Vitae Vergilianae antiquae, recc. G. Brugnoli et F. Stok, Romae 1997, 193-200.
A late-antique commentary on Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics that is falsely attributed to Probus survived to the modern period through a now-lost codex from Bobbio. The text itself is known to us through an edition of this codex that Giovanni Battista Egnazio published at Venice in 1507, as well as from several apographs of an exemplar that Pomponio Leto came to possess around 1470 (on the transmission of the commentary, see Wheelock 1935 and Gioseffi 1991). Preceding the commentary is a short biography of Vergil that is conventionally called the Vita Probiana (see Suerbaum 1981: 1178). Bussi published this text without naming an author in the edition of Vergil that Schweynheym and Pannartz printed at Rome in 1471 (it had surely come into his possession through Leto, who had himself used the Vita Probiana as the principal source for his own Vita Vergili; on this see Dykmans 1987; Stok 2015). Lehnus published a critical edition of the Vita in 1982, though the text was available prior to this time in other sources, viz. editions of Suetonius (Reifferscheid 1860: 52-4 and Rostagni 1994: 159-66); the commentary of pseudo-Probus (Hagen 1902: 323-4); and collections of the various Vitae Vergilianae (Nettleship 1879: 7-8; Diehl 1910: 43-4; Brummer 1912: 73-4; Hardie 1954 (=1957b): 22-4; id. 1966: 26-8; Bayer 1958: 286-7 (=1970b: 246-9, with German translation); García 1985: 154-5, in Spanish translation; Brugnoli and Stok 1991: 442; id. 1997: 193-200; Ziolkowski and Putnam 2008: 225-7, with English translation
That different authors wrote the Vita and the commentary is made clear by the discrepancies that exist between the preface to the commentary and the Vita itself. Although Körtge 1900 and Rostagni 1944 maintained that the text was written by the grammaticus M. Valerius Probus, their reconstruction was convincingly disproved by Paratore 1946 (=2007c: 135-80). Norden 1906: 166-7, meanwhile, first established the late-antique dating, and Deufert 2009 clarfiied the Vita’s late-antique cultural context (for other aspects of the Vita Probiana see Pascal 1900; Nardi 1931; Sabbadini 1932; Di Martino 1932; Agnès 1941; Brugnoli and Scarcia 1965).
The author of the Vita Probiana utilized the Vita of Suetonius-Donatus, but added the following details:
These comments are only rarely deemed credible (see, for example, Brugnoli and Naumann 1990: 575), but the note on Vergil’s affinity for the Epicurean school is supported by one of the Herculaneum papyri, namely PHerc. Paris 2 (cf. Brugnoli and Stok 2002: 79-80; on the papyrus, see Capasso and Gigante 1989; Gigante 2004; Delattre 2004).
The edition of reference for the Vita Probiana is the text published by Brugnoli in Brugnoli and Stok 1997. In the epitaph of Vergil, however, the manuscripts’ ‘poma’ should be preferred to the emendation ‘rura’ since the former must have been the reading of the lost Bobbio codex (in a similar way, Brugnoli’s edition adopts the reading ‘XXX’ for the distance between Andes and Mantua, whereas Egnazio had printed ‘III’). [F. Stok; tr. C. L. Caterine].