The charm of leisure must not be an indolent vacancy of mind, but the investigation or discovery of truth, that thus every man may make solid attainments without grudging that others do the same. And, in active life, it is not the honors or power of this life we should covet, since all things under the sun are vanity, but we should aim at using our position and influence, if these have been honorably attained, for the welfare of those who are under us, in the way we have already explained.
—Saint Augustine, City of God

Historians today have been too dismissive of fourteenth-century Italian humanism to appreciate its moral and political character. Many view it as a movement principally concerned with style rather than substance, with antiquarian and textual questions...


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