University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E01018: Augustine of Hippo in his Confessions writes that in 383 his mother spent a night in an oratory (memoria) of *Cyprian (bishop and martyr of Carthage, S00411) close to the port of Carthage (North Africa). Written in Latin in Hippo Regius (North Africa), 397/400.

online resource
posted on 2015-12-23, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine, Confessions 5.8.15

Augustine describes his departure from Carthage to Rome, and his scheme to get rid of his mother who wished to accompany him.

Et tamen recusanti sine me redire uix persuasi, ut in loco, qui proximus nostrae naui erat, memoria beati Cypriani, maneret ea nocte. Sed ea nocte clanculo ego profectus sum, illa autem non; mansit orando et flendo.

'And yet, refusing to go back without me, it was with difficulty I persuaded her [Monica, Augustine's mother] to remain that night in a place quite close to our ship, where there was an oratory in memory (memoria) of the blessed Cyprian. That night I secretly left, but she did not, and stayed in prayer and weeping.'

Text: Verheijen 1981. Translation: Pilkington 1887, adapted.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Cyprian, bishop of Carthage (Africa) and martyr, ob. 258 : S00411

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Latin North Africa

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hippo Regius

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Hippo Regius Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Major author/Major anonymous work

Augustine of Hippo

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives



Augustine wrote the Confessions during the first years of his episcopate in Hippo (c. 397-c. 400). It is widely acknowledged that his narration is highly rhetorical and sometimes over-dramatised, but it reflects actual events.


The oratory in which Monica spent that night apparently remained open after dusk, which was quite an uncommon practice. Yet spending a night at prayer in a shrine should not be necessarily qualified as incubation or sleeping in a holy place in order to obtain a healing or prophetic dream. Such practices are hardly attested in the West.


Edition: Verheijen, L., Augustinus, Confessionum libri XIII (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 27; Turnhout: Brepols, 1981). English translations: Pilkington, J.G. in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 1 (Buffalo, NY, 1887). O'Donnell, J.J., Augustine, Confessions, 3 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) [with commentary].

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity