Vitae Vergilianae antiquae, recc. G. Brugnoli et F. Stok, Romae 1997 ( F. Stok pp. 17-41).
Donatus’ commentary on the works of Vergil was preceded by a Vita Vergili taken in large part from the biography of Vergil included in Suetonius’ De viris illustribus: evidence for this lies in the similarities between the Vita under consideration and the Vergilian lemmata that Jerome inscribes in his Chronica on the basis of Suetonius’ De viris illustribus.
The consistency and identification of Donatus’ interpolations have been an object of debate between those who have maintained that the life is heavily interpolated by Donatus (Geer, Paratore, Bayer) and, on the other hand, those who believe that it can be attributed in large part to Suetonius (Rostagni and Naumann). This second position is currently the predominant one (Horsfall), with some qualifications on specific points (Lucarini, Stok, D’Anna); the only part that is with certainty held to have been added by Donatus is that which includes the epigrams of Sulpicius Carthaginiensis.
The Vita (together with the lemmata of Jerome already mentioned) is the chief biographical source for Vergil that has come down to us; a large part of the other late-antique and medieval Vitae is dependent - directly or indirectly - on Donatus’ Vita. In the 15th-16th cc., Donatus’ Vita circulated for the most part in an interpolated version, the so-called Donatus auctus (arranged in the first decades of the 15th c.); the version that is properly Donatus’ was published for the first time by Pierre Daniel in 1600. [F. Stok; tr. C. L. Caterine].