Who was the most violent Roman god?

Summary of From the God state

The decline of Rome and the rise of Christianity

The fourth century AD was marked by the accelerated decline of the Roman Empire. Through the influence of Kaiser Constantine the Great Christianity - a persecuted religion in Rome for a long time - experienced a strong boom and the worship of the ancient gods decreased more and more. After Constantine's death in AD 337, his sons succeeded him and had a difficult inheritance. They had to deal with the threat from the Teutons in the north and that from the Sassanids in Persia at the same time, and they also fought each other. The only one of the sons survived Constantine II the power struggles. His goal of establishing a unified Christian imperial church failed due to violent disputes between different Christian schools and sects. After a short interlude with Julian the Apostate (361–363), who was the last emperor to represent the ancient Roman faith, all subsequent Roman rulers were Christians, and under Theodosius Christianity became the de facto state religion in 380 AD.

The great migration of peoples is scheduled to begin around the same time. More than ever before, the Roman Empire was now threatened by Germanic tribes. In 406/407 the Rhine border collapsed, the Teutons invaded the empire, in 429 the Vandals fell under the king Geiseric from Gibraltar into the Roman provinces of North Africa and conquered them. Hippo (today's Annaba in Algeria), where Augustine lived and preached, was besieged by them; the church father died shortly before the city was stormed. With the deposition of the last Roman emperor by the Germanic prince Odoacer In 476 the Western Roman Empire finally fell.


From the God state was written over a period of 13 years, between 413 and 426 AD. The work is primarily a reaction to the threat to the Roman Empire from the Germanic tribe of the Visigoths. Augustine tried to refute the widespread view that the fall of the world empire called the divine plan of salvation into question and was due to the turning away of the Romans from the old pagan faith. The author received the immediate impetus for the work in his conversations with the imperial ambassador Flavius ​​Marcellinuswho asked him to do something about the "blasphemies of the heathen". The genesis of the “great and difficult” work, as Augustine himself described it, can be traced in detail through his correspondence. By AD 417 he had the first part of the God's state accomplished. Interrupted again and again by episcopal duties, he completed the second part by AD 426 and took care of the technical and editorial matters of his work with tireless activity. Because of its enormous size, he had it published in two volumes.

Impact history

The significance of Augustine's work for church history, but also for all of Western history, is enormous. On the other hand, his originality as a thinker and his philosophical and literary qualities are controversial. While some historians and philosophers place him next to Plato, others see him primarily as an outstanding eclectic who knew how to summarize the religious and philosophical currents of his time in his works. Shortly after his death, Augustine's writings were collected and distributed in so-called "Florilegien". In the Middle Ages, such collections of quotations and excerpts from works by one or more authors were among the most important reading material in schools. In the 14th century, a theologian compiled around 15,000 Augustine excerpts from 1,000 alphabetically ordered keywords. In 1506, soon after the invention of the printing press, the first complete edition of Augustine's works was created. Until the rediscovery of the Aristotle towards the end of the twelfth century, Augustine was considered the most influential thinker in Western Europe; in the Middle Ages he was the central mediator of ancient philosophy. His link between scientific logic and Christian belief dominated all medieval thought.

Augustine ’importance as the church father - he is considered to be the actual founder of theological science - continues to this day. For example, the entire church doctrine of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) goes back to him. His thinking has not only flowed into theology and philosophy, but has also shaped the theory of history, psychology, linguistics, social and political studies. The scientific reception of his work is correspondingly extensive: it comprises an estimated 50,000 titles.