A 6th-century Christian poet; b. Liguria, before 500; d. c. 550. He was an orphan and was educated by Bp. Lawrence of Milan and the poet ennodius. He studied classical literature and rhetoric with Parthenius and became an advocate and careerist at the court of theodoric the great in Ravenna. With the collapse of the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy c. 540, Arator retired and was ordained subdeacon in Rome under Pope vigilius. In 544 he published an epic poem, De Actibus Apostolorum, in 2,326 hexameters, modeled on the Carmen Paschale of sedulius, with three metric letters of dedication to Vigilius, an Abbot Florian, and his friend Parthenius, respectively. The poem was originally read to an audience in St. Peter-in-Chains and was popular during the Middle Ages; it is an amalgam of faulty prosody, uninspired rhetoric, excessive allegory, and the mystical interpretation of numbers. There are editions in Patrilogia Latina, ed. J. P. Migne, 217 vol., 68:45–252 and in Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum, 72 (1951) by A. P. McKinlay.
Bibliography: p. de labriolle, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastique, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912–), 3:1443–45. f. j. e. raby, A History of Christian-Latin Poetry from the Beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages (2d ed., Oxford 1953) 117–120. b. altaner, Patrology, (New York 1960) 600–601. Clavis Patrum latinorum, ed. e. dekkers (2d ed. Streenbrugge 1961) 1504–05.
[v. c. de clerco]