Humanitas Defined

Emerging from the brilliant circle of Scipio the Younger, the concept of Humanitas comprised of broad universal human duties.

Emerging from the brilliant circle of Scipio the Younger, the concept of Humanitas comprised of broad universal human duties. Such as feelings of sympathy, general refinement of living, enjoyment of literature, art, and the fruits of contemplation and scholarship, and a rational application of virtuous modes of bearing and conduct in the private and public zones. Its end goal was the welfare and service of human beings, individually and collectively. Humanitas, overall, included an intense concern for the welfare of mankind as a whole as well as for the proper ordering of the individual’s inner life.

In ancient Rome, the concept of humanitas represented the foundation of culture and knowledge. Cicero, inheritor of the Scipio circle and who best expressed ‘humanitas’ in literary form, believed that the citizens of Rome should be educated to possess a collection of virtues, encapsulated by the term humanitas, and that such an education would prepare them for an active life of public service as well as a decent and fulfilling private life. As a civil education program, Cicero’s humanitas program was designed to unite and integrate the ancient Roman citizenry thereby safeguarding the city from decay and destruction. The quintessence of his program was, thus, an attempt to revitalise Roman society. The reason why this classical way of educating is more relevant than ever is because, directly and indirectly, it offers a deeper, lasting preparation for college, careers and living a meaningful life by encouraging its two guiding principles—wisdom and virtue.