This chapter begins with Augustine's home town, Thagaste in North Africa, in the context of the western Roman empire. It discusses classical education and Christian teaching, the liberal arts as an ascent of the mind to God, and the claims of Manichaean missionaries to teach the true interpretation of Christianity. Augustine moved to Carthage, then to Rome and Milan, as a teacher of rhetoric with hopes for a civil service appointment. The chapter then discusses traditional Roman religion (‘paganism’), the arguments of Christians and non-Christians for the ascetic life of prayer and study, and the impact on Augustine of Platonist philosophy and of Ambrose, bishop of Milan. It ends with Augustine's decision to renounce his career and his plans to marry; his baptism and return to Africa; and his life as a bishop at the time when he wrote the Confessions.
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