Our only source about Gaius Iulius Solinus is his work, Collectanea rerum memorabilium. Scholars try to extract data from it in order to reconstruct his biography. Solinus’ date is uncertain. Scholars usually place him in the third or fourth century AD, even if it is not very likely that he wrote after the mid-fourth century AD. Ammianus Marcellinus apparently used Solinus’ Collectanea as a source of data and, possibly, also as a stylistic model in writing his Res gestae. If this is true, the suggestion advanced above is strengthened.
His geographical collocation is equally uncertain. The hypothesis that Solinus was born in Rome is not sufficiently solid, as it is simply based on the pre-eminence Solinus accords to the Vrbs in the geographical treatment of the orbis terrarum. The same applies to the hypothesis that he was from Spain: it is only based on Solinus’ enthusiastic judgment on that region of the Roman Empire.
Some manuscripts, belonging to the third class in Mommsen’s classification, call him grammaticus. In fact we have no justification for linking Solinus with the profession of grammaticus.
[D. Paniagua; translation L. Battezzato]