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Aelius. A celebrated grammarian, born in the fourth century of our era, about A.D. 333. He was preceptor to St. Jerome, who speaks with great approbation of his talents and of the manner in which he explained the comedies of Terence. Independently of his commentaries on Vergil and Terence, Donatus composed a treatise (Ars Donati Grammatici Urbis Romae) in two parts. In one (Ars Minor) he treats of the eight parts of speech only, and in the other (Ars Maior), deals with grammar more elaborately. This work was highly esteemed and so much used in the Middle Ages that the word donat (Chaucer) became the generic term for a grammar. The commentary on Vergil appears to have been worthy neither of the author commented on nor of the reputation of the grammarian to whom it is ascribed, if we may judge from the contemptuous allusions made to it by Servius; but of it only the preface and the introduction (enarrationes) are now extant, besides quotations given in Servius. The commentary on Terence, however, is extremely valuable, though we have it in a form different from that which it originally possessed. The chief MS. of the commentaries of Donatus is one at Paris of the eleventh century. The editio princeps appeared at Rome in 1472. The text of the Ars is contained in Keil's Grammatici Latini, vol. iv. (Leipzig, 1856- 1880). See Gräfenhan, Geschichte d. class. Philologie, iv. 107; J. Becker, De Donati in Terentium Commentario (Mayence, 1870); and Rosenstock, De Donato, etc. (Königsberg, 1886).


Not to be confounded with the preceding is Tiberius Claudius Donatus, who wrote Interpretationes on the Aeneid, probably in the fourth century. Of the author, nothing is known. The work, which is preceded by a short epistle, was first published at Naples in 1535, and is included in the editions of Vergil by Fabricius (Basle, 1561), and Lucius (Basle, 1613). See Ribbeck's Prolegomena to Vergil, 185; and Burkas, De Ti. Claud. Donati in Aen. Commentario (Jena, 1889).


A bishop of Numidia, in the fourth century. According to some writers he was the founder of the sect of Donatists, which grew out of a schism produced by the election of a bishop of Carthage. He was deposed and excommunicated in councils held at Rome and at Arles in the years A.D. 313 and 314, but was for some time after supported by a party at home. His end is unknown.

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