Censorinus was a Roman grammarian and versatile writer in the 3rd century.

He is the author of lost work De Accentibus and the extant treatise De The Natali, written in 238, dedicated the Censorinus his patron Quintus Caerellius to his birthday.

The two parts of the work deal with different content: the first deals with the natural history of man, the influence of the stars and genii, music, religious rites, astronomy and the teachings of the Greek philosophers. The second part deals with issues of time and timing and with mathematical questions and was used for establishing the main periods of antiquity. The style is clear and concise, although somewhat rhetorical, and the Latin language dominates Censorinus quite good for its time.

The main sources used were probably Varro and Suetonius. Some scholars believe that the entire work practically plagiarized from Suetonius' lost work Pratum is (or Prata ).

Along with De The Natali were a number of non- originating from Censorinus treatises on supplies ( Fragmentum Censorini, De Natali Institutione ) that deal with astronomy, geometry, music, and the versification. The treatise de metris possibly goes back to Varro, and contains the oldest representation of the Roman metric.


  • Decisive for the Censorinusrezeption modern times, the issue of L. Carrion, Paris ( 1583 )
  • Good edition with commentary by Erpold Lindenbrog ( 1614)

Critical editions of:

  • Otto Jahn (1845 )
  • Friedrich Hultsch (1867 )
  • Ivan Cholodniak (1889 )
  • Klaus Sallmannshausen (1983 )
  • Kai Brodersen (2012 )


English translations:

  • The De Natali ( the first eleven chapters are omitted) with notes by William Maude, New York, 1900.
  • The De Natali trans. Holt N. Parker: Censorinus. The Birthday Book, Chicago, 2007. (ISBN 0-226-09974-1 )

German translations:

  • The De Natali, trans. Kai Brodersen. Censorinus, The birthday book, Darmstadt, 2011 (ISBN 978-3-89678-752-1 )
  • The De Natali, Latin and German by Kai Brodersen: Censorinus, About the Birthday ( Edition antiquity ), Darmstadt 2012 ( ISBN 978-3-534-18154-4 ).

Pictures of Censorinus