- John F. Matthews
St Augustine (Aurelius Augustinus (354–430 ce), was born at Thagaste (mod. Souk Ahras, Algeria), son of Patricius, a modest town councillor of pagan beliefs, and a dominant Catholic mother, Monica. Educated at Thagaste, *Madauros, and Carthage, he taught rhetoric at Thagaste, Carthage, and Rome and (384–6) as public orator at Milan, then the capital of the emperor Valentinian II. Patronized at Rome by *Symmachus (2), the pagan orator, he hoped, by an advantageous marriage (to which he sacrificed his concubine, the mother of a son, Adeodatus—d. c.390) to join the ‘aristocracy of letters’ typical of his age (see ausonius). At 19, however, he had read the Hortensius of *Cicero. This early ‘conversion to philosophy’ was the prototype of successive conversions: to *Manichaeism, a Gnostic sect promising Wisdom, and, in 386, to a Christianized *Neoplatonism patronized by *Ambrose, bishop of Milan. Catholicism, for Augustine, was the ‘Divine Philosophy’, a Wisdom guaranteed by authority but explored by reason: ‘Seek and ye shall find’, the only scriptural citation in his first work, characterizes his life as a thinker.