Possidius, Life of St. Augustine now online

For those who may find it useful, I’ve scanned and placed online Weiskotten’s English translation (1919) of Possidius’ Life of St. Augustine.  It’s here:


Possidius was a friend of Augustine’s, and his biography remains the principal source for the life of the saint.

Other English translations of the Fathers can be found in the collection:


I also do a CDROM of the collection; if people would like to support the site, you can purchase it from here:


It’s been quite a while since I last had a plain English translation to scan.  The great mass of work on the collection of the Fathers was done in the past, and I really don’t think that there are all that many out-of-copyright English texts of patristic works around any more. 

But how technology has improved!  When I started, OCR produced a  bug on every line.  Possidius was scanned into the PC in 15 minutes from the Kessinger reprint; an image not of the highest quality. The OCR in Finereader 9 ran through it quickly, and recognised the header and the body of the page.  The recognition quality was unbelievable, by comparison with times past.  There were probably only a dozen errors in the whole text!  It then took an hour to format up, do chapter headings, etc.  But it took so little time, and was done so fast.

There really is no excuse for not scanning any English text that someone wants to see online, unless it has some strange format.


8 thoughts on “Possidius, Life of St. Augustine now online

  1. Does anybody know why Possidius says Augustine was born “of good Christian parents”? Is that a later copyist’s error?

  2. I’m going to be reading it for my podcast. I’m about a third of the way through already. A very fast and enjoyable read, really.

  3. It’s an interesting text, isn’t it? The description of the events as the Vandals invaded is of historical importance. When it was written Carthage was still holding out against the barbarians.

  4. Maureen says: “Does anybody know why Possidius says Augustine was born ‘of good Christian parents’? Is that a later copyist’s error?”

    Actually, Augustine’s mother, Monica, seems to have been a Christian at the time of his birth. His father, Patricius, became a Christian later in life. This is spelled out in Weiskotten’s introduction which may be seen in the original text:

    “Patricius seems to have paid little heed to his welfare and training. He had not been a Christian up to the time of his son’s departure for Carthage, but through the influence of his wife Monica became a catechumen about the year 370 and was baptized shortly before his death in the following year.”

    Roger: Will you be adding Weiskotten’s intro to the website? It’s got a lot of useful info in there.

  5. Tony: I did have some thoughts of doing the intro (which is why the filename of the text is includes …02_text.htm). I don’t see why not. It’s got a bunch of useful info on the manuscript tradition that I’d like to have online anyway.

    I’m away from home at the moment, but, depending on how I busy I am this weekend, I’ll see if I can do it then and upload it.

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