Sexti Aureli Victoris, Liber de Caesaribus. Praecedunt Origo gentis Romanae et Liber de uiris ilustribus 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 corpus tripertitum or Aurelianum opens with a short work, generally known as the Origo gentis Romanae (OGR). Critics have long debated whether the titulus cited originally defined only this initial libellus, and was subsequently extended to the entire corpus (D’Anna), or, on the contrary, if it went from designating the entire collection to signifying only its opening work (Momigliano, Richard). Also much discussed is whether the present version of the OGR corresponds to the original, or if it existed as a fuller text in antiquity - an OGR plenior - according to the thesis supported by Mommsen. Inasmuch as Mommen’s theory has been criticized and in part abandoned today, it cannot be doubted that the text we read is at several points lacunose or incomplete; this leads some to think that the lacunae depend on simple accidents that occurred during the text’s transmission (Momigliano), others that they arose rather from excisions that were perhaps undertaken by an anonymous compiler who assembled the corpus tripertitum (Momigliano, D’Anna). But it is also hypothesized that they go back to the very author of the OGR, who would have taken inspiration from a more extensive work of a doxographical nature, but abridged it poorly (Momigliano, Richard). In the version that has come down to us, the OGR is composed of twenty-three chapters, which treat the archaic history of Rome, starting from the reigns of the mythical Janus and Saturn up to the events immediately preceding the foundation of Rome. The structure of the chapters appears inconsistent, since the first five (Richard), seven (Momigliano), or nine (D’Anna) are influenced by Vergil’s Aeneid and in general by poetic sources, while the remainder are composed mostly from traditions of an historiographical nature. Such unevenness has been explained by hypothesizing that the creator of the corpus intervened in the original text of the OGR; this individual is to be identified with a learned grammaticus, extremely familiar with the works of Vergil, who would have adjusted the first nine chapters (D’Anna); but this, too, has been disputed by identifying in the same author of the OGR both a learned grammaticus and an expert connoisseur of Vergil, who was not always comfortable mastering and standardizing the rich material of his doxographical source (Richard) or reconciling the Vergilian poetic tradition with that derived from historical and antiquarian sources (Momigliano). The critics are likewise shown to be divided on the date of composition, oscillating between the 1st-2nd c. AD (D’Anna) and the late 4th c. AD (Momigliano, Mariotti, Richard, Sehlmeyer); in the past it was even taken for a forgery of the humanistic period (Niebuhr). Sehlmeyer has recently revived the hypothesis, already maintained repeatedly, that Verrius Flaccus, who is cited in the titulus of the corpus, could have been a source for the libellus: in particular it is hypothesized that the anonymous author of the OGR, a grammaticus and commentator on Vergil, has derived his material not only from commentaries on the Aeneid, but from an epitome of the 4th c. that goes back to Verrius Flaccus. [G. Vanotti; tr. C. L. Caterine].