Philosophy, History and Eloquence

“For to the truly noble mind, and to those who are obligated to involve themselves in public affairs and human communities, knowledge of history and the study of moral philosophy are the more suitable subjects. The rest of the arts are called liberal because they befit free men, but philosophy is liberal because its study makes men free.  Thus in philosophy we find rules explaining what one may profitably do or shun, but in history we find [moral] examples; in the former the duties of all mankind may be found and what it is fitting for each person to do, but in the latter what has been done or said in every age.  Unless I am mistaken, a third study should be added to these [in the case of the public man]: eloquence, which is a distinct part of civics.” Piero Paolo Vergerio, “Character and Studies Befitting a Free-Born Youth,” in The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on What It Means to Be An Educated Human Being, ed. Richard M. Gamble. Wilmington 2007, p. 318. [Emphasis added]

Vergerio (c.1400) identified history and moral philosophy as the primary subjects for those truly noble mind.  For those who seek to lead in society he added eloquence.

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