Sexti Aureli Victoris, Liber de Caesaribus. Praecedunt Origo gentis Romanae et Liber de uiris illustribus urbis Romae, subsequitur Epitome de Caesaribus, recensuit Fr. Pichlmayr, editio stereotypa correctior editionis primae addenda et corrigenda iterum collegit et adiecit R. Gruendel, Leipzig 1970, 77-129 (I ed. 1911) (Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana).
The De uiris illustribus (DVI) has come to us through a large number of codes, which can be grouped essentially into two classes: the so-called class A consisting of 86 chapters and comprising only two manuscripts (the Oxoniensis and the Bruxellensis or Pulmannianus), in which the DVI is associated to Origo gentis Romanae and to Caesares by Aurelius Victor to form the Corpus tripertitum; the class B comprising more than seventy codes, of which only the DVI is preserved, but without the last nine chapters. It has been hypothesized that the two classes A and B have descended from a single ancient archetype, and it has long been debated whether the presence in A of the last nine chapters is the result of the addition by the later compiler of the corpus or, conversely, if their absence in B has been determined by an accidental fall. Whereas in the past the latter was the prevailing opinion, nowadays scholars tend to believe that the original text is the one shown in B. It should be noted that the manuscripts of the class A do not include chapter 16 and much of chapter 1, which are present in B. The work, partly biographical and partly historiographic, deals with the period between the government of Procus King of Albans and the death of Pompeus in the shorter version, extending till the death of Cleopatra in the larger version. The possible authorship of the work has been discussed for centuries; in the past it was attributed, on the basis of manuscript tradition, mainly to Pliny the Younger or Aurelius Victor. The latter hypothesis, however, was ruled out by Enmann already at the end of the nineteenth century for incompatibility of style. As for the attribution to Pliny, it was proposed again not long ago, but following to some hypothesis put forward by B. Borghesi of the early nineteenth century, it has been assumed that the Pliny in question was not the legatus of Bithynia of the Trajan age, but his more famous uncle who lived in the Flavian age, or an author belonging to his inner circle of followers. For the composition the author was seemingly inspired on the one hand by the texts of the elogia of the Augustan forum, on the other hand by a historiographical source from the Livian stories (Braccesi). This conjecture has been called into question by later critics, who has proposed several conflicting hypotheses based on a thorough textual analysis. Among them, Bessone has been cautiously inclined to date the author of the DVI back to the first centuries of the empire and to indicate the main source in a lost Livian epitome of Tiberian age, although without denying a dependency from the elogia of the forum. The original draft of the work would end with chapter 77, the remaining nine (78-86) would be the product of the compiler of the corpus tripertitum. On the contrary, on the basis of much of the previous literature, scholars like Sage not only have reaffirmed the belonging of the DVI to the late imperial age, the fourth century, to which the entire corpus tripertitum should belong, but also have assumed that the composition of the work is to be attributed to an erudite scholiast. Finally, others like Fugmann have affirmed that the DVI, though echoing the history through imagines of the Augustan forum, relies upon a biographical source: a lost excerptum from the Viri illustres by Iginus. As for chapters 78-86, they would not be the result of addition on the part of the compiler of the corpus tripertitum, but would belong to the original work, as they do not diverge substantially from the first 77. [G. Vanotti; trad. M. Formentelli]