4 Interesting Facts About St. Augustine
St. Augustine was a North African philosopher and theologian who is now known as one of the most influential figures in Western Christianity. He became the Bishop of Hippo after rising through the ranks of the early Christian church, and we celebrate him with a feast day each year on August 28.
St. Augustine has influenced many people with his works on theology, biblical studies, patristics, and western civilization. Yet, there are still so many surprising facts about him that you may not know. Familiarize yourself with who St. Augustine was and the influence he has had on people and cultures by taking note of this information below.
He Was Well Educated
Most people who have read the complete works of St. Augustine know just how highly educated St. Augustine was, but they may not know how it all began. Augustine spent many years in the schooling system, which is where he came to learn Latin literature.
He stood out for his intellectual abilities and was quickly sponsored to further his education, studying rhetoric in Carthage, Tunisia. Even though he was fluent in Latin, Augustine never quite mastered Greek. He rebelled against his Greek language teacher, who used to beat his students, and refused to study. He also never picked up the language later in life.
He Opened a School of Rhetoric
Rhetoric is a field of study described as the art of persuasion that forms one of the three ancient arts of discourse, alongside logic and grammar. Augustine opened a school of rhetoric in 374 in Carthage. He taught in this school for nine years before moving to Rome and teaching there. Finally, he landed a job in 384 teaching rhetoric in the imperial court of Milan.
While in Milan, Augustine met the Bishop of Milan at the time, Ambrose. This was when he discovered a new outlook on Christianity.
He Converted to Christianity
Augustine converted to Christianity in 386, with Ambrose baptizing him at Easter of 387. He spent less time on rhetoric and more on preaching during this time before finally quitting teaching altogether. Augustine became the Bishop of Hippo Regius in 396, now known as Annaba in Algeria.
From this point onward, he dedicated his entire life to his congregation and encouraged conversions to Christianity. Around 500 of up to 10,0000 sermons he preached are still accessible today. Augustine would speak several times per week for up to an hour each time during these sermons.
He Died During a Siege
The Vandals invaded Roman Africa and besieged Hippo in 430. Augustine lost his life during this siege and spent the remaining days he had left on earth praying and doing penance.
When the Vandals finally reached the city, they burned nearly everything to the ground. Fortunately, they left the cathedral he had built and the library untouched. During this chaotic time, it is thought that Augustine healed an ill man before dying himself.
St. Augustine changed many people’s lives, but there’s so much left to be discovered about his own life. The complete works of St. Augustine can give you insight into this man’s knowledge and intellect, and these facts above can be a starting point to immersing yourself in his literature.