the Lost Women of Augustine's Confessions
Queens of a Fallen World tells the story of Augustine and four prominent women in his life: his mother, Monnica of Thagaste; his lover and the mother of his child; the fiancée from whom he broke his engagement; and Justina, the troubled empress of ancient Rome. Parsing the Confessions, historian Kate Cooper corrects misreadings and uses the stories of these four women to interrogate and illuminate women's role in the late Roman Empire, and more broadly in Antiquity. Pulling each of these threads into a tapestry of their lives, she paints a portrait of the world they and Augustine moved through, ultimately making the case that Augustine did not end his engagement because he was called by God, but rather that he considered that potential marriage to be an unconscionable betrayal of his lover.
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