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The Life of Augustine of Hippo

Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)

Edited By 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 236: Proba in Africa

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ARTICLE 236

Proba in Africa

Of all Juliana’s children we know only the illustrious virgin to whom Olybrus gave the name of his great-grandmother Demetriada, an illustrious woman of that family.1 Demetriada the younger was still a child when Pope Anastasius condemned the teachings of Origenism in 401. She was living in Rome with her mother and grandmother when the city was occupied by the Goths in 410 and she herself fell into their hands.2 Demetriada wept with Proba over the virgins forced to leave her house. This gives lie to the claim that her grandmother Demetriada opened the door to the Goths to put an end to the miseries the people were undergoing during the sack of Rome. Scarcely had Proba been freed from the hands of the barbarians when this ordeal gave way to another with the loss of her son Probinus.3 She endured this trial, hard as it was, resolutely as a worthy servant of Christ who had her hopes on the bliss to come. She was to be the grandmother of one of Christ’s virgins.

God tried Proba again in a different way. She left Rome after the Goths had recently set fire to the city. Fearing the return of Alaric, who had gone off to pillage the remainder of Italy, she entrusted both her life and that of her family to a boat. Juliana and her daughter Demetriada were surely among this number as well as several other holy...

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