–Augustine of Hippo, Confessions Book I, xiii (22).
It was customary in the Roman Empire, when seeing a prestigious person, to pass through multiple doorways covered with curtains or veils. The more veils to pass through, the more prestigious the person. For Augustine, the school’s veils were not truthfully an indication of wisdom within but rather strategic ostentation. A similar metaphor appears in Ellison’s Invisible Man:
“Then in my mind’s eye I see the bronze statue of the college Founder, the cold Father symbol, his hands outstretched in the breathtaking gesture of lifting a veil that flutters in hard, metallic folds above the face of a kneeling slave; and I am standing puzzled, unable to decide whether the veil is really being lifted, or lowered more firmly in place; whether I am witnessing a revelation or a more efficient blinding.” –p.36