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Ok, let me start by saying I don't think more or less of a person because of the color of their skin. I consider racism to be both misguided and a sin. But, when I visualize a person, I like to think of them in ways that at least approximate their actual appearance.

I am skimming some works of that greatest of the Patristics - Augustine of Hippo, later the Bishop of Milan (in Italy), but hailing from what is today, Tunisia. He wrote the City of God and the Confessions - two classics still studied more than 1500 years after their creation.

And, as I consider the young Augustine of Hippo - a region of northern Africa, nowadays near the Algerian / Tunisian border - I have this image of a white guy in my head.
Augustine - Classic

That said, he was from Africa. And indeed, this seems wholly legitimate as well. Augustine

And, then I remember, the Arab Invasions that went alongside the rise of Islam also changed the area as well.

So, it's a simple question - Was Augustine white or black? Many of the Church Fathers from Alexandria to Carthage would have probably shared this legacy, and I'm just sort of curious - What did they look like?

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Born in Tagaste (Algeria) actually. So were his parents, I believe. Not sure what that means in terms of ethnicity ... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Souk_Ahras –  svidgen Jan 25 '13 at 19:58
@svidgen Updated, and thanks! [Gotta admit, though, I was pretty close :)] I always think "Hippo / Carthage / Tunisia..." –  Affable Geek Jan 25 '13 at 21:58
Wasn't the rise of Islam a couple of centuries after Augustine? –  kurosch Jan 25 '13 at 23:16
That was my point- the influx of Arabs contributed to more Arab features in that area would have occurred 400 years after Augustine. –  Affable Geek Jan 26 '13 at 0:25

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

He's the product of Patricius and St. Monica.


Augustine's mother's name, Monica, is Berber ... the names Monnica and Nonnica are found on tombstones in the Libyan language - as such Monnica is the only Berber name commonly used in English


Patricius probably was a Curiale and he was definitely a pagan of the Roman sort, not the tribal African sort.

So... My money is that he looked like his mom.

Berber mosaic

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I reworded, because I initially misread that St as plural. If a title applies to only one person, it's clearer to read if the titled person is listed last. On the other hand, you may have had good reason for wanting to list Monica before Patricius. Erm. –  TRiG Jan 25 '13 at 23:17
Perhaps He was the product of St. Monica and of Patricius. Or perhaps I'm being silly, and the original wording was fine. –  TRiG Jan 25 '13 at 23:19

Actually, as per Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustine_of_Hippo), both parents, Monica and Patricius, were North African Berbers, the former being a Berber Christian, the latter being a citizen of Rome and whose family was classed as belonging to the plebeian clan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurelia_%28gens%29). According to this Patricius was a Roman in the sense that he was a citizen of Rome, though ethnically speaking he was a Berber.

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