The First-Ever Western Autobiography

   Autobiographies – A Source Of Inspiration

Autobiographies have always played an essential role in inspiring the masses. A person’s experiences, when jotted down in ink, can mold somebody else’s life. If not, then at least we get to understand the unsaid feelings of the individual, in his own words.

From The Story Of My Experiments With Truth to Wings Of Fire, The Test Of My Life to Playing It My Way, The Diary Of A Young Girl to Mein Kampf, the list is countably infinite. Love them or hate them, you cannot ignore them!

In my hunt for the first-ever autobiography, I stumbled upon this…

The First Western Autobiography

The Confessions of St. Augustine, or simply, Confessions, is considered to be the first-ever Western autobiography ever written. Consisting of 13 books, St. Augustine of Hippo wrote this between AD 397 and 398. The language was Latin.

St. Augustine tries to emphasize the importance of God in one’s life. He reflects on his personal experiences as a sinner in his early days and how he turned towards salvation. Though Augustine was just in his 40s when he wrote this book, Confessions gives us ample reason to be seen as the first-ever Western autobiography.


Here is a summary of its contents:

  • Augustine wrote that a child is violent if left to his own devices. He mentions how he behaved like a 16-year-old. He and his friends stole pears from his neighbor’s garden although he had many pears of his own.

Read also – Codex Leicester: Did You Know That This Billionaire Has Brought The World’s Most Expensive Book?

  • In his early 20s, Augustine had a relationship with a woman. She gave birth to his son, even though they were not married.
  • Soon after, a friend of his died. Augustine was really depressed by this. Eventually, he concluded that his friend’s death affected him only because of his lack of love for God.
  • Augustine regretted that he had led a sinful life. He regretted believing in astrology.
  • He met St. Ambrose who converted him to Christianity. The Saint also ignited Augustine’s love for Catholicism.
  • Augustine, when shown the Neoplatonist view of God, wrote, “It is one thing to see, from a wooded mountaintop, the land of peace, and not to find the way to it…it is quite another thing to keep to the way which leads there.”
  • In the following books, Augustine continues to write about the significance of prayer and the means to reach God.

The first nine books are autobiographical and the rest commentary. The work symbolizes aspects of the Trinity and the Trinitarian belief.

The first printed edition of Confessions was issued in Strasbourg “not later than 1470”. Professor Henry Chadwick claimed that Confessions will “always rank among the great masterpieces of western literature.”

Read also – Industrial Revolution Facts That You May Not Have Read In Your Text Books

Image source

Random Post

Like Getting Dirty The Mud Therapy Is All You Need To Try!

Mud Therapy There are very few pleasures in life that trump over the pleasure we experienced as children. One such experience that takes me back...

The Obscure History Of Three Most Famous Tongue Twisters

I remember having ‘tongue twisters’ competition with my friends back in school. To be honest, I was no good at them. I would fumble...

The Oh-So-Amazing Doughnuts With A ‘Natural Glow’- Glonuts

Doughnuts just got bright people! Let's face it, that we're all night crawlers. We wake up at night and search for food while everyone else...

Latest article

The Heinous Act Of Human Trafficking

Though in the Indian Constitution, human trafficking is prohibited, it is still prevalent on a large scale in our country. It is one of...

Top 30 Ways To Change Your Mindset

Changing from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset may seem daunting, but anyone can do it by taking baby steps. Thinking about it...

Understanding How The Way You Sit Effects Your Back Muscles

Your body is an incredibly complex machine. There are still plenty of secrets regarding how some parts work, and research into these things is...

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.