Gaius Julius Solinus, Latin grammarian and compiler, probably flourished during the first half of the 3rd century AD.
He was the author of De mirabilibus mundi ('The wonders of the world') which mostly circulated under the title Collectanea rerum memorabilium ('Collection of Curiosities'), and the work is indeed a description of curiosities in a chorographical framework. Adventus, to whom it is dedicated, is identified with Oclatinius Adventus, consul AD 258. It contains a short description of the ancient world, with remarks on historical, social, religious and natural history questions. The greater part is taken from Pliny's Natural History and the geography of Pomponius Mela.
According to Mommsen, Solinus also used a chronicle (possibly by Cornelius Bocchus) and a Chorographia pliniana, an epitome of Pliny's work with additions made about the time of Hadrian. Schanz, however, suggests the Roma and Pratsem of Suetonius.
A greatly revised version of his original text was made, perhaps it is now thought by Solinus himself. This verions conatins a letter that Solinus wrote as an introduction to the work which gives the work the title Polyhistor ('multi-descriptive'). Both versions of the work circulated widely and eventually Polyhistor was taken for the author's name. It was popular in the middle ages, hexameter abridgments being current under the names of Theodericus and Petrus Diaconus.
The commentary by Saumaise in his Plinianae exercitationes (1689) is indispensable; best edition by Mommsen (1895), with valuable introduction on the manuscripts, the authorities used by Solinus, and subsequent compilers. See also Teuffel, Hist. of Roman Literature (Eng. trans., 1900), 389; and Schanz, Gesichte der römischen Litteratur (1904), iv. I. There is an old English translation by A Golding (1587).
- The Latin Library: Caii Julii Solini de Mirabilibus Mundi (http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/solinus.html), Latin texts of both the C.L.F. Panckoucke edition (Paris 1847) and the Mommsen edition (1864).
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.