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Victorinus, Gaius Marius

VICTORINUS, GAIUS MARIUS ( 4 th century A.D.), Roman grammarian, rhetorician and neo-Platonic philosopher, an African by birth (whence his surname Afer), lived during the reign of Constantius II. He taught rhetoric at Rome (one of his pupils being Jerome), and in his old age became a convert to Christianity. His conversion is said to have greatly influenced that of Augustine. When Julian published an edict forbidding Christians to lecture on polite literature, Victorinus closed his school. A statue was erected in his honour as a teacher in the Forum Trajanum.

His translations of platonic writers are lost, but the treatise De Definilionibus (ed. T. Stangl in Tulliana et Mario-Victoriniana, Munich, 1888) is probably by him and not by Boetius, to whom it was formerly attributed. His manual of prosody, in four books, taken almost literally from the work of Aphthonius, is extant (H. Keil, Grammatici Latini, vi.). It is doubtful whether he is the author of certain other extant treatises attributed to him on metrical and grammatical subjects, which will be found in Keil. His commentary on Cicero's De Inventions (in Halm's Rhetores Latini Minores, 1863) is very diffuse, and is itself in need of commentary. His extant theological writings, which will be found in J. P. Migne, Cursus Patrologiae Latinae, viii., include commentaries on Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians; De Trinitate contra Arium; Ad Juslinum Manichaeum de Vera Came Christi; and a little tract on " The Evening and the Morning were one day " (the genuineness of the last two is doubtful). Some Christian poems under the name of Victorinus are probably not his.

See G. Geiger, C. Marius Victorinus Afer, ein neuplalonischer Philosoph (Metten, 1888); G. Koffmann, De Mario Victorino philosopho Christiana (Breslau, 1880); R. Schmid, Marius Victorinus Rhetor und seine Beziehungen zu Augustin (Kiel, 1895) ; Gore in Dictionary of Christian Biography, iv. ; M. Schanz, Geschichte der romischen Litteratur, iv. I (1904); Teuffel, Hist, of Roman Literature (Eng. tr., 1900), 408.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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