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Paulus Orosius

EARLY FIFTH century. Historian and presbyter. In 414 he fled Vandal invasions of his home in Spain, coming to Augustine of Hippo, young but already a presbyter. He provided Augustine with a treatise against the errors of both Priscillianists and Origenists. As trusted messenger, Orosius was sent by Augustine to Jerome* in Palestine, to assist in the indictment of the Pelagianists, but in 415 the Council of Diospolis upheld Pelagius. On Augustine's advice, Orosius composed a Christian world history in seven books, the philosophy of which, designed to explain Alaric's sack of Rome in 410, appears in its title: Adversum Paganos. The turning points in history which delimit his books became normative for subsequent authors. His material from 378 takes on value since his sources have not survived, as does his occasional citation of otherwise lost portions of Tacitus and the epitome of Livy. After the final date he deals with (417), Orosius himself disappears.