Life

(Literature and the Ancient World, Critical Edition)

Nothing is known of the life of Fabius Planciades Fulgentius (FAY-bee-uhs plahn-KEE-ah-deez fuhl-JEHN-shee-uhs). His era and native country are inferred from his writings. His mediocre Latin diction and his broad knowledge of Greek language and culture were typical of educated North Africans under the Vandals. At least three and perhaps four or five of his works survive. Medieval manuscripts attribute Mythologiae (n.d.; Mythologies, 1971), Expositio continentiae Virgilianae secundum philosophos moralis (n.d.; Explanation of the Content of Vergil According to Moral Philosophy, 1971), and Espositio sermonum antiquorum (n.d.; Explanation of Obsolete Words, 1971) specifically to Fabius Planciades Fulgentius; however, they attribute De aetatibus mundi et hominis (n.d.; On the Ages of the World and of Humankind, 1971) to Fabius Claudius Gordianus Fulgentius and Super Thebaiden (n.d.; On the Thebaid, 1971) to Sanctus Fulgentius Episcopus. Scholars debate whether these works were written by one Fulgentius, or two, or three. The author of Mythologies was certainly a North African Christian, but whether he was also Saint Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe, Tunisia, in the sixth century, remains in dispute.

Influence

(Literature and the Ancient World, Critical Edition)

Fulgentius was continually popular from his own time through the Renaissance but neglected thereafter. His appeal stemmed from his subject matter, his sense of humor, and his erudition.

Additional Resource

(Literature and the Ancient World, Critical Edition)

Whitbread, Leslie George. Fulgentius the Mythographer. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1971.