Macrobius, Ambrosius Aurelius Theodosius

, was an ancient Latin writer, who flourished towards the latter part of the fourth century. What countryman he was, is not clear Erasmus, in his Ciceronianus, seems to think he | was a Greek and he himself tells us, in the preface to his “Saturnalia,” that he was not a Roman, but laboured under the inconveniences of writing in a language which was not native to him. Of what religion he was, Christian or pagan, is also uncertain. Barthius ranks him among the Christians; but Spanheira and Fabiicius suppose him to have been a heathen. It seems, however, agreed that he was a man of consular. dignity, and one of the chamberlains, or masters of the wardrobe to Theodosius; as appears from a rescript directed to Florentius, concerning those who were to obtain that office. He wrote “A Commentary upon Cicero’s Somnium Scipiouis,” full of Platonic notions, and seven books of “Saturnalia;” which resemble in plan the “Noctes Atticae” of Aulus Gellius. He termed them “Saturnalia,” because, during the vacation observed on these feasts of Saturn, he collected the principal literati of Rome, in his house, and conversed with them on all kinds of subjects, and afterwards set down what appeared to him, most interesting in their discourses. His Latinity is far from being pure, but as a collector of facts, opinions, and criticism, his works are valuable. The “Somnium Sci r pionis,” and “Saturnalia,” have been often printed; to which has been added, in the later editions, a piece entitled “De difterentiis & societatibus Graeci Latinique verbi.” The best editions are those of the Variorum; of Gronovius in 1670, and Leipsic in 1777. There is a specimen of an English translation of the “Saturnalia” in the Gent. Mag. for 1760, but it does not appear to have been completed. 1


Cave, vol. I. Morerj. —Saxii Onomast. Clarke’s Bibliog. Dict.