviewed all the classical answers: wisdom made humans happy, virtue made humans happy, or, as the Epicureans argued, pleasure made humans happy. Surprisingly, Valla sided with the Epicureans. Now, what the Epicureans meant by pleasure was a chaste and well-balanced life, not constant partying. In advocating the Epicurean point of view, though, Valla's fundamental argument was that humans always acted out of self-interest. This argument would eventually become the foundation of the Enlightenmnt view of humanity and form the central argument of the ideology of capitalism, individual rights, and democracy.

     Civic Humanism

                   From its beginnings, the humanist education program stressed practical over philosophical careers. The purpose of the humanistic education was to prepare people to lead others and to participate in public life for the common good; this was a foundational aspect of Ciceronianism. Out of educational humanism, then, developed a distinct strain of humanism we call civic humanism. The civic humanists agreed on the importance of eloquence, but they stressed political science and political action over everything else while the educational humanists centered their attention primarily on grammar, rhetoric, and logic.

        The most prominent of the civic humanists were Leonardo Bruni (1370-1444) and Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), who is more famous in the modern age for his treatise on architecture. Both these men argued that the best form of government was a republic built on the Florentine model. Every citizen should be responsible for one another and should define themselves primarily in relation to the duties to their family and their city-state. Like Valla, they argued that selfishness to a certain degree was the foundation of all human achievement: the quest for glory and nobility led to political greatness and stability while the quest for material gain led to human mastery of nature and the earth.



     * Aristotle represents for most of us an icon of difficult or abstruse philosophical thinking; to know Aristotle often provokes hushed whispers even from highly educated people. For all this reputation, though, Aristotle is actually quite an easy read, for the man thought with an incredible clarity and wrote with a superhuman precision. It really is not possible to talk about Western culture (or modern, global culture) without coming to terms with this often difficult and often inspiring philosopher who didn't get along with his famous teacher, Plato, and, in fact, didn't get along with just about everybody (no-one likes a know-it-all). We can say without exaggeration that we live in an Aristotelean world; wherever you see modern, Western science dominating a culture in any meaningful way (which is just about everywhere), Aristotle is there in some form.

        Aristotle was born at Stagira, in Thrace, in 384 B.C. His father was a physician to the king of Macedon, so science was in his background. At the age of seventeen, he went to Athens and joined Plato's school, where he stayed until Plato's death in 347. A few years later, he became the tutor to the young prince of Macedon, Alexander the Great. Although Alexander was a stellar pupil, Aristotle returned to Athens three years later, founded his own school, the Lyceum, and taught and studied there for twelve years. Because Alexander began conquering all of the known world, Macedonians became somewhat unwelcome in Athens and Aristotle was accordingly shown the door in 323. He died a year later.

       Although he studied under Plato, Aristotle fundamentally disagreed with his teacher on just about everything. He could not bring himself to think of the world in abstract terms the way Plato did; above all else, Aristotle believed that the world could be understood at a fundamental level through the detailed observation and cataloging of phenomenon. That is, knowledge (which is what the word science means) is fundamentally empirical. As a result of this belief, Aristotle literally wrote about everything: poetics, rhetoric, ethics, politics, meteorology, embryology, physics, mathematics, metaphysics, anatomy, physiology, logic, dreams, and so forth. We aren't certain if he wrote these works directly or if they represent his or somebody else's notes on his classes; what we can say for certain is that the words, "I don't know," never came out of his mouth. In addition to studying everything, Aristotle was the first person to really think out the problem of evidence. When he approached a problem, he would examine a.) what people had previously written or said on the subject, b.) the general consensus of opinion on the subject, c.) and a systematic study of everything else that is part of or related to the subject. In his treatise on animals, he studied over five hundred species; in studying government, he collected and read 158 individual constitutions of Greek states as his fundamental data. This is called inductive reasoning:observing as many examples as possible and then working out the underlying principles. Inductive reasoning is the foundation of the Western scientific method.

        Outside of the empirical method, three characteristics stand out in Aristotle's thought: the schematization of knowledge, the four causes, and the ethical doctrine of the mean.

        The Classification of Knowledge. Perhaps the most fundamental aspect of Aristoteleanism is the classification of knowledge according the objects of that knowledge. The Greeks for some time had been concerned about the nature of human knowledge; this concern is called epistemology, or the "study of knowledge." For a long time, Greek philosophy dealt with questions of certainty; how could one be certain of knowledge? Suppose everything was an illusion? Aristotle resolved the question by categorizing knowledge based on their objects and the relative certainty with which you could know those objects. For instance, certain objects (such as in mathematics or logic) permit you to have a knowledge that is true all the time (two plus two always equals four). These types of knowledge are characterized by certainty and precise explanations. Other objects (such as human behavior) don't permit certain knowledge (if you insult somebody you may not make them angry or you may make them angry). These types of knowledge are characterized by probability and imprecise explanations. Knowledge that would fall into this category would include ethics, psychology, or politics. Unlike Plato and Socrates, Aristotle did not demand certainty in everything. One cannot expect the same level of certainty in politics or ethics that one can demand in geometry or logic. In Ethics I.3, Aristotle defines the difference in the following way, "we must be satisfied to indicate the truth with a rough and general sketch: when the subject and the basis of a discussion consist of matters which hold good only as a general rule, but not always, the conclusions reached must be of the same order. . . . For a well-schooled man is one who searches for that degree of precision in each kind of study which the nature of the subject at hand admits: it is obviously just as foolish to accept arguments of probability from a mathematician as to demand strict demonstrations from an orator."

        The Four Causes. If you walk out of this class knowing anything really well, it should be this, for Aristotle's "four causes" stand at the heart of Western rationality and Western science. In order to know a thing, anything at all, Aristotle says that one must be able to answer four questions (Physics ).

        Plato looked at the world and saw nothing but change; he wondered how we can know anything at all when everything is in motion and change. Plato solved the problem by postulating an unchanging world of intelligible Forms or Ideas of which our world is but an imperfect copy. But Aristotle embraced the visible world of change and motion and sought all his life to describe the principles which bring about change and motion. 1 Therefore, the question that dominated his thought at all points was: what is the cause (in Greek, aitia , which also means "responsible factor" 2) of this particular change or motion that I'm observing? What causes this thing to come into existence? What causes it to pass out of existence? Aristotle was the first major thinker to base his thought and science entirely on the idea that everything that moves or changes is caused to move or change by some other thing.

        What causes motion and change in the universe? The four causes: a.) the material cause: the matter out of which a thing is made (clay is the material cause of a bowl); b.) the formal cause: the pattern, model, or structure upon which a thing is made (the formal cause of a bowl is "bowl-shaped"; the formal cause of a human is "human-shaped"); c.) the efficient cause: the means or agency by which a thing comes into existence (a potter is the efficient cause of a bowl); d.) the final (in Greek, telos ) cause: the goal or purpose of a thing, its function or potential (holding cereal and milk is the final cause of a bowl). The final cause is the most unscientific, but is far and away the most important "cause" of a thing as far as Aristotle was concerned. Aristotle's analysis of phenomenon and change, then, is fundamentally teleological.

        Aristotle's thought is consistently teleological: everything is always changing and moving, and has some aim, goal, or purpose (telos ). To borrow from a Newtonian physics, we might say that everything has potential which may be actualized (an acorn is potentially an oak tree; the process of change and motion which the acorn undertakes is directed at realizing this potential).

        The Doctrine of the Mean. The Four Causes are universally applicable. However, ethics is a science that admits of a high degree of uncertainty because of the infinite variety of human actions and motivations. Now, normally ethics seems to require absolute and unchanging principles ("Thou shalt not kill") which individuals depart from at their peril. The idea that ethics are "man-made" is a problematic idea (see the discussion of the Sophists in the Pre-Socratics chapter); the idea that it is the individual situation which dictates whether an action is right or wrong is, at least to early human society, downright revolutionary. But this is what Aristotle concluded and it fits in perfectly with his general empirical temperament. He works out an entire system of ethics based on the "mean" to serve as a guideline to human behavior.    There is no proper definition of any moral virtue, but rather every moral virtue stands in relationship to two opposing vices. Take courage. Courage is the opposite of cowardice. But, it is also the opposite of foolhardiness. Somewhere between foolhardiness and cowardice, that's where courage lies. What constitutes this "mean" between the two terms varies from situation to situation: what is courageous in one situation may be cowardly in another; what is foolhardy in one situation may be courageous in another. Therefore, every action needs to be judged according to all the relevant circumstances and situation. Aristotle called judging actions in this manner, "equity," and equity is the foundation of modern law and justice, and is absolutely critical in understanding foundational Christianity and its later permutations, such as the Protestant Reformation. But that's a story for another day.

     **   Cicero was born in 106 B.C., six years before the birth of Julius Caesar, into a wealthy family, though none of his family served as senators. He received the Roman equivalent of an Ivy League education, studying rhetoric and philosophy in Rome, Athens, and Rhodes. After making a name as a lawyer in the Roman lawcourts, he was elected to the office of quaestor in 76, which made him a member of the Senate, and in 63 he was elected consul, 1 at the lowest legal age and as the first man for thirty years to gain that position from a family which had not previously held the office. During his year as consul he put down the conspiracy of Catiline, for which he was awarded the title of "Father of his Country." Cicero, however, as a champion of the traditional institutions of the Roman republic and the enemy of autocracy, was no match for the power politics of Julius Caesar and Pompey, and was never afterwards a major influence in public affairs when they erupted onto the scene. Cicero rejoiced at the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. and returned to political life with vigorous public attacks on Mark Antony, but his association with the young Octavian (later the Emperor Augustus) did not save him from Antony's revenge and he was killed in the wave of assassinations which began the triumvirate regime of Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus (43 B.C.). 2

    During the later years of his life, when he could no longer take much part in politics, Cicero devoted his time to writing a number of philosophical works. He intended to make the moral ideas of the Greek philosophers available to Roman public figures who were faced constantly with important decisions but not terribly studious in temperament; these philosophical works were immensely significant in the intellectual life of Europe until very recent times and were an essential part of the education of 18th century Americans. such as just about all the writers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Perhaps the most important philosophical idea for Cicero was the notion of duties. The word is a slightly misleading translation; the Latin word (officia) 3 in its narrow sense means "reciprocal personal relationships," but for Cicero means some­thing like "what we owe to others based on our specific relationship to them." Cicero's most lasting work in the European tradition is "The Dream of Scipio," a short interlude in a longer (now lost) work on the duties various members of a republic owe to one another, De Re Publica (On Public Affairs: this is the word from which "republic" derives), which is Cicero's Stoic version of Plato's Republic. In it, Scipio Africanus, the hero of the Second Punic War, appears to his descendent, also called Scipio, and shows him the harmonies of the universe and the place just actions and just humans occupy in this universe.

                       Augustus called himself "princeps," or "first" (from which we get the word, "prince"); his full title that he assumed was "first among equals." So, in language at least, nothing had really changed in Roman freedom and equality. His successors, however, would name themselves after their power, the "imperium," and called themselves "imperator." Augustus, however, was on a mission to restore order and even equity to the Empire, and so in many ways is considered the greatest of all these emperors. He radically reformed the government to curb corruption and ambition; he also extended Roman citizenship to all Italians. While he allowed elections to public office, he rigged those elections so that only the best candidates would fill the office, and so many members of the lower classes entered into government. He resettled his soldiers on farmland, and so agrarian equity was more closely achieved than at any time since the Second Punic Wars. He turned the military from a volunteer army into a standing, professional army; Rome and the provinces became, in essence, a police state. The military presence throughout the Empire spread the Roman language and Roman culture throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. And since Augustus controlled Rome militarily and politically, he put the provinces in the hands of intelligent, less ambitious, and virtuous men; for the first time since Rome began to build its empire, the provinces settled down into peace and prosperity—this peace and prosperity would be the hallmark of the Age of Augustus.

                        Finally, Augustus began a vast project of building and patronage of the arts, and Roman culture flourished in a boom of creativity that would make the age stand out as the greatest cultural period in the history of Rome. Two ages stand out as the great creative periods in Rome: the age of Cicero near the end of the Republic, and the Age of Augustus and the beginning of Imperial Rome.

        The Age of Augustus is known as the Golden Age of Roman literature, for during this time flourished the greatest poets of Rome. Under Augustus, poets and artists were patronized not by individuals, but solely through the princeps himself. To this end, Augustus appointed a cultural advisor, Maecenas, to aid him in extending patronage to poets. The result was an incredibly powerful system for identifying the best poets who could further the ideology of the Augustan government.

                        The three greatest poets of this time were Vergil (70-19 BC), Horace (65-8 BC), and Ovid (43 BC-18 AD). Vergil's earliest compositions were a set of pastoral lyrics celebrating artistry and the rural life; these were modelled after Hellenistic poetry. These poems, called the Eclogues , are often blatantly political in nature. In the first Eclogue , Vergil criticizes Augustus' policies of granting agricultural land to soldiers since these land grants displace poor farmers already living there. However, in the fourth Eclogue , Vergil produces a "prophecy" poem about the birth of Augusts as a savior of the world, bringing peace and law. Since Vergil lived so close to the birth of Christ, the Christians of medieval Europe would interpret the poem as a prophecy about the birth of Christ and give Vergil, a pagan, a kind of honorary status as a Christian poet. Vergil's second work is a versified manual on farming called The Georgics , which had as its subject not only the agricultural life, agrarian values (which the Romans saw as the core set of values in their culture), but also speculation on the natural world and the role of poetry. But Vergil's greatest contribution to Roman literature was the Aeneid , an epic, heroic poem about the founding of Roman civilization by Aeneas, a Trojan hero in flight from the destruction of Troy. The subject of the Aeneid is the greatness of Rome, of the Augustan Age, and Roman values. Chief among these values are pietas , or "piety, respect for authority," virtus , or "manliness, fortitude in the face of adversity," and "officium," or duty. Aeneas represents the Stoic values of suffering in order to bring about a better future; he, like Augustus and the best Romans, is marked by his willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the people and history. For the poem is about Aeneas setting aside his own concerns in order to take care of the people he is taking from Troy. This concern for his people goes beyond their safety; the successful migration of the Trojans is the prerequisite for the founding of Rome. The lesson that Aeneas has to learn is to sacrifice all his own personal concerns for a future that he will never see and will never enjoy. For the Stoic philosophy which imbues every aspect of this great poem on Roman virtue held that the universe was patterned, that it had a larger purpose and meaning, which the Stoics called logos , and that this logos originated in the divine mind which ruled the universe. Humans, who do not have the ability to comprehend this logos , nonetheless must serve and further it. In a scene that aroused passion and emotion in his audience, Vergil narrates how Aeneas, just as he is about to begin his battle for Italy, is handed a shield crafted by the god Vulcan with the entire history of Rome sculpted on its outer surface. The final lines describing this scene, when Aeneas has looked over all the history of Rome and has no idea what any of it means, takes the shield onto his shoulders perfectly defines the Roman view of morality, the state, and the individual:

         All these images

        Aeneas admires on Vulcan's shield, given to him

        By his mother, and, comprehending nothing

        Of the events pictured thereon,

        He felt proud and happy, and took upon his shoulder

        All the future fame and glory of his descendants.


                       Horace, on the other hand, wrote both poems that glorified the Empire and the family of Augustus and poems that described the joys and irritations of everyday life in Rome. These latter poems, called satires, largely concern moral evaluations of everyday and mundane behavior. Ovid, on the other hand, wrote primarily about love and sexual looseness; when he wrote a poetic book called The Art of Love , which was largely a manual on sexual seduction, Augustus misunderstood it and exiled the poet. For the book is not about sexual seduction, but really concerns the difference between ethics (love) and art (seduction). Ovid's greatest poem is the Metamorphoses , which is the richest storehouse of Greek and Roman myth from antiquity.    Augustus also patronized art and sculpture with the same passion and fervor that he patronized literature. He began enormous building projects, including several temples, the Temple to Apollo in the Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum.

     Roman glossary


                The single most important philosophy in Rome was Stoicism, which originated in Hellenistic Greece. The contents of the philosophy were particularly amenable to the Roman world view, especially since the Stoic insistence on acceptance of all situations, including adverse ones, seemed to reproduce what the Romans considered their crowning achievement: virtus, or "manliness," or "toughness." The centerpiece of Stoic philosophy was the concept of the logos. The universe is ordered by God and this order is the logos , which means "rational order" or "meaning" of the universe.

     Logos is a linguistic term; it refers particularly to the meanings of words. The meaning of an individual word all by itself is semeion ; the meaning of an individual word in the context of a sentence is logos . For the Stoic, the meaning (logos ) of each individual life, action, and situation is determined by its place in a larger whole, which is, of course, the whole course of history. In this view, history becomes a kind of speech by God. It is progressive, it is teleological, it is meaningful (but only when it's all done: a sentence has no meaning until it's completed). Each and every event, physical and historical, has a place within this larger rational order or meaning. Since the order is rational and meaningful, that means nothing happens which is not part of some larger reason or good (Christianity will adopt this idea wholesale; check out Boethius' Christianization of this concept). For the Roman, this larger good came to mean the spread of law across the face of the planet; this law was to be spread through Roman imperial conquest and was called the Law of Nations. The grand design for history, then, was the spread of the Roman Empire and her laws.

     Therefore, each and every function a Roman undertook for the state, whether as a farmer or foot-soldier, a philosopher or emperor, partook of this larger purpose or meaning of world history. The central values of this complex are officium, or "duty," which is the responsibility to perform the functions into which you have been born to the best of your abilities, and pietas, or "respect for authority." Each station in life has its duties; every situation in life has duties or obligations incumbent on it. The primary duty one owes is to the state; since God is u"sing the Roman state to further law and civilization, performing one's duty is a religious act. The principal being to which one owes respect is, of course, God; since God is working out his will in history by using the Roman state and Roman officials (derived from officium ), the respect one shows for Roman authorities is also a respect shown for God and the logos .


     Rome at its beginning was primarily and agricultural and martial culture. As a result, the earliest Romans stressed simplicity, strength, and toughness, which are all requirements of both the agricultural and martial lifestyles. What is anomalous about Roman society is that, even after Rome became not only urbanized, but downright cosmopolitan, Romans still looked back to their agricultural beginnings as defining the essential character of Romanness. As a result, one of the principal cultural values in Rome was virtus, which is derived from the Latin word vir, or "man." Virtus , then, means something like "manliness." Unlike the Greek value areté, which means "being the best one can be," virtus stresses strength, toughness, simplicity, and bearing up under adversity.

     For this reason, Stoicism, with its stress on accepting or toughing out adversity struck a particularly resonant chord with the Romans in the late Republic. Perhaps the single most important idea the Romans derived from the Stoics was their concept of the logos. The universe is ordered by God and this order is the logos , "meaning" or "rational order" of the universe. Each and every event, physical and historical, has a place within this larger rational order. Since the order is rational and meaningful, that means nothing happens which is not part of some larger reason or good. One essentially has only two choices in life: one can accept the circumstances of one's life or one can futilely resist those circumstances. Therefore, virtus , which originally applied to an agricultural or martial culture, can be adapted to any situation or station in life a Roman finds himself or herself in.

     The logos also determined history itself; the course of history animating the Roman Republic and Empire was seen as the divine will working out its purpose in the world. Therefore, each human being had a duty (officium) to fulfill in this larger project; the key to performing that duty was acceptance of the role and strength (virtus ) in the face of adversity.

     How is this value of virtus Christianized in Boethius?" {Sorry have lost the refs for these entries.}

     Here is a Humanist Manifesto from the American Humanist Association.

    It is trademarked so I have to find out it they mind my including it here. I am a novice at this part.


    Humanist Manifesto III, a successor to the Humanist Manifesto of 1933*


    Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

    The lifestance of Humanism—guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience—encourages us to live life well and fully. It evolved through the ages and continues to develop through the efforts of thoughtful people who recognize that values and ideals, however carefully wrought, are subject to change as our knowledge and understandings advance.

    This document is part of an ongoing effort to manifest in clear and positive terms the conceptual boundaries of Humanism, not what we must believe but a consensus of what we do believe. It is in this sense that we affirm the following:

    Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.

    Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.

    Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.

    Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.

    Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.

    Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature’s resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.

    Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views. We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process and a planetary duty to protect nature’s integrity, diversity, and beauty in a secure, sustainable manner.

    Thus engaged in the flow of life, we aspire to this vision with the informed conviction that humanity has the ability to progress toward its highest ideals. The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone.  * Humanist Manifesto is a trademark of the American Humanist Association—© 2003 American Humanist Association"


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