Christ and Cicero

“If to admire Cicero means to be a Ciceronian, I am a Ciceronian.  I admire him so much that I wonder at people who do not admire him.  This may appear a new confession of my ignorance, but this is how I feel, such is my amazement.  However, when we come to think or speak of religion, that is, of supreme truth and true happiness, and of eternal salvation, then I am certainly not a Ciceronian, or Platonist, but a Christian.” Francesco Petrarch, “On His Own Ignorance,” in The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, ed. Kenneth R. Bartlett, 2nd edition (Toronto 2011), p. 35.

Petrarch sought to reconcile his devotion to the writings of Cicero and his faith as a Christian in this work.  He argued for a Christian humanism that became the foundation of Renaissance thought.


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