Donatus, Ælius

, a celebrated grammarian in the fourth century, wrote a grammar, which long continued in the schools, and notes upon Terence and Virgil. Vossius mentions him amongst his Latin historians, on account of the lives of Virgil and Terence, of which some have fancied him to be the author; but he believes that the first was written by Tiberius Claudius Donatus, as it is certain the latter was by Suetonius. Our Donatus flourished in the time of Constantius, and taught rhetoric and polite literature at Rome with applause, in the year 356, and afterwards; about which time St. Jerom, who has several times mentioned him as his master, studied grammar under him. Jerom also speaks of his commentaries upon Terence and Virgil; and in his own commentary upon the first chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes, verse 9th, he quotes a verse out of Terence, and then an observation of his master Donatus upon it, which was probably made yi his lectures, as it does not now appear in the notes of Donatus upon Terence. Donatus has given ample employment to the Bibliographers, who all speak of the “Editio Tabellaris, sine ulla nota” of his Grammar, as one of the first efforts at printing by means of letters cut on wooden blocks. This work has been printed with several titles, as “Donatus,” “Donatus minor,” “Donatus pro puerulis,” &c. but the work is the same, viz. Elements of the Latin language for the use of children. Dr. Clarke has given an account of twelve editions, all of great rarity, one of which, by Wynkyn de Worde, is described by Mr. Dibdin. His “Commentarii in quinque Comujclias Terentii,” was first printed without a date, probably before 1460, and reprinted in 1471, 1476; and his “Commentarius in Virgilium,” fol. was printed at Venice in 1529. 2


Vossius. Fabric. Bibl. Lat. Lardner. Dibditi’s Typographical Antiquities, vol. II. Clarke’s Bibliographical Dictionary,