In Search of Augustine

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On the road from Thagaste to Madaura

At this time of year, the countryside between Thagaste, where Augustine was born, and Madaura, where he studied rhetoric, is a luminous carpet of green, both grass and the wheat that has been the region’s agricultural wealth since antiquity.

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The ‘Olive of Augustine’

In Thagaste, an olive tree grows that is said to have been planted during the Roman Emipre; whether or not it was there in Augustine’s day it is certainly a symbolic presence, an avatar of the deep past of this fertile region.

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Our hosts

Somehow, by the time we reached the terrace where Augustine’s olive tree grows, our police escort had grown from two to a half-dozen, which, in addition to our guide, our driver, and the keeper of the shrine, brought our entourage up to nine – quite a party for just the two of us. Everyone was delighted to have the opportunity to show off their local hero, and seemingly delighted with us for making the long trek.

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The view from Augustine’s terrace

Thagaste itself – modern Souk Arras – is a thriving hill town which has preserved very little evidence of its antiquity; it does not boast wonderful archaeological remains of its own. And yet it has its own monument from antiquity, in the legacy of its native son Augustine.

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One comment

  1. […] In Search of Augustine […]

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