1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Censorinus

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CENSORINUS, Roman grammarian and miscellaneous writer, flourished during the 3rd century A.D. He was the author of a lost work De Accentibus, and of an extant treatise De Die Natali, written in 238, and dedicated to his patron Quintus Caerellius as a birthday gift. The contents are of a varied character: the natural history of man, the influence of the stars and genii, music, religious rites, astronomy, the doctrines of the Greek philosophers. The second part deals with chronological and mathematical questions, and has been of great service in determining the principal epochs of ancient history. The whole is full of curious and interesting information. The style is clear and concise, although somewhat rhetorical, and the Latinity, for the period, good. The chief authorities used were Varro and Suetonius. Some scholars, indeed, hold that the entire work is practically an adaptation of the lost Pratum of Suetonius. The fragments of a work De Natali Institutione, dealing with astronomy, geometry, music and versification, and usually printed with the De Die Natali of Censorinus, are not by him. Part of the original MS., containing the end of the genuine work, and the title and name of the author of the fragment are lost.

The only good edition with commentary is still that of H. Lindenbrog (1614); the most recent critical editions are by O. Jahn (1845), F. Hultsch (1867), and J. Cholodniak (1889). There is an English translation of the De Die Natali (the first eleven chapters being omitted) with notes by W. Maude (New York, 1900).