No biographical information has reached us concerning the author of an epitome of the entire work of Valerius Maximus, and the name Iulius Paris attached to the title Facta et dicta memorabilia is only attested for us in Codex Vaticanus 4229, of the 10th c.
The limited information about this author must be inferred from the epitome itself. The author’s purely informative and didactic intent is obtained from the prefatory letter; lacking any desire to compete with his model (Faranda), he wishes to offer a useful and accessible tool for both disputantes and declamantes. One may infer, therefore, that such a person was involved in the declamation schools of his age and that he recognized the importance of Valerius Maximus for the orator’s cultural repertoire, which consisted of exemplorum conquisitiones.
The judgments of the critics do not agree: Halm considers Paris a reliable source for a reconstruction of Valerius; Kempf, on the other hand, notes the changes that occur between the readings of Paris and his model; Galdi, meanwhile, basing his judgment on an absence of personality and roughness of expression, maintains that the author was an individual from the 4th-5th c. with limited intelligence and lacking any education. It is best to stay far from extreme assertions and assume a moderate position: since antiquity has transmitted to us only this compendium under the name of Julius Paris, we are unable to know whether his interests were limited to the activity of epitome; in any event, this demonstrates that he knew how to summarize with a certain consistency, responding to the need of his age for simplified tools from which to draw declamatory material. [N. Rosso; tr. C. L. Caterine].