Augustine ends "Caterva" by preaching

Status
Not open for further replies.

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Augustine ends \"Caterva\" by preaching

I came across this in Book 4 of De Doctrina Christiana and was wondering if this incident is expanded upon anywhere, either by Augustine himself or by other ECF, or by a church historian?
The majestic style, on the other hand, frequently silences the audience by its impressiveness, but calls forth their tears. For example, when at Caesarea in Mauritania I was dissuading the people from that civil, or worse than civil, war which they called Caterva (for it was not fellow-citizens merely, but neighbors, brothers, fathers and sons even, who, divided into two factions and armed with stones, fought annually at a certain season of the year for several days continuously, every one killing whomsoever he could), I strove with all the vehemence of speech that I could command to root out and drive from their hearts and lives an evil so cruel and inveterate; it was not,
however, when I heard their applause, but when I saw their tears, that I thought I had produced an effect. For the applause showed that they were instructed and delighted, but the tears that they were subdued. And when I saw their tears I was confident even before the event proved it, that this horrible and barbarous custom (which had been handed down to them from their fathers and their ancestors of generations long gone by and which like an enemy was besieging their hearts, or rather had complete possession of them) was overthrown; and immediately that my sermon was finished I called upon them with heart and voice to give praise and thanks to God.
And, lo, with the blessing of Christ, it is now eight years or more since anything of the sort was attempted there. In many other cases besides I have observed that men show the effect made on them by the powerful eloquence of a wise man, not by clamorous applause so much as by groans, sometimes even by tears, finely by change of life.

[Edited on 4-1-2006 by py3ak]
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Good question, Reuben. I have been able to find very little about this event, but I too am curious to learn more. I did find a reference alluding to it in one article on Augnet.org about Augustine's travels:

That Augustine's training and natural talent coincided is best seen in an episode when he once found himself quelling by force of his personality and words a potential riot while visiting the town of Caesarea Mauretanensis (or Caesarea of Mauritania, which is mentioned again hereunder).

As well as bishops' conferences at Carthage, Augustine also took part in the episcopal councils of several provinces as often as he could. His longest journey was to Caesarea in Mauritania in the year 418, in addition to others in Numidia, to Cirta (Constantine), Mileve (Mila) and Calama (Guelma).

It should be noted that Caesarea Mauretanensis was a province in what is now central and western Algeria rather than modern day Mauritania.

Augustine carried on some correspondence with Count Boniface in 418 which may be related to the quelling of the riot spoken of.

That's all my brief research has turned up. I hope it helps a bit. Perhaps more can be learned in Gibbon or Procopius of Caesarea's History of the Wars, or other sources.

[Edited on 4-1-2006 by VirginiaHuguenot]
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Thanks, Andrew. His humility impressed me --he mentions it as an illustration in passing.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by py3ak
Thanks, Andrew. His humility impressed me --he mentions it as an illustration in passing.

You're welcome. Yes, that is good point. There is no boasting here. Augustine was a "son of such tears" (Monica's) after all.

The story reminds me of Peter's sermon at Jerusalem after which his listeners were cut to the quick (Acts 2.37) or the town clerk's wise words which quelled the tumult at Ephesus (Acts 19).
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top