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as governor of the north Italian province of Aemilia and Liguria before he was nominated (unwillingly, by his own account) bishop at Milan in 374.29 Although only enrolled as a catechumen, he undertook baptism and rapidly rose through the clerical orders, being consecrated as bishop eight days later. As governor, Ambrose had enjoyed a great amount of worldly status, and he maintained this as bishop in his relations with other leaders of church and state, famously in forcing the emperor Theodosius to do public penance for the massacre of citizens in Thessalonika. His clash with the pagan senator Symmachus over the re-establishment of the Altar of Victory in the senate, and his eventual victory, bear witness to an irreversible shift in the governing bodies of Rome with respect to their pagan past. Ambrose's homilies, ninety-one letters, treatises, biblical commentaries and funeral orations display a most effective use of rhetoric in public contexts.30 As a product of his conflict with the Arian community in Milan, and the 'basilicas controversy' of the mid-380s, in which both parties were vying for the use of major church buildings,31 Ambrose penned the first Latin hymns. His eloquence and mastery of the three styles of rhetoric received the highest praise from Augustine.32

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Augustine could also have been open to the charge of being a Ciceronian, given that his embracing of Christianity depended upon his prior reading of Cicero's Hortensius. Although brought up as a Christian by his mother Monica, he chose to pursue Manichaeism as a young adult.33 In his nineteenth year, while studying rhetoric in Carthage, he turned to the Hortensius, in pursuit of eloquence. This work kindled within him a love for wisdom, which, as he notes in the Confessiones, the Greeks call 'philosophy'.34 He followed this by investigating the school of Academics. More years passed before he took up the call of Christ, but in the meantime he taught rhetoric in Africa and then Rome from 383, before accepting a professorship of rhetoric in Milan. There he met Bishop Ambrose, under whose instruction he enrolled as a catechumen and was baptised in 386. Ordained priest in 391 and bishop of Hippo in 396,

29 On Ambrose's secular and ecclesiastical careers, see Neil B. McLynn, Ambrose of Milan.

30 Boniface Ramsey, Ambrose, 55-68, provides a useful summary of Ambrose's works. He notes (55) that only four or five sermons have survived as such, although reworked sermons formed the basis of many of his treatises and exegetical writings.

31 See ibid., 25-9 on the 'basilicas controversy'.

32 Augustine, De doctrina christiana 4.21.50 (trans. Hill, 233, mod.):'. . . that is [speaking], as the matter requires, plainly and clearly, or in rather more ornate and flowery language, or with fiery vigour . . .'

33 The definitive biography of Augustine is Peter Brown's Augustine of Hippo.

34 Augustine, Confessiones 3.4.7-8.

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