In the book Augustine outlines his sinful youth in which he was not once saved by unwavering support of his mother St. Monica, and explains his conversion to Christianity at the age of 32. The book was, and still is, very influential not only in church circles but in society as a whole. It is widely considered to be the first real autobiography written in the western civilization. (www.religion facts.com)
Augustine wrote Confessions with the main goal to convince educated Roman citizens like him that Christian faith represents the real truth and that they should leave their own pagan ways and join Christian God. He targets educated purposely, as he is aware that Christianity, up to that point, did not manage to penetrate their circles as much as it did with the poor segment of the Roman society. With its particularly great appeal to some of the poor, Christianity was well positioned to reflect social grievances in an empire increasingly marked by inequality. Slaves, dispossessed farmers and impoverished city dwellers found hope in a religion that promised rewards after death. Christianity also answered cultural and spiritual needs - especially but not exclusively among the poor - left untended by mainstream Roman religion and culture. (history-world,org) Augustine’s work is written in anticipatory manner, as Augustine attempts to answer ahead of time questions readers might have about his message. To make his point of view closer to intended readers, Augustine opted to invoke, echo, adopt and adapt the greatest Roman writing - Vergil’s Aeneid.
Augustine read the great epic in his youth, so he is familiar with its content, message, and meaning. For the purpose of his Confessions, Augustine uses the Aeneid in two main ways. He uses it as a gift, as well as an instrument of his own confession before God. Rocki T. Wenzel, professor at the Ohio State University writes:’ Vergil’s text is a gift, from which Dido emerges and becomes a means for