Queens of a Fallen World by Kate Cooper review: St Augustine’s women and how his real sin was ambition, not lust

Professor Kate Cooper. Photo by Hester Leyser

Salvador Ryan

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) is one of Western Christianity’s most influential figures. Often remembered as the saint who, after a lifetime of prayer by his long-suffering mother, gave up a life of sexual licentiousness to lead an ascetic lifestyle, he was eventually appointed bishop of the north African town of Hippo. The body of writing he left behind has shaped the religious thought of millions of Christians, arguably down to our own day. His prayer to God to “make me chaste, but not yet” will be an Augustinian soundbite familiar to many.