Augustine of Hippo [Aurelius Augustinus]
- James W. McKinnon
- and Joseph Dyer
(b Thagaste, Nov 13, 354; d Hippo, Aug 28, 430). Saint, churchman, and scholar. He was perhaps the most influential figure in the history of Christian thought, rivalled only by Thomas Aquinas and possibly Origen. Born in North Africa to a pagan father and Christian mother, the sainted Monica, he studied rhetoric in Carthage where he lost his boyhood Christian faith. In 373 his reading of Cicero's Hortensius inspired him to pursue the life of a philosopher, which he experienced first as a devotee of Manicheism. He served as professor of liberal arts for several years in his native Thagaste, moving in 383 to Rome and then in 384 to Milan, as professor of rhetoric. In Milan he came under the influence of the Christian neoplatonist Simplicianus and St Ambrose. He was led gradually through Neoplatonism to Christianity and, after a period of retreat at Cassiciacum, was baptized on Easter Eve of ...