Considering Augustine's position on "lesser goods," what roles did women play in his life?

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Owing to his experiences with the women in his life, St. Augustine possessed a perspective that many of his contemporary theologians did not. While he recognized his mother's wisdom and knowledge of the Christian faith, her disdain for his beloved, but unnamed concubine, and her unsuccessful attempt at an arranged marriage caused him great emotional distress, as he notes in his Confessions.

Perhaps somewhat ahead of his time, Augustine argued that the greatest good was the love of the One God. However, because all things created by Him are worthy of love, that the practice of loving "lesser goods" honors God. No doubt this uncharacteristic view toward imperfect worldly relationships was influenced by the women in his life, as well as by the ancient philosophers he acknowledged: Virgil, Aristotle, and Cicero.

With relation to the Iliad, the influential role of aristocratic women is quite apparent in Homer's work. Given his love of ancient mythology, this ancient poem might well have supported Augustine's argument.

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