Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Fortuna caeca : symptom of ideological failure in Roman society, and Augustine's Christian alternative
Author: Van Reyn, G. M. A.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2005
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This thesis argues that the idea of Fortuna (caeca) played an important role in the changeover from tradition Roman ideology to Augustinianism. The first part discusses the religious cult of Fortuna, and most of all the literary figure of Fortuna caeca, in history (Sallust) and philosophy. Fortuna acted as a barometer not only for the efficiency of Roman society, but also for the credibility of its ideology. At the forefront of Roman ideology stood virus, and its reward (worldly glory). Once the link between these two was broken, justice fled, and Fortuna could reign. The staunchest supporters of traditional ideology belonged to the nobility, the melior pars of society. They had lost in the empire their libertas, and had little opportunity to exercise their virtus. The disparity between political reality and the established ideology proved to be a fertile ground for a whimsical Fortuna caeca. In the second part, a traditional Roman biography of Augustine’s life reveals how radical his conversion in the garden of Milan actually was. The Cassiciacum dialogues show his changed view on Fortuna, but only Confessiones reveals why he took a chance event (the “tolle, lege” chant) to be a divine command. A psychological analysis of Augustine’s relationships indicates that this incident saved his already fractured self from total annihilation. From his conversion moment on, his identity was firmly anchored in Christ. In De civiate dei Augustine applies his own experience to the history of mankind, wherein God executes his salvation plan to bring the predestinated saints to the Heavenly Society. Augustine has difficulties defending his doctrine of freely given grace, predestination and original sin, because nothing seems to distinguish God from a capricious deity such as Fortuna caeca, who blindly selects her favourites, and bestows her gifts on them without any regard for merit.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available