Thursday, 7 February 2019
Charlotte Koeckert: Augustine’s ‚Milan Circle’ Reconsidered
In his groundbreaking studies on Augustine, Pierre Courcelle has claimed that in Milan Augustine came under the influence of a group of Christian Neoplatonists centred around bishop Ambrose. With this concept of a ‚Milan circle’ Courcelle focused on Augustine’s intellectual milieu in order to depict his conversion in 386 as both philosophical and Christian. Others, however, have used the concept as a model for describing Augustine’s social milieu.The paper reexamines Augustine’s personal relations at Milan and proposes two models for the description of the social enviroment that fostered his intellectual and religious development at that time: the literary circles of the educated Roman elite and a close network of longterm friends. Both models can be illustrated by other late antique examples.