Excerpt from Ancient History from Primary Sources: A Literary Timeline by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn

Ambrose c. a.d. 339-397 (Ambrosius)

Ambrose was brought up in a Christian home in Gaul and educated in Rome. He first became a government official, and later a bishop of Milan. He was reputedly involved in the conversion of Augustine. He wrote many commentaries on the Bible, dogmatic works, books on the sacraments and the duties of the clergy, and writings on monastic and moral life. He was a great orator and preacher, and some consider him to have been the first to write Christian hymns with rhyme and meter.

Extant works include:

On the Duties of the Clergy – A manual of Christian morality.
On the Christian Faith
On Virginity
On the Holy Spirit
On the Mystery of the Lord’s Incarnation
On the Mysteries
On Penitence
On Widows
91 Letters

Significant excerpts:

22 – To his sister, describing the discovery of the bodies of two saints.
57 – To Emperor Eugenius the Usurper, telling him he is excommunicated from the Church because of his donations to the upkeep of pagan temples.
63 – To the Church at Vercelli refuting Epicureanism.
69 – To Irenaeus, explaining why women should wear women’s clothes and men should wear men’s clothes.


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