Claudius Marius Victorius

Claudius Marius Victorius (Victorinus gold or Victor) was a rhetor (ie a teacher and poet) of the fifth century CE from Marseille . He is known for a Latin poem on Genesis in hexameters and a letter to the Salomon abbot against the moral degradation of his age.


Evidence for Claudius’s life comes from Gennadius of Massilia . [1] He was born in the second half of the fourth century and died during the reign of Theodosius the Younger and Valentinian III , around 446.


Gennadius of Massilia assigns a poem on Genesis, the Aletheia (ie Ancient Greek ἀλήθεια , ‘truth’), to Claudius Marius Victor, orator Massiliensis (‘an orator from Marseille’). This 1020-line hexametrical poem, intended for the instruction of the young, survives in one ninth-century manuscript and dates from the first or second quarter of the fifth century CE. It contains a prayer and three books which retell Genesis, from the creation of the world to the ruin of Sodom. [2] The author was inspired by Lucretius , Virgil and Ovid and transposed Christian content into a Classical literary form, the epic.

Victorius’s other known work is a letter to the Solomon Abbot. Here he argues that if the Sarmatians, from Central Asia, have devastated the country, if the Vandals, have Germanic people, have burned it, and if the Alans, who were Sarmatian, have completed that destructions and it is sexuality which he blames.


Gennadius’ view of Victorius was not flattering:

Victorinus, a rhetorician of Marseilles, wrote about his Etherius, a commentary on Genesis , commenting, that is, from the beginning of the book to the death of the patriarch Abraham, and published four books in verse, words which have a taste of In fact, they are of the kind that are well versed in the Divine Scriptures, they are of slight weight, and so far as they are concerned. [3]

However, Victorius’s work fits into the tradition of Christian writers of the first centuries CE, such as Juvencus , Sedulius Arator , Cyprianus Gallus , and Avit . Indeed, the transposition of the divine word and / or the celebration of the deeds of saints thrives in the Classical epic form. [4]

His letter is of interest, particularly for alluding once or twice to the tribes of Gaul and the barbarians. It also mentions the Alans (III, V 192) and Leuques (III, V. 207-209).

Editions and translations

  • Commodiani ‘Carmina’ , ed. by Joseph Martin, and Claudii Marii Victorii ‘Alethia’ , ed. by PF Hovingh, Corpus Christianorum, Latina Series, 128 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1960), pp. 115-93 ( Alethia ), and 269-297.
  • OJ Kuhnmuench, Early Christian Latin Poets (Chicago, 1929), pp. 333-46 (excerpts from the Alethia in Latin and English translation.


  1. Jump up^ Gennadius of Marseille,De Viris Illustribus, 61,NPNF2-03. Theodoret, Jerome, Gennadius, & Rufinus: Historical Writings | Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
  2. Jump up^ OJ Kuhnmuench, Christian Early Christian Poets (Chicago, 1929), pp. 331-46 (at 331),
  3. Jump up^ Gennadius of Marseille,De Viris Illustribus, 61,NPNF2-03. Theodoret, Jerome, Gennadius, & Rufinus: Historical Writings | Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
  4. Jump up^ Marta Cuenca-Godbert, ‘The Re-Cycled Epic’,Acta Fabula, 8.2 (March-April 2007),


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