Augustine’s City of God, II: What was the Cause of Rome’s „Greatness“ (Part I)

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The sack of Rome prompted pagan critics of Christianity to charge that it was the adoption of Christianity which led to Rome’s upheaval and tragic sacking at the hands of Alaric.  These critics charged that if Rome had stayed true to their old gods then those gods would have looked over Rome and sparred her from the misery and suffering that befell it at the hands of Alaric and the Visigoths.  (It is important to remember that even though the Roman Empire officially declared Nicaean Christianity its State Religion under Emperor Theodosius I during the Edict of Thessalonica in 380 A.D., “paganism” was still the majority “religion” of the Roman Empire during Augustine’s time.)

Augustine, the scholar, historian, and literary critic, takes up this challenge straightforwardly by reminding pagan critics that Rome had fallen under tragedy many times before the adoption of Christianity.  Rome was sacked by the Gauls in…

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