Mongol Huns from Asia invaded Europe. Visigoths fled from their Black Sea homeland. Alaric led them in the sack of Rome in 410, then settled in Spain.
When Rome was sacked, refugees fled to their estates in North Africa. They questioned whether the new Christian religion caused the sacking. It happened only two decades after Theodosius made it the state religion, while Rome had been safe for centuries under the old gods. Augustine wrote The City of God to refute the idea. Even though the earthly city of Rome might fall, the spiritual city of God was eternal.
Thus Augustine wrote the obituary that closed the Roman age in the west, as he opened the new age of Western Civilization with a new underlying “philosophy”—or theology. He put God at the center of the universe instead of humanity, as the Roman priority had been ever since Cicero’s humanitas (c.50 BC).
Vandals wrote the obituary for Augustine. They were the next wave of Goths to flee from the Huns. They swept through Roman territory to Spain and to north Africa. In the process they gave their name to vandalism. During their seige of Hippo, in 430, Augustine died.
A new Western Civilization began in Europe with Christianity as the dynamic force shaping it, for God was at the center of their universe, thanks to Augustine.
What a turn of events! From Augustus to Augustine! From the power of the Roman Empire to the power of the Roman Church. An accident? Or because an insignificant census statistic was now sitting at the Right Hand of God, leading God’s Providence in history.