Saint Augustine Writes The City of God (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: Saint Augustine wrote The City of God, a key work that embodied the transformation from the humanistic, world-centered viewpoint of classical thought to the God-centered concept of eternity that characterized the Christian Middle Ages.
Summary of Event
Under their chieftain Alaric I, the Visigoths captured the city of Rome in August, 410 c.e. For almost eight hundred years, Rome had escaped the ravages of invaders, but at last the Germans succeeded where even Hannibal’s military genius had failed. The event was not totally unexpected. For two years, the Visigoths had been tramping practically at will through central Italy. In Ravenna, then the capital of the Western Roman Empire, the timorous emperor Honorius cowered in fright, having himself ordered the murder of Flavius Stilicho, the general who might have delivered Italy from the barbarian menace. When Innocent I, the bishop of Rome, came to beg military assistance for his flock, Ravenna had nothing to offer.
The physical damage was relatively light, but the psychological shock was great. If the Eternal City was no longer safe, doom seemed to threaten civilization itself. Saint Jerome, far off in his murky cave in Bethlehem, reacted typically: He poured out his heart in lamentation to one of his correspondents, prophesying the imminent end of the world. For Rome was the ideological heart of all that was mighty and worthwhile in secular...
(The entire section is 1527 words.)
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