St. Augustine and ibn-al-Salt

From Peter Watson, Ideas: A History From Fire to Freud (London, 2005), pg. 314.

Augustine turned into a great writer (113 books, 200 letters) but he is famously known to history as ‘a great sinner who became a great saint’. According to his own confessions, he was a sinner until he was thirty-two, when he turned to Christianity, but even after that he was unable to live up to his hopes because of a ‘weakness in dealing with sexual temptation’. (‘Lord, give me chastity,’ he used to pray, ‘but not yet.’)

From Peter Watson, Ideas: A History From Fire to Freud (London, 2005), pg. 366.

One of the most important poets of the seventh and early eighth centuries was a Christian, Ghiyath ibn-al-Salt, from near to Hirah, on the Euphrates, who was even taken to Mecca by his caliph. Though appointed court poet, he refused to convert [to Islam], or to give up his ‘addiction’ to wine, or to stop wearing his cross. He divorced his wife, married a divorcée, was often seen with prostitutes and drank ‘to saturation’, claiming that was the only way he got ideas for his poetry.

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