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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 332: Count Boniface (2)

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ARTICLE 332

Count Boniface (2)

Count Boniface’s affairs had changed remarkably over the last decade. In 417 Boniface was occupied in fighting the Vandals in Africa. Augustine and Alypius had advised him to remain in this task to serve God and the Church in that position while resolving to live in continence and not to seek secular grandeur or wealth. In 422 Boniface followed General Castin to Spain to fight the Vandals.1 Doubtless his military experience prevented a Vandal victory. However, Boniface feared General Castin’s pride. He retired to Porto and thence to Africa. One scholar thinks pressure to return to Rome was a factor.2 According to Prosper, his retreat was a source of discontent in the empire.

Whatever the case, this discontent did not occur immediately. On the contrary, at the beginning of 423 Placidia3 was obliged to retreat to Constantinople.4 History praises Boniface for being faithful to her. He returned to Africa where he commanded her troops as count. Placidia sent him the financial support his command required. After Honorius’ death in August, 423 Boniface helped Placidia gain control of the Western empire of which John5 had previously been in control.6 John sent troops to Africa in 424 in an attempt to rule the land. However, he had to reduce his forces, was defeated, and in the end killed in 425. Valentinian III was declared emperor in Rome October 23, 425 under the protection of Placidia his mother. Boniface was ordered to...

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