Sunday, October 29, 2023

Fortnightly Book, October 29

 I recently got a copy of Thomas Williams's translation of Augustine's Confessions, which has been widely recommended, so this is the next fortnightly book.

Aurelius Augustinus was born in 354 in Thagaste in Numidia (modern day Souk Ahras in Algeria) to Patricius and Monnica. Both parents were likely Numidian Berbers (Monnica's name strongly confirms this) but the family name of Aurelius indicates that the family had been freedmen who received Roman citizenship under the Edict of Caracalla (212), so Augustine was raised as a Roman. One of the things on which his parents agreed was the importance of his education, and with further help from local citizens, he had the best that North Africa could offer. He was a fairly wild youth, but when studying Carthage, he read Cicero's dialogue, Hortensius, and it set him on the path of philosophy. But that, of course, is only the beginning of the journey. 

The Confessions were written between 397 and 400, a bit over halfway through Augustine's life, and of course is widely recognized as one of the great works of Western civilization.