L’enigma del padre di sant’Ambrogio
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St Ambrose, in his writings, and literary and hagiographic sources on him provide very little information on the Saint’s father. Historical and exegetical hints offered by his Epistula 49 and by all the relevant texts are closely investigated in order to establish the exact date and place of Ambrose’s birth. Then the clue of the father’s name is followed, with attention on Marcellinus, Mag. Off. (of Magnentius) 350/1 (Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, I 546 nr 8), on his career, political line-up and death (mors insepulta). All these facts are shown to be consistent with Ambrose’s biographic data and with his opinions on the great events occurred after the reign of Constantine. Comments on paternity (and maternity) in Ambrose’s writings are also scrutinized. Ambrose’s reticence may have been caused by the political conduct of Marcellinus (probably object of damnatio) and by his own civic loyalism and epicopal consciousness. The hypothesis about Marcellinus withstands objections and appears altogether well-grounded.
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