Augustine of Hippo was born in Thagaste Africa as a Roman citizen on November 13, 354. At age 11 he went to school and became familiar with philosophy and other Latin literature. His mother raised him a Christian, but he became a Manichaeist, a popular religion at the time. Augustine moved to Carthage to continue his education. He sought relationships with women and it was at this time he said his prayer, “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.”
He began an affair with a woman in Carthage and was with her for 13 years, and had a son with her. Augustine began to teach at Carthage, but was disturbed by the behavior of the students there and moved to Rome. After being disappointment by the students there he secured a position as a professor of rhetoric at the imperial court. He began to drift towards Christianity, and his mother arraigned a marriage for him, although the girl was only 11 at the time. He broke off the engagement before the girl became of age.
Augustine heard a childlike voice which told him to read a passage from Romans and became saved. He and his son were baptized and he moved back to his family estate in Africa. His mother passed away on the trip and his son joined her soon after. Augustine sold all of the estate and gave the money to the poor. He kept the house where he started a monastery for a group of friends.
Augustine became a priest and then a bishop. He spent all of his time trying to convert the people of Hippo, especially those who had adopted the Manichaeism. Augustine died on August 25th 430 during a siege of Hippo by the Vandals. The Vandals would eventually burn the town, except for Augustine’s cathedral and library.
Augustine is most remembered for his books, which were important in shaping Western philosophy. His “City of God” and “Confessions” are still popular today. His views on original sin and just war shaped views for centuries. Even Protestants view him as being theologically important due to his teachings on grace and salvation.
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