GREGORY THE GREAT, 590–604
Gregory’s father and mother were a devout and wealthy couple of senatorial rank. His youth was spent at his father’s house on the Caelian, opposite the deserted palaces of the Palatine. Of the old classical education, which Martianus Capella had just summarised in his treatise on the seven liberal arts, Gregory received instruction in the first three subjects, with some knowledge of Latin literature, the
slight contemporary infusion of Porphyry’s logic, or dialectic, and a considerable knowledge of rhetoric. Of the four remaining liberal arts, arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy, he seems like his contemporaries to have known little or nothing.