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Queens of a Fallen World

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781399807999

Price: £12.99

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‘A brilliant new take’ Janina Ramirez, author of Femina

A masterpiece of the historian’s art’ Peter Brown, author of Augustine of Hippo

The powerful and surprising story of the four remarkable women who changed Augustine’s life – and history – forever.

While many know of St Augustine and the Confessions, few know of the women whose hopes and dreams shaped his early life: his mother, Monnica of Thagaste; his lover; his fiancée; and Justina, the troubled empress of ancient Rome. Drawing upon their depictions in the Confessions, historian Kate Cooper skilfully reconstructs their lives against the backdrop of the late Roman Empire to paint a vivid portrait of the turbulent society they and Augustine moved through. She shows how despite their often precarious position, these women tried in their different ways to influence the world around them and argues that Augustine did not end his engagement because he was called by God, but because he considered the potential marriage to be an unforgiveable betrayal of his lover.

Vividly written and drawing on extensive new research, Queens of a Fallen World is essential reading for those looking for a new understanding not only of Augustine, but also of the women who shaped his life with consequences that were to change Christianity for centuries to come.

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Reviews

Fascinating and well-written, Queens of a Fallen World raises vital questions about the role of women in the founding centuries of Christianity, piecing together a rich backdrop to Augustine's life that has rarely emerged before. Cooper convinces us that these women can be recovered, and that through his words and thoughts, their lives shaped the future of a fledgling religion. A brilliant new take
Janina Ramirez, author of FEMINA: A NEW HISTORY OF THE MIDDLE AGES, THROUGH THE WOMEN WRITTEN OUT OF IT
A masterpiece of the historian's art. With a rare balance of state-of-the-art erudition and felicitous hypotheses, Kate Cooper has brought the hidden women in Augustine's early life into the light. Governed throughout by a humane sense of the texture of a distant late Roman society, she captures women's voices which we would not otherwise have heard
Peter Brown, author of AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO: A BIOGRAPHY
What an invigorating book! Cooper asks a haunting question: how different would our world be had this man married either his concubine - who was the loyal mother of his child - or the young heiress he was betrothed to, instead of withdrawing from sexual relationships altogether?
Sarah Ruden, translator of Augustine’s CONFESSIONS
A marvelous achievement . . . Cooper sketches an evocative landscape of the late Roman world in Milan and North Africa . . . Above all, her's is a world of human beings suffering heartache and loneliness while trying to reconcile the pull of the heart with the lure of ambition
Susanna Elm, Sidney H. Ehrman Professor of European History, University of California, Berkeley
An enchanting tour de force of sensitive and probing historical writing . . . Cooper's enquiry into the influence of women on Augustine - whether empress, mother, lover, saint, or slave - enriches his legacy
Adrienne Mayor, author of THE AMAZONS: LIVES AND LEGENDS OF WARRIOR WOMEN ACROSS THE ANCIENT WORLD
A bold and imaginative venture into challenging territory. Cooper casts new light onto the women of the ancient world - and one of the founders of Western thought
Sarah Gristwood, author of THE TUDORS IN LOVE: PASSION AND POLITICS IN THE AGE OF ENGLAND'S MOST FAMOUS DYNASTY