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Commenting on Virgil, from Aelius Donatus to Servius

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Abstract Virgil’s works have had an uninterrupted reception during the last twenty centuries, and have then stimulated a continuous exegetical activity. The Commentary written by Servius at the beginning of the fifth century is the only one that survives of the several ones that were collected in antiquity; only part of the commentary written by Aelius Donatus in the previous century can be reconstructed. In this article I analyze the transition from Donatus to Servius and the historical conditions of the latter. Servius’ historical context is identifiable, on the one hand, in the school environment in which he operated and, on the other hand, in the cultural context determined by the establishment of Christianity as the state religion.

Affiliations: 1: University of Roma Tor Vergata


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