Censorini De die natali liber ad Q. Caerellium; accedit anonymi cuiusdam epitoma disciplinarum (Fragmentum Censorini), edidit N. Sallmann, Leipzig 1983 (Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana)
De die natali is a piece of work composed of 24 short chapters, dedicated by Censorinus to his friend Quintus Cerellius in the occasion of his birthday. In the opening chapter the author states that he does not want to take the role of sapiens, offering Cerellius philosophiae praecepta ad beate vivendum, nor the role of rhetor, making an extensive laudatio of his virtues, but rather that of philologus, gathering with modesty some quaestiunculae, results of his studies, the merits of which he attributes to his friend as grateful homage. The work therefore consists of a series of anecdotes and observations organized with wit and spirit around the theme of birthday. The first part is devoted to the birth in all its different aspects, physical, anthropological, astrological, and ends with a subdivision of human life into periods of seven years (hebdomades), through which the age of the recipient (49 years old) is calculated. A chapter featuring the praise of the personal qualities, social roles and positions held by Quintus Cerellius (ch. 15) marks the transition to the second part, which deals with the topic of time in its conceptual aspects and its divisions. Particularly interesting is the comparison between the different ways of conceiving the calendar on the part of various ancient peoples. It is in this section that the author refers to the exact year in which he is writing, 238 AD, which is calculated with reference to the Greek Olympics (chap. 18, 12: et nunc apud eos ducentesimaquinquagensima quarta ὀλυμπιάς numeratur, eiusque annus hic secundus), to the succession of Agones Capitolini established by Domitian in 86 (chap. 18, 15: hoc nunc anno qui celebratus est agon, undequadragensimus numeratur), and by combining information from the consuls, the Olympics, and ab Vrbe condita (cap. 21, 6: nisi fallor hic annus, cuius velut index et titulus quidam est V. C. Pii et Pontiani consulatus, ab olympiade prima millensimus est et quartus decimus, ex diebus dumtaxat aestivis, quibus agon Olympicus celebratur; a Roma autem condita nongentesimus nonagensimus primus, et quidem ex Parilibus, unde urbis anni numerantur); from the latter, it is also possible to determine the season in which this piece of work was written.
The work demonstrates the vast culture and wide curiosity of this grammaticus, whose sources were varied: he mentions Varro several times, but materials dating back to Pliny the Elder, Aulus Gellius, Suetonius have also been identified in his work. It is most likely that the author made use of doxographical collections. [R. Tabacco; trad. M. Formentelli]