Aelius Donatus was a Roman grammarian and teacher of rhetoric. The only fact known regarding his life is that he was the tutor of St. Jerome.
He was the author of a number of professional works, of which several are extant:
?A partly incomplete commentary on the playwright Terence compiled from other commentaries, but probably not in its original form;
?His Life of Virgil is thought to be based on a lost Vita by Suetonius, together with the preface and introduction of his commentary on Virgil's works. A greatly expanded version of Servius' commentary exists, however, which is supplemented with frequent and extensive extracts from what is thought to be Donatus' commentary on Virgil.
?His Ars grammatica, especially the section on the eight parts of speech, though possessing little claim to originality, and evidently based on the same authorities which were used by the grammarians Charisius and Diomedes, attained such popularity as a schoolbook that, in the Middle Ages, he became the eponym for a rudimentary treatise of any sort, called a donet. When books came to be printed in the 15th century, editions of the little book were multiplied to an enormous extent. It is also the only purely textual work to be printed in blockbook form. It is in the form of an Ars Minor, which only treats of the parts of speech, and an Ars Major, which deals with grammar in general at greater length.