We are able to date the identity of the author of the Chronographus anni 354 (also called the Codex-Calendar of 354) through a dedication that appears at the start of the work: “Valentine, floreas in Deo. Valentine, vivas, floreas. Valentine, vivas, gaudeas. Valentine, lege feliciter. Furius Dionysius Filocalus titulavit.” This Furius Dionysius Filocalus is the calligrapher who was tasked with inscribing certain epigrams composed by Pope Damasus I (reg. 366-386).
The verb titulo (Furius Dionysius Filocalus titulavit) was normally used to indicate the person who inscribed and decorated the stele, but here is used more generally to indicate the act of decoration; in fact, the first seven sections of the Chronographus are elaborately decorated (see the work card). Nevertheless, the position of Filocalus’ name on the first page of the Codex-Calendar, in the place where the author’s name was normally given in ancient works, suggests that he was responsible not only for the iconographical figures, but for the production of the entire Chronographus (Salzman 1990: 26).
This author’s connection with the Christian patronage of the end of the 4th c. is confirmed by an epigram preserved in the Anthologia Latina (Anth. Lat. 120 Riese):
Fausta novum domini condens Fortuna lavacruM
Invitat fessos huc properare viaE.
Laude operis fundi capiet sua gaudia praesuL,
Ospes dulciflua dum recreatur aquA.
Condentis monstrant versa primordia nomeN
Auctoremque facit littera prima legI.
Lustrent pontivagi Cumani litoris antrA;
Indigenae placeant plus mihi deliciaE.
This epigram uses an acrostic and a telistic to cite the names ‘Filocalus’ and ‘Melania’ (capitalized above). Cameron 1992: 141 identifies these figures as Melania the Elder, a Roman noble who lived between 350 and 410 AD, and our Furius Dionysius Filocalus; according to this interpretation, Melania financed the construction of the lavacrum, while Filocalus decorated it.
Kroll’s RE article dedicated to ‘Philocalus’ (19.2.2432-2433) claims that the calligrapher was the grammarian Filocalus cited in Servius’ Explanationes in Donatum (4.498.3, 501.31, 503.11, 515.30 Keil).
Lastly, Salzman 1990: 201-2 argues that the Valentinus to whom the Chrongraphus is dedicated can be identified either as Marcus Aurelius Valerius Valentinus, a consular in Numidia in 330 AD and uncle of the orator Symmachus (PLRE 1.936, n. 12) or with Avianus Valentinus, a consular in Campania under Valentinian I and the brother of Symmachus (PLRE 1.936, n. 7). If one of these suggestions is correct, this Valentinus would be the first Christian member of the Symmachi, prior to Aurelius Anicius Symmachus, who was proconsul of Africa in 415 AD and urban prefect in 419-20 AD (PLRE 2.1043-4, n. 6). [G. Cattaneo; tr. C. L. Caterine].