Maurus Servius Honoratus
Maurus Servius Honoratus was a late fourth-century and early
fifth-century grammarian, with the contemporary reputation of being
the most learned man of his generation in Italy; he was the author of
a set of commentaries on the works of Virgil. These works, In tria
Virgilii Opera Expositio, constituted the first incunable to be
printed at Florence, by Bernardo Cennini, 1471.
In the Saturnalia of Macrobius, Servius appears as one of the
interlocutors; allusions in that work and a letter from Symmachus to
Servius indicate that he was not a convert to Christianity.
1 Commentary on Virgil
2 Other works
5 External links
Commentary on Virgil
The commentary on
Virgil (Latin: In Vergilii Aeneidem commentarii) has
survived in two distinct manuscript traditions. The first is a
comparatively short commentary, which is attributed to Servius in the
superscription in the manuscripts and by other internal evidence. A
second class of manuscripts, all deriving from the 10th and 11th
centuries, embed the same text in a much expanded commentary. The
copious additions are in contrast to the style of the original; none
of these manuscripts bears the name of Servius, and the commentary is
known traditionally as Servius auctus or Servius Danielis, from Pierre
Daniel who first published it in 1600. "The added matter is
undoubtedly ancient, dating from a time but little removed from that
of Servius, and is founded to a large extent on historical and
antiquarian literature which is now lost. The writer is anonymous and
probably a Christian", although not if, as is often suggested, he
is Aelius Donatus. A third class of manuscripts, written for the most
part in Italy, gives the core text with interpolated scholia, which
demonstrate the continued usefulness of the Virgilii Opera Expositio.
The authentic commentary of
Maurus Servius Honoratus
Maurus Servius Honoratus is in effect the
only complete extant edition of a classic author written before the
collapse of the Empire in the West. It is constructed very much on the
principle of a modern edition, and is partly founded on an extensive
Virgilian critical literature, much of which is known only from the
fragments and facts preserved in this commentary. The notices of
Virgil's text, though seldom or never authoritative in face of the
existing manuscripts, which go back to, or even beyond, the time of
Servius, yet supply valuable information concerning the ancient
recensions and textual criticism of Virgil. In the grammatical
interpretation of his author's language, Servius does not rise above
the stiff and overwrought subtleties of his time; while his
etymologies, as is natural, violate every modern law of sound and
sense in favour of creative excursus.
Servius set his face against the prevalent allegorical methods of
exposition of text. For the antiquarian and the historian, the abiding
value of his work lies in his preservation of facts in Roman history,
religion, antiquities and language, which but for him might have
perished. Not a little of the laborious erudition of
Varro and other
ancient scholars has survived in his pages.
Besides the Virgilian commentary, other works of Servius are extant: a
collection of notes on the grammar (Ars grammatica) of Aelius Donatus;
a treatise on metrical endings in verse (De finalibus); and a tract on
the different poetic meters (De centum metris).
The edition of Georg Thilo and Hermann Hagen (1878–1902), remains
the only edition of the whole of Servius' work. Currently in
development is the Harvard Servius (Servianorum in Vergili Carmina
Commentariorum Editio Harvardiana); of the projected five volumes, two
have so far appeared, i (Aeneid 1-2), 1946; ii (Aeneid 3-5), 1965, and
the project continues glacially.
^ The manuscript tradition is examined by Charles E. Murgia,
Prolegomena to Servius 5: the manuscripts (University of California
Classical Studies 11), University of California Press, 1975.
^ (in Italian) I. Biffi and C. Marabelli (eds.), Figure del pensiero
medievale. Fondamenti e inizi IV-IX secolo, Jaca Book, 2009, p. 306
^ Encyclopædia Britannica 1911: sub "Servius Maurus Honoratus"
E. K. Rand, "Is Donatus's Commentary on
Virgil Lost?" Classical
Quarterly 10 (1916), 158-164. Donatus's authorship of the
"The Manuscripts of the Commentary of Servius Danielis on Virgil",
Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 43 (1932), 77-121;
"The Manuscripts of Servius's Commentary on Virgil", Harvard Studies
in Classical Philology 45 (1934), 157-204.
Casali, Sergio and Fabio Stok (edd.). Servio: stratificazioni
esegetiche e modelli culturali / Servius: exegetical stratifications
and cultural models (Bruxelles: Éditions Latomus, 2008) (Collection
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Maurus Servius Honoratus
Commentary on the Aeneid of Vergil at the Perseus Project in Latin.
Commentary on the Eclogues of Vergil at the Perseus Project in Latin.
De Centum Metris at Intratext.com
De Centum Metris at Forum Romanorum
Servii grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii carmina commentarii,
Georius Thilo, Hermannus Hagen (ed.), 3 voll., Lipsiae in aedibus B.
G. Teubneri, 1881-1902: vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3 part 1, vol. 3 part 2.
ISNI: 0000 0000 1558 7909
BNF: cb12157706b (data)