SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
This fresco, painted by Sandro Botticelli in 1480, in the Church of the Ognissanti in Florence, is one of a pair depicting two of the Doctors of the Church of the 4thh century AD. The second fresco (by Ghirlandio), is of St. Jerome in his study. As with St. Jerome, St Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430) sits surrounded by scholarly books and instruments, arrested in the act of writing. At this time the Church Fathers were involved in the transition from the beliefs and practices of the classical world to world of Christendom. Drawing on the philosophy of Plato and the doctrines of Cicero, the work of Augustine at this critical period gave the church a systemised body of thought, defining its ideals and purpose. His book the City of God dominated Christian thought for centuries and influenced Thomas Aquinas, Grotius and Dante.
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