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The Life of Augustine of Hippo

Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)

Frederick Van Fleteren

The seventeenth century was the century of Saint Augustine. In 1695, Louis Sébastien, Le Nain de Tillemont, finished volume 13 of his Mémoires ecclésiastique, entitled La vie de saint Augustin. The volume consisted of approximately 1200 pages wherein Louis Sébastien gathered from the works of Augustine and elsewhere all extant passages relevant to the biography of Augustine of Hippo. Completed in 1695, the biography was published posthumously in 1700. The work lies in the tradition of Jansenism from Port-Royal and the Leuven. Though an ascetic recluse on the family estate for the last twenty years of his life, he was in touch with important French scholars and the ecclesiastical movements of his time. Louis’ work is the first modern biography of Augustine and the most comprehensive of all Augustinian biographies, even today. Modern authors consult him and frequently adopt his theories without citation. His method exercises influence on contemporary Parisian scholarship on Augustine. This English translation has been divided into three volumes covering three time periods: part 1: birth to episcopal consecration (354–396); part 2: the Donatist controversy (396–411); part 3: the Pelagian controversy (411–430).
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Article 235: Proba Faltonia; Juliana



Proba Faltonia; Juliana

God permitted Augustine’s heart to be pierced by a deep wound at the death of Marcellinus. However he was soon consoled by a token of divine mercy. The unwitting agent for this grace occurred during a sojourn in Carthage where he had seen his friend’s blood spilled. The celebrated miracle of grace to Demetriada, the noblest and wealthiest virgin of the Roman world, occurred in 413.1 Personally she joined the families of Proba, Olybra, and Anicius together. She consecrated herself completely to Christ: marriage had been planned for her but she renounced the world to have no spouse other than Christ.2 She enhanced a family in which consulates and other high imperial offices were the norm with the glory of virginity to which no one in her family had ever dared aspire.

Sextus Petronius Probus was her paternal grandfather and Anicius Hermogenianus Olybrius her father (consul, 395). The wife of Petronius Probus was Anicia Faltonia Proba, described on inscriptions as the daughter of a consul and an embellishment of the Anicians and Pincians.3 Proba renewed the integrity and nobility of these ancient Roman families by her model of chastity as an Illustrious, holy, and chaste woman. Claudianus pays tribute to her chastity and Augustine praises her and remarks that, after her husband’s death, she preserved chastity so inviolate that she could teach others how to regulate their celibate lives.4

Baronius says Proba composed a poem, drawn from...

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