Aelius Donatus

Date: fourth century A.D.
Opera: De Partibus Orationis Ars Minor
Ars Maior

Commentary on Terrence (abridged version extant in scholia)
Commentary on Vergil (fragments and quotations extant)
Influences and Anecdotes:
Most famous grammaticus of the century; in Rome; teacher of Jerome
Used by Alcuin, Cassiodorus, Priscian, et al.
Some monks said to have preferred his rules to those of Benedict.
The Latin textbooks of the Middle Ages until the 12th Century.
Ars Minor translated into Greek (13th century Byzantine scholar Planudes)
“Donatus” in Old French (donet, donat) and Middle English = “a grammar, textbook, lesson,” or “basic introduction” (to any subject)

Keil. Grammatici Latini v.4 PA 6139.G7.1981 ŔLatin text)
Jones, A. H. M. The Later Roman Empire 284-602: Social, Economic, and Administrative Survey. vol. 2. Univ. of Oklahoma Press. 1964. (DG 311. J6. 1964). “Education and Culture” pp. 986-1012, especially 997-1002.
The Cambridge History of Latin Literature. (PA 6003. L3) vol. 2, part V. “Learning and the Past: 2. Grammarians ” ( pp. 84-87 in multi-volume edition)
“The Vergil Commentary of Aelius Donatus,” Greece & Rome 37.1(1990) 65-79.

Ars Minor and Ars Maior

Donatus’ De Partibus Orationis Ars Minor was an introductory grammar textbook in the standard question and answer format. It begins with a general question of the parts of speech. The work then progresses through the individual parts of speech in order. For each part of speech the format is:
question and answer: definition of the part of speech.
question and answer list of different categories or aspects (e.g. gender, tense) for that part of speech.
questions and answers of examples of each category or descriptive lists of subcategories and paradigms of inflected forms.

Donatus’ Ars Maior or Ars Secunda included (in three books) more details and, as standard, a treatment of basic terms (ars, vox, syllaba, etc.), vices (e.g. barbarism and solecism), poetic terms, and figures of speech.
His grammars were noted for their clarity and conciseness.

Characteristics of Donatus’ Latin

Note: The Romans borrowed many of their ideas and terms on grammar from the Greeks, especially the Stoics. e.g. “hic” was used as the “article” in declensions.
Lists are often given without any separation of commas, etc.
Words given as examples are not always marked with Italics or quotation marks, etc.
Endings are given without hyphens, e.g. o = -o.

assimilation to -n instead of -m (e.g. inplet = implet; conparatio = comparatio).

accidunt (+ dative): literally fall to, happen ( < ad + cado), i.e. inflections or aspects correptus, -a, -um: ( < corripio); short (of a vowel)
da: imperative (do, dare)
figura: form [i.e. simple or compound]
genus, generis: (of nouns/adjectives) gender; (of verbs) voice (active, passive, etc.)
productus, -a, -um: long (of a vowel)
qui, quae, quod: interrogative adjective: what______/which______?
tantum: only
ut: ( + word or phrase vs. clause; often used to introduce examples): as

Word Formation
-ivus, -a, -um