Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Africa (3)

Looking up Quint turned out to be a discovery. Given correct
directions--this time--to find the Stoa, I was amazed over what
I found. Instead of one building, or just a small group of schools,
there was a whole campus of different philosophical schools.
Arranged as a quadrangle, all the school buildings were inter-
locked, with a shaded colonnade that provided a walkway
throughout. Beyond this, there was a common hall (for meetings,
other functions, even festivities) and a large library close but
separate from the quadrangle. And at each end of the campus
there were restful parks.

I couldn't believe this place! Called the "Collegio Carthago,"
it represented an organized consortium of different schools.
It was obviously a new concept, just as new as the campus
itself! Altogether, housed in these inter-locking but different
buildings, one could find the Pythagorians, the Aristotelians,
the Platonists, the Epicureans, the Stoics, the Rhetoricians,
and heaven knows who else!

Meeting one of the scholastics, the Stoa was pointed out to me.
Upon entering I asked of Quint, mentioning that he was an old
friend. I was in luck. He was about to lecture, so why not sit-in
and catch him following his presentation. I sat in the back
of the room, but just as Quint started he noticed me. Right in
the middle of a sentence, he stopped and snorted. He did
manage to make it through his presentation, and then he came
down the aisle and embraced me.

We headed off to lunch, over which I told him why I was in
Carthage. Quint was also pleased when I told him of my
being a scholastic at both the Athenian Academy and at the
Stoa in Rhodes. I told him about my "Seeding" hypothesis,
of how I was interested perhaps integrating these Greek
philosophies with "scientific" information observed by the
naturalists--and, perhaps too, with astronomy.

Quint thought my approach fascinating. He was not surprised
that I had chosen Rhodes to study a more eclectic Stoicism,
since it had a reputation of being more varied in its approach,
inserting new forms of information other than just ethics and
logic. I told him that I still would like to study more deeply
the concepts of Providence and the Pneuma. Quint was quick
to react, by pouncing on me the idea that I stay in Carthage
and continue as a scholastic at the Stoa here!

Bidding a good day to Quint, I headed back to my lodgings.
Along the way I pondered over his suggestion that I stay in
Carthage. Why not? The city was beautiful. The climate
was inviting. And I figured that I might fit nicely into the military
environment that prevailed.

Marc had already returned by the time I reached our lodgings.
He unloaded yet another surprise on me! He had decided to
move and make his home in Carthage. He said that it offered
that new venue he was seeking--and even more, that in the
more arid areas of the province he would be installing Persian
gardens. Learning about this new kind of garden would provide
a fresh intellectual challenge.

Still the surprises kept coming. Marc wanted me to stay in
Carthage with him, sharing a villa perhaps. Before I could think,
my mouth opened. My response was that the villa would have
to be located near the Collegio Carthago, because I intended to
finish my studies at the Stoa located there and wanted to be

Gasping, I couldn't believe what I had just said. I had just made
a commitment.

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