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Full text of "Christian epigraphy; an elementary treatise, with a collection of ancient Christian inscriptions mainly of Roman origin"



CHRISTIAN EPIGRAPHY 






CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS 

ILonUon: FETTER LANE, E.G. 

C. F. CLAY, MANAGER 




100 PRINCES STREET 

Berlin: A. ASHER AND CO. 

ILcipng: F. A. BROCKHAUS 

ebj Sork: G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 

ISombag anto Calcutta: MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD. 



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Cbristian 



AN ELEMENTARY TREATISE 

WITH A COLLECTION 

OF ANCIENT CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 

MAINLY OF ROMAN ORIGIN 



BY 



ORAZIO MARUCCHI 

PROFESSOR OF CHRISTIAN ARCHAEOLOGY IN THE 
ROYAL UNIVERSITY OF ROME 



TRANSLATED BY 

J. ARMINE WILLIS 




CAMBRIDGE 

AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS 
1912 



PRELIMINARY NOTICE 

MY purpose in compiling this Manual of Christian 
Epigraphy has been to supply students with some 
general information concerning this important 
branch of Christian archaeology, and at the same 
time to provide them with a classified collection 
of inscriptions which may be useful to them 
for the illustration of lectures. In forming this 
collection I have made use principally of Roman 
inscriptions, as the oldest, the most numerous, 
and the most important ; but I have not omitted 
to quote here and there inscriptions from other 
parts of the ancient world. 

The book being intended specially for educa- 
tional purposes, and not as a "Corpus Inscrip- 
tionum " proper, I have thought it needless to give 
the bibliography of each inscription, contenting 
myself with noting whether the inscription quoted 
still exists or not: in the former case I indicate 
the place where it is now preserved : in the latter, 
the source from which the text of it has come 
down to us. 

So, also, when quoting any inscription of which 
vii 



viii Christian Epigraphy 

the original is in fragments, for the sake of some 
name or some phrase which it contains, I have 
contented myself with referring to a portion of 
the inscription only. 

I hope that this work may prove especially 
useful to young students who are taking up 
archaeology; and I trust also that I may have 
thus satisfied the desire expressed at the second 
Congress of Christian Archaeology held in Rome 
in 1900, for the issue of an elementary Manual 
of Christian Epigraphy. 

I owe my special thanks to two young and 
able students of archaeology, scholars of my own, 
MM. George Schneider and Henry Josi, for their 
kind assistance in the compilation of this Manual. 

O. MARUCCHI. 

1910. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

PREFATORY NOTE ....... v 

PRELIMINARY NOTICE ...... vii 

INTRODUCTION General Information : 

General Characteristics of Ancient Roman Inscriptions i 

The Nomen and Cognomen i 

Commonest Praenomens ..... 3 

Less Common Praenomens .... 4 

The Cognomen of Females . . . . 5 

Of Gentile Names 5 

Of the Status of Individuals .... 9 

Of Slaves and Freedmen . . . . .14 

The Social Classes and the Occupations'of Ancient 

Rome ........ 16 

Sepulchral Inscriptions . . . . .21 

ADDENDA to the Introduction . . . . -35 

PART I 

GENERAL STATEMENT 

CHAP. 

I. Preliminary Notes on the Original Sources of the 
Study of Ancient Christian Epigraphy and on the 

Bibliography concerning it .... 37 

Principal Collections of Christian Inscriptions exist- 
ing in Rome ....... 48 

II. General Facts concerning Christian Inscriptions . 50 

III. Of Symbols 58 

Interpunctuation ....... 70 

IV. Metrical Inscriptions ...... 71 

ix 



Christian Epigraphy 



PART II 

A COLLECTION OF CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS, MAINLY 
FROM ROME, IN THEIR VARIOUS CLASSES 

HAP. r A GE 

I. Primitive Inscriptions, with Primitive Formulae . 75 

II. Doctrinal Inscriptions (General Features) . . 86 

i. On the Unity of God .... 87 
2. On the Divinity of Christ, the Holy Spirit, 

and the Trinity ..... 91 

III. Inscriptions bearing on Sacraments . . . 103 

i. Baptism and Confirmation . . .103 
2. The Eucharist . . . . .119 

IV. Inscriptions relating to the Doctrine of the ' ' Com- 

munion of Saints " . . . . ... 136 

i. As to the Prayers of the Faithful for the 

Departed . . . . . .136 

2. Prayers addressed to the Dead for their 

Intercession on behalf of the Living . 151 
3. As to the Cult of Saints . . . .157 

4. On the Titles "Sanctus" and "Martyr" 

in Ancient Christian Inscriptions . .182 
V. Inscriptions bearing on the Organisation of the 

Early Christian Society . . . . .191 

i. Inscriptions of Popes and Bishops . . 192 
2. Inscriptions of Priests . . . 199 

3. Inscriptions of Deacons and Subdeacons . 206 
4. Inscriptions of Inferior Church Officers . 211 
5. Inscriptions of the various Classes of 

Christian Society . . . .215 

(a) Virgins . . . . . .215 

() Widows 218 

(c) The Faithful 219 

(d) Neophytes . . . . . .220 

(e) Catechumens . . . . .221 



Contents xi 

CHAP. PAGE 

6. Slaves and Freedmen . . . .223 
7. Inscriptions bearing on Offices and Pro- 
fessions carried on by the Faithful . 227 
8. Inscriptions referring to Persons or Families 

of High Rank ..... 240 

VI. General Information on Inscriptions bearing Con- 

sular Dates or other Chronological Indications . 249 

Of the Dionysian or Vulgar Era . . . 259 

i. Of the Tables of Consular Fasti . . 261 

Fasti of the Fifth and Sixth Centuries . 262 

Fasti of the West ..... 263 

Fasti of the East ..... 264 

Catalogue of the Names of Consuls to be 

found in Christian Inscriptions . . 265 

2. The Calendar 284 

3. Specimens of " Consular " Inscriptions . 292 

VII. Inscriptions selected for certain Special Expressions 307 
Ejaculations Language bearing on the Concep- 
tion of a Future Life ..... 307 

VIII. The Damasian Inscriptions .... 340 

i. Doctrinal Inscriptions .... 359 

2. Expressions of Historical Value . . 359 
3. Information of Special Topographical 

Value ...... 360 

IX. Appendix to the Damasian Inscriptions . . 362 
i. Sepulchral Inscriptions of Damasus and 

his Family ...... 362 

2. Inscriptions possibly referring to the Father 

of Damasus ..... 390 

X. Illustrations of Historical (non-Damasian) Inscrip- 
tions from the Fourth to the Sixth Century . 415 
Inscription of Pope Syricius (A. D. 385-399} . 419 
Inscription of Pope Coelestinus (A.D. 423-432) . 421 
Inscriptions of later Popes up to S. Gregory the 
Great ........ 423 



xii Christian Epigraphy 

CHAP. PAGE 

XI. "Graffiti" or Inscriptions scratched by Early 

Visitors in the Roman Catacombs . . . 439 

Cemetery of Callisto ...... 439 

Cemetery of Praetextatus ..... 443 

Cemetery of S. Peter and S. Marcellinus . . 443 

Cemetery of S. Hippolytus .... 445 

Cemetery of Priscilla ...... 445 

Cemetery of S. Hermes ..... 446 

Cemetery of Pontianus on the Via Portuensis . 447 

Cemetery of Commodilla ..... 447 



APPENDIX 

INSCRIPTIONS RELATING TO RESTORATIONS, DONA- 
TIONS, AND TRANSLATIONS OF MARTYRS . 449 



NOTE 

For brevity's sake the name only is quoted in the case 
of some mutilated inscriptions. 



INTRODUCTION 

GENERAL INFORMATION 

General Characteristics of Ancient Roman 
Inscriptions 

ANCIENT Christian inscriptions must be looked 
upon as a special class in the vast mass of inscrip- 
tions of the old Roman world; and any manual 
of ancient Christian Epigraphy must therefore 
necessarily be preceded by some elementary infor- 
mation on Roman Epigraphy in general. But the 
demands of strict necessity will be sufficiently met 
by some information as to ancient nomenclature 
and social conditions, with a few general observa- 
tions on sepulchral inscriptions ; without this, 
Christian inscriptions could not be understood, 
much less distinguished from those of paganism. 

The Roman citizen had three names, the 
praenomen, the nomen, and the cognomen. The 
nomen, properly called gentile, was that of the 
founder of the family, and passed on to all his 
issue ; these were hence said to belong to the 
same gens (gentiles). But as in the course of 
time the gentes split up into various fami/iae, the 
cognomen was adopted to distinguish one familia 
from another; and hence there were differing 
cognoiaens within the same gens. 

B 



2 Christian Epigraphy 

But, further, each member of any one family 
had to be distinguished from the others ; and 
for this purpose the praenomen was used. Thus, 
for example, from the root-ancestor Fabius issued 
the gens called Fabia, and this came to be 
divided into various familiae, as the Vibulana, 
the Ambusta, the Labeona. Then the individuals 
of the same family, e.g. the Vibulana, were dis- 
tinguished one from the other by a praenomen, 
say, Marcus, Caius, Lucius, etc. ; thus Caius 
Fabius Vibulanus indicates a member of the gens 
Fabia belonging to the familia Vibulana and dis- 
tinguished from others of that familia by the 
praenomen Caius. Of the three names the first is 
the praenomen, the second is the gentile name, 
the third is the cognomen. 

The habitual use of these three names con- 
tinued to the fall of the Republic. But from 
the beginning of the imperial era the cognomen 
was often substituted for the praenomen, to dis- 
tinguish the individual ; thus, even in the first 
century of the Empire, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, 
Titus Flavius Domitianus, Tito Flavius Clemens, 
had for their distinguishing names the cognomens 
Vespasianus, Domitianus, Clemens, respectively. 
The habit spreading in the course of time, the 
praenomen became at last entirely neglected 
and was no longer noticed in inscriptions, 
as the use of it seemed an act of superfluous 
pedantry. This custom begins to make its 
appearance about the time of the Antonines. 

It follows, therefore, that inscriptions on which 
these three names are to be found set out in order 
most probably belong to the pre-Antonine epoch ; 
and consequently, if these inscriptions should be 



Introduction 3 

proved to be Christian, they would date back to 
the earliest age of Christianity. 

The praenomens which were intended to dis- 
tinguish one member of a family from another 
generally had their origin in some special circum- 
stance in the family circle ; e.g. the first-born of 
the sons was called Primus, the third Tertius, 
the tenth Decimus, etc. ; he who was prima luce 
natus was called Lucius, he who was mane natus 
Manius ; Gnaeus from naevus, a wart or body 
mark ; Cajus from ycuw, I rejoice, to indicate the 
joy caused by his birth ; and so forth. 

The commonest praenomens in inscriptions are 
not put out at length, but are always abbreviated 
into one or more of their initial letters. But to 
avoid confusion some are only indicated by the 
first letter, others by the two first, others by the 
first syllable, others by some conventional mark, 
as may be seen in the subjoined table. 

These praenomens, however, were not in use in 
all the gentes alike without distinction. Some are 
more frequently found in one gens, some in another, 
owing to the desire in each gens to perpetuate within 
itself the praenomen of some illustrious ancestor. 

COMMONEST PRAENOMENS 

A = Aldus N = Numerius 

C= Cajus = Publius 

D = Decimus Q = Quinfits 
L = Lucius S Sextus 

M = Marcus T = Titus 

M/= Manilas * TI = Tiberius 

1 To distinguish Manius from Marcus the former was 
represented by M followed by a special mark. 



Christian Epigraphy 



LESS COMMON PRAENOMENS 

Ap = Appius Min = Minatius 

O = Olus Nov = Novius 

C or K = Kaeso Op = Opiter 

Ep = Epidius Ov = Ovius 

Her = Herius Pac = Pacujus 

Mam = Mamercus Pes = Pescennius 



Pupus was supposed to mean a r/fo'/d', but it is a 
real praenomen, inasmuch as an inscription has 
been found of a youth over fourteen years of age, 
with the praenomen of Pupus, and the indication 
of his tribe. Moreover, its appearance even in the 
epitaphs of children proves nothing, for, as we 
know, the praenomen was given by the Romans 
eight days after birth, i.e. on the day of lustration. 

Sal = Salvius 

Sept = Septimus 

Ser = Servius or Sergius 

Ser. generally stands for Servius, as appears 
from many instances, but two inscriptions from 
Tusculum show that it may also stand for Sergius. 
Both these praenomens, however, may, in the 
opinion of many, be referred to an older form 
Stnguius, corrupted by some into Servius, by 
others into Sergius; much as the old form 
ninguis has become nivis. Sp = Sfiurius, which, 
however, is sometimes represented by a single S. 

St and Sta = Statius 
Tert = Tertius 

V = Vibius 



Introduction 



THE COGNOMEN OF FEMALES 

In very early times women had praenomens like 
men ; later they went out of use ; but about the 
third and fourth centuries of the Empire some 
ladies of the highest rank resumed them. In the 
times before the decadence, when women had no 
praenomen, the inscriptions give their gentile name 
and cognomen only ; the agnomen or surname was 
reserved for family use ; or else a name of endear- 
ment was formed from the father's nomen, such as 
Fabiola, Priscilla, Domintilla, Plautilla, etc. 



OF GENTILE NAMES 

The gentile name was that of the original 
ancestor of the family, which was passed on to all 
his descendants. These names were formed by 
adding -ius to the name of the individual, e.g. 
Pompo, Pomponius, etc. This termination in ius 
is the old mark to distinguish the gentile name 
from the cognomen, and exceptions to the rule 
were believed either not to exist or to be 
negligible. 

Panvinius recognised only four exceptions, in 
the gentile names Perpenna, Norbanus, Peduceus, 
Poppeus. But since the days of Panvinius many 
others have come to light, not ending in -ius. The 
principal exceptional terminations are the following : 
erna, -inna, -ma, -as, -w, -ax, -aeus, -eus, -enus, -aeus 
(Magiaeus, Decimaeus), -is (Aurelis, Caecilis). But 
some of these are only apparently exceptional, e.g. 
names ending in -eus are only the ordinary form, 
archaistically pronounced ; and those in -aeus (with 



6 Christian Epigraphy 

the diphthong) come from an -ejus form, as from 
Poppeius is formed Poppaeus. 

The other irregular terminations indicate that 
the bearers of the names were foreigners in Rome. 
Thus names in -erna or -ina are Etruscan, those 
in -as or -anas are Umbrian, those in -enus Picenian, 
those in -acus Gallic. 

With respect to names in -anus, which have 
hitherto been little understood, Hiibner has 
suggested an ingenious explanation. Taking his 
stand on ancient geography, he thinks that these 
names generally represent a local connexion, 
especially with places in Latium or near Rome; 
he suggests that they were borne by strangers who 
had migrated to Rome, and were there of course 
addressed by the names of their respective birth- 
places, e.g. Albanus, Bovillanus, etc., and that 
these names then became the permanent gentile 
names of their families. 

The cognomen is an addition to the gentile 
name not in itself absolutely required. In fact, in 
primitive ages it did not exist, but as the familiae 
of a gens increased in number, the habit of the 
cognomen came in. It was generally derived 
either from some mark peculiar to the founder of 
the familia or from some event in its history; 
nearly all the cognomens of the most illustrious 
familiae, as the Scipiones, the Nasicae, the 
Cicerones, etc., have been already explained by 
ancient writers. As for its form, it may be best 
described negatively, as generally eschewing the 
gentile termination -ius ; beyond that its termina- 
tions are as various as its origins. Among these 
the termination in -anus calls for some remark. 
Some are derived from local names, as Norbanus 



Introduction 7 

[if this be a cognomen, not a gentile name- TR.] j 
Aelianus is formed from the gentile Elius, Cae- 
cilianus from the gentile Caecilius. 

In these cases the ending in -anus signifies a 
transfer from one gens to another. This transfer 
was effected in two ways. The first method was 
by adoption : the member of the gens Cornelia who 
was adopted into say the gens Fabia, changed 
his gentile name, and was no longer Cornelius, 
but Fabius ; but he kept his former nomen with 
the addition of -anus. This, however, was not 
compulsory, as sometimes they retained their 
original nomen. But in process of time the pro- 
longation by -anus was used out of mere vanity, 
as a way of bringing in the gentile name and 
cognomen of maternal relations in addition to 
the bearer's own ; in this way one person might 
have several dozen names and cognomens, without 
any indication which were his own and which 
were additions; and this confusion is more and 
more noticeable in the course of the third and 
fourth centuries. Foreigners, too, who had obtained 
Roman citizenship, and soldiers who had gained 
an honourable discharge, adopted the gens of the 
person through whom the favour was obtained, 
but often retained their own cognomen with the 
prolongation of -anus. Praenomens ceased to be 
used to distinguish individuals after the beginning 
of the Empire, when cognomens took their place ; 
hence every one came to have a different cognomen. 
This nomenclature, however, was only used in 
family transactions and in inscriptions of a private 
nature ; and hence Christian inscriptions, being 
almost exclusively records of family events, gener- 
ally give the cognomen to distinguish the individual. 



8 Christian Epigraphy 

Where the cognomens were many in number, 
the last, according to Sirmondo, was the distinctive 
one; but Borghesi has proved by irrefragable 
arguments that the same person was in the habit 
of putting his cognomens in any order he pleased ; 
and his final opinion is that every one was at 
liberty to select the cognomen he preferred as the 
distinctive one, and even to place it where he liked 
among his other names. 

Some persons had a right to more than one cog- 
nomen ; in that case one was the cognomen, the 
other was called agnomen, a word meaning the 
same as cognomen, i.e. additional name. Last come 
the surnames, familiar sobriquets, but in no sense 
legal or recognised ; none the less, in the third and 
fourth centuries they had become so common that 
some people of mark were known to the vulgar by 
their surname only. This is why we read on the 
cornice of the pedestal of the statue erected in 
honour of the celebrated orator Lucius Avienius 
Aurelius Symmachus the word Eusebii, this being, 
according to Borghesi, the surname of that 
champion of dying polytheism. This surname 
was called signum, and was sometimes set out at 
full length in inscriptions, e.g. Projectus Signo 
Musculus [Projectus, surnamed Musculus] ; or else 
it is introduced by qui et, sive, vel, or qui vocitatur, 
e.g. Manlius Januarius qui vodtatur Asellus, etc. 
These surnames were sometimes of foreign origin, 
as in the case of foreigners admitted into a Roman 
gens, who might retain their name of origin as a 
surname; e.g. the full name of the celebrated 
Herodes Atticus was Claudius Herodes Atticus, 
Herodes (his original Athenian name) being re- 
tained as a surname. 



Introduction 9 

It follows that the presence of praenomen and 
gentile name alone is a mark of the highest 
antiquity; later on we find praenomen, gentile, 
and cognomen; then from the beginning of the 
Empire gentile and cognomen alone came into 
use, though not in inscriptions. In the third and 
fourth centuries the cognomen, alone or in con- 
junction with another cognomen, became very 
common, but only on quasi-private and domestic 
inscriptions, e.g. those of Christians, and not even 
on these when of official or solemn character. In 
the fourth century a gentile name was at times 
adopted as a cognomen ; thus the gentile Petronius 
became the cognomen Petronius, and similarly 
Honorius was used as a cognomen. Finally we 
may note that the gentile name Flavius was used 
as a sort of praenomen in the later days of Roman 
nomenclature. 

OF THE STATUS OF INDIVIDUALS 

Kindred is created either by natural relation- 
ship or by affinity or by community of gens. By 
natural relationship I mean the bond that unites 
husband and wife, father and son ; by affinity, that 
which connects, say, the relations of the husband 
with those of the wife. Community of gens was the 
link between all of the same gens, i.e. descended 
from the same stock. 

A father had absolute authority over his sons, 
extending even to their lives ; but this, which was 
called patria potestas, differed from the dominium 
of the master over his slave. A man of free birth 
might be subject to patria potestas, but never to 
dominium. Indeed, a pure-bred Roman citizen 



i o Christian Epigraphy 

was bound to state the name of his father as 
evidence of his purity of birth : this was termed riere 
patrem, and was expressed by the letter F (initial 
vi filius} preceded by the praenomen of the father 
in the genitive case, e.g. Marci filius, Titi filius, etc. 
Often if the individual was under the potestas of 
his grandfather, the grandfather's name was also 
quoted in the genitive case with the letter N 
(initial of nepos] prefixed. 

Women also recorded the names of their fathers 
to prove their purity of birth; and sometimes in 
lieu of the father's name, or even in addition thereto, 
the mother's name is given. This was specially 
the custom among the Etruscans ; indeed, one of 
the few inscriptions that exhibit this variation was 
found at the Etruscan city of Chiusi. It runs as 
follows : 

C VENTIUS . C . F - CAESIA - NATUS 

Sometimes in cases of two persons of the same 
names the words pater and filius are attached; 
this has nothing to do with the habit of ciere 
patrem to prove purity of birth, but was simply 
done to avoid confusion. Similar distinctions were 
also expressed by the addition of major and minor, 
senior andjttm'or, which were used even in the case 
of brothers. 

In many inscriptions the epithet nahtralis is 
applied to filius ; not however to be understood 
in the sense of illegitimate, but solely as the 
opposite of adoptive. 

The father of the family in referring to his issue 
would use the expression ii qui in potestate mea sunt. 

A woman entered the family of her husband on 
marriage, and came under his potestas ; hence she 



Introduction 1 1 

was bound to give his name (in the genitive case) 
to show his possessory right over her. Thus we 
read in the famous inscription of Caecilia Metella 
on the Via Appia : 

CAECILIAE 

Q CRETICI F 

METELLAE 

CRASSI 

i.e. Caecilia Metella, daughter of Quintus Creticus, 
wife of Crassus, and the use of Crassus in the 
genitive indicates that he was the person to whom 
she " belonged." 

Matrimony creates affinity, and this implies a 
sort of kinship between the relations of husband 
and those of wife \ this is expressed in inscriptions 
by the words pair aster, matrastra.filiaster,filiastra ; 
sometimes even tata and mamma, though these 
more probably mean mitritor and mttrix (tutor and 
nurse). 

In a legal Roman marriage the woman became 
Caja, and is entitled uxor, compar, marita, conies, 
sodalis, adjutrix, convivia, collaboronia, the last 
being rare forms. The wives of those who had 
not contracted marriage /V//r Romano e.g. those of 
strangers, of Latins, and also of Romans who were 
not entitled to the privilege could not use the 
name uxor, but had various styles e.g. hospita, 
focaria, and even concubina ; but the last, of course, 
without any connotation of immorality. 

Among slaves marriage simply did not exist ; 
they were looked upon as on a level with brutes, 
among whom there could only be cohabitation, 
importing no rights either to the man or to the 
woman or to the offspring. 



i2 Christian Epigraphy 

Christians, on the contrary, made no distinction 
between freeman and slave ; they recognised only 
the one term, conjugium, for all forms of marriage, 
without distinction, and repudiated every other 
name. 

Women often had descriptive names in inscrip- 
tions. Thus Univiria is one who had but one 
spouse, Virginia one who never had a second 
husband; and a man also might be called 
Virginius. 

As for marriages between free women and slaves 
the following observations may be made. A free 
woman marrying a slave without his master's 
consent became the slave of the latter ; if with his 
consent, she became a freed-woman ; but in 
senatorial families these marriages were strictly 
forbidden. 

The Romans allowed divorce, which might be 
cum dissidio, i.e. where the parties separated on 
unfriendly terms, or sine dissidio^ where the divorce 
took place amicably. Just as the most solemn 
form of contracting marriage was confarreatio, so a 
solemn divorce was called diffarreatio. 

In some inscriptions children and also freedmen 
are called incrementa^ i.e. incrementa familiae. In 
others a man is described as jus trium quatuor 
liberorum habens^ or more generally jus liberorum 
habens, expressed by the initials I.H.L. To 
understand this it must be explained that the 
father of legitimate and surviving children, to the 
number of three in Rome, four in Italy, and five 
in the provinces, was exempted from several taxes ; 
and some who had no children were granted the 
same rights as a favour. 

Besides natural paternity, there was also paternity 



Introduction 13 

by adoption. Every citizen had the right to adopt 
the son of another citizen (of course, with consent 
of the latter). The adopted son became by law 
the very son of his new father, and took his 
praenomen and gentile name, keeping, however, 
his own name with the addition of -anus. Thus 
P - CORNELIUS - P - F SCIPIO AEMILI ANUS 
was the name of the second conqueror of Africa, 
who was the actual son of Paulus Aemilius and 
was adopted by P. Cornelius Scipio. 

In the second century began the fashion of 
polyonomia, i.e. of taking, by the method of adoption, 
several names, both gentile and cognominal ; these 
were placed between the true gentile and cognomen. 
Thus we have the well-known Vatican inscription 
of a certain Quintus Roscius, in which there are 
a good dozen names. But this fashion did not 
prevail among the Christians; and hence an in- 
scription containing several names may be at once 
set down as pagan. 

As for foreigners who obtained citizenship, they 
took the gentile name of the person through whom 
they had obtained this privilege. 

A Roman citizen would also state the tribe in 
which he was enrolled : this was done by placing 
the tribal name (abbreviated) between the name of 
the father and the cognomen, e.g. P AELIO P 
F-PAL-TIRONI, which reads, "to Publius Aelius 
Tiro, son of Publius Aelius Tiro, and member of 
the Palatine tribe." 

However, as the tribal name is never indicated 
in Christian inscriptions, it is needless to say more 
about it. 



14 Christian Epigraphy 



OF SLAVES AND FREEDMEN 

The slave (servus) among the Romans was not 
a human being, but a chattel belonging to his 
master, and thus he had no rights either civil or 
domestic; he could not contract matrimony, but 
mere contubernium (cohabitation), and had no 
rights over wife or children. He had no family 
name, but a mere personal name, which either 
indicated his nationality, as Syrus, Scotha, etc., or 
some distinguishing trait, as Agilis^ Dexter, etc. 

In Christian inscriptions the humiliating de- 
scription servus is never found, except occasionally 
in the phrase Servus Dei, 8ov\o<s TOV 6eoi). 

Among the Christians, indeed, there was no 
distinction between slaves and master, as Laetantius 
finely says, " With us there is no difference between 
master and slave ; for we consider that we are all 
equal" (Divin. Inst. v. 14, 15). 

Slaves when emancipated became " freedmen " 
and took the gentile name of their patron; after 
which, and before their own cognomen, they placed 
his praenomen : thus, M TULLIUS M L 
TYRO means that the slave Tiro had belonged to 
Marcus Tullius Cicero, and on becoming his freed- 
man had taken his gentile name and praenomen, 
keeping the name he had borne as a slave for his 
own cognomen. Sometimes, but exceptionally, 
the patron's name was placed after the servile 
cognomen, and this was specially the case with the 
freedmen of the Emperors. When in inscriptions 
concerning a freedman two L's are found, the first 
must be read with the name of the patron, while 
the second may indicate generally that the bearer 



Introduction 1 5 

belonged to the class of Freedmen. When a slave 
belonged to two or more masters, on emancipation 
he had just the same number of patrons, and entered 
the praenomens of all of them in inscriptions ; then 
if several had the same name, its initial would 
be repeated once if they were two, twice if they 
were three. 

Sometimes the patron is mentioned, not by his 
praenomen alone, but by all his names, or again by 
his cognomen onlyj according to the taste of the 
writer ; sometimes from mere caprice, sometimes in 
the case of persons of importance/ lest they should 
not be recognised under a mere praenomen which 
they shared with many others. 

Slaves of municipalities or colonies when eman- 
cipated described themselves as freedmen of that 
municipality or colony, e.g. MUNIC -VERONENS- 
LIB; or as freedmen of its inhabitants, e.g. 
VERONENSIUM . LIB. As for their gentile 
name and praenomen, they sometimes formed it 
from the name of the city, or of the magistrate who 
had acted on behalf of the municipality or college ; 
sometimes they took the gentile name Publirius. 

Slaves belonging to institutions or to temples 
when emancipated were described as freedmen of 
the institution; thus we find Stationis aqtiamm Lib., 
Fani Herculis Lib., etc. 

In some inscriptions we find FAM ET 
LIBERTORUM CAI, etc., where familia 
means slaves and manumitted freedmen. In 
others the freedmen of freedmen are mentioned, 
which need cause no surprise, as freedmen could 
purchase slaves, who, on manumission, would 
become their freedmen. A special record of the 
patron of a man's own patron would be made when 



1 6 Christian Epigraphy 

the former was a person of note, and particularly 
when he was Emperor. 

In some inscriptions "future" freedmen are 
mentioned, evidently meaning those who were to 
be manumitted by deed or by will. 

The sons of freedmen were called libertini \ but 
they were full citizens, as free as any, and they 
depended in no way on their fathers' patrons. 

In an election list discovered on a wall in 
Pompeii we read of a princeps libertinorum ; which 
would seem to mean the ruler of the Jewish 
Synagogue in that city. Indeed, the Italic Jews 
who had been imported as slaves from Asia, 
specially by Pompey, and then emancipated were 
called libertini) and formed " the Synagogue of the 
Libertines," mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. 
Manumission, or the ceremony by which slaves 
were set free, is often named in inscriptions, in- 
cluding those of Christian origin, as Christians often 
manumitted their slaves, and considered manu- 
mission an act of piety and mercy. 

The Social Classes and the Occupations of 
Ancient Rome 

Above all classes of citizens stood naturally 
pre-eminent the imperial house, domus Augusta. 

The Emperor, his family, and the members of 
the imperial household formed a class by them- 
selves. The Emperor was the protector of the 
State, the commander-in-chief of the army, the 
senior consul of the republic (for in Rome the 
republic continued to exist, in theory at least, up 
to the conquest by the barbarians). All the 
Emperors bore the title of Augustus, a name of 



Introduction 1 7 

good omen and bearing a religious significance. 
The name of Caesar was also common to them all, 
in honour of the first of the Emperors : and on 
inscriptions of the Empire we constantly find the 
name of the Emperor accompanied by the two 
letters P. F. Pius Felix (not to be confused with 
Publii Filius). 

On the strength of the Emperor's bearing the 
name of Augustus, all his household were called 
domus Augusta, and all those who had any con- 
nexion with the domus Augusta were bound in 
describing themselves to mention the name of the 
Caesar or the Augustus. A slave must describe 
himself as Caesaris nostri, or Augusti nostri seruus ; 
a freedman, as Augusti libertus, Caesaris libertus. 
The domus Augusta or domus Caesaris is mentioned 
also in the Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians, 
where he says, "All the saints salute you, princi- 
pally they who are of Caesar's household." 

Next after the imperial household came the two 
great classes of patricians (nobiles) and plebeians. 
The distinction between the two was founded on 
birth, not on property ; hence there might be some 
patricians poorer than some plebeians. When a 
plebeian was ennobled by imperial grant, he was 
described as "adlectus inter patricios," and in 
respect of his recent promotion he was a "homo 
novus." 

Those in whose "familia" there was no taint of 
slave-blood were called " ingenui " : hence there 
might be nobiles who were not ingenui. 

Furthermore there were the orders or classes 
of civil life: the "ordo senatorius," the "ordo 
equestris"; and the "plebs." 

To the senatorial order belonged all members 

c 



1 8 Christian Epigraphy 

of senatorial families, with the title " viri claris- 
simi." This rank of " clarissimus " was the mark 
of the senatorial order, and was indicated by 
the letters C. V. or V. C. (vir clarissimus) of a 
man ; C. F. (clarissima femina) of a woman ; 
C. P. (c. puer) of a child. 

This title is found even in Christian records. 
Thus in the Acts of the Martyrdom of S. Caecilia 
we read that in reply to the judge's question as to 
her social position, she said, "Ego sum Caerilia, 
ingenua nobilis clarissima " ; a very precise answer, 
and probably taken down verbatim by a short- 
hand writer at the trial. 

It also appears on Christian inscriptions. 

Members of the "ordo equestris" or knights 
had the title "viri egregii" (V. E.) i: "egregius 
puer" is rarely found, "egregia foemina" scarcely 
ever. In later times we find occasionally the title 
"vir perfectissimus " (V. P.). 

Lastly, after the " ordo' 1 equestris " we have the 
plebs, which must not be confused with the 
populus. The plebs was in fact only a fraction 
of the whole, while the name populus, though 
originally confined to the patricians, came after T 
wards to designate the entirety of patricians and 
plebeians. 

Each of these orders, the senatorius, equestris, 
and plebs, had its own duties, which had to be 
performed by all who wished to pass through what 
was known as the " cursus honorum." There was 
a " cursus honorum " for the senatorial order, 
another for the equestrian, and another for the 
plebs. We will say a few words only of the most 
important of these, the senatorial. 

A youth of senatorial rank who wished to 



Introduction 1 9 

launch himself on the "cursus honorum" must 
begin with the "viginti viratus." The "viginti 
viri " were a board of twenty with special duties. 
They furnished the " decemviri litibus judicandis," 
who were ten judges for the decision of civil cases 
of minor importance ; from them also came the 
"triumviri capitales," three judges in criminal and 
capital cases. There were also "quatuorviri 
viarum curandarum," with very important duties, 
inasmuch as the charge of the roads included 
everything accessory to them, the opening of new 
roads, the improvement of old ones, etc. Last 
came "triumviri monetales," who had the special 
supervision of the mint, "moneta"; a name given 
to it by the Romans because it originally stood on 
the Capitol close to the temple of Juno Moneta, 
the goddess of advice (monere). 

The "triumviri monetales" had the right of 
coinage ; and on the coins, commonly called 
consular or family coins (from the name of the 
" familia " stamped on them), were placed the 
names of the triumviri followed by the letters 
A. A. A. F. F.; i.e. "Auro, Argento, Aeri, Flando, 
Feriundo." In order to complete the first step in 
the "cursus honorum" of the senatorial order, the 
viginti viratus, the youthful initiate need not have 
performed all the above-named functions in 
succession : it was enough that he had performed 
one of them for a reasonable time. Next came 
the Quaestorship ; the young man would become 
quaestor, or administrator of the public revenue; 
and the quaestorship gave admission to the Senate. 
Once in the Senate, he had open to him an 
immense field of activity, which might lead to the 
highest offices of the Empire. Thus he could 



20 Christian Epigraphy 

become praetor, or chief of the judiciary, praetor 
.urbanus if dealing with the citizens of Rome, 
peregrinus if with foreigners or provincials. The 
praetor entrusted with a province had a " quaestor " 
to deal with its finances. From the praetorship 
a man rose to the consulship ; the consuls 
could not be less than forty years of age. The 
consulship, like all other magistracies, lasted for a 
year, and began on ist January. . The consulship was 
one of the most important charges in the State, 
and solemn festival was held on the election of 
new consuls. They had the privilege of giving their 
names to their year of office, whence they were 
called eponymi. These were the regularly elected 
consuls; besides these there were those selected 
(subrogati) in cases of resignation or death, who 
were called suffecti. In Christian inscriptions, as 
we shall see, the names of the consuls are often 
given to indicate the date. 

Those who had served as consuls were called 
"viri consulares." Some of the more important 
offices could only be held by viri consulares^ e.g. 
the governorship of the greater provinces. 

Besides the consulship there were many other 
offices, civil, military, and ecclesiastical, to which 
a senator might aspire. Among the ancients these 
three careers were not distinct as in our days, but 
interchangeable, so that a man might be at one 
and the same time a priest and a general. But 
there were some priestly offices reserved exclusively 
for senators, e.g. that of Flamen Dialis ; so also no 
one who was not " vir clarissimus " and of consular 
rank could belong to the College of Augurs. 

To the information given above, without which 
it would be impossible to understand the nomen- 



Introduction 2 1 

clature in use in ancient inscriptions, may be added 
some observations on the sepulchral inscriptions of 
pagans, which will help to explain the more ancient 
Christian inscriptions, inasmuch as these last are 
without exception sepulchral. This is also necessary 
because it is by means of the expressions used 
in pagan sepulchral inscriptions that we learn to 
distinguish the pagan from the Christian. 



SEPULCHRAL INSCRIPTIONS 

The special characteristic of these is the dedi- 
cation to the "manes," sometimes expressed at 
length, DIIS MANIBUS, but oftener by the initials 
D * M only ; in Greek, 0eots /cara^^ovtot?, or 
initials 0-K. After the dedication, which indicates 
the nature of the monument, comes the body of 
the inscription, in which are found the names of 
the person or persons buried there, and their 
relationship ; and hence this class of inscriptions is 
invaluable as illustrating the nomenclature of the 
ancient Romans and their domestic and family 
relationships. There we find praenomens, gentile 
names, cognomens; and illustrations of the practices 
as to adoption and manumission, as to slaves and 
freemen, all in short which went to build up the 
ancient Roman family, and of which we have given a 
short exposition above. Sometimes special symbols 
are to be met with : e.g. V or ; V preceding a name 
indicates that the person is still living, vivus : on 
the other hand that he or she is dead, Oavu>v or 
Oavova-a. Often at the end of sepulchral inscriptions 
may be read the technical language of donation or 
testamentary gift, or a statement of the ownership 



22 Christian Epigraphy 

of the site, or of the inviolability of the monument, 
etc.: ex testamento, ex arbitratu, or sibi suisque, sibi 
posterisque suis, Hbertis libertabusque posterisque 
eorum. Fairly frequently too is found the following 
abbreviation : H. M. D. M. A., signifying hide 
monumento dolus malus abesto^ a formula of de- 
precation, which was intended to protect the sepul- 
chral monument from the spells of witchcraft. 
Another formula often found at the end of a 
sepulchral inscription is one which declares the 
monument to be free from the claims or liabilities 
of heirs, hoc monumentum heredem non sequitur 
(H. M. H. N. S.). 

To every sepulchral monument was attached an 
adjacent plot of land, which, together with the 
monument itself, belonged to the owner of the 
tomb (area quae cedit monumento] ; this plot was 
marked off by boundary stones, and was sometimes 
enclosed by rough masonry or by regular walls ; its 
size was indicated by the words, e.g. in fronte pedes 
XLV, in agro pedes XXV', which means that the 
sepulchral area in question had a frontage of 45 
feet to the public road on which the monument 
was placed, and a depth of 25 feet into the field 
which lay behind it. And the formula is so usual 
as to be nearly always abbreviated into its initial 
letters IN FR. FED... IN AGR. FED... or IN 
F. P... IN A. P... 

The custom of burial or inhumation seems to 
have been very ancient in Latium ; though it 
must be admitted that the custom of cremation or 
incineration was also of considerable age. Cinerary 
urns were in use from the earliest times, and this 
custom of cremation or incineration became very 
common under the Republic and the early Empire ; 



Introduction 23 

so much so that only a few exceptional families 
omitted to conform to it; in Rome the Gens 
Cornelia always maintained the fashion of in- 
humation. This is why the well-known tomb 
of the Scipios, discovered on the Via Appia, 
contained no cinerary urns, nor columbaria, but 
only sarcophagi, in which lay the bodies of members 
of the family, entire. There was the sarcophagus 
of Scipio Barbatus, with an inscription showing 
the date 456 after the foundation of the city ; there 
were also those of Scipio Asiaticus, and of many 
other notabilities of that illustrious family. But 
with the exception of that family, all others followed 
the custom of cremation or incineration, even up 
to the days of the Empire. The tombs, however, 
varied in shape. Some were constructed for one 
person alone ; others were vast mausoleums, others 
were chambers for the sepulchral urns, others 
columbaria with little niches, small compartments 
for an immense number of urns ; the last was the 
commonest and the most ordinary form of tomb, 
being used for folk of little account, generally 
slaves or freedmen, or members of some club for 
mutual help ; while the tombs of the nobility and 
aristocracy, though used in connexion with crema- 
tion, had not generally the look of columbaria (dove- 
cots), but of halls with urns and niches, ornamented 
with marbles and even with statues. A very frequent 
form of burial tombstone was the short column or 
cippus, which generally carried a cinerary urn, or 
stood on the spot in which that urn was placed : 
hence it is that we often see in museums these 
columns in the form of posts with sepulchral inscrip- 
tions on the front, and sometimes also on the sides 
or back ; the posts being solid acted as pedestals and 



24 Christian Epigraphy 

supports for the cinerary urn. This practice was 
in vogue about up to the time of the Antonines, 
that is to the middle, as nearly as possible, of 
the second century of our era, when inhumation 
began gradually to take the place of cremation : 
then of course the larger sepulchral urns, or rather 
marble coffins which we call sarcophagi, came into 
use; and thus a return was made to the early 
method which had been so long abandoned. For 
this reason sarcophagi, though such numbers of them 
are to be seen in museums, are never very ancient. 
With the exception of the sarcophagi of the Scipios 
and those of the prehistoric cemeteries, we have not 
a single sarcophagus of the age of the Roman 
Republic, or even of the first period of the Empire ; 
they all belong to the second, third, or fourth 
century. 

It was in the second century, about the time of 
the Antonines, that this method of burial began to 
spread ; and it soon became so general that crema- 
tion was gradually abandoned. This is why the 
carving which we find on these marble coffins 
never exhibits the refinement and elegance which 
would have characterised them in the last years 
of the Republic, or in the first of the Empire. 
Even on the older sarcophagi the reliefs and the 
sculptures, beautiful as they are, already show the 
germ of that decadence in art which is distinctly 
visible in the second century. And with these 
chronological inferences the inscriptions themselves 
are in complete harmony, being all evidently of the 
second, third, or fourth century. 

Having drawn attention to these general points 
in connexion with the various forms of tomb among 
the ancient Romans, we may make some remarks 



Introduction 25 

on the more notable sepulchral inscriptions. 
These are those which we call "sepulchral testa- 
ments," lengthy statements of the intentions of the 
owner of the tomb, of his wishes with respect to it, 
his intentions as to its decoration, its protection 
and defence against profanation, and as to the 
rites and ceremonies to be performed in the monu- 
ment on given days and especially on anniversaries. 
The monuments of most importance from this 
point of view are the Donation of Flavins Syntropus, 
which was discovered on the Via Latina, and a 
fragment of which is preserved in the Vatican 
Museum ; the Testament of Dasumius, found in 
two pieces on the Via Appia and now standing 
near the German Institute ; and the famous Testa- 
ment of Basle^ of which the original is lost, but an 
ancient copy of it was found in a codex of the Basle 
Library in 1863. In these sepulchral testaments 
the dimensions of the tomb are given, its orna- 
mentation is described, and directions are given as 
to the ceremonies, the funeral sacrifices, and the 
banquets which are to be celebrated there on given 
days, and especially on anniversaries; thus these 
testaments are of great value for the study of the 
usages and customs of the ancient Romans, and 
for the description they give us of these monuments 
of which we now see only the remains in the 
majestic ruins which line the great Roman roads 
and especially the Via Appia. So by the aid of 
these inscriptions we can reconstruct those shape- 
less masses which line the great suburban roads; 
from the indications which still remain to us in 
these ruins, our fancy may rebuild them, with their 
boundary walls, their halls, their marble ornaments, 
and their statues. Thus in the fine sepulchral 



26 Christian Epigraphy 

inscription of Claudia Semnis now in the Vatican 
Museum, after the names of the lady and her 
husband we read as follows: HUIC - MONU- 
MENTO CEDET - HORTUS IN QUO 
TRICLI^E VINIOLA PUTEUM yEDICUL^E 
IN QUIBUS SIMULACRUM - CLAUDIA 
SEMNES IN - FORMAM OMNIUM DE- 
ORUM - ITA - UTI CUM MACERIA - A 
ME . CIRCUM - STRUCTA - EST H M . H 
N S. From these words it may be gathered that 
the monument was surrounded by a cultivated en- 
closure, that part of it was a sort of garden, where 
there were trellised walks, a small vineyard, a well, 
and some shrines, all intended for the service of the 
tomb, and especially for the funeral banquets which 
were to be held close by. The decoration of 
these shrines was very peculiar. It appears from 
the inscription that they contained statues of the 
owner of the tomb in various characters, and re- 
presenting various divinities. Finally, the whole 
block monuments, sepulchral building, vineyard, 
garden, and all was enclosed in a boundary wall. 
Another inscription, also Roman, gives some 
further information : ITER PRIVATUM - A 
VIA PUBLICA PER HORTUM PER- 
TINENS AD . MONUMENTUM SIVE - SE- 
PULCRUM . QUOD . AGATHOPUS AUG - 
LIB - INVITATOR - VIVUS - ET JUNIA 
EPICTETUS FECERUNT - AB . IIS OMNI- 
BUS DOLUS MALUS - ABESTO ET JUS - 
CIVILE. This inscription tells us that there was 
a private road branching out from the high road, 
which ran in front of the tomb of Agathopus, 
an imperial freedman who held the office of 
invitator, a functionary who issued the invitations 



Introduction 2 7 

for the imperial dinners. We are told that the 
monument is surrounded by a garden ; then comes 
the formula, ab Us omnibus dolus malus abesto, that 
is, " be far from it all deceit and evil " to which 
is added, "and litigation" "jus civile." Another 
inscription is of special importance as showing that 
all the testator's directions respecting the monu- 
ment, his instructions as to its elevation, and his 
testamentary dispositions concerning the actual 
tomb, had been reduced to writing in a sort of 
official statement, and recorded in a public docu- 
ment with attested exhibits : HUIUS MONU- 
MENTI - EXCEPTIO CHIROGRAPHO - 
CONTINETUR: i.e. any limitations which may 
have been declared of this testamentary disposition 
were contained in a chirograph, or deed in writing ; 
such deeds were usually deposited with the Vestal 
Virgins, whose duty it was, inter alia, to take 
custody of wills, and other confidential papers, such 
as are now kept by notaries public. We sometimes 
find on funerary inscriptions threats of penalties 
against those who profane the tomb. Tombs were 
by Roman law sacred and inviolable; it was 
enough that a corpse had been laid in a place to 
make it "consecrated," locus religiosus. These 
words have not the same meaning as locus sacer. 
A temple was a locus sacer ; a tomb also might be 
so called, in respect of the religious and sacred 
rites performed there; but per se the resting-place 
of a corpse, were it temporary or even momentary, 
was always locus religiosus^ and as such came under 
the jurisdiction of the collegium pontificum, of 
which the pontifex maximus was president. For 
that reason no alteration could be made in the 
tomb, nor could it be moved to another spot with- 



28 Christian Epigraphy 

out the consent of the college of pontiffs. Hence 
it is that on some inscriptions we find it stated that 
the tombs had been constructed permissu pontificum, 
From consecrated and holy places the doers of evil 
and the defilers of holy things were banished by 
special adjurations and special formulae ; we read 
locus sacer sacrilege cave malum, even on an inscrip- 
tion placed close to a Christian cemetery. Thus 
threats were addressed to all who might profane the 
monument ; not to speak of heavy fines payable 
to the treasury of the pontifical college (arcae col- 
legii pontificum\ or to that of some particular club, 
or even to that of the city, or of the local muni- 
cipality (if in a city other than Rome). For 
example, in an inscription at Pola : AVIDIA 
MAXIMA DOMUM AETERNAM VIVA - 
SIBI - POSUIT SI - QUIS ALIUM^. CORPUS 
SUPERPOSUERIT- DET- FISCO CCC MILI A. 
Here it was forbidden to place one body on the top 
of another in this tomb ; the penalty for so doing 
being 300,000 sesterces payable to the privy purse. 
In another inscription we read : LOCUM (sic) 
HUIC - SI QUIS - MANUS INTULERIT 
VIRGINIBUS VESTALIBUS SOLVET . 
POENA, etc. "Any one doing any damage, or 
laying a hand (manum sacrilegam\ on this monu- 
ment, shall pay so much to the Vestal Virgins," these 
being, as we have already seen, the official custodians 
of these wills and sepulchral instruments. HOC 
SEPULCRUM SI QUIS VENDIDERIT 
VEL ABALIENAVERIT DARE DEBET 
REIPUBLICAE - PUTEOLANORUM 
POENAE NOMINE XX - MIL . N.: "Any 
one selling or alienating in any way this tomb shall 
pay the municipality of Pozzuoli 20,000 sesterces "j 



Introduction 29 

inasmuch as the tomb could not be sold, it could not 
be alienated at all, and remained for all time the 
property of the family, not being even attached to 
the family estate. Hoc monumentum haereditatem 
non sequitur-. "This monument does not go with 
the inheritance." Their object was to establish 
the principle that the monument was to remain 
inviolable and sacred, not to be sold, or in any 
other way alienated. 

Besides the private sepulchral inscriptions, 
there is a special class, that relating to clubs or 
guilds, and more particularly to the so-called 
burial guilds, collegia funeratiria, associations of 
people combining for the simple object of having a 
tomb in common and of securing that all should have 
proper funeral rites. Some of these associations only 
aimed at owning a tomb ; for the most part they 
were named either after some divinity, or after their 
founder and organiser, or after the place in which 
they met. Thus we have a note of a guild called 
that of Sergia Paulina ; Collegium quod est in domo 
Sergiae Paulinae, as may be read in an inscription 
in the Galleria lapidaria of the Vatican, meaning 
the guild that met in that lady's house. In another 
we find the description, collegium cultorum clypeorum 
Sesti Abulli ; the members of which were those who 
had the charge of the shields, military ornaments, 
and targets of this gentleman the name was taken 
without any special reason as a means whereby to 
distinguish them from any other similar association. 
Now these guilds had their own burial-places, and 
very often we find in columbaria tombs belonging 
to just such associations as these. A remarkable 
monument of a guild of this sort is that of the guild 
of Aesculapius and Hygeia discovered at Civita 



30 -Christian Epigraphy 

Lavinia, and now in the National Museum of the 
Terme in Rome. 

These burial guilds were perfectly free not only to 
own a burial-place, but to meet in the tomb itself on 
certain days, to hold funeral feasts, and celebrate 
religious rites in special memory of their founders 
and benefactors. They also possessed a calendar 
of their own, a guild calendar. The origin, 
organisation, and history of these burial guilds is 
of material import to the study of the rise of 
Christianity. In fact, in the opinion of De Rossi, 
there was a time in the early centuries in which 
the Christian Church, in some places at least, 
copied the system of the guilds. This is inferred 
from certain passages in Tertullian, from which 
we may gather that in Africa, for instance, the 
Christians used to make a monthly payment, exactly 
like the members of the guilds; that the tombs 
were called areae ; and that, like the guilds, the 
Church had a recognised title of Ecdesia fratrum, as 
may be read in a well-known inscription. All this 
would explain, according to De Rossi, how it was 
that the Christians, even in the days of the severest 
persecutions, were able to own cemeteries, though 
not of course on the same magnificent scale then 
as in later times, and to hold them, at first perhaps 
in the private right of the families that nominally 
owned them, but afterwards under the actual aegis 
of the laws which protected the burial guilds. The 
Christians were able to own not only underground 
vaults and tombs, but also meeting-houses near 
these same tombs, wherein to assemble and 
celebrate their love -feasts and other religious 
ceremonies ; indeed, in the neighbourhood of the 
very ancient cemetery of Domitilla one of these 



Introduction 3 1 

places has been discovered, in which they used to 
celebrate these feasts, not the funeral banquets of the 
pagans, but the love-feasts of the Christians held 
in memory of the dead, to keep alive their feelings 
of mutual affection. And so these feasts, which 
the pagans celebrated as the anniversaries of the 
benefactors who had bequeathed money for the 
benefit of the guild, were for the Christians most 
undoubtedly the anniversaries of martyrs ; and the 
guild calendar became in Christian hands the 
embryo and nucleus of a Christian martyrology. 

The burial guilds were not the only bodies in 
Rome which owned sepulchral monuments, often of 
remarkable grandeur ; there were other associations 
of entirely different character, i.e. combinations 
of persons affected by no religious tie or by 
the bond of a special ritual which united the 
members of the guilds, and existing solely for the 
purpose of getting a site in a sepulchre of some 
sort. They were, so to speak, commercial associ- 
ations, the members of which subscribed for shares, 
and the payment on the shares secured a site in 
the common sepulchre. And for the most part 
the tombs of these curious old burial-clubs were 
in the shape of columbaria, as, for instance, those 
which may be seen on the first section of the Via 
Appia, near the Porta San Sebastiano. These 
consist of three magnificent columbaria, one of 
which certainly belonged to one of these burial-clubs, 
inasmuch as the members whose names are recorded 
are of different families ; it is not a family colum- 
barium, nor that of any association either sacred 
or religious or funerary ; the names belong to all 
professions and pursuits merchants, freedmen, 
servants, slaves, artisans, in short, every class of 



32 Christian Epigraphy 

society is represented. The clubs had a regular 
organisation, a master (magister), a secretary (ab 
epistolis), and a treasurer (arcarius) ; the members 
made their payments every month, and drew lots 
eventually for the position of the niche in the colum- 
barium which they were to occupy. Hence in the 
inscriptions of columbaria of this sort we find notices 
of these positions. Sors prima^ sors secunda^ sors 
tertia . . . or do primus \ secundus. The places were 
all numbered, and the lots bore corresponding 
numbers ; the man who drew a certain number 
eventually occupied the place which it indicated. 
There are several inscriptions in which these 
details are mentioned ; the most important is that 
of a certain Licinius Alexa, the curator or managing 
director of this association which had erected a 
common burial-place: L LICINIUS L F 
L - L ALEXA - CURATOR SOCIORU 
SECUNDUS IS - MONUMENTUM . EX - 
PECUNIA . COLLATA- SOCIORUM AEDI- 
FICAVIT ARBITRATU SUO - IDEMQUE 
TECTORIA PERFECIT ET IS TRI- 
CLINIUM SOCIORUM EX SUA . 
PECUNIA -OPERE-TECTORIO - PERPOLIT 
ET - AMICIS - DONUM DEBIT - ET EX 
AMICORUM - AERA COLLATO IMAGO 
El - FACTA - EST . ET-SINE-SORTE-PRIMO- 
AB SOCIS - QUAS VELLET OLLAE 
SEX DATAE - SUNT EIQUE OB - 
OFFICIUM ET MAIESTATEM - EIUS IN 
PERPETUUM IMMUNITAS . DATA . EST. 
The inscription states that this Lucius Licinius 
Alexa, a freedman by condition, was the managing 
director of this society, and that by means of the 
funds collected either by subscriptions or as calls 



Introduction 33 

on the shares he had erected the sepulchral 
monument, and beautified it with a coat of cement, 
and perhaps also of colour ; he had added a dining- 
table for the convenience of the funeral banquets 
which always formed an essential part of all ancient 
funeral rites, and, finally, he had made a volun- 
tary gift of the whole to his friends. He had 
added the decorations at his own expense, and 
on that account, as a mark of gratitude for his 
generosity, the society had dedicated a statue in 
his honour (meaning probably that a marble bust 
of him had been placed in one of the niches of 
the columbarium, as we see in some existing 
examples); and not only had they erected a statue or 
bust to him, in grateful recognition of what he had 
done, but they had further granted him the privilege 
of selecting his own position for his tomb, without 
drawing lots as ordinary members did. In conse- 
quence of this he might dispose of six places for him- 
self and his dependants; furthermore, he was for 
ever freed from all liability, that is, from the payment 
of ordinary calls on members, out of regard for the 
expenses which he had incurred on the monument. 

From what has been here said the importance 
of this class of sepulchral inscriptions is obvious, 
both on the score of their number and of their 
offering the widest field for the special study of the 
nomenclature in use among the ancients and of 
their domestic relations. And the study of these 
inscriptions is also of the greatest value for that of 
primitive Christian epigraphy. 

Indeed, as has been already observed (p. 21), the 
oldest Christian inscriptions are all of a sepulchral 
character, and they contain certain forms of expres- 
sion which are common to pagan inscriptions also. 



34 Christian Epigraphy 

On the other hand, the Christian inscriptions with 
a historical bearing, of which we shall next treat, are 
of a relatively late date, and have little to do with 
pagan inscriptions of a historical or panegyrical 
character; on these latter, therefore, we need not 
offer any special remarks. 



ADDENDA TO THE INTRODUCTION l 

P. 2. Under the Empire, plebeians, who in earlier 
times used praenomen and nomen only, adopted a 
distinguishing cognomen. 

P. 7. Praenomens were no longer used to dis- 
tinguish individuals after the second century of the 
Empire. 

P. 8. At the beginning of the Empire every one 
bore praenomen, gentile name, and cognomen ; later 
the practice began of using gentile name and cog- 
nomen only. With respect to the name described 
as " distinctive," Diehl has argued in a recent work 
that it is of the nature of a " collegial " name (i.e. 
denoting membership of a fraternity, etc.). 

P. 9. The gentile name Flavins was used in late 
times by barbarians who had obtained citizenship 
from the Flavian Emperors of the fourth and fifth 
centuries. 

P. 13. The indication of the tribe is not found 
in Christian inscriptions, because it soon fell out 
of use. 

1 On revising the whole work some months after the preced- 
ing Introduction had been in print, I noticed that some of my 
remarks on Roman inscriptions were wanting in fullness and 
clearness, and might hence create some confusion in the minds 
of their readers. I have therefore thought it well for the sake 
of greater lucidity to append to the Introduction these few 
observations, with references to the pages on which they arise. 

35 



36 Christian Epigraphy 

P. 14. Imperial freedmen bore the title AUG 
LIB (Augusti libertus) and adopted the praenomen 
and gentile name of the Emperor, hence the 
general date of the inscriptions of these freedmen 
can be ascertained from their contents. 

P. 17. The Emperor was the head of the State. 
The letters P F (Pius Felix) on inscriptions refer- 
ring to the Emperor came into use in the time of 
Commodus. The republican order continued to 
exist in theory till the reign of Diocletian, when 
a complete change was made. 

P. 17. Next after the imperial household came 
the two great orders of patricians and the plebeians. 
In imperial days there were three classes in 
Society : ordo senatorius^ ordo equestris^ and plebs. 
The order of the plebs, in its widest sense as the 
third order of Society, included all citizens who did 
not belong to the senatorial or equestrian orders. 

P. 1 8. As to cursus honorum, it should be 
observed that the titles of the plebs did not confer 
rank, but imposed duties. 

P. 19. Of the various duties of the viginti viratus, 
it was not usual to perform more than one. From 
the praetorship a man rose to the consulship after 
fulfilling certain special duties. Under the Empire 
the consulship was held for a few months only, 
after which sujfecti were at once nominated. 

P. 21. Some consider that the 6 prefixed to 
names in some sepulchral inscriptions is equivalent 
to the word obitus. 

P. 23. The Gens Cornelia kept up the practice 
of inhumation up to the time of Sulla. 



CHRISTIAN EPIGRAPHY 



PART I 
GENERAL STATEMENT 



CHAPTER I 

PRELIMINARY NOTES ON THE ORIGINAL SOURCES 
OF THE STUDY OF ANCIENT CHRISTIAN EPI- 
GRAPHY AND ON THE BIBLIOGRAPHY CON- 
CERNING IT. 

AVAST number of ancient Christian inscriptions have 
unfortunately been lost through the destruction of 
monuments, and the dispersion of the inscribed 
marbles which were once so abundant in cemeteries 
and basilicas ; the text, however, of many of these 
lost inscriptions, so indispensable for the purpose 
of our studies, has been preserved to us in ancient 
manuscripts or in archaeological works; before 
attempting, then, the study of the various classes of 
Christian inscriptions, it is incumbent on us to 
indicate with clearness the sources from which we 
derive our knowledge of the text of ancient in- 

37 



38 Christian Epigraphy 

scriptions ; some of these sources are also common 
to a certain extent to the study of classical epi- 
graphy, as they consist of records in which both 
Christian and pagan inscriptions are preserved. 

The first trace of a scientific study of Christian 
as of pagan epigraphy is to be found in the 
collections of the principal inscriptions of his- 
torical or literary importance which were made 
by sundry anonymous writers in the early middle 
ages with a view to the formation of an anthology, 
and as models for reproduction or imitation. 

Archaeological collections of this sort began to 
be formed, according to De Rossi, in the fifth 
century A.D. ; and to this period belongs the so- 
called parchment of Scaliger, which contains the 
first specimen of an anthology of inscriptions. 

Next comes the collection of Reichenau, hitherto 
known as the Einsiedeln, which was made towards 
the close of the eighth century. It was edited by 
Mabillon in the Analecta vetera, A.D. 1685, an ^ 
again more accurately by Haenel. 1 

De tRossi re-edited this invaluable work, and 
added an important appendix, which had escaped 
the notice of previous editors, and which gave a 
description of the ceremonies practised by the 
Roman pontiff during Holy Week, about the date 
of Charlemagne. 

Then comes the codex known as the Palatine, in 
the Vatican Library (No. 833), compiled about the 

1 Archiv fiir Philolog. v. pp. 116-38 : cf. also Urlich's 
Codex iirbis Romae topographicus, p. 59 et seq. Of the itinerary 
which accompanies this sylloge a critical edition was published, 
with learned notes, by Lanciani in the Transactions of the Academy 
del Lincei (vol. ix. ) ; and again very recently it was the subject 
of a very learned paper by Hulsen in the Transactions of the 
Pontifical Academy of Rome, vol. ix. 



Part I Chapter I 39 

ninth century, of which the greater part has been 
edited; De Rossi restored to it its proper name 
of Corpus laureshamense veterum syllogarum, and 
demonstrated that it was a combination of various 
" syllogae," which he was able to resolve into its 
elements by rare analytical acumen. 

Another very valuable collection is the Sylloge 
Centulensis, containing Christian hymns from 
Rome, Spoleto, and Ravenna anterior to the 
eighth century, which is preserved to us in a codex 
of the Monastery of Corbie, now in the Imperial 
Library of St. Petersburg. This sylloge, which 
was discovered in the Petersburg codex by De 
Rossi, has a special interest in connexion with 
the Christian epigraphy of Rome, inasmuch as it 
contains hymns of great historical importance, as 
we shall see in its proper place. 

Other epigraphic collections are : the sylloge of 
St. Gall and those of Verdun, Wiirzburg, Kloster- 
neuburg, and Gottweih ; the sources and the history 
of all these, together with a commentary, may be 
found in the work of De Rossi. 1 

Besides general syllogae, there are special collec- 
tions confined to a single town, or to some well- 
known Christian building. Thus the city of Tours, 
celebrated for the shrine of S. Martin, has its own 
sylloge, copied as an appendix to the collection of 
Klosterneuburg, and first published by De Rossi ; 
the inscriptions of Milan, Pavia, Piacenza, Vercelli, 
and Ivrea have been incorporated into the codex 
Laureshamensis ; the city of Nola, which became 
famous in the Christian world for the cult of Paulinus, 
gives us the whole series of its inscriptions in the 

1 Inscriptiones christianae urbis Romae septimo saeculo 
antiquiores, vol. i. part ii. (Rome, 1888). 



40 Christian Epigraphy 

codex of Cluny. The Vatican Basilica, which is 
so rich in monuments and records of the nature of 
inscriptions, was above all others bound to encour- 
age their transcription by collectors; and we do 
in fact possess several Vatican syllogae, all of which 
contain inscriptions of Popes and great Roman 
personalities, of the greatest value for the history 
of the Middle Ages. The latest of these by Pietro 
Mallio (twelfth century) includes a topographical 
description of the older basilica, with its numerous 
oratories, altars, tombs, statues, and pictures, which 
is of the highest interest. 

From all this it may be gathered that the study 
of ancient inscriptions which was begun in the 
fifth century underwent a marked revival in the 
Carlovingian age, when, in the midst of the 
general decadence, culture experienced a short 
revival through the influence of the learned 
Alcuin and his scholars. At that time many 
travellers and pilgrims visiting Rome and the other 
sanctuaries of Christendom were diligent not only 
in collecting information about the most striking 
monuments, but also in copying the actual texts of 
the most remarkable inscriptions, whether pagan 
or Christian ; and with these they enriched those 
diaries of their journeys which we now find in the 
old parchments of European libraries. More- 
over, such collections became the object of much 
study and imitation from a literary point of 
view; insomuch that we find the actual wording 
of some inscriptions reproduced in Christian 
basilicas of the remotest countries of the East 
and West. 

But this first impulse of the early Middle Ages, 
and especially of the Carlovingian period, towards 



Part I Chapter 1 41 

the study of inscriptions died out after the ninth 
century ; the general ignorance was such that 
in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Latin 
inscriptions had become indecipherable puzzles 
a fact which may be partly attributed to the growing 
use in those days of the so-called Gothic character. 
The following illustrations will suffice: in 1300 a 
pilgrim passing through Perugia succeeded in per- 
suading everybody that an ordinary Latin sepulchral 
inscription of the third century was in the Etruscan 
tongue ; again, Odofred, a doctor of Bologna, 
confused the lex regia of the time of Vespasian 
with that of the Twelve Tables ! This incredible 
ignorance of ancient records is reflected in the 
Liber mirabilium urbis Romae, a ridiculous farrago 
of the wildest legends concerning the monuments 
of the eternal city, the names of which are arbitrarily 
changed, even when they were plainly to be read 
on their dedicatory inscriptions. 

The first in the midst of this welter of barbarism 
to devote himself to the study of classical antiquity 
in genera], and of inscriptions in particular, was 
the famous tribune Cola Rienzi, who, in the 
words of his contemporary biographer, "all day 
meditated amid the carved marbles which surround 
one in Rome ; and there was none like unto him 
for reading ancient epitaphs." Inflamed by the 
memories of the ancient grandeur of Rome, he 
looked to these majestic inscriptions of consuls and 
of emperors for arguments whereby to excite the 
people to mighty deeds, in the hope that Rome 
might return to its pristine power. The last of 
the Roman tribunes was the real founder of 
epigraphic science in Italy, and, as De Rossi 
shows, it is to him that we owe the sylloge of 



42 Christian Epigraphy 

inscriptions which in some codexes bears the 
name of Nicola Signorili. Next after this came 
the collection of Giacomo Dondi, known as 
Giacomo dell' Orologio (A.D. 1375); and after an 
interval of fifty years comes a third compilation 
by Poggio Bracciolini, the famous scholar of the 
time of Martin V. As the dawn of the revival 
of letters grew brighter, the love of the past 
and the cultivation of the study of epigraphy 
increased. In the pontificate of the great Pope 
Nicholas V., the illustrious patron of liberal studies, 
Maffeo Vegio, canon of the Vatican Basilica, was 
indefatigable in copying numerous ancient inscrip- 
tions, both Christian and pagan ; and besides 
these he left among his papers very valuable notes 
on the great basilica to which he belonged. 

Ciriaco d' Ancona, Marcanova, Pontano, Pom- 
ponio Leto, Fra Giocondo of Verona continued the 
noble rivalry for the preservation of the precious 
texts of ancient inscriptions from oblivion ; and their 
handwriting is lovingly looked for by modern 
epigraphists, who continue to draw upon them 
more and more copiously for archaeological in- 
formation. 

But all these writers devoted themselves almost 
exclusively to the collection and transcription of 
pagan inscriptions ; it is only very occasionally that 
they contain any allusions to those of Christianity. 

The first to compile a real sylloge of the 
Christian inscriptions of Rome was Pietro Sabino 
at the close of the fifteenth century ; he dedicated 
it to King Charles VIII. in that ill-omened year 
1494, in which that Prince swooped down upon 
Italy and inaugurated the miserable period of our 
subjection to the foreigner. 



Part I Chapter I 43 

The only complete copy of the sylloge of 
Pietro Sabino is preserved in a codex of St. Mark's 
Library in Venice (Cod. Lat. x. 195); a codex in 
the Vatican Library containing his collection of the 
Christian inscriptions of Rome only, with a noble 
dedication to the Saviour (Cod. Ottob., Vat. 2015). 

This sylloge, which is of great importance in 
the history of Christian epigraphy, was published 
for the first time in its entirety by De Rossi in his 
work on Christian inscriptions. 

After the syllogae come the printed works on 
epigraphy, beginning with Mazzocchi in the six- 
teenth century and continued by others. But these 
earlier works contain pagan inscriptions only, as 
Christian antiquities were still neglected by the 
archaeologists of the Renaissance. 

However, about the close of that century and 
the beginning of the seventeenth the study of 
Christian archaeology really shook off its long 
slumbers, first by the efforts of Panvinio, and 
next by those of Ugonio and Bosio. 

In that period we begin to find Christian 
inscriptions printed by the side of pagan in 
works on epigraphy ; and even important groups 
of exclusively Christian inscriptions may now be 
met with in works treating of the Catacombs and 
other sacred monuments. 

The following is a list of them in chronological 
order : 

GRUTER : Inscriptiones antiquae totius orbis 
romani in corpus absolutissimitm redactae (1603). 
Pagan and Christian inscriptions. 

BOSIO : Roma sotterranea. Cemetery inscriptions. 

ARINGHIUS : Roma subterranea. Cemetery inscrip- 
tions. 



44 Christian Epigraphy 

SARAZANI : 5. Damasi papae opera, etc. (1638). 

RiviNUS : S. Damasi carmina sacra (1652). 

CIAMPINI : Vetera monimenta (1690). 

FABRETTI : Inscriptionum antiquarum, etc. (1699). 
Pagan and Christian inscriptions. 

BUONARROTI : Osseruazioni sopra alcuni fram- 
menti di vetri antichi (1716). Principally Christian 
inscriptions. 

BOLDETTI : Osservazioni sopra i sacri cimiteri 
(1720). Christian inscriptions from catacombs. 

LUPI : Epitaphium Severae martyris (1734). 
Christian inscriptions. 

MURATORI : Noiius thesaurus veterum inscrip- 
tionum (1739-42). Pagan and Christian inscriptions. 

MARANGONI : Acta S. Victorini illustrata, etc. 
(1740). Christian inscriptions. 

MERENDA : S. Damasi papae opuscula, etc. (1754). 
Christian inscriptions. 

GORI : Thesaiirus veterum dipticorum (1759). 
Pagan and Christian inscriptions. 

GAETANO MARINI (tiSis). Thirty-one volumes 
MSS. in the Vatican Library. Christian inscriptions. 

A. MAI : Scriptorum veterum nova collectio, vol. v. 
(1831). Christian inscriptions. 

MARCHI : / monumeiiti primiti'ui delV arte cristiana, 
etc. (1845). Christian inscriptions principally from 
catacombs. 

LE BLANT : Inscriptions chretiennes de la Gaule 
(1856). 

BOECK : C. I. Graecarum, vol. iv. (1859). Greek 
Christian inscriptions, ed. Kirchhoff. 

In 1847 Mommsen laid down the scheme for 
his colossal work, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum^ 
in which Christian inscriptions were also included, 
with the exception of those of Rome, which were 
entrusted to G. B. De Rossi. Consequently 
the volumes already published contain Christian 
as well as pagan inscriptions of the various dis- 



Part I Chapter I 45 

tricts dealt with. Those, however, of Spain and 
of Britain have been edited separately by Hiibner, 
as will appear below. 

DE Rossi : Inscriptiones christianae urbis Romae 
septimo saeculo antiquiores, vol. i. (1861). 

DE Rossi : Roma sotterranea cristiana, vol. i. 
(1864) ; vol. ii. (1867) ; vol. iii. (1877). 

LE BLANT : Manuel d ^pigraphie chrttienne tfapres 
les marbres de la Gaule. Paris, 1869. 

HUBNER : Inscriptiones Hispaniae christianae 
(1871). 

HUBNER : Inscriptiones Britanniae christianae 
(1876). 

L. BRUZZA : Le Inscriztom anttche di Vercelli 
(1876). Pagan and Christian inscriptions. 

DE Rossi : // Museo epigrajico lateranense (1877). 

BAYET : De titulis Atticae christianis antiquissimis 
coinmentatio historica et epigrafica (1878). 

DE Rossi : Inscriptiones christianae, vol. ii. 
part i. (1888). 

F. S. KRAUS : Die christliche Inschriften der Rhein- 
lande (1890-94). 

BUECHELER : Anthologia epigraphica (Anthol. 
Latinae pars post, fasc. i. Lipsiae, 1895). 
I H M : Damasi epigrammata (1895). 
FORCELLA-SELETTI : Iscrizioni cristiane di Milano 

(1897). 

HUBNER : Inscriptiones Hispaniae christianae, 
supplementum ( 1 900). 

G. B. DE Rossi : Bullettino di archeologia cri- 
stiana. Christian inscriptions from various quarters, 
and particularly Rome. (1863-1894.) 

Nuovo Bullettino di archeologia cristiana (Editor, 
O. Marucchi. Contributors : Bonavenia, Franchi de' 
Cavalieri, Gatti, Kanzler, Wilpert), 1895 and onwards. 
Also contains inscriptions from various quarters, and 
particularly Rome. 

Rbmische Quartalschrift (A. de Waal), 1887 and 
onwards. 



46 Christian Epigraphy 

Bullettino di archeologia e Storm dalmata. 
Christian inscriptions principally from Dalmatia. 

N.B. The general collection of Greek-Christian 
inscriptions is in hand. 

Among these various works that of De Rossi is 
the one really fundamental, and we will therefore 
give a brief summary of it. 

Summary of the work of De Rossi on the Christian 
Inscriptions in Rome. In 1861 De Rossi published 
the first volume of his great work, in which, after 
a luminous and masterly review of the whole story 
of epigraphic science in the Middle Ages, in the 
Renaissance, and in modern days, he went on 
to give illustrative comments, confining himself, 
however, to the Christian inscriptions in Rome of 
which the date is fixed by names of consuls or 
otherwise. He prefaced it with a copious treatise 
on the methods of indicating the dates, on the rules 
and formulae for " consular " dating by the consul- 
ship, on the consular fasti, and on sundry solar 
and lunar cycles in use among the ancients and 
occasionally mentioned in the inscriptions; next 
he took in chronological order all the many Christian 
inscriptions in Rome, mostly sepulchral, which 
gave their own dates with certainty. These are very 
rare in the first three centuries of the Church, during 
the period known as that of the persecutions, but 
become very common in the fourth century of 
our era ; they continue to be numerous in the fifth 
century, and begin to diminish in numbers again in 
the sixth. Finally, in the second half of the sixth 
century, when the consular dignity ceased to be 
bestowed on private individuals, all notifications 
of consuls disappear, and the series of inscriptions 



Part I Chapter I 47 

treated by the author closes with the last inscrip- 
tions of that period. 

In this splendid volume may be found the 
most accurate information as to the formulae and 
the symbols in use among ancient Christians, not 
only in each century, but in the various parts of each 
century. A wonderful light is thrown upon the 
civil and religious history of Rome and of the 
Roman world by these inscriptions, where in the 
very names of the emperors and consuls may be 
read the story of the varying fortunes of the two 
Empires, the usurpations of tyrants, the invasions 
of barbarians, and the gradual passage from classical 
civilisation into the rudeness of the middle age. 

This first volume may be considered as 
practically the foundation of the whole work, 
inasmuch as it contains the chronological canons 
by which the age of undated inscriptions may be 
fixed by comparison with others whose date is 
known ; this chronological critique of inscriptions 
is indispensable to the scholar, and without it 
any further investigation of our subject would be 
of little use. 

In the sequel of the work De Rossi proposed to 
publish inscriptions bearing on doctrine and on 
history, the epitaphs of martyrs, popes, and 
celebrated men, together with memorial notices of 
the erection of great basilicas and baptisteries, as 
well as of less important buildings. His plan was 
obviously on a vast scale, bearing on the history of 
the Church, of the Empire, of public bodies and 
of families, and also on the topography of the great 
metropolis. 

But the precious material for such a work is, 
alas ! to a great extent lost, for the slabs which 



48 Christian Epigraphy 

bore a large number of the texts in question are 
no longer in existence, while of others we have 
only copies preserved to us on the old codexes. 
For this reason De Rossi determined to write a 
prefatory treatise on these ancient MSS. collections 
of which we spoke at the beginning of the present 
chapter; and the publication of these syllogae is 
the main purpose of his second volume (part i.), 
issued in 1888. 

The further continuation of the work has now 
been entrusted to the learned epigraphist Comm. 
Giuseppe Gatti, who proposes to publish the 
valuable lists of inscriptions already drawn up by 
the great archaeologist, together with numerous 
and important additions of his own, and such 
corrections as further discoveries require. 

PRINCIPAL COLLECTIONS OF CHRISTIAN 
INSCRIPTIONS EXISTING IN ROME 

To the student who proposes to investigate the 
originals of the more numerous and important 
Christian inscriptions of Rome, it will be useful to 
know where the principal groups are to be found. 
They are as follows : 

The Lateran Museum of Christian Inscriptions. 

The Galleria Lapidaria of the Vatican Museum 
(on the walls opposite the pagan inscriptions). 

The Museum of Inscriptions in the Monastery 
of S. Paolo fuori le Mura. 

The " Christian " room in the Museo Kircheriano. 

The new "Christian" room in the Museum of 
the Capitol. 

The Monastery of S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura. 

The porch of Santa Maria in Trastevere. 



Part 1 Chapter I 49 

The grand staircase of the basilica of Santa 
Agnese fuori le Mura. 

The Roman catacombs, where all inscriptions 
found in the excavations made by the Commission 
of Sacred Archaeology are kept and systematic- 
ally registered. 

The following cemeteries are of the greatest im- 
portance for the number of inscriptions which are 
still preserved there : 

The cemetery of Priscilla on the Via Salaria 
(especially for the older inscriptions). 

The cemetery of Callisto on the Via Appia. 

The cemetery of Domitilla on the Via Ardeatina. 

The cemetery of Commodilla on the Via 
Ostiensis. 

The cemetery of S. Peter and S. Marcellinus on 
the Via Labicana. 

After these general observations as to the 
original materials for the study of ancient Christian 
epigraphy, we will now go on to consider the actual 
inscriptions of primitive Christianity. And in 
order to carry this out in logical order we will first 
give some general information as to the form of the 
ancient Christian tombs on which the inscriptions 
were placed, and next as to the conventional 
"formulae" and symbols which they exhibit in the 
various periods. These general statements will be 
followed by an examination of the various classes 
of inscriptions. 



CHAPTER II 

GENERAL FACTS CONCERNING CHRISTIAN 
INSCRIPTIONS 

THE first Christian inscriptions are almost ex- 
clusively sepulchral ; we must therefore begin by a 
few words on the form of the tombs used by the 
ancient Christians. 

From the very origin of the Church the Chris- 
tians, while insisting, on the one hand, in keeping 
their burial-place separate from that of idolaters, 
desired, on the other, out of brotherly love, to 
share it with their brethren ; and to their common 
burial-place they gave the name of Cemetery 
(Koip/Trj/Hoj/, from Kot/xao-^at, to sleep) ; the word 
is connected with the idea of the sleep of death 
and with the resurrection, and was never used by 
pagans. The name, however, was used not only 
of a group of tombs (which is its commonest mean- 
ing), but also at times of a single tomb. 

Christian cemeteries came into existence with 
Christianity, owing to the repugnance always felt 
by the faithful to the use of a burial-place in 
common with the pagans, over whose tombs 
superstitious rites were practised. 

Furthermore, Christians objected to the practice 
of cremation, owing to their belief in the resur- 
rection of the body, and their obedience to the 
Jewish custom of burial which was followed in 

50 



Part I Chapter II 5 1 

the case of the Saviour. Hence, when possible, 
Christians excavated their tombs underground, in 
imitation of the tomb of Christ, which was exdsum 
expetra. But in low-lying land and on the seashore, 
as at Carthage and elsewhere, or where the land 
did not lend itself to it, they were obliged to con- 
struct cemeteries in the open air, which were then 
known as "sepulchral areas." But subterranean 
excavation was preferred where it was possible, as, 
for instance, in Rome, where the subsoil of tufa lent 
itself easily to the work. Thus the cutting of the 
cemeteries which we call catacombs had been 
begun actually in the days of the Apostles. They 
were originally private property and bore the names 
of their owners, e.g. coemeterium Lucinae, Domitillae, 
Priscillae, Praetextati, etc. But in process of time 
some of the cemeteries came into the possession of 
the Church, i.e. the community of the faithful, and 
after Constantine this must have been almost uni- 
versally the case. 

Here we may give some general information, 
applicable particularly to the older Roman ceme- 
teries. 

The underground cemeteries are formed of a 
vast network of subterranean galleries (cryptae\ 
from which open at intervals the passages to 
chambers (cubicula) ; the tombs are cut in the 
walls of both galleries and chambers. The simplest 
are the loculi ; the more ornate, with an arch above 
them, are the arcosoli. 

For the shape of the galleries and cubicles with 
tombs in their walls see Plate I. The shape of 
the arched tomb or arcosolium is given on Fig. i 
(next page). 

In the walls, and especially in the back walls of 



52 Christian Epigraphy 

the cubicles, is generally found the tomb of the 
shape called arcosolium^ because it is formed of a 
tomb cut out of the tufa (solium) with an arch 
above forming a niche (arcus). Along the passages 
these arcosolia also occur, and these, being more 
imposing and more spacious than the simple locus. 




FIG. i. 

were constructed as burial-places for the wealthier 
brethren. The idea that this style of tomb was 
used only for martyrs, or that they served as 
altars, is a mere vulgar error, and it could only 
have been true in exceptional cases. 

The front of the locus was closed by tiles, by 
bricks, or by marble slabs ; and the whole was then 
fixed in with mortar. 

On this front was placed the inscription cut, 
if the substance was marble ; painted, or sometimes 



Part I Chapter II 53 

written with charcoal, if it was tile. It was usual 
also to place thereon various objects as distinguish- 
ing marks, e.g. a terra-cotta lantern, a glass vessel, 
or other small memorial. This is the commonest 
form of tomb, and the one generally used from the 
time of the Apostles, certainly to the fifth century. 
Hence the dates of Christian inscriptions from the 
underground cemeteries are generally within these 
limits, i.e. between the first and the fifth centuries. 

But there are also other types of tomb, such as 
the/ormae, which are graves cut in the floor of the 
vault containing more than one body, one above 
the other, and covered with thick slabs like 
the arcosolia; the stones, on the other hand, that 
closed the loculi might be of very moderate thick- 
ness, as they were not intended to bear any weight. 
It follows that, generally speaking, delicately cut 
inscriptions on slabs of oblong shape may be held 
to belong to loculi, and as a rule cannot be later 
than the fifth century. 

The inscribed stones in open-air cemeteries, like 
those in the cemetery chapels, are of great thick- 
ness, as they form part of the pavement ; so that 
you may to a certain extent tell from the very 
appearance of the stone whence it came. In- 
scriptions painted in red or black all belong to 
cemeteries, as do also "graffiti," or marks scratched 
on the mortar. Graffiti are divided into two classes, 
sepulchral and memorial. Sepulchral graffiti are 
those made in the mortar with a pointed instru- 
ment at the time of inhumation ; memorial or 
historical graffiti are those made on the cement of 
the walls often long after the permanent closing 
of the tomb. They were the work of pilgrims and 
visitors from the fourth to the eighth centuries; 



54 Christian Epigraphy 

sepulchral graffiti, on the other hand, can only be 
primitive, i.e. from the first to the fifth centuries. 

The first Christian inscribed stones come almost 
exclusively from cemeteries or tombs, and vary in 
shape and thickness according to the character of 
the tombs to which they belong; thus they are 
long and thin when they belong to loculi, rather 
thicker when they formed the covers of arcosolia, 
larger and very thick when they covered formae. 

Inscriptions taken from subterranean loculi are, 
as we have already said, not often later than the 
fifth century. Many of these may be dated back 
to the second century, and a very few to the first ; 
those of the third century are more numerous, and 
by far the largest number are of the fourth. 

Inscriptions on formae are generally of the 
fourth, but may be of the fifth and sixth centuries. 
Those from suburban cemeteries are not later than 
the sixth century, after which time the custom of 
burial outside the walls was almost entirely given 
up, and people began to bury in the great basilicas, 
inside the city, a fashion which lasted up to about 
the middle of the nineteenth century. In the 
more important suburban basilicas, however, 
burials continued even beyond the sixth century. 

The age of an inscription may be told (i) by its 
contents, and (2) palaeographically by the style of 
the lettering. 

The oldest inscriptions are also the shortest and 
simplest. Very often there is nothing cut or painted 
on the tomb, except the gentile name, with perhaps 
some simple ejaculation ; sometimes, too, with the 
sobriquet, or " distinctive " name of the deceased. 

Besides ordinary names the ancient Christians 
often used these sobriquets, which generally bore 



part I Chapter II 55 

some religious meaning e.g. Pistis, faith ; Elpis, 
hope; Agape, love; Irene, peace; Agne, chaste. From 
these are derived corresponding masculine names, 
Irenaeus, Agapitus, etc. 

The oldest group of inscriptions in the Roman 
catacombs is that in the cemetery of Priscilla, 
which is the most ancient in Rome, and goes back 
to almost Apostolic times. 

This very early group contains two classes : 

(a) Inscriptions on tiles painted in vermilion or 
written with charcoal. 

(^) Inscriptions carved on marble. 

Those of the first class are the oldest, some of 
them possibly of the first century. They bear some 
sort of similarity to the well-known election notices, 
the so-called "Programmi," which were found 
painted in vermilion on the outside walls of houses 
in ancient Pompeii. 

In this class of inscriptions some, not to say 
most, bear nothing but the name. 

Additions to these inscriptions are often found, 
always very short, and mostly greetings or prayers. 

The commonest phrases are : Pax tecum or Vivas 
in Deo or in Domino. 

The customary Latin formula in pace has a very 
common equivalent in Greek, ev ^p^vy. 

The form /// pace, whether in Latin or in Greek, is 
not an absolutely certain indication of a Christian 
origin, as the Jews often used it, and usually in 
the Greek language ; but as a rule they did not 
use it alone and without additions, but added 
some words peculiar to their own nation : 

kv elprjvy 
Koifjiyc 

"his sleep be in peace." 



5 6 Christian Epigraphy 

But it is not hard to tell the Jewish from the 
Christian inscriptions first, because the former 
are much the rarer, and, secondly, because on the 
former certain Jewish symbols are nearly always 
found carved or painted, e.g. the seven-branched 
candlestick, etc. 

The pagans also occasionally used the word pax, 
but never alone; they always added some other 
phrase which immediately points to a pagan origin. 
Thus they would write pax ossibus tuts, meaning the 
same as sit tibi terra /em's. Another useful means 
of recognising an inscription as Christian is the 
syllable DEP, for depositio or depositus ; this mark is 
very frequent, and is placed before the date, e.g. 
Ill KAL IAN, December 3oth, or as the case 
might be. 

These words depositus and depositio are of ex- 
clusively Christian use, because they imply the hope 
of resurrection. Indeed depositus means something 
quite different to situs, the word used by the 
pagans, which expresses the gloomy notion of an 
abandonment in that place for all eternity ; where- 
as depositus suggests something being given into 
temporary keeping, and means that the body is 
committed to the care of the earth till the resur- 
rection day. 

The pagans, however, more frequently used the 
word defunctus ; the Christian use of it is rarer. 

After depositus it was customary to put the date, 
owing to the practice of celebrating the anni- 
versaries of the dead, a practice which gave rise 
to the services for the commemoration of martyrs. 

To the antiquity of these commemorations the 
letter of the church of Smyrna on the martyrdom 
of S. Polycarp bears witness. This states in so 



Part I Chapter II 57 

many words that letters notifying the martyrdom 
of that holy bishop (A.D. 155) had been written to 
other churches, in which the day and hour on 
which the martyrdom took place had been carefully 
noted, with a view to this annual commemoration. 
(Eusebius, H.E. iv. 45.) 

In the oldest inscriptions, however, the word 
depositus is not found ; it begins to be general in 
the third century. In the fifth century we begin 
to find the word situs on Christian inscriptions, 
but not in the pagan sense. 

We may now say a few words on the emblems 
used by Christians in their inscriptions. 



CHAPTER III 

OF SYMBOLS 

SYMBOLS were largely used by Christians from the 
earliest times. This is not the place for a lengthy 
disquisition on symbolism, which would more 
properly belong to a treatise on ancient Christian 
art ; but we may say a few words on symbolism in 
its more restricted sense, meaning what are called 
ideographic signs to express conceptions and 
thoughts in short, ideas such as the hieroglyphic 
characters of the ancient Egyptians. The symbol- 
ism by figure which is met with in ancient Christian 
inscriptions is exactly of that sort. 

It was indeed from Egyptian symbolism that 
some of the Christian ideographic signs were 
derived, e.g. that of the dove, which signifies the 
soul freed from the trammels of the body, the 
soul in bliss ; it may be compared to the bird 
denoting Ba in hieroglyphic character, which 
signifies the soul of the deceased. Another con- 
nexion might be found with the same ancient 
system of symbolism in the praying figure, which 
signifies the soul of the deceased praying in heaven. 

The Christians made use of these symbols in 
their inscriptions to avoid the open exhibition of 
their religious beliefs before the eyes of the pagans. 

58 



Part I Chapter III 59 

Thus we have a series of ideographs, of which 
the most frequent are the following. 

The oldest and one of the commonest of all is 
the anchor, which is represented in various ways. 
In this symbol, however much the lower part may 
vary, it never changes in essential shape ; much less 
does it ever omit either of the two upper transverse 
arms representing the cross. Thus in the anchor 
we have a twofold meaning, that of the cross and 
that proper to the anchor, which, taken alone, 
signifies the hope of the shipwrecked for safety. 
In Christian symbolism, therefore, the double 
signification is the hope of the faithful centred 
in the Cross of Christ, or the hope of eternal 
salvation through the merits of the Redeemer 
(Plate II. 2, 4, 8). 

The first Christians had another reason, besides 
their desire to keep their tenets secret, for using 
the anchor instead of the cross : they retained for 
a long time their natural repugnance to display the 
instrument which was then still used for the capital 
punishment of criminals in what was very naturally 
thought the most disgraceful and infamous fashion. 
Another reason which influenced them in main- 
taining this attitude of reserve was the fear of 
exposing the venerated sign of redemption to the 
gibes and brutal jeers of pagans. 

Next to the anchor and its varieties came into 
use what is called the " gamma cross," a name given 
it because it was formed by four gammas meeting 
in a cross (Plate II. 7). After that the famous 
" monogram " appears ; this in its turn ^underwent 
various changes, starting from its simplest and oldest 
form as a combination of the two Greek initials of 
the names Jesus Christos. Very shortly afterwards 



60 Christian Epigraphy 

began the use of the other form, known as the 
" decussated monogram," as containing the mark X, 
the symbol for decussis (10 asses) in the Roman 
coinage (Plate II. 3, 6). This monogram must be 
read XPI2T02, and is obviously a combination of 
the two initials of the Sacred Name. We may 
reject with decision the mistaken idea, which has 
been repeated even by some modern critics, of 
reading it as Pax Chris ti, or, worse still, as pro 
Christo orpassuspro Christo. This monogram was 
also called " Constantinianum " ; not that Con- 
stantine invented it, but because he adopted it as 
a military device, placing it on the Labarum. This 
monogram also dates back to the earliest times, 
and was used by pagans as well as by Christians, 
though, of course, with a different meaning. For 
them this intersection of the two Greek letters 
X and P stood for XPY2O2, gold. In this precise 
sense the monogram was used in Ptolemaic times, 
and it is also met with as a stamp on coins. 

The Christus monogram was in some but not 
frequent use in the earlier centuries also, and 
only in the place of the word Christ or instead 
of a cross ; in other words, as a sort of shorthand. 
But after the victory of Constantine over Maxentius 
(A.D. 313) it began to be used as a symbol of victory 
and triumph. Hence De Rossi laid down this 
canon, that an inscription bearing the decussated 
monogram with no context must as a rule be 
attributed to the age of Constantine or later. 

This monogram underwent a notable change 
towards the end of the fourth century, and was 
drawn in a shape much nearer to that of a cross ; 
hence it is called the " monogrammatic cross " 
(Plate II. i). 



Part I Chapter III 61 

Although the use of the cross for capital punish- 
ment had been abolished by Constantine through 
reverence for the instrument of Christ's passion, 
the old objection to the use of the symbol lasted 
well through the fourth century, so that it was not 
till after the definite triumph of Christianity under 
Theodosius (A.D. 384) that the true shape of the 
cross begins to come into ordinary use, although 
instances of it are very occasionally found in primi- 
tive inscriptions. 

Two inscriptions from the cemetery of S. Peter 
and S. Marcellinus on the Via Labicana, which are 
not later than the third century, infringe the above 
rule by inserting among the letters of the name a 
Greek T, which is, in fact, a slightly disguised 
cross of the Greek type, in which the upper 
member is wanting. Thus the symbol would be 
equivalent to an anchor and to the formula Spes in 
cruce Christi. 

Another symbol very usual in the first three 
centuries, and indeed chiefly found in them, is the 
fish, painted or carved on the stone, or scratched 
on the mortar of the loculi (Plate III. 2, 4). 

The fish (IX0Y2) is the most ancient symbol of 
Christ, the food of the faithful as imaged in the 
multiplication of the loaves and fishes, a miracle 
which was interpreted as a type and a forecast of 
the Eucharistic feast ; as such we find this symbol 
referred to in some of the oldest inscriptions, and 
figured in the frescoes of cemeteries from the 
second century onwards. 

Another reason for the mystical interpretation of 
the fish may be found in the story of Tobias : as 
by means of a fish the father of Tobias recovered 
his sight, so from Christ we receive our light. 



62 Christian Epigraphy 

This is the meaning of the words of Prosper 
of Aquitania, Praebens se universo mundo ictyn e 
cujus interioribus remediis quotidie illuminamur et 
pascimur. To these fancies may be also added 
the well-known explanation given in the sibylline 
books of the word IX9Y2, a fish, as an acrostic of 
the words T^o-ovs Xptcrros Geov Yids 2o>T?7/>, 
"Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour." 

In some inscriptions we find the symbolical 
meaning of the fish clearly indicated, for instead of 
the figure of the fish we see the word t'x#i>s with a 
stop between each letter, as if to remind the reader 
of the acrostic. In other inscriptions the fish is 
dotted disconnectedly all over the stone ; in others, 
again, it stands alone with the name of the deceased : 
in that case it evidently stands for the name of 
Christ, and, in fact, in other exactly similar inscrip- 
tions we find the monogram XP in the place 
of the fish. Hence the two symbols are equi- 
valent ; and in both inscriptions after the name 
we should read the words in Christo. But Chris- 
tian symbolism is not always so simple as this : 
it sometimes assumes much more complex forms, 
of the most usual of which we will now give some 
account, with illustrations. 

In some inscriptions we find the fish and the 
anchor combined, which undoubtedly means spes 
in cruce Christi filii Dei salvatoris mundi, or spes 
in Christo. When this combined symbol is found 
alone it may signify the crucifixion. But very often 
Jesus Christ was denoted by a dolphin, that being 
the fish which was vulgarly held to be the friend 
and preserver of man. Similarly we have seen an 
" encolpium " or neck-pendant in the shape of a 
dolphin with the words o-omj/o p>v, "my Saviour." 



Part I Chapter III 63 

In the cemetery of Callistus a fresco exists 
representing a dolphin twined round a trident. 1 
This symbolical figure most certainly stands for the 
crucifixion of Christ. 

Sometimes, but not very often, the idea of the 
crucifixion is represented in another way, i.e. by 
a lamb below an anchor. Of this we have an 
example in an inscription of very early date in the 
cemetery of Callisto, in which we find the name 
Fanstinianus ; below this there is a dove with a 
twig, denoting the soul enjoying eternal bliss, and 
close to it an anchor lying on its side, and above 
it a lamb looking at the dove (Plate III. i). 

But the fish does not always represent Christ ; 
sometimes it stands for the believer. It is this last 
symbolism which inspires the fancy of Tertullian, 
when he says that as the fish lives and can only 
live in the water, so the believer lives and can only 
live in and by virtue of the water of baptism ; 
and as the fish is born therein, so the believer is 
born again therein to eternal life, which is the 
true life. Nos piscicuK secundum lyQw nostrum 
Jesum Christum in aqua nascimur et no?inisi quam 
in aqua permanendo salvi facti sumus. 

Generally when several fish are found together 
each stands for an individual believer. 

And we often find the same idea better 
developed in other inscriptions on which we see 
two little fishes moving towards an anchor ; these 
represent the believers going to Christ, their one 
salvation. The same idea is sometimes still more 
clearly set forth by fishes suspended by small chains 

1 The trident was another veiled way of representing the 
cross ; for if you remove the two side teeth of the trident a true 
cross remains. 



64 Christian Epigraphy 

to the stem of the anchor, a combination which 
certainly signifies the intimate union of the faithful 
with Christ. 

Another ideographic symbol connected with the 
sea and the harbour which we find in use is that 
of the ship, which represents the life of this world 
as a ceaseless journey, full of disaster. 

Sometimes the ship is the mystical ship of the 
Church. In some inscriptions a dolphin is near 
the ship, clearly intended to recall the thought 
that through the tempests of this life Christ the 
Saviour ever follows us with His love. 

To this group of symbols also belongs the light- 
house, in the shape of a rude tower, at the top of 
which a flame is sometimes represented ; this cer- 
tainly points to the final reception of the ship into 
the waters of the true haven of safety, heaven 
(Plate III. 5). 

The ship is a very important symbol when there 
are figures or inscriptions in it or near it. There 
is an instance of this in a bas-relief on a sarcophagus 
found at Spoleto, in which we see a boat propelled 
by four rowers, Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. 
This we may easily understand as representing 
the Church, the mystical ship, borne to harbour 
by the evangelists under their chief pilot Jesus 
Christ. 

Again, on a sarcophagus in the cemetery of 
S. Valentine in Rome is shown the sea, with a 
man standing on the shore intent on fishing ; on the 
sea is a boat steered by a figure under which we 
read the name "Paulus," while on the bows the 
name Thecla is carved. In this important bas- 
relief we meet with a symbolic representation of 
the idea that the deceased lady whose body lay in 



Part I Chapter III 65 

that sarcophagus was led to the harbour of 
Salvation through the lessons of Paul, even as 
Thecla reached it by the same means. This 
valuable record has been described by me in the 
Nuovo Bullett. di arch, crist., 1897, p. 103. 

The Church is once more represented by a boat 
on the sea in a fresco belonging to the cemetery of 
Callisto. In this picture the boat is represented 
with a sail made in the shape of a cross, evidently 
signifying the Church sailing through the stormy 
sea of the world under the banner of the cross of 
Christ. 

Another symbol is the vase, alone, or combined 




\ . _' 

FIG. 2. 

with doves. The vase when alone symbolises the 
good works of the Christian ; but if there are doves 
with it, and if they are drinking from it, and 
especially if the vase is a large one, then the idea 
represented is quite different, that of the soul rejoic- 
ing in celestial bliss. The same idea is figured by 
a dove pecking a bunch of grapes. 

All these symbols, and many others less com- 
monly found, were used to expand the ancient 
inscriptions, which in themselves were so concise 
as to tell the reader little or nothing. They go 
back to very early times, and are generally not later 
than the fourth century. 

Sometimes by the side of the praying figure we 

F 



66 Christian Epigraphy 

have another of great significance, that, namely, of 
the Good Shepherd bearing the lamb on his 
shoulders. This symbol is very frequent in 
paintings, and also, to a rather less extent, in 
"graffiti." When the Good Shepherd is repre- 
sented with the figure in prayer, it denotes the soul 
praying to the Good Shepherd in heaven (Plate 
V. 4). Sometimes the figure in prayer is in the 
midst of doves, which signifies the soul received 
into the company of the mystical flock of the 
Shepherd (Plate IV. 3). 

Besides these symbols there are others which 
relate to the games and shows of the ancients: 
ideographically considered they signify these games 
and shows; but as Christian inscriptions they 
have another meaning. 

Thus a palm branch on a monument means 
victories won, and when used by pagans means 
neither more nor less than the winning of chariot- 
races. No doubt Christians too have made use of 
this sign for the same purpose, but this very rarely 
occurs. This use of it is justified by the fact that 
there were jockeys (i.e. racing charioteers) among 
Christians as well as among the pagans, as is known 
from more than one instance. Thus an inscription 
in the cemetery of S. Sebastian, on which a palm 
branch is carved, says that the charioteer in 
question had won a hundred races in glauca, i.e. in 
the blue faction. But, as we said above, these 
instances are rare. 

Christianity then soon took possession of this 
class of symbols ; indeed, from apostolic times 
onwards Christians in their conversation used ex- 
pressions which, though taken from the games, 
had a specially Christian significance. 



Part I Chapter III 67 

The first who speaks thus is S. Paul himself, 
when he says non coronabitur nisi qui legitime 
certaverit meaning, in a Christian sense, "none 
shall receive the reward of life eternal but he 
who has fought out his life under the banner of 
Christ." 

The mistaken notion was once held that the 
palm branch always signified martyrdom. I say 
mistaken, because there exist clear proofs that it is 
not true ; indeed, we often find drawings of palm 
branches on inscriptions which go back to the 
great Peace of the Church, while, on the other 
hand, there are very many inscriptions which 
undoubtedly record martyrs and yet do not show 
a palm branch. The idea is therefore baseless, 
though still held by some. 

The other symbolic sign is the crown. This had 
two forms, either a plain circle or the " athletic " 
crown, the brabium or corona justitiae, of which 
S. Paul speaks. 

The first was of ordinary shape, i.e. a ring 
covered with bay-leaves ; the second had the form 
of a piece of twisted stuff or of a cap, such as was 
actually given to winners on a race-course. 

There is connected with the ideas of the palm 
branch and victory a well-known monogram, of 
which we have many instances, and which may 
be described as formed by a combination of the 
letters P and E (|). We find it used by Christians 
and pagans alike, and it is seen on monuments 
connected with the circus. Thus, for example, we 
find the monogram in question over the pictures 
of charioteers or of a horse. So also it is found 
over the busts of gladiators. 

The true meaning of this monogram is not yet 



68 



Christian Epigraphy 



known, and opinions upon it vary. All allow that 
the P is the initial of palma^ the more so as the 
two are often found near one another, and indeed 
in some cases the monogram is surrounded with 
palm branches. There are various and more or 
less plausible interpretations of this monogram ; 
some treat it as formed of two letters, and thus 
taken it might stand for either palma Elea 'or 
palma emerita. But the most probable view is 
that the monogram consists, not of the two 




letters PE only, but of three letters, PFE, in- 
asmuch as in several instances an F is clearly 
visible, and hence the more generally received 
reading of it \spalmafelititer. 

Sometimes, but rarely, we find in these inscrip- 
tions the figure of a horse (Plate IV. i), which 
clearly refers to the race of life and the words of 
S. Paul, cursum consummavi, etc. 

Another very rare symbol is that of the gladiator 
with one or other of his weapons. The clearest 
and most certain example of this is on a leaden 
vessel discovered at Tunis, which was probably 
used as a baptismal font. On this, along with 
many other symbols, such as the Good Shepherd, 
and the monograms, we find the figure of a 



Part I Chapter III 69 

gladiator, a symbol which we must interpret from a 
Christian point of view. 

In this case it would stand for the Christian who 
has fought the battle of life with courage, and has 
come out a conqueror. In the cemetery of S. 
Sebastian too, at the back of a burial- chamber, we 
see surrounded by other symbols the figure of an 
athlete, to which we must assign the same meaning 
as to that on the vessel from Tunis. Another 
symbol found on a " graffito " over an inscription 
is the bushel measure, a large hollow vessel in 
the shape of a truncated cone, at the top of 
which some ears of corn show, denoting that good 
and complete measure has been given. This 
symbol was to remind the faithful of the full and 
overflowing measure with which God rewards good 
deeds done and sacrifices made for His name's 
sake. 

Among these ideographic symbols we sometimes 
find a combination of the sheep, the emblem of 
the believer ; with the peacock, the emblem of 
immortality (Plate V. i); with a suppliant in the 
midst of saints (Plate IV. 7) (a symbol of which 
we shall speak in its place) ; or with the figure of 
an animal representing ideographically the name of 
the deceased, e.g. a lion in the inscription on one 
Leo (Plate V. 2), a ship in the inscription of a 
certain Nabira, etc. Lastly, these symbols some- 
times represent episodes from the Old or New 
Testament, like those in pictures or sculptures. 
A good instance of this may be seen in a marble 
of the Lateran Museum, representing various sym- 
bolical groups, such as Adam and Eve, Daniel 
among the lions, etc. (Plate IV. 9). Notice also 
the scene of the Epiphany (Plate V. 3). We 



70 Christian Epigraphy 

may also remark as a peculiarity, that sometimes, 
instead of the names of the deceased, monograms 
were used, or rather complexes of the letters that 
formed the name, as in the two examples of Rufilla 
and Rusticus given in Plate IV. 6, 8. 



Interpunctuation 

By this we mean the marks used to separate 
words in old inscriptions, both Christian and pagan. 
They have an extraordinary variety of shapes. 
Most frequently they are in the shape of small 
triangles, more rarely in that of round dots. But 
often the points are made in the shape of leaves, 
which, as we know, were called by the ancients 
hederae distinguentes, though they have been mis- 
taken by some for representations of the heart. But 
the ancients, if I may say so, were absurdly whimsical 
in the matter of these points, for which they used 
various shapes and geometrical figures, placing 
them not only between words, but even between 
syllables, or even between the letters of the same 
word. In some inscriptions the points are shaped 
like palm branches, in others like arrows ; and the 
latter have sometimes been erroneously supposed 
to represent the instrument of martyrdom (Plate 
VI. 2). 



CHAPTER IV 

METRICAL INSCRIPTIONS 

CHRISTIAN metrical inscriptions, in contrast with 
those of pagan origin, are generally not only lack- 
ing in elegance, but often rough and even incorrect 
in scansion, and they might therefore be called 
rhythmical rather than really metrical. From 
the first to the fourth century inscriptions of this 
sort are nearly all sepulchral, and very short and 
simple. They often present us with a patchwork 
of ancient poetry, and whole or halves of verses 
borrowed from classical authors ; so that they differ 
little, if at all, from pagan inscriptions of the same 
sort; but when they are the composition of Christian 
poets solely, as sometimes occurs, they are of greater 
value, as expressing the thoughts, the beliefs, and 
the dogmas of the then Christian world. After the 
peace of Constantine we begin to find inscriptions 
placed in the basilicas used for public worship, 
poems by Pope Damasus in honour of martyrs, 
and eulogies of men of note. Some of these 
poems, when better known, were imitated by later 
writers, who borrowed whole sentences from them. 
All this constitutes, so far as it goes, a magnificent 
chapter in ancient Christian literature ; indeed we 
may call it a patristic history built up of inscrip- 



72 Christian Epigraphy 

tions, seeing that these noble lines deal with doc- 
trine and ecclesiastical tradition, exactly like the 
writings of the Fathers, and that it was precisely 
for the purpose of instructing the faithful in these 
matters that they were so often placed on the walls 
of the most-frequented tombs and sacred edifices. 

Inscriptional poetry of the age preceding Con- 
stantine often reproduces verses from Vergil, as, 
for instance, that well-known line from the Aeneid : 
abstulit atra dies et funere mersit acerbo. A valu- 
able inscription of the third century, which was to 
be seen in the Villa Borghese, contains the words, 
miserere animae non digna ferenti ; and not only 
is this a Christian inscription, but it commemorates 
a martyr of whom it says, sanguineo lavit Deus 
ipse lavacro. 

Among the poetical inscriptions of the first cen- 
turies two hold incontestably the place of honour 

(1) that of Abercius of Hierapolis in Phrygia and 

(2) that of Pectorius of Augustodunum (Autun) in 
France ; of these we shall speak at the proper time. 

Of inscriptions referring to doctrine we have 
some instances in Rome, e.g. those of Maritima and 
Agape in the cemetery of Priscilla, and that of 
Julia Euarista from a vault in the Via Latina. 
Christian metrical inscriptions previous to Con- 
stantine are often in the metre called quasi-versus, 
introduced by the poet Commodianus in the third 
century of our era. He wrote shortly after the 
persecution of Decius (A.D. 250), and the purpose 
of his poems was to instruct pagans and edify 
Christians. 1 In the same style is the well-known 

1 On the poet Commodianus see the recent treatise of Ludwig, 
Commodiani carmina, Leips., 1877 and 1878. Cf. Boissier in 
the Revue archfologique, November and December 1883. 



Part I Chapter IV 73 

inscription of the deacon Severus in the cemetery 
of Callisto, and also the acrostic of Theodulus, 
an employe in the office of the Praetor Urban us, 
discovered in the same cemetery. After the Peace, 
metrical inscriptions increase in number. Con- 
stantine adorns the walls of his basilicas with 
poetry, Pope Damasus in Rome and Ambrose in 
Milan celebrate the glories of the martyrs in elegant 
epigrams, Paulinus of Nola magnifies the deeds of 
his hero Felix in poetry, and, in the midst of his 
meditation on Holy Scripture, Jerome writes a 
metrical epitaph on the noble lady Paula ; Bassus 
the consul composed a panegyric on Monica, the 
mother of Augustine, and the mighty bishop of 
Hippo himself writes affectionate verses to the 
memory of the deacon Nabor, who was killed by 
the Donatists. The mausoleums of the Christian 
nobility are adorned with metrical inscriptions ; we 
need only refer, as a representative example, to the 
magnificent inscriptions on the tomb of the Anicii 
near the Vatican Basilica. 

The same fashion is continued in the fifth 
century ; thus we find metrical inscriptions of Spes 
and Achilles, bishops of Spoleto ; of Sidonius 
Apollinaris, prefect of Rome in 467 and later bishop 
of Clermont ; of Ennodius of Pavia. Sixtus III. 
adorned the Liberian Basilica and the baptistery 
of the Vatican with poetical inscriptions. Lastly, 
Symmachus followed the example of Damasus, the 
poet of the martyrs. In the following century 
Pope Vigilius rebuilt the Christian monuments in 
Rome which had suffered during the Gothic 
War, and restored the effaced verses of Damasus 
on the original slabs ; he records in verse his own 
pious labours as well as the liberation of the 



74 Christian Epigraphy 

land from the dominion of the barbarian in the 
following line : Hostibus expulsis omne novavit 
opus. Other laudatory poems are found in that age 
of decadence ; but the inscription on the tomb of 
Gregory the Great in the basilica of S. Peter may 
be considered as reflecting the last ray of the 
"grandeur which was Rome." 

In the seventh century culture continues to wane, 
manners become barbaric throughout the whole 
West, the beautiful language of Latium gradually 
changes, ignorance and misery increase. It is not 
surprising if in this condition of affairs the literature 
of inscriptions also degenerates, and metrical in- 
scriptions become every day rarer. The most 
important products of that rude age are those few 
monumental inscriptions which occur on the 
mosaics of the basilicas. Finally, with the seventh 
century begins the age of mediaeval inscriptions, at 
which we stop. 



PART II 

A COLLECTION OF CHRISTIAN INSCRIP- 
TIONS, MAINLY ROMAN, IN THEIR 
VARIOUS CLASSES. 

CHAPTER I 

PRIMITIVE INSCRIPTIONS, WITH PRIMITIVE 
CONVENTIONAL ABBREVIATIONS 

THE most ancient Christian inscriptions are those 
in the cemetery of Priscilla in the Via Salaria ; and 
with these we propose to begin our list ; but we 
shall add others taken from other quarters. 1 









MODESTINA 


A ft 







Cemetery of Priscilla. Painted on tiles in red. 

The name alone appears, followed by the two 
letters A and 0, which, according to the symbolism 

1 If this book were a corpus inscriptionum, it would be 
necessary to add in all cases the bibliography of the inscription. 
But, as the inscriptions are only given as illustrations, it is 

75 



76 Christian Epigraphy 

taken from the Apocalypse, denote the beginning 
and the end ; as much as to say that the deceased 
believed in Him who was the beginning and end 
of all things, i.e. in God and in His Christ. 









ZOSIME 


PAX TE 

CVM 






(anchor) 







Cemetery of Priscilla. In red on tile. 

The formula pax tecum was used in the remotest 
times, being derived from the greeting of Christ to 
the Apostles, " pax vobis." The anchor painted 
beside it is the emblem of Christian hope, while at 
the same time it suggests the shape of the cross. 
It therefore represents the hope of the deceased 
in the redemption of Christ. 



PAX TECVM VALERIA 

(anchor) (palm) 



Cemetery of Priscilla. In red on tiles. 



Observe the same words and the same symbol as 
above. 



unnecessary to do this, and it will suffice if we state in each 
case the place in which it was discovered and that in which it 
is at present to be seen. 



Part II Chapter I 

4 



77 



CAELESTINA 
PAX 



Cemetery of Priscilla. In red on tile. 

The complete formula pax tecum is to be 
understood. 



AVRELI VARRO 
DVLCISSIME . ET 
DESIDERANTIS 
SIME COIVX PAX 
TIBI BENEDICTE 



Cemetery of Priscilla. Marble. 

A remarkable expression of affectionate greeting 
and of kindly wishes. The epithet benedicte 
alludes to the Saviour's words, "venite benedicti 
patris mei." 




" Agapito in peace." 

Cemetery of Priscilla. In red on tile. (Plate VI. i.) 

The name Agapito is one of those used by 
Christians, and is derived from "Agape," meaning 
" the beloved, the dear one." 



Christian Epigraphy 



LVMENA 

(anchor) 
(palm) 




PAX TE 

(arrow)i 




CVM FI 

(anchor) 
(arrow). 



Discovered in the cemetery of Priscilla in 1802 ; 
now preserved in the church of Mugnano near 
Naples. 

There are three tiles, each of which contains a 
portion of the inscription. It is of great age, as 
may be inferred from the style and the lettering, 
and must have originally been arranged thus : 



PAX 


TE 


CVM. 


FI 


LVMENA 



(Plate VI. 2.) 

The most natural explanation of the misplace- 
ment of the three tiles is that they belonged to 
an early tomb, and were taken thence to close 
another of later date. 1 The arrows are only 
punctuation marks. 



PHNH- 


COI 


OYPCA 



El 



"Ursa, peace be with thee." 

Galleria Lapidaria of the Vatican. 

In all these inscriptions where the formula pax 
tecum or tibi occurs it may be noted that the verb 

1 Cp. Marucchi, Nuovo Bull, di arch, crist., 1906, p. 190. 



Part II Chapter I 79 

understood is sit, not est, expressing a wish or a 
prayer, not a mere statement of fact. 



MARCIANVS HIC DORMIT IN PACE 



Cemetery of Priscilla. Painted in black on tile. 

The expression hie dormit is a profession of 
belief in the doctrine of the final resurrection of 
the body, and recalls the words of the gospel 
"Lazarus amicus noster dormit" (John xi. u). 
It is related to the name given by Christians to 
their burial-places, coemeterium, or dormitorium^ as 
opposed to the domus aeterna of the pagans. 



10 



HIPERCHIVS 
HIC- DORMIT 



Cemetery of Priscilla. Marble. 

A fine laconic inscription. 

Sometimes the inscription indicates that the 
tomb is intended as a resting-place for the 
deceased, as in the following instances. 



DORMITIONI ISIDORAE 



Cemetery of Priscilla. Marble. 



8o 



Christian Epigraphy 







DORMITIONI 










T FLA . EVTY 










CHIO QVI VI 
XIT - ANN XVIIII 










MES XI D III 






(Hermes.) 




HVNC . LOCVM 
DONABIT M 




(Hermes.) 






ORBIVS HELI 










VS . AMICVS 










KARISSIMVS 










KARE BALE 










(two fishes) 







Cemetery of Commodilla (De Rossi, Roma soft. \. p. 186). 

In this inscription notice should be taken of the 
affectionate greeting KARE BALE, and the use 
of the three names, praenomen, gentile name, and 
cognomen, a mark of great antiquity. 









SABINAE 


BEATAE 





Cemetery of Priscilla. In red on tiles. (Plate V. 5. ) 

The epithet beata must not be read in the sense 
now given it, of one held in veneration by the 
faithful after her death. It alludes only to the 
celestial bliss which the deceased is supposed to 
enjoy. 



Part II Chapter I 



81 









IIETPO 

C 


PETRVS AVSANONTIS 
FILIVS 







Cemetery of Priscilla. In red on tiles. 

This, like other inscriptions containing the 
name of Peter, is of great significance, as the 
name was of exclusively Christian use, having 
been adopted in memory of the Apostle Peter. 

It is worthy of note that the repetition of this 
name in Greek and in Latin is peculiar to the 
cemetery of Priscilla, where there are other reasons, 
historical and topographical, for believing that there 
was a special cult commemorating the first preach- 
ing of S. Peter in Rome. 



LIVIA NICARVS 
LIVIAE PRIMITIVAE 

SORORI FECIT 

Q . V . AN XXIIII M VIIII 

(fish) (shepherd) (anchor) 



Inscription on a Sarcophagus 
now in Paris in the Museum of the Louvre. 

This comes from the primitive cemetery which 
grew up round the tomb of S. Peter in the Vatican ; 
and its great age is a further proof of the great 
antiquity of that cemetery. 



Christian Epigraphy 



16 



VRBICA 

(anchor) (dove) 



In the Cemetery of Callisto. Marble. (Plate II. 5.) 

The graffiti over this inscription are of great 
significance. They represent the soul of the 
deceased Urbica in the shape of a dove ad- 
mitted to the mystical garden of Paradise as a 
reward of her belief and hope in the Cross of 
Christ. 




Cemetery of Callisto. Marble. (Plate II. 2.) 

Here we find the name alone, and the oldest 
form of the anchor symbol. 



18 



FAVSTINIANVM 



Cemetery of Callisto. Marble. (Plate III. i.) 

Here also the ideographic signs have their 
import. The lamb below the anchor represents 
Christ under the Cross, and the dove represents the 



Part II Chapter I 83 

soul of Faustinianus winging its way to heaven as 
a reward for his belief in the resurrection. 



EPAFRODITO DVLCISSIMO 



Cemetery of S. Agnese. Marble. 




Cemetery of Priscilla. Marble. 

This expresses the greeting of the Christian 
brethren to the deceased Leontius, and thus is 
connected with the prayers offered by the con- 
gregation of the faithful over the tomb at the 
moment of burial. 

This same greeting, though found in many pagan 
inscriptions, does not here bear the heathen mean- 
ing of an eternal farewell, but rather suggests the 
hope of the Christian by the use of the beautiful 
words " Pax a fratribus." 

Another very ancient ejaculation is that which 
prays that the deceased may live in God, as in the 
following : 



AGAPE VIVAS IN DEO 

Cemetery of Priscilla. 



8 4 



Christian Epigraphy 



22 



EVCARPE 

IN DEO 

VIVES 

(anchor) 



Cemetery of Priscilla. Cut on a brick. 

Here we find, combined with the ejaculation, an 
anchor as emblem of the Cross, the idea being that 
expressed by the Apostle Paul that the Cross is the 
life and the salvation of the Christian. 




The two words HAVE and VALE J are notice- 
able ; their combination is full of meaning, and 
uncommon in Christian inscriptions. 



AEMILIANE ROMANE 
VIBATIS IN DEO 



Cemetery of Priscilla. Marble. 



1 Le Blant, L'Epig. chrtt. p. 10. 



Part II Chapter I 85 

Specimens of these primitive inscriptions, painted 
in red or black on brick or tiles, which come 
almost exclusively from the cemetery of Priscilla, 
may be seen in Plate VI. 

To summarise the above short notes on the 
inscriptions of the earliest group, the distinctive 
characteristics of primitive Christian epigraphy 
may be easily recognised : viz. a great sobriety 
in the emblems and in the style ; the almost 
exclusive use of short, but none the less strong 
and affectionate, ejaculations, the one most fre- 
quently in use being the apostolic greeting, pax 
tecum, pax tibi. The symbolism is confined almost 
entirely to the use of the anchor and (occasionally) 
of the palm branch. The increased use of symbolic 
and doctrinal language, on the other hand, is a 
mark of the third century, which from this point of 
view was the Augustan age of Christian epigraphy. 
And it is with the inscriptions bearing on doctrine 
that we shall specially deal in the following chapter. 



CHAPTER II 

DOCTRINAL INSCRIPTIONS 

General features The Unity of God The Divinity of Christ 
The Holy Spirit The Trinity 

General Features of Doctrinal Inscriptions 

BY doctrinal inscriptions we mean those that refer 
in some way, either directly or by inference, to the 
dogmas of Christianity. 

It is not suggested that a complete statement can 
be composed of the doctrinal theories of the first 
ages of Christianity out of the inscriptions in the cata- 
combs ; to this the spirit of these inscriptions does 
not lend itself, seeing they are exclusively sepulchral, 
and therefore composed with a special intention 
and object ; moreover, they are entirely of a private 
character, expressing the feeling of the early 
Christians towards the beloved dead. If any of 
them therefore allude to doctrine, it can only be 
because the doctrine thus alluded to is a natural 
and essential part of the writer's conception as to a 
future life and as to the fate of the departed. For 
this reason all the doctrines of Christianity cannot be 
illustrated from inscriptions, but only those which 
have some connexion with the life beyond the 
grave. These are : the belief in the Unity of God ; 
86 



Part II Chapter II 87 

in the Trinity; in the divinity of Christ; in the 
Resurrection ; the belief in the efficacy of the 
prayers of the living for the dead, and vice versa of 
the dead for the living, which is tantamount to the 
doctrine of the Communion of Saints. There are 
some instances, however, of inscriptions touching 
tne sacraments that are more closely connected 
with a future life notably, Baptism, which opens 
the door to eternal bliss; and its companion, 
Confirmation. 

Sometimes, but less frequently, allusion is also 
made to the sacrament of the Eucharist, which is 
the pledge of eternal life. 



Doctrinal Inscriptions referring to the Unity of God 

In the midst of the universal polytheism of old 
times, the Jews and the Christians alone ac- 
knowledged and worshipped one God. Some of 
the pagan philosophers admitted the conception of 
a single God, but the idea was always vague and 
confused. 

Christians gloried in the fact that they wor- 
shipped the One True God, and hence they 
claimed to be described as of cultores Dei. 
For this reason Christian inscriptions refer some- 
times to the Unity of God, as the watchword and 
pledge of their faith, in such expressions as : IN 
NOMINE DEI-EX ONOMATI TOY OEOY 
VIVAS IN DEO ZHC EX 0EQ PAX TIBI 
IN DEO. 



88 Christian Epigraphy 

The following inscriptions begin with a solemn 
Christian invocation, In nomine Dei : 



IN . NOMINE DEI GORGON 
IN PACE CVM PARENT 

ET MENSIS . N VI ETDE 
QVI VIXIT ANNOS - DVO 



Lateran Museum. 



26 



IN NOMINE DEI IN P 
Ill D . XXII DECESIT 
NO CON PARENTES - TO 
TRES HIC CAPVT AD CAPVT 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. 



This inscription is remarkable for the expres- 
sion used in the last line, which speaks of three 
deceased, (fc)TI TRES, who were buried in the 
same tomb ; this must assuredly be the meaning 
of the words caput ad caput. 

The inscriptions that follow express the prayers 
of the survivors, that the dead may enjoy eternal 
life in God in the abode of the Saints ; the formula 
is therefore, grammatically speaking, not indicative 
but optative. 



Part II Chapter II 
27 



BONO ATQ DVLCISSIMO COIVGI CASTORI 
NO QVI VIXIT ANNIS LXI MENSIBVS V D X 
BENEMERENTI VXOR FECIT VIVE IN 
(ivy leaf) DEO (ivy leaf) 

From Cemetery of Gallisto. Lateran Museum. 
28 



FAVSTINA . DVLCIS 

BIBAS IN DEO 

(vivas in Deo) 



From S. Agnese. Lateran Museum. 
29 



FORTVNATA . VIVES 
IN - DEO 



Lateran Museum. 




S. Ermete. Lateran Museum. 



Christian Epigraphy 




Lateran Museum. 



32 



(palm 
branch) 



VI DVA P FELICISSIMA 
IN DEO VIVES 



(ivy leaf) 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. 

The following inscription asserts more specifically 
the doctrine of the Unity of God, which, as has 
been pointed out at the outset, is the fundamental 
idea of Christianity as opposed to paganism : 



33 



ORO A BOBIS 
FRATRES - BONI 
PER VNVM DEVM 
NE QVIS TITVLVM 
MEVM - MOLESTET 



From the Cemetery of S. Hermes. Kircherian Museum. 



Part II Chapter II 



' 
Inscriptions referring to Christ and the Trinity 

Some inscriptions bear witness to the doctrine of 
the divinity of Christ by placing His name in the 
position occupied elsewhere by that of God, e.g. : 



34 



IN NOMINE (Ck ri s ti) 
QVIESCIT 



Lateran Museum. 



This inscription is probably anterior to Con- 
stantine, as the monogram of Christ is used as an 
abbreviation for His name ( Compendium Scrip turae). 

Other inscriptions, however, explicitly assert the 
divinity of Christ. 



35 



AEQVITIO ' IN J| DEO INNOFITO 

BENEMERENTI QVI VIXIT 

AN * XXVI M V D IIII DEC III NON / AVG 



Lateran Museum. 

In the first line read " In Christo Deo." 



92 Christian Epigraphy 

In the following Greek inscription Christ is 
positively called God : 

36 



EPMAICKE $OC Z 
HC EN - 6EO KTPIEI 
ft . XPEICTO ANN 
OPOTM X MHCfl 
POTM - 2EPTE 



" Oh Hermaiscus, thou Light, thou shalt live in 
the Lord God Christ." He lived ten years and 
seven months. 

Lateran Museum. 

This fine inscription tells us of a boy by name 
Hermaiscus, who had been baptized and confirmed 
shortly before his death, and is therefore addressed 
as <u>s, light, that being one of the names given at 
baptism. 

37 



DEO SANCT ^ VNI 
^ LVCI TE 

~P (a fish) 

^ CVM PA 

CE 

(a shepherd) 



Via Latina. Seen by Bosio ; now lost. 

Here too the name of Christ is shortly expressed 
by the monogram, and it must be read, Deo Sancto 
Christo uni. 



Part II Chapter II 93 

In the following very ancient Greek inscription 
the first line names the Eternal Father, the first 
person of the Trinity ; and it concludes with a fine 
form of doxology, or hymn of praise : 



IIATHP TON IIANTflN OTC EIIOIHCEC K 
IIAPEAABHC EIPHNEN ZOHN K . MAPKEAAON 
COI.AOSA.EX. (anchor) 



" Oh Father of all, thou that hast created Irene, 
Zoe, and Marcellus, receive them to thyself. To 
Thee be glory in Christ." 

Cemetery of Priscilla. 
In the floor of the gallery of the vaults of the Acilii. 



In the next inscription mention is made of the 
first and second persons of the Trinity. 



39 



HIC POSITVS - EST - FLORENTI 

NVS INFANS QVI VIXIT ANNOS 

SEPTEM ET REQVIEM ADCE 

PIT IN - DEO PATRE NOSTRO 

ET CHRISTO EIVS 



Sabaria in Pannonia. 



94 Christian Epigraphy 

The following inscriptions make more special 
mention of the divinity of Christ : 



40 



IN D CRISTO 

OMITIA OPE FILIE CARISSIMED 
E NI INNOCENTISSIME PVELLE QVI 
II DIES VIIII ORAS V IN PACE CVM 



"In Deo Christo." 

Cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. 



BONftCH 



TO 

KOIMOMENOI 
ENKQHM 



"Who sleeps in our Lord." 

Cemetery of Domitilla. 



42 



HPIMA META I A i 

AE errATPoc . KOI 

MS3MENI Ev de 
w > KTPIw XP ia " r(a 



"Who sleep in the Lord God Christ." 

Cemetery of Domitilla. 



Part II Chapter II 

43 



95 



EPMIONHN 
01 COI - rONEIC EFPA^AN 
EN 0EI . . . IH ^ BACIAE 
HMHPAC KB 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 

The third line must mean, "In the Divine 
Kingdom of Christ." 

The two next inscriptions contain the name of 
Jesus, which is very rarely found in ancient 
Christian inscriptions. 



44 



REG 

(palm) IN 


INA VIBAS 

DOMINO (palm) 
ZESV 



From the Via Salaria Nuova. Lateran Museum. 

45 



EN E& . TECOC 
XEPETE 



"Hail in God Jesus." 

Cemetery of Salona in Dalmatin. 



96 Christian Epigraphy 

4 6 



AGAPE NERAIDI NVTRICI 

ET ^ PRIBATVS SVE IN PACE 

IN DO MI . NO NOS TRO D - C T 



Venice. Correr Museum. (From the Roman catacombs. ) 

In the last line points are placed to separate the 
syllables of the words "In Domino nostro," and 
also to indicate that the single letters at the end 
are abbreviations. Therefore read "In Domino 
nostro Deo Christo." 



47 



KA - 3>IAOTA rATKTTATO 
AAEA3>H EOAHPft ZftMEN 
EN-QEO (fish) 



"Claudius Philotas to his beloved brother 
Theodorus. May we live in God (Jesus Christ, 
Son of God the Redeemer)." 

Cemetery of Priscilla. 

Here the name of Jesus Christ is expressed by 
the figure of the fish, of which we shall see other 
instances. 



Part II Chapter II 

4 8 



97 



CALLODROME BENE 

DICTA IN 5 

GREMIVM TOTIVS BONI 

TATIS AVTRIX CASTISSIMI 

PVDORIS ^t CIRCA MARI 

TVM SATIS RELIGIOSA 

VIXISTI ANNIS XVIIII 

MARITVS 
CONIVGI DIGNE 

* 

LEAE INNOCEN 

TISSIMAE CESQVEN 

TI IN PACE . Q . B - AN - XXI 

M . VI . MARITVS CONIVGI 



Cemetery of the Giordani in the Via Salaria. 

Remarkable for the expression at the beginning, 
" Benedicta in Christ! gremium." 



49 



SOZON BENEDICTVS 
REDIDIT - AN NOBE 



rP 

I I I BERVS ^ ISPIRVM 
IN PACE . ET . PET - PRO . NOB1S 



Cemetery of the Giordani. 

In this case also the monogram is used instead 
of the name of Christ; read, therefore, "Verus 
Christus (accipiat) spiritum (tuum) in pace et 
pete pro nobis." 

H 



98 Christian Epigraphy 



5 



PVELLE VRBICE CON 

QVIA EIVS OBSEQV 

SEMPER NOBISCON 

IN MATRIMONIO QVEVI 

P.M. XXX RECESSIT DIE XIII KAL 

IN PACE ET IN NOMINE ^g FILII EIVS 



"In nomine Christ! filii ejus." 
From MSS. belonging to Bruzio. 



.Si 



. . . VIVAS 
. . . ET IN DIE 
judicii aDEAM 
cum fide ad tribu'NA.'L CHRISTI 



Cemetery of S. Agnese. 

This inscription is very valuable for its contents ; 
the only parallel to it is in the fragment of a 
"graffito" found in a niche opposite the so-called 
tomb of S. Felicissimus and Agapitus in the spelunca 
magna of the cemetery of Praetextatus, which is to 
this effect, succiirrite ut vincam in die judicii. The 
idea is similar to that expressed in this inscription, 
which is a strong testimony to the belief of primitive 
Christianity in the Resurrection to come, and the 
final judgment. 



Part II Chapter II 



99 



The next inscriptions illustrate the well-known 
emblem of the fish (i'x$ v s) which was in general 
use in the second and third centuries. The fish 
is the emblem of Christ the Son of God the 
Saviour, as in the famous acrostic of the word 
IX0Y2 



Xpio-ros Gtov Yios 2om;/o. 



D (corona) M 

IX0TO - ZHNTHN 

(fish) (anchor) (fish) 

LICINIAE AMIATI BE 
NEMERENT1 VIXIT 



"The fish of the living." 

From the Vatican Cemetery. Kircherian Museum. 



53 



BETTONI IN PACE DEVS CVM SPIRITVM TVVM IX0TC 
DECESSIT VII IDVS FEBR (anchor) ANNORVM XXII 



" God (Jesus Christ Son of God the Saviour) be 
with thy Spirit." 



Cemetery of Callisto. 



100 



Christian Epigraphy 



54 



I . K - @ T . C 

BONO ET INNOCENTI FILIO 
PASTORI & Q V X AN IIII 

M . V D . XXV . I . VITALIO 
ET MARCELLINA PARENT 

(palm) 



Lateran Museum. 



Sometimes the symbol for Christ is so placed as 
to enable one to read it as the actual name, as in 
the following, " Deo Magno Christo Sacrum " : 



55 



VITALIS 
Q 
FECIT - 


D * M< ^ ' S 
*-vjv* 

DEPOSITA DIAE SABATI KL 
VIXIT ANNIS XX MES JIII 
CVM MARITO ANN X DIES 


AVG 
XX 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. 

In Christian sepulchral inscriptions the word 
Spiritus is often found, and generally means the 
soul of the deceased. But when the expression is 
Spiritus Sanctus^ it undoubtedly refers to the third 
person of the Trinity. 



Part II Chapter II 



TOI 



CAR KYPIAKO .... 
FIL- DVLCISSIMO. . . . 
VIBAS IN SPIRITO - SAN(rfo) 



" Live in the Holy Spirit." 

Cemetery of Callisto. 



57 



IlPOTflC 

EN Arm 

IINETMA 

TI EOT 

EN6AAE 

KEITAI 

^IPMIAAA 

AAEA<H 

MNHMHC 

KAPIN 



"Here lies Protus in the Holy Spirit of God. 
Erected in memory of him by his sister Firmilla." 

Cemetery of S. Hermes. Kircherian Museum. 



io2 Christian Epigraphy 

In another we find the three persons of the 
Trinity named. 



.... LO .... 

. . . .PAR. . . . 
.... CVNDIANVS qui credidil 

in CRISTVM - lESVw vivet in 
patrE - ET FILIO ET ISPirifo Sancto 



" Secundianus, who believed in Jesus Christ, 
shall live in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy 
Spirit." 

Cemetery of Domitilla. 



CHAPTER III 

INSCRIPTIONS BEARING ON SACRAMENTS 

-i 

Baptism and Confirmation 

THE sacrament of Baptism, the initiation into 
Christianity, was looked upon as a mystery, the 
significance of which was not to be revealed to the 
profane ; thus the Law of the Secret applied to it. 
For this reason certain formulae were used to 
express it in inscriptions which were intelligible to 
the initiated only ; thus a person was said accipere 
or recipere or percipere, the words gratiam baptismi 
being understood. The following are instances : 

59 



PASTOR ET 7Y/IANA (dove) MARCIANA ET (fish) 
CHRESTW (Marti) ANO FILIO BENEMERENTI (in) 
^ D N EC(erunt) QVI VIXIT ANNVS XII M II ET dies . 
QVI GRArfM ACCEPIT D N DIE XII KAL 0CTOBRES 
....VIO PATERNO II COSS ET REDE(<ftY) XI KALI 
VIBAS INTER SANCTIS HA/* 



Cemetery of Callisto. 
(Boldetti, Osservazioni, p. 80. De Rossi, Inscr. i. p. 16. 

1 " Et reddidit (spiritum) XI Kalendas (octobris)." 
103 



io4 Christian Epigraphy 

This inscription is important for its age, as it 
bears the date A.D. 268. De Rossi completed the 
fourth line, "qui gratiam accepit Domini nostri," 
i.e. who received baptism; and the next line 
suggests that the deceased, a lad of twelve years of 
age, died almost on the day of his baptism ; thus 
he seems to have been baptized when in peril of 
death. 

The fact is that baptism was usually administered 
to adults only; young persons, much more babies, 
were only baptized in the case of serious illness. 
And therefore a record of baptism in a sepulchral 
inscription is almost exclusively confined to the case 
of the death of the baptized person (whether child 
or adult), shortly after receiving that Sacrament : 
otherwise there was no reason for recording it. 

Here are some other inscriptions indicating 
baptism in the same symbolical fashion : 



60 



TYCHE DVLCIS 
VIXIT ANNO VNO 
MENSIBVS X DIEB - XXV 
ACCEPIT VIII - KAL . . . 
REDDIDIT DIE S S 



" Accepit (gratiam) et reddidit (spiritum) die supra- 



scnpta. 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 



Part II Chapter III 105 

This belonged to a girl of under two years of age, 
Tyche (Fortuna) by name, who died on the day of 
her baptism. 



BENEMERENTI ANTONIAE CYRI ACETI QVAE VIXIT 

ANNIS XVIIII M II D - XXVI ! 

ACCEPTA DEI GRATIA QVARTA - DIE ! 

VIRGO OBIIT IVLIVS BENEDICTVS PATER I 

FILIAE DVLCISSIMAE I 

ET INCOMPARABILI POSVIT D - XII KAL DEC 



" Accepta Dei gratia quarta die virgo obiit." 

Cemetery of Callisto. 

This belonged to a virgin of eighteen years, 
Antonia Cyriacete by name, who died four days 
after receiving baptism. 



POSTVMIVS EVTENION FIDELIS 
QVI . GRATIAM SANCTAM CONSE 
CVTVS EST PRIDIE . NATALI SVO 



Buonarroti, Vetri cimiteriali (Funerary glass). 

Postumius Eutenion is here called fidelis, because 
he had been baptized; this had been. done on the 
day before his death, which is called his dies natalis, 
i.e. the date of his birth into the true life. 



io6 Christian Epigraphy 

63 



FVIT MIHI NATIBITAS ROMANA- NOMEN - SI QWERIS 

IVLIA BOCATA SO QVE VIXI MVNDA 

CVM BYRO MEO FLORENTIO 

CVI DEMISI TRES FILIOS SVPERSTETES 

MOX GRATIA DEI PERCEPI 

SVSCEPTA IN PACE NEOFITA 



Cemetery of Callisto. 

Valuable for giving the dialect form bocata so for 
vocata sum. This Julia appears to have died 
immediately after receiving baptism. 

6 4 



.4wREL MARCELLINVS MARITVS AVR ERITI coniugi 

rfz'GNISSIMAE BENEMERENTI 

CVM QVA VIXIT in face con 

wRORIBVS IN SE GRatiam DEI PERCIPIENTES ann, . . 

<//V?BVS XLII AVR MARitusfecit 



Cemetery of S. Hermes. 

Note the. expression "in se gratiam Dei perci- 
pientes," showing that both husband and wife had 
been baptized. 

65 



AWTITVTA 

(a)CEP (dove) TA Dei gratia? 



Cemetery of S. Peter and S. Marcellinus. 

The dove, the emblem of the soul, is here in- 
serted into the middle of the words indicating 
baptism. 



Part II Chapter III 107 

66 



KAAHC HHK1MENOC 
THN XAPIN TOT - EOT 



"... who has been made worthy to receive 
duly the grace of God." 

(Marini, Atti degli Arvali, xx. ) 
67 



VRSO ET POLEMIC CONSS (A.D. 338) 

NOMINE PVELLA FELITE IN ANNIS 

PM TRIGINTA PERCIPET SEPTIMV KAL APRIL 

ET - DECESSIT IN PACE 

POST TERTIV KAL MAI 

DIE MERCVRI ORA DIEI NONA 



Cemetery of Domitilla. 
(Marucchi, Nuovo Bull. 1899, p. 279.) 

The deceased, Phelite (? Philete) by name, is 
here called puella on the score of her spiritual 
infancy only, as she was thirty years of age at her 
death. It records that she percepit (gratiam) on 
March 26th, 338, and died on May 3rd of the 
same year. Now in 338 Easter-day fell exactly on 
March 26th; and she must have been baptized 
upon that festival, perhaps when she was already 
ill, for she died little more than a month later. 
Observe that the day of the week (Wednesday) and 
the hour of her death (the ninth) are also recorded. 



io8 Christian Epigraphy 

68 



NATVS PVER - NOMINE PASCASIVS 
DIES PASCALES - PRID NON APRIL 
DIE IOBIS CONSTANTINO 
ET RVFO VV CC CONSS QVI VIXIT 
ANNORVM VI PERCEPIT 
XI KAL MAIAS ET ALBAS SVAS 
OCTABAS PASCAE AD SEPVLCRVM 
DEPOSVIT IIII KAL MAI FL BASILIO 
V C COnsule 



(Fabretti, Inscript. domesticae, chap. viii. No. 70.) 

This child, Pascasius by name, was born April 4th, 
457, on the Thursday after Easter, and lived six 
years. He was baptized on April 2ist, 463 (Easter 
Eve), and died in the octave of Easter, on April 2Qth 
of the same year. Thus as he died a neophyte, 
and still wearing the white robe of baptism, he 
is described as laying down his white garments on 
his tomb, " albas suas in sepulcro deposuit." 



6 9 



. . . IGNA SE BIBO INMERVM LOCVM P 
. . . ORDLA A DP STOLIS SVIS 

(sic) 



" . . . et Benigna se vivo emerunt locum 
Concordiana (?) depositis stolis suis." 

Cemetery of Callisto. 
(De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, iii. p. 405.) 



Part II Chapter III 109 

This inscription (which contains errors in spelling) 
records the purchase of a site for a tomb during 
life. Se bibo stands for se vivo, and inmerum for 
emerunt. Here also may be noted the same ex- 
pression as in the last, to the effect that the 
deceased had laid down her baptismal robe upon 
her tomb, " depositis stolis suis." 
70 



DEPOSITVS PVER . MAVRVS, ANNO 

RVM QVINQVAE MENSORVM . TRES 

NONAS AVGVSTAS BIMVS TRIMVS 

CONSECVTVS . EST 



The Passionei Collection at Fossombrone. 

In my opinion this must be read to mean that 
Maurus was baptized when he was bimus (et) trimus, 
i.e. two years and three years old, or five years : he 
did in fact survive to the age of five years and 
three months. 1 

71 



FLORENTIVS FILIO SVO APRONIANO 

FECIT TITVLVM BENEMERENTI QVI VIXIT 

ANNVM ET MENSES - NOVEM DIES QVINfrw*) 

QVI CVM SOLIDE AMATVS ESSET 

A - MAIORE SVA ET VIDIT 

HVNC MORTI CONSTITVTVM ESSET PETIVIT 

DE ECCLESIA - VT FIDELIS 

DE SAECVLO RECESSISSET 



Lateran Museum. 



1 I cannot agree with the explanation given by Father 
Scaglia, that Maurus was baptized at the age of two, and con- 
firmed at the age of three. (Notiones arch. Christ. ii. i a , p. 169. ) 



no Christian Epigraphy 

The babe Apronianus lived for one year and 
nine months ; his grandmother, seeing that he was 
in peril of death, wished him to be baptized so as 
to die in the faith, " petivit de ecclesia lit fidelis de 
saeculo recessisset." 



Confirmation is the complement of baptism -, it 
was administered immediately after that sacrament 
in a special part of the baptistery called consigna- 
torium, because signare then meant the same as 
our word confirmation. Hence Tertullian says 
that on issuing from the laver of baptism we 
receive the holy unction, "egressi de lavacro 
perungimur benedicta unctione." 1 

In an inscription at Tolentino there is a specific 
mention of the laver and the unction, that is of 
baptism and confirmation, administered to husband 
and wife together by a bishop. 



QVOS PARIBVS MERITIS IVNXIT 

MATRIMONIO DVLCI 

OMNIPOTENS DOMINVS TVMVLVS 

CVSTODIT IN AEVVM 

CATERVI SEVERINA TIBI CONIVNCTA LAETATVR 

SVRGATIS PARITER CHRISTO PRAESTANTE BEATI 

QVOS DEI SACERDOS PROBIANVS 

LAVIT ET VNXIT 



At Tolentino. 

Sometimes the idea of the combined rites of 
baptism and confirmation was expressed by simply 
saying that a brother had been signatus, or more 

1 De baptismo, chap. vii. 



Part II Chapter III in 

precisely, signatus munere Christi, as in the follow- 
ing inscription from Bolsena: 



73 



NVPER PRAECLARO SIGNATVS MVNERE CHRISTI 

QVI QVONDAM DVRA GENITORVM MORTE DIREPTVS 

SVSCEPIT GRATOS MELIORI SORTE PARENTES 

SED TRAXIT FORTVNA DIEM NEC DISTVLIT HORAM 

NAM GENIALI SOLO PRAECLVSIT TEMPORA VITAE 

NOMEN ALEXANDRI PATRIAM GENVS 

SI QVAERIS HIC EST 

HIC VIXIT ANNIS . . .Ill IDVS SEPTEMB 



Bolsena. Cemetery of S. Christina. 

Observe here the expression "suscepit gratos 
meliori sorte parentes," referring to the susceptores y 
whom we now call sponsors. 



74 



D-P 

VALE | QVI | LEGERIS | LI BENS | PICENTIAE 

LEGITIMAE | NEOPHYTAE | DIE V KAL SEP 

CONSIGNATAE | A | LIBERIO | PAPA 

MARITVS | VXORI | BENEMERENTI 

DVPLICEM | SARCOPHAGVM | CVM TITVLIS 

HOC LOCO | POSVIT 



"Vale qui legeris libens. Picentiae Fegitimae 
neophitae die. V. cal. sept, consignatae a Liberio 
papa. Maritus uxori benemerenti duplicem sarco- 
phagum cum titulis hoc loco posuit." 

This once existed at Spoleto, where it was tran- 
scribed by Cyriacus of Anconain the fifteenth century. 

(De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist., 1869, p. 23.) 



ii2 Christian Epigraphy 

Pope Liberius, the predecessor of Damasus, was 
Pope from 355 to 366 A.D., therefore this inscription 
must come within that period. Although the Pope 
administered baptism and confirmation in Rome 
on Easter Eve in the Lateran Basilica, we need not 
be surprised to find that this neophyte Picentia was 
confirmed by Pope Liberius at Spoleto. We know 
that Liberius was exiled beyond the Alps in the 
course of the Arian dispute, and he was bound to 
pass by Spoleto, which was on his road to the 
north ; so that he might have administered the 
sacrament of Confirmation there on his way. And 
it is very likely that the name of Liberius was 
mentioned here as a testimony to his persistent 
opposition to Arianism. He has indeed been 
accused of accepting Arian articles, and of being 
recalled from exile by the Emperor Constantius on 
that account ; but this is a calumny, for we know 
that on his return to Rome he had a triumphant 
reception, while the anti-pope Felix, who had been 
appointed by Constantius, was left with scarcely 
a follower. This would not have occurred had 
Liberius put his hand to a heretical Creed. 
Furthermore, Liberius in his sepulchral inscription 
(which we shall quote later among the historical 
inscriptions) is described as the "champion of 
orthodoxy," which could not have been said of him 
had he fallen into heresy. 

This inscription of Picentia is quoted with im- 
mediate reference to the rite of confirmation, but 
it has also a very important bearing on the history 
of Pope Liberius. 



Now let us pass to the monumental inscriptions 



Part H Chapter III 113 

which decorated baptisteries and their adjacent 
chapels; these are somewhat later in date than 
those quoted above, inasmuch as in the. first 
centuries no great basilicas existed. Buildings of 
this sort were erected in times of peace ; hence 
it is in the fourth and fifth centuries that monu- 
mental inscriptions make their appearance on the 
great baptisteries of the Vatican, Lateran, and 
Ostian basilicas, in those of S. Lorenzo in Damaso, 
of S. Anastasia at the foot of the Palatine, etc. 

These buildings used to contain some inscrip- 
tions of the school of Damasus, some earlier 
than Damasus, others of a later date; but of the 
originals of these very few now exist, and most of 
them are known to us through the collections only. 
It would take too long to set them all out, and we 
need only quote three of the most remarkable. 

One of the most important monumental in- 
scriptions relating to baptism is preserved in 
the Collection of Verdun which was compiled by 
an anonymous pilgrim at the end of the eighth 
century. Many Roman inscriptions are copied 
therein in topographical order. Thus, after taking 
a number of inscriptions from the Via Salaria, the 
pilgrim reaches the cemetery of Priscilla, where, he 
says, " isti versiculi scripti sunt ad fontes," Le. the 
inscription stood near a baptistery. Mention is 
made therein of the visible signs of the grace con- 
ferred by baptism, and then comes a marked 
allusion to the local traditions of S. Peter, who 
has the power to bind and to loose. The form 
of the poem is good and the ideas are elevated ; 
it runs as follows : 



ii4 Christian Epigraphy 

75 

Sumite perpetuam sancto de gurgite vitam ; 
Cursus hie estfidei mors ubi sola perit. 
Roborat hie animos divina fonte lavacrum^ 
Et dum membra madent, mens solidatur aquis. 
Auxit apostolicae geminatum sedis honor em 
Christus, et ad coelos hanc dedit esse viam ; 
Nam cui siderei commisit limina regni 
Hie habet in templis altera claustra poli. 

The first verses are an invitation to baptism 
Receive, says the poet, eternal life from the holy 
laver ; here is the way of Faith. The next sentence, 
"where death alone dies," means that here dies the 
sin which begets death perpeccatum mors ; baptism 
being considered as the burial of the old man, that 
the new man may be raised therefrom. The next 
verse contains an evident allusion to the ancient 
baptism by immersion, when the baptisterium was 
simply a bathroom. The lines contain an invita- 
tion to the catechumens to come to baptism, and 
a short description of its results. Then come two 
rather obscure couplets. The poet wishes to find 
some relation between baptism and the chair of 
S. Peter. "Christ has increased the doubled 
honour of the Apostolic see." By "doubled 
honour" must be meant the twofold power of 
Peter to bind and to loose, as appears from the 
last verse, where the keys are named. By giving 
this twofold power to the Apostolic see, Christ has 
made it the way by which to rise to heaven ; for 
"he to whom Christ gave the charge of the 
Kingdom of Heaven is none but he who here on 
earth, in basilicas, in baptisteries, and in this spot, 
wields his twofold power to bind and to loose." 



Part II Chapter III 115 

These expressions are to be understood to assert 
the doctrine of "one Church, one baptism." The 
same idea is expressed in an inscription in the 
Vatican baptistery in these words : 

76 

Una Petri series, unum verumque lavacrum ; 
Vincula mdla tenent quern liquor iste lavat. 

Next after the inscription of which we have 
spoken, the Itinerary of Verdun quotes another, 
and makes the following comment : Isti versiculi 
sunt scripti ubi pontifex consignat infantes^ i.e. those 
born again by baptism. This evidently refers to 
the consignatorium^ the chapel adjacent to the 
baptistery, where confirmation was administered. . 

This second inscription runs as follows : 

77 

Istic insontes coelesti flumine lotos 

Pastoris summi dextera signat oves. 

Hue undis generate veni quo Sanctus ad unum 

Spiritus ut capias te sua dona vocat. 

Tu cruce suscepta mundi vitare procellas 

Disce, magis monitus hac ratione loci. 

The first couplet states the use to which the 
place is put, saying that it is here that neophytes 
are confirmed. By the Chief Pastor is meant the 
Pope, not any ordinary bishop, whence it follows 
that this was a Papal baptistery. 

In the second couplet the neophytes are invited 
to receive the Holy Spirit. "Oh thou who hast 
been born again of water, come with thy fellows 
hither where the Holy Spirit calleth thee, to 
receive His gifts." This is an invitation to the 
neophytes clothed in their white robes, who came 



n6 Christian Epigraphy 

attended by their susceptores to ask for confirma- 
tion. 

The last couplet contains admonitions to the 
newly confirmed: "Thou who hast received the 
sign of the Cross " that is, the sign made by the 
bishop on the forehead at confirmation " learn to 
conquer the temptations of the world, remembering 
not only the sacrament thou hast received" for 
this might have been received anywhere "butte- 
ratione loci, i.e. keeping ever present to thee the 
holy influence of the spot in which thou hast been 
confirmed." 

Now this allusion to some famous local tradition 
can only refer to the great tradition of the baptism 
administered by S. Peter near the cemetery of 
Priscilla. 1 

This allusion to S. Peter led De Rossi to believe 
that the inscription came from the baptistery of the 
Vatican. But this cannot be admitted, having 
regard to the topographical accuracy of this collec- 
tion, which proceeds regularly without skipping; 
moreover, the compiler states that he transcribed it 
along with the other inscriptions which stood in the 
cemetery of Priscilla. Here, then, we may recognise 
the earliest record of a place set apart specially for 
the administration of baptism. 

We pass to another celebrated inscription in the 
Lateran baptistery. The Lateran in the earliest 
times was the ancestral house of the noble family 
of the Plautii Laterani. Under Nero one of that 
family was condemned to death, and his property 
was confiscated, whereby the palace passed into the 

1 On this record see various articles of mine in the Nuovo 
Bidlettino di archeologia cristiana, 1901, etc. 



Part II Chapter III 117 

private demesne of the Emperor, and became 
one of the imperial palaces. In the days of Con- 
stantine it was granted to Pope Miltiades, who 
established his residence there ; and thereupon the 
basilica, which was dedicated to the Saviour, 
became the Cathedral of Rome. The palace was 
once occupied by Fausta, the wife of Constantine, 
who directed the existing baptistery to be built 
close by, very likely as her private bath-house. For 
this reason it was called Baptisterium, or Baptism-urn 
Constantini ; whence the legend arose that Con- 
stantine was baptized there by Pope Silvester, 
whereas he was in fact baptized shortly before his 
death at Nicomedia. Sixtus III. in the fifth century 
embellished the baptistery, and added an inscrip- 
tion cut on the octagonal marble architrave. The 
inscription is perfectly preserved, and may be 
admired even to this day : the lettering somewhat 
resembles that of the period of Damasus. 

78 

Gens sacranda polls hie semine nasdtur almo 
Quam faecundatis spiritus alit aquis. 
Virgineo foetu genitrix Ecclesia natos 
Quos spirante Deo condpit amne parit. 
Coelorum regnum sperate, hoc fonte renatt 
Noti redpit felix vita semel genitos. 
Fons hie est vitae et qui totum diluit orbem 
Sumens de Chris ti vulnere prindpium. 
Mergere peccator sacro purgande fluento 
Quern veterem acdpiet praeferet unda novum. 
Insons esse volens isto mundare lavacro 
Sen patrio praemeris crimine sen proprio. 
Nulla renascent-urn est distantia quos fadt unum 
) units spiritus, una fides. 



n8 Christian Epigraphy 

Nee numerus quemquam scelerum nee forma suorum 
Terreat, hoc natus flumine sane f us erit. 

This elegant inscription is most valuable from a 
doctrinal point of view, as stating the effect of 
baptism, and the theological conception of that 
sacrament. 

Among other inscriptions in the baptisteries we 
must not forget those of S. Paul extra moenia^ 
where besides a baptistery there was also a con- 
firmation-chapel. Another inscription relating to 
baptism stood in the church of Anastasia at the 
foot of the Palatine, which was probably the parish 
church of the Palatine in the fourth and fifth 
centuries. 

There was a baptistery in the basilica of 
S. Lorenzo in Damaso also, and the inscription 
thereon is set forth in the Collection of Verdun, 
where the church is entitled S. Laurentius in 
Prasma, because it stood near the training-stables 
of the prasine, or green, faction of the circus. 

Many other inscriptions of this class are known, 
and might be quoted here. But rather than 
increase the length of this chapter by quotations 
which are already long enough, we will refer our 
readers to the Inscriptiones of G. B. De Rossi, 
vol. ii., where they may easily be found under the 
head "Baptisteria eorumque epigrammata." 



Inscriptions relating to the Eucharist 

The inscriptions as to the Eucharist are few, but 
the eucharistic emblems found in the paintings and 
sculptures of the catacombs are many. Of euchar- 
istic texts two only are at present known. 

The rarity of these depends on various causes, 
but principally on the fact that the authors of the 
inscriptions were more concerned to dwell on the 
efficacy of prayer for the dead, on the resurrection, 
etc. ; and only referred to other doctrines when 
it was desired to bring them into connexion with 
that line of thought. Besides this, the " discipline 
of the secret " imposed silence as to the dogma of 
the Eucharist, which lent itself somewhat to the 
slanders and jeers of the pagans. 

The well-known Apology of S. Justin gives an 
excellent description of the liturgy of the Eucharist 
as in use about A.D. 155. The Eucharist is there 
called the heavenly food of the body of Jesus 
Christ, and mention is made of the mixing of the 
wine with water, called Ke/oacr/xa. S. Justin speaks 
of the consecration almost in the same terms as 
S. Paul, whence it would seem that the rule of 
the " secret " had been a trifle relaxed in the quiet 
times. The prayers preceding and following the 
communion are recorded, and also the kiss of 
peace ; but the actual communion formula is not 
119 



120 Christian Epigraphy 

recorded by S. Justin; we find it, however, pre- 
served by other writers, notably by Tertullian. 

According to De Rossi, the oldest painting of 
the Eucharist is that in the crypt of Lucina ; being 
expressed entirely by symbols, it must represent 
an older idea than the Fractio panis of the cemetery 
of Priscilla. It presents to us two symmetrical 
groups, showing a fish on a green ground and 
bearing on his back the bread and wine ; no 
better emblem could be found of the union 
of the eucharistic elements with the body of the 
Redeemer. 

There are abundant proofs that the Eucharist is 
here intended. The body of Jesus Christ in the 
Eucharist is called by S. Paulinus, panis verus et 
aquae vivae piscisl And we know that in the 
poorer churches baskets were used to carry the 
Holy Eucharist : nihil illo ditius qui corpus Domini 
in canistro vimineo, et sanguinem portat in vitro? 
The fish was undoubtedly a symbol of the Saviour 
from the second century onwards, and the celebrated 
acrostic IX0YC did much to popularise its use. 3 
Renan could see in this painting nothing but an 
allusion to the fish eaten by Christ and His disciples 
on the lake of Tiberias. De Rossi, on the other 
hand, has shown that that story has nothing to do 
with this group of figures, but is to be found in 
the paintings of banquets in the cemetery of 
Callisto, which are much later than the frescoes in 
the crypt of Lucina. 

This picture was not intended merely to represent 

1 Epist. xiii. 

2 St. Jerome, Epist. cxxv. , ad Rusticum. 

3 Cf. De Rossi, " De Christianis monumentis ichtyn ex- 
hibentibus," Spicileg. Solesm. vol. iii. 



Part II Chapter III 121 

the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and 
fishes; if that had been the only meaning, the 
presence of the flask of red wine in the middle of 
it would have been inexplicable. The symbol of 
the eucharistic fish is often repeated in funerary 
art. Next to the above-mentioned comes the 
painting of the Fractio pants in the cemetery of 
Priscilla; this goes back to the reign of Hadrian or 1 
of Antoninus Pius, and the age of S. Justin, and 
consequently the Greek chapel in which it stands 
may be considered to be the oldest church in 
Rome. This fresco represents the ceremony of 
the division of the bread. On the left the priest 
and the bishop break the bread into pieces, having 
the cup in front of them ; five other persons and a 
female figure are seated round a table on which 
loaves and fishes are placed. According to Wilpert, 
this is a correct representation of the eucharistic 
rite as celebrated on that spot in the second 
century; and certainly the actors in it are real- 
istically drawn. But it cannot be said to be a 
simple study of real life, for the baskets standing 
on each side have evidently a symbolical meaning, 
as in the picture of the Miracle of the Loaves and 
Fishes ; and again, the feet of the priest are on the 
same level as the table, which would be practically 
impossible. Lastly, the love-feast is here depicted 
as combined with the Eucharist, a combination 
which was no longer in use in the second century. 
For these reasons we conclude that here actuality 
and symbolism are combined, and that the part 
truest to fact is the action of the priest. 

Another eucharistic picture is that of the tripod 
with the loaf and the fish. Of this we have two 
instances in the cemetery of Callisto. In one of 



122 Christian Epigraphy 

them nothing is seen but a tripod alone in the midst 
of seven baskets, representing the Miracle of the 
Loaves ; in the other a man extends his hand as if 
in blessing, in the presence of a woman in prayer. 
In this scene De Rossi saw the very act of conse- 
cration. The tripod is the mensa Domini^ and has 
the shape of a dining -table, as is usual in the case 
of primitive altars ; and the place it occupies on the 
wall, between baptism and the eucharistic feast, is 
an additional proof of its meaning. The woman in 
prayer suggests the Church praying before the con- 
secrated elements. Wilpert thought that the latter 
picture might represent the Miracle of the Loaves 
and Fishes ; but in that case the presence of the 
table could not be explained, nor the absence of 
the baskets \ while the neighbouring picture of the 
sacrifice of Abraham rather bids us look here for 
an allusion to sacrifice. 

Pictures of tables alone are rare, but pictures of 
feasts are common enough, especially in the third 
century. There is always a fish on the table, and 
the number of persons is invariably seven. In one 
of the Chambers of the Sacrament, 1 near the table 
with the loaf and fish, is a painting of the feast on 
the lake of Tiberias, done in conventional fashion 
with idealised figures. Here there can be no 
doubt as to the meaning; in the words of 
S. Augustine, Piscis assus Christus est passus. S. 
Prosper of Aquitania says that the Redeemer offers 
of Himself to all as " a fish of salvation that gives 
daily light and nourishment." The word also 
suggests some allusion to the fish which healed the 
blind Tobias and restored his sight. 

1 Five chambers in the cemetery of Callisto decorated with 
pictures of the sacraments. 



Part II Chapter III 123 

The baskets of loaves are one of the oldest 
representations of the Eucharist, but we find them 
also in the Fractio panis of the cemetery of 
Priscilla ; the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, 
to which they refer, belongs also to a later 
period. To that same later series the representa- 
tion of the Miracle of the Marriage at Cana 
belongs ; it is somewhat common on sarcophagi, 
but rare in paintings. Wilpert found an example 
of it in the cemetery of S. Peter and S. Mar- 
cellinus. In that catacomb and in some others 
may be seen pictures of feasts, which, however, 
must be carefully distinguished from those of which 
we are now speaking. The figures therein are not 
invariably seven, but vary in number. Some have 
taken them to represent scenes at love-feasts, but this 
is scarcely likely, as primitive Christian art seldom 
dealt with scenes of actual life. More probably 
they are fanciful representations of the heavenly 
feast promised by the Redeemer, which he calls 
Mensa Patris mei. It must be observed, however, 
that on some pagan tombs there are also banquet- 
ing scenes almost identical, showing the loaf and 
the fish ; but these are simply pictures of funeral 
banquets, and the fish indicates that these banquets 
were fairly costly. It would appear, therefore, that 
in this case also the Christian artists had probably 
taken their inspiration from pagan art as far as the 
artistic composition of the scene was concerned. 

A fine picture of the heavenly feast is to be seen 
in the entrance to the cemetery of Domitilla, and, 
although it is much damaged, it is still possible to 
recognise two persons seated at a table bearing a 
fish and some loaves, and on one side of them the 
servant, dapifer, holding a plate. This picture 



124 Christian Epigraphy 

dates from the first century. Banqueting scenes 
are repeated six or seven times in the cemetery of 
S. Peter and S. Marcellinus, and they go back to 
the third and fourth centuries. There are always 
two women near the table presiding over the 
banquet, whom the inscriptions bid us recognise 
as personifying Peace and Charity : IRENE DA 
CALDA, AGAPE MISCE ML This word 
MISCE reminds us of the custom of mixing of 
wine with water in ancient banquets and also in the 
Sacrifice of the Eucharist. 

The feast of the five wise Virgins is more rarely 
represented; an instance of it is found on an 
arcosolium of the greater cemetery of S. Agnese. 
In the midst is the suppliant figure, on one side 
are the five virgins with their lamps alight, on the 
other four virgins seated at a table ; the fifth is the 
suppliant. In this we may see the marriage feast 
of the Celestial Bridegroom. In a fresco of the 
cemetery of Cyriaca the five Virgins are represented, 
but without the table. 

The vessel full of milk is another symbol of the 
Eucharist ; of this we have a proof in one of the 
celebrated visions of the martyr S. Perpetua. 
There appeared to the saint in a garden the Good 
Shepherd with His flock around Him, and also 
other people, to whom the Shepherd, who was milk- 
ing His sheep, gave a small dish of curds, while all 
the bystanders bowed their heads and said Amen. 

Among the paintings of the cemetery of Callisto 
there is the Good Shepherd with the vessel of milk 
and two sheep. In the cemetery of Domitilla 
there is a picture of a sheep near a vessel of milk 
tied to a stick, the symbol of the Shepherd. The 
same scene is repeated in front of the tablinum of the 



Part II Chapter III 125 

house of S. John and S. Paul, whence it may be 
gathered that this symbol was in use in the fourth 
century also. 

The bunch of grapes, which has the same 
meaning, is scarcely ever found in paintings, but is 
often carved on tombstones. Manna, which is a 
symbol of the Eucharist, is represented on an 
arcosolium of the cemetery of Cyriaca. 

It was necessary to give this preliminary informa- 
tion before offering any remarks on the two cele- 
brated sepulchral inscriptions relative to the 
Eucharist, known as those of Pectorius and of 
Abercius. 

The inscription of Pectorius was found at Autun 
in 1839, and was published and annotated by Pitra. 

It is a very valuable record, going back perhaps 
to the beginning of the third century, and contain- 
ing expressions of great importance from a doctrinal 
point of view : 



o[i'/oaviov ^ejiov yevos -ijropi 
Xprjcre A,a^8a>[i' injyrf^v aftfipoTOV ev 



YSacriv aeiWots irXovroSorov 

Se ayaov /zeAiTjSea Aa^u,/?av[ 



"Thou, the divine offspring of the heavenly 
1X6YC, keep a pure heart, while thou receivest 
the source of God-given waters, immortal gift to 
mortals. Comfort thy soul, oh friend, with the 
ever-flowing waters of wealth-giving wisdom ; and 
receive the honey-sweet food of the Redeemer of 
the Saints ; eat in thy hunger, holding IX6YN in 
thy hands." 






126 Christian Epigraphy 

Then he goes on : 

"Satisfy thyself with IX0YC. My desire is to 
thee, my Saviour ; to thee I pray, thou light of the 
dead. Ascandius, father, my heart's beloved, 
and with thee my darling mother and my brethren, 
in the peace of IX9YC remember thy Pectorius." 

Here the faithful are bidden to feed on holy 
food, and to receive into their hands the con- 
secrated elements, according to ancient liturgical 
usage. 

The inscription of Abercius, bishop of Hieropolis 
in Phrygia, is still more important. 

The life and doings of Abercius are known to us 
from his " Acts " found in the Collection of Meta- 
phrastes, a Byzantine biographer of the saints of 
the tenth century. These Acts, which have been 
frequently published, have been again recently 
reissued by the Bollandists. The story tells us 
that he was bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, under 
the Emperor Marcus Aurelius ; that he undertook 
very long journeys into the East and the West that 
he might preach the Gospel everywhere, and visit 
the more famous churches; and that he was com- 
pared to the Apostles for the activity of his ministry. 
In these journeys he visited Rome among other 
places, and after his return to the East he 
determined to bequeath to posterity a record of his 
wanderings, in the form of an epitaph in verse to 
be inscribed on his tombstone. The Greek text of 
this inscription is set forth in the codexes of Meta- 
phrastes, and has therefore been long known. But 
Tillemont had discredited the Acts of Abercius as 
purely legendary (and they certainly contain some 
very queer, if not fabulous, matter) ; the con- 
sequence was that even the text of the inscription 



Part II Chapter III 127 

quoted therein fell into disrepute among scholars ; 
the more so as the poem differed entirely from 
every other Christian sepulchral inscription then 
known, and contained novel and suspicious ex- 
pressions. The doubts of the learned were further 
increased by the objection that the name of 
Abercius was not to be found in the list of the 
bishops of Hierapolis. 

The first to restore the credit of the verses of 
Abercius, in the face of all these objections, and to 
pronounce them genuine, was the famous Cardinal 
Pitra, who wrote long and learned works on the 
Christian symbolism of the early centuries ; and in 
support of this defence he made use of the above- 
quoted inscription of Pectorius, discovered at Autun, 
in which there are some expressions resembling 
those in the Phrygian inscription. Following Pitra, ^ 
De Rossi held the epitaph of Abercius to be 
genuine, and made liberal use of it in the learned 
comments on the earliest symbolical paintings 
discovered in the Roman catacombs, which he 
published in the second volume of his Roma 
sotterranea. But when the genuineness of the 
record had once been accepted by archaeologists, 
they began to discuss the restoration of the text 
of some noteworthy passages, and Garrucci in 
particular introduced some remarkable emenda- 
tions, holding that some of the verses were 
interpolations. 

Matters stood thus, when in 1882 Professor 
Ramsay, of the University of Aberdeen in Scot- 
land, who had undertaken a journey in the East 
for the purpose of studying the ancient geography 
of Asia Minor, discovered in Phrygia a sepulchral 
cippus with an inscription in Greek concerning a 



128 Christian Epigraphy 

Christian of the name of Alexander. De Rossi 
was the first to notice that the inscription dis- 
covered by Ramsay was an imitation of that of 
Abercius, through the identity of some of the 
phraseology, and from the fact that the name of 
Alexander had been substituted for that of the 
bishop (Abercius) in defiance of prosody. This was 
a prima facie confirmation of the theory that the 
verses of Abercius had once really existed ; and it 
further showed that his monument might very 
well be of the date attributed to it by the 
" Acta," i.e. the second century, for the stone of 
Alexander, which was copied from it, bears the 
date 300 of the Phrygian era, which corresponds to 
A.D. 216. 

The discovery of this marble cippus gave birth 
to a desire to find the actual original of the much- 
disputed verses of Abercius, and De Rossi publicly 
called upon Ramsay in his journal, the Bullettino, 
to make another visit to Asia Minor and search 
diligently for any fragments of this precious text 
which might be still in existence. The Scottish 
professor accepted the courteous challenge, and on 
his return to Phrygia succeeded in discovering a 
large portion of the desired text. The cippus was 
found built into a wall of the Thermae, exactly as 
stated in the "Acta," but not in the well-known 
city of Hierapolis, as misread in the codexes, but 
in the less-known Hieropolis. And this correction 
of detail absolutely does away with, as any one 
may see, the objection that has been raised to the 
authenticity of the inscription on the score of the 
absence of the name of Abercius from the list of 
bishops of the first-named city. 

But the discovery of the original inscription, 



Part II Chapter III 129 

though partly destroyed by decay, is yet more | 
important, as proving that the text as given by I 
Metaphrastes is in the main correct, and that the 
lettering of the inscription, being exactly that of the j 
period of Marcus Aurelius, is therefore the very 
same which the good bishop ordered to be cut! 
under his own eyes. 

The existing fragment is now preserved in the 
Lateran Museum, and is reproduced in Plate 
VIII. i. 

We will now give the Greek text as restored by 
De Rossi, with some short notes on this remark- 
able record of Christian antiquity. 

Abercius is supposed to be speaking; and he 
gives his autobiography in a few lines : 

First face : 
TToAews 6 



Trys TOUT' 

2 toV JV 

(Tto/zaTos v8a Qk&iv 

3 OVVOfJL 'A/3e/)/aOS Wl> 6 

/xa$?7T?)s TTOI/XCVOS uyvov 

4 os J36(TKL 7rpo/3aT(ov ayeAas 
o/oeo-tv TreoYois TC 

5 6(f>daXfj,ovs os e\ 
Trdvrrj KaOopwvTa 

6 OVTOS yap p.' e^i 
[TCI ' {w^s] ypdfjifj,ara 

Second face (Lateran Museum, Plate VIII. i) 

7 EI2 PftMH*' 09 
EMEN 

8 KAP 
TOAON 



130 Christian Epigraphy 

9 AAON AEIAON eKa 



10 

KAIASTEAIIAvTa NiVi/? 
1 1 EY<i>PATHNAIA/2a TTO.V- 

THAE2XON2NO/u'Aovs 

12 HAVAONEXONEIIO 
III2TI2 TrdvTf] Se 

13 KAHIAPH6HKE 
IIANTHIXeYNATrb 

14 nANMErEGHKAeapov 
EAPAHATOnAPGevos a 

15 KAITOYTONEnE8wK 



1 6 

8i8ova-a 



Third face : 

1 7 ravra Tra^oea-Tws t7rov 

*A/5e/)Ktos J>8e ypa(f>YJv 

1 8 e^SoxKOcrroi/ eros /ca 



19 TavO* 6 vowv et>'aiTO V 
'AfiepKLOv 7ra<s 6 

20 OV {JieVTOL T 

ertpov nva 

21 fl 8* ovv 'Pw/xatwv 
Orjcrci Sta-^tAta \pva-a 

22 Kal XP r l (J " r y irarpiSi 'lepo- 



For the convenience of readers we append a 
translation into English. 1 

f 1 This rendering is made, not from the original, but from 
the author's translation into Italian, in order to reproduce as 
nearly as possible his view of the meaning. TK.] 



Part II Chapter III 131 

"I, a citizen of an eminent city, have made a 
tomb for myself, while yet alive, in which my 
body shall lie when the time shall have come. 
My name is Abercius, a disciple of the chaste 
Shepherd who feedeth the flocks on the mountains 
and plains, and hath great eyes that look on all 
things. He instructed me in the sure Word of 
Life, and sent me to Rome, the royal city, to con- 
template that queen girt with golden robe and 
adorned with golden shoes. There I saw a mighty 
people famous for their splendid Signet. And I 
saw the plains and all the cities of Syria and Nisibis, 
having crossed the Euphrates ; and everywhere I 
found brethren in agreement (with me), having 
Paul . . . And faith was my guide through all, 
and everywhere gave me for food the fish (IX6Y2) 
mighty out of the spring, and pure, which the 
unsullied virgin took and gave to eat to her friends 
for ever, having the choicest wine, and ministering 
it mixed (with water) together with the bread. I, 
Abercius, being myself present, dictated these 
things at the age of seventy-two years. Let him 
who understandeth all this and thinketh in like 
manner pray for Abercius. 

" Let no man place another tomb upon mine ; 
and, if one do so, he shall pay to the treasury of the 
Romans 2000 gold pieces, and to my beloved 
native town Hieropolis 1000." 

To any one who knows the phraseology of 
primitive Christian symbolism, the meaning here is 
obvious. The "chaste Shepherd" is the Good 
Shepherd of the Gospel, who animam suam dat pro 
ovibus sifts. IX6Y2 nANMErE9H2 is the " great 
fish " of which Tertuilian speaks : nos pisciculi 
secundum l\9vv nostrum Jesum Christum in aqua 



132 Christian Epigraphy 

nasrimur. The queen that Abercius saw in Rome 
is the Christian community in Rome, the Church 
renowned above all for its founders and its fidelity. 
In the chaste virgin who has taken the fish from 
the water we must understand the Virgin Mary, 
who conceived the Saviour. The discipline of the 
secret required the use of this mysterious and 
symbolical language, but to the initiate, "him 
who understandeth all this and thinketh in like 
manner," it was perfectly intelligible. 

Dr. Gerard Ficker, of Halle, writing some years 
ago, rejected this interpretation, and went so far 
as to say that Abercius was a priest of Cybele, 
and the inscription a pagan one. But his reason- 
ing is of no value. As to his first objection, 
founded on the shape of the monument, it is well 
known that monuments in the form of cippi were 
to be found in Christian cemeteries open to the 
sky, as elsewhere. Then he insists that a Christian 
inscription of the second century could not fail to 
contain some sort of allusion to the doctrine of the 
Resurrection. But is not a recommendation of 
oneself to the prayers of the living a sort of allusion 
to a future life? Moreover, the actual word 
resurrection is very rarely found on inscriptions in 
cemeteries. 

But Ficker's affirmative arguments are even 
weaker than his negative; his hypothesis, identi- 
fying Cybele with the virgo casta and Attis with 
the Shepherd of the inscription of Abercius, is 
fantastic. Why, one of the obligations imposed on 
the worshippers of Cybele was actually abstinence 
from fish : how then could Abercius have boasted 
of an act done during his pilgrimage which was a 
breach of this rule ? Nor is it thinkable that the 



Part II Chapter III 133 

Christians (who certainly held Abercius in great 
veneration) should have chosen a priest of Cybele 
as their bishop. How, exclaims De Rossi, is it 
possible to treat fancies of this sort as serious, or 
to discuss them as if they were worth scientific 
consideration ? 

We hold, with the majority of scholars, that the 
inscription of Abercius is a Christian inscription, 
and indeed the "queen of all Christian inscrip- 
tions"; and that it has greater significance than 
any other from a doctrinal point of view. For it 
touches on the doctrines of the divinity of Christ, 
of the Eucharist, of the cult of the Virgin; it 
asserts a belief in the communion of Saints by its 
invitation to the faithful to pray for Abercius ; and, 
lastly, it also refers to the Supremacy of the Church 
of Rome. 

This splendid text is throughout redolent of 
symbolical conceptions, identical with those which 
we find in the Christian phraseology of the first 
centuries, when the "discipline of the secret" 
was so generally practised to conceal the more 
abstruse doctrines of Christianity from idolaters. 
The "unsullied pastor" is Christ, who is often 
represented in ancient Christian art under these 
allegorical images culled from the parables. The 
fish is also a symbol of the Saviour, but more 
recondite, inasmuch as the name of Christ the 
Saviour is concealed in the Greek word IX6Y2. 
And the mystical fish, so well known in the 
Christian symbolism of the first centuries, may be 
seen repeated in a thousand devices on ancient 
monuments, and especially in the Roman cata- 
combs. Hence the fish given as food to the 
faithful with bread and wine is an evident allusion 



134 Christian Epigraphy 

to the sacrament of the Eucharist. The Virgin 
also, who takes this mystical fish and gives it to 
her friends, and whose personality is clearly dis- 
tinguished from that of Faith (III2TI2), is assuredly 
Mary, who took into herself and conceived the 
Saviour, as the learned Anglican writer Lightfoot 
also explains it. 

Lastly, the reminiscence of Rome, which Abercius 
visited, in order to see the royal city and a people 
illustrious for a "splendid Signet," cannot refer 
to the material magnificence or to the political 
grandeur of the Eternal City ; for he would not 
have said that Christ had commissioned him to 
observe things of this sort. The words must 
undoubtedly be understood of the Christian in- 
habitants of Rome, who were renowned through- 
out the world ever since the days of Paul for their 
faith, and must refer to the great authority of 
the Roman Church, the supremacy of which 
Irenaeus had just then asserted. And this will 
appear still more clearly when we remember that 
Abercius was travelling, as other doctors of Chris- 
tianity were wont then to do, and as Hegesippus 
had done, for the purpose of visiting the various 
churches of Christendom, and of assuring himself 
of the identity of belief in all parts. 

But the views as to the Eucharist expressed in 
this remarkable inscription find a useful parallel in 
the inscription of Autun, recorded above, and in 
the monuments of the catacombs. 

Thus the monuments of Hieropolis, of Autun, 
and of Rome, which may be considered to be 
practically contemporaneous, are all inspired by the 
same views of Christian doctrine, and give us the 
ideas and religious convictions prevailing during 



Part II Chapter III 135 

the second and third centuries among the Christian 
congregations of three great centres of the ancient 
world, Asia Minor, Italy, and Gaul. Indeed, we 
may say that the inscription of Abercius, written 
in his seventy-third year, about A.D. 170, testifies to 
the beliefs prevalent in the first years of the 
second century one might almost say, at the end 
of the first. In the long journeys undertaken by 
Abercius, he tells us that he found the belief of all 
the brethren to be the same as his own, the same 
belief which we see set forth on the monuments 
of places so far apart. Hence we may see how 
complete is the agreement on fundamental points 
between the creed of to-day and that of both East 
and West in the period nearest to the Apostolic 
Age ; a creed which, according to Renan himself, 
was identical with catholic doctrine even in the 
reign of Marcus Aurelius. It is the confirmation 
it affords of truth of this sort that gives their special 
importance to these monuments, and above all to 
the inscription of Abercius. The fact at any rate 
is undeniable, and the more critically we study 
historical sources and monuments, the more evi- 
dent it becomes; while the daily discoveries of 
new texts, as well as the recent excavations in the 
Roman catacombs, confirm it to an extraordinary 
degree. The fact, moreover, is of a nature and 
of an importance to call for the most serious con- 
sideration from all who would study Christianity, 
were it only as a great historical phenomenon, and 
who are willing to inquire into its origin and develop- 
ment sincerely and loyally with unprejudiced minds. 



CHAPTER IV 

INSCRIPTIONS RELATING TO THE DOCTRINE OF 
THE "COMMUNION OF SAINTS" 

The Communion of Saints The Cult of Saints Inscriptions 
of Martyrs 

THIS doctrine may be treated under two heads : 
the first has to do with the prayers of the faithful 
for the departed; the second, with the prayers 
addressed to the departed imploring their inter- 
cession on behalf of the living. 

For greater clearness, therefore, we shall take the 
inscriptions relating to them in two corresponding 
classes. 



Inscriptions relating to the Prayers of the Faithful 
for the Departed 

The following is one of the most important 
inscriptions, as it states its object to be to induce 
the faithful on reading it to pray for the salvation 
of the deceased : 

136 



Part II Chapter IV 137 

79 



D -P 

LVCIFERE COIVGI DVLCISSIME OMNEN (sic) 
DVLCITVDINEM CVM LVCTVM MAXIME 
MARITO RELIQVISSET MERVIT TITVLVM 
INSCRIBI VT QVISQVE DE FRATRIBVS LE 
GERIT ROGET DEVM I VT SANCTO ET INNOCENTI 
SPIRITO AD DEVM SVSCIPIATVR 

QUE VIXIT ANNVS XXI MES VIII DIES XV 



"As a reward for her virtues this tablet has 
been set up, so that any of the brethren reading it 
should pray God to receive unto Himself this holy 
and innocent soul." 

Lateran Museum. 

Of still greater value is the next inscription, in 
hexameters : 

80 



EVCHARIS EST MATER PIVS ET PATER EST mihi. . . 
VOS PRECOR O FRATRES ORARE 
HVC QVANDO VENiVw \ ET PRECIBVS TOTIS 
PATREM NATVMQVE ROCATIS \ SIT VESTRAE 
MENTIS AGAPES CARAE MEMINISSE \ VT DEVS 
OMNIPOTENS ' AGAPEN IN SAECVLA SERVET 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 

The inscription used to be on the tomb of a girl 
named Agape. 

The girl is represented as speaking; she begins 
by recalling the memory of her mother EVCHARIS 
(excellent grace), and next her pious father, whose 



138 



Christian Epigraphy 



name formed a spondee (e.g. Marcus or Crassus). 
Then the writer speaks in his own person, addressing 
visitors, and the brethren who may come to pray 
in the cemetery : Vos precor o fratres orare hue 
quando venitis et precibus tot is patrem natumque 
rogatis, i.e. " when you come to offer common 
prayer (precibus totis) to the Father and the Son, 
remember the beloved Agape, sit vesfrae mentis 
Agapes carae meminisse, that God may take her 
into His glory." 

From this it may be certainly inferred that the 
faithful held liturgical services in the cemeteries, 
at which prayers were offered for the dead. 

This important inscription is not later than the 
beginning of the third century. 

In the following may be recognised an expression 
taken from a liturgical prayer for the dead : 

81 



IN 
SPIRIT/^ 
SILVAw* 
AMEN 



Cemetery of Callisto. 
82 



EVGENI 
SPIRITWS (sic) 
IN BONO 

(a dove) 



" Eugenius, may thy spirit dwell in happiness ! " 

Cemetery of Callisto. 



Part II Chapter IV 139 

In a Greek inscription we find the following 
noble ejaculation : 



H ^TXH COT - EIC - TOTC OTP ANOTC 



" May thy soul go to heaven ! " 
Cemetery of Domitilla. 



The following is partly in Greek and partly in 
Latin, Greek letters being used for the Latin. It 
contains a prayer to Christ to bear the deceased in 
mind : 



AHMHTPIC - ET AEONTIA ^ 

CEIPIKE *EIAIE . BENEMEPEX 

(a dove) 
KTPIOC . TEKNON 



" Lord Jesus, remember our daughter ! " 

Cemetery of Domitilla. 



140 Christian Epigraphy 

In the final words of the following we meet with 
the beautiful words of the Angelic Salutation : 

85 ' 



TH CEMNOTATH KAI TATKTTATH 
CTMBIft POAINH ATP AlOCIOdw 
POC TE6EIKAT KTP META COT 



"The Lord be with thee !" 

Cemetery of Priscilla. 

In the two next repose and peace are invoked 
on behalf of the spirit : 

86 



OIAOTMENH 

EN EIPHNH COT 

TO IINETMA 



" May thy spirit be in peace ! " 

S. Agnese. Lateran Museum. 
8? 



AOHNOAftPE TEKNON 

O - IINETMA COT EIC ANAHATCIN 



" May thy spirit be at rest ! " 

Cemetery of the Giordani. 



Part II Chapter IV 141 

In the following the close of the epitaph alludes 
to the doctrine of the Resurrection : 



EIC - ANACTACIN AIHNION 



"(May thy body be preserved here) till the 
everlasting Resurrection." 

Cemetery of Priscilla. 

The most usual formula for offering a prayer for 
the dead is IN PACE. But there is another and 
more solemn expression, REFRIGERIUM, which 
denotes the relief of a pain which is being endured, 
a consolation in the midst of affliction. 

This word refrigcrium has always been used in 
the most ancient and solemn form of petition ; and 
it also maintains its place in the liturgy, for in the 
Canon of the Mass we still implore on behalf of 
the dead locum refrigerii et pads. 

In the inscriptions this form of prayer is ex- 
pressed in various ways. Sometimes we find the 
simple formula IN REFRIGERIUM ; often, too, 
we find it combined with the more common form 
IN PACE. We find also DEVS TIBI - RE- 
FRIGERET DEVS REFRIGERET SPIRI- 
TVM TVVM REFRIGERA BENE RE- 
FRIGERA, etc. 

The doctrinal value of the word REFRIGERIUM 
comes out even more clearly in an invaluable relic 
of legendary history, the "authentic and original 



142 Christian Epigraphy 

Acts of the Martyrdom of S. Perpetua " (A.D. 203). 
We mentioned this collection of stories on p. 124; 
but the present is a suitable occasion for giving a 
short account of it in connexion with the prayer 
for refrigerium. 

The story is in three parts. The first is an 
account given, perhaps by a deacon, or a clerk of 
the Church of Carthage, concerning the companions 
of the Saint in her imprisonment and martyrdom ; 
the second, written by the holy martyr herself, is 
the journal she kept during her imprisonment ; the 
third gives the story of her martyrdom as related 
by the writer of the first part. This last part closes 
with a solemn declaration made by the author that 
the second part was actually written by the holy 
martyr with her own hand. The description gives 
an artless account of all that occurred from the 
moment the Saint and her fellow-Christians were 
imprisoned up to the day of her martyrdom. At 
the end of the same part the Saint relates sundry 
visions vouchsafed to her during her imprisonment. 
She prefaces the story of each vision with these 
words, et ostensum est mihi hoc, and closes it with 
the expression, "and then I awoke." Whether 
these visions were genuinely such or mere dreams 
is a matter of indifference to us ; for even if we 
take them to be dreams, they must certainly have 
borne some relation to the dominating thoughts 
in the mind of the martyr, and therefore their 
value as illustrating doctrine remains the same. 

In the first of these visions, after the usual 
formula, et ostensum est mihi hoc, she relates how 
she saw a long staircase reaching to heaven, com- 
passed about by weapons of all sorts, and guarded 
by a dragon. She had not the courage to mount 



Part II Chapter IV 143 

the stair, but Satyrus, her companion, bade her be 
of good cheer ; then she ascended it, and reached a 
lovely garden, where she saw an aged and venerable 
man with white hair, who was milking kine. And 
when he saw her, straightway he beckoned to her 
to approach ; and when she had drawn near, the 
old man gave her a morsel of curdled milk (sicut 
buccelld}, and she received it with hands folded over 
her lips, while all they who were in the garden said 
Ame?i. After which Perpetua says that she woke 
up, and found in her mouth such a sweetness as 
she had never tasted before. 

This is an evident allusion to the Eucharist, as 
has been pointed out in the preceding chapter. 

" After some days had passed since that vision," 
she goes on to say, " while we all stood together to 
pray, there escaped from my lips the name of 
Dinocrates, a younger brother of mine who had 
died not long before at the age of seven years of 
a cancer in the face. I wondered," she proceeds, 
" why I had never theretofore remembered him, and 
1 was sorry therefor ; and all together we set our- 
selves to pray for him. A short time after I had 
another vision, and I saw Dinocrates coming forth 
from a place of darkness, with countenance all pale 
and thereon a sore wound which made him foul 
to look upon. He was much grieved and down- 
stricken, and he went hither and thither wandering 
as one who suffers much pain. Between me and 
him there was a great gulf, so that I could not 
succour him on any wise. In the same place 
where he was stood also a fountain, and it seemed 
as though Dinocrates had a burning thirst, for he 
sought to drink, but could not, because the lip 
of the basin was very high and he was short of 



144 Christian Epigraphy 

stature. Then I understood that he was in a place 
of punishment. And so I awoke, and thought 
straightway of my brother in his suffering, but / 
had faith that my prayers ivould give relief to him 
and straightway we set ourselves to pray for him, 
till the day came on which they bore us to another 
prison in the amphitheatre, to await the day of the 
celebration of the festival of Geta the Emperor's 
son." 

The third vision occurred some days after the 
second, and was as follows : " I saw before me 
the same place as at the other times, but wholly 
transfigured, resplendent with light and in the midst 
of a fair garden ; and Dinocrates joyful and well 
pleased, dancing here and there, and clothed in white 
raiment. The lip of the fountain in that garden 
had been much lowered, and therefrom Dinocrates 
continually refreshed himself (et vidi Dinocratem 
refrigerantem\ while on the edge of the fountain 
stood a golden flask filled with water. Then," 
says Perpetua in conclusion, " I awoke, and under- 
stood that Dinocrates had been taken from the 
place of punishment, and was rejoicing in eternal 
bliss." 

In all the ancient literature of Christendom we 
have certainly no other record speaking so clearly 
of a belief in Purgatory, of prayers for the dead, and 
of their power to give relief and refreshment. 

We may add a few words as to the conclusion of 
this precious record. It goes on : " Methought I 
was in the arena, and the podium and the cavea were 
full of people who shouted and desired my death. 
I turned on one side and saw a huge Egyptian, 
black of skin, who was to fight with me ; affrighted, 
I turned to the other side and I saw a lanista or 



Part II Chapter IV 145 

master of gladiators, who called me to him. Then 
I slowly drew near to him, and he anointed me 
with oil, and gave me a staff; then embracing me 
and kissing me on the forehead, he gave me 
courage to fight. Renewed in strength I went 
against the giant and fought against him, and 
conquered him ; and having beaten him down to 
earth as one dead, I placed my foot upon his head, 
while all the people wildly applauded my valour. 
Then I turned again to the lanista, and I saw that 
he beckoned me to him again ; and I went to him, 
and he kissed me, while he gave me the palm of 
victory and a kiss on the forehead, saying the 
words pax tecum. Thereby I knew full well that 
in that vision were given me the tidings of my 
approaching death, and of the nature of the death 
which I was to die." 

Perpetua concludes her priceless journal thus: 
" Hitherto I myself have said everything ; but from 
henceforth I shall not be able to do so more ; 
therefore that which shall happen to-morrow, 
another will take care to write down." 

Here let us close this parenthesis, and return to 
our examination of the inscriptions. We can at once 
give some instances of the formula refrigerium. 
The word is used to express affectionate good 
wishes for the deceased, and at the same time as a 
prayer to God for the soul of him who has passed 
away. 

In an inscription dating back to the end of , the 
third century we read this ejaculation : 



146 Christian Epigraphy 



PRIVATA DVLCIS 
IN REFRIGERIO 
ET IN PACE 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 

Here we have the capital distinction between 
refrigerium and pax expressed ; for the two con- 
ceptions were quite distinct. The first is a prayer 
and a pious hope that the departed may enjoy 
refrigerium^ or relief from purgatorial pains ; the 
second is a prayer for peace, i.e. for everlasting bliss. 

Here is another which combines a hope for the 
eternal happiness of the departed with the prayer 
for refrigerium : 

90 



VICTORIA REFRIGER*/ 
ISSPIRITVS TVS IN - BON0 (sic) 



" May thy spirit have comfort and happiness." 
Cemetery of Domitilla. 

The same idea is found in the following prayer 
from the Office for the Dead in the Greek ritual : 



avajravirov KOU rrjv 1' 
SovXov trov kv 



TOTTW 

TOTTCO xAoe/DW, ev TO7rco ava 
KOL 



Jn loco refrigerii, ' ' in a place of refreshing. 



Part II Chapter IV 
91 



PARENTE5- . /LIO 
BONOSO FECERVNT 
BENEMERENTI IN 
PACE ET . IN REFRI 
GERIV. . . 
QVI . VIXIT . ANN . . . 



Cemetery of S. Hermes. 
92 



AMERIMNVS 
RVFINAE COIV 
GI CARISSIME 
BENEMEREN 
TI SPIRITVM 
TVVM . DEVS 
REFRIGERET 



Lateran Museum. (Plate VII. i.) 
93 

BOLOSA DEVS TI 
BI . REFRIGERET QVAE . VI 
XIT . ANNOS XXXI RECESSIT 
DIE XIII KAL . OCTB ^ 

Lateran Museum. (Plate VII. 2.) 



148 



Christian Epigraphy 



94 



MVRELIVS lAnuarius 
CARE REFRIGERA 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 



95 



EVCARPIA CARISSI 

MA DEVS REFRIGERET 
SPIRITVM TVVM 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 



96 



KALEMERE DEVS REFRI 
GERET - SPIRITVM TVVM 
VNA CVM . SORORIS TVAE HILARAE 
(The Good Shepherd) 



Cemetery of S. Hermes. Kircherian Museum. 



Part II Chapter IV 



149 



97 



POSVI 



t - Hipe 



RECHIVS 



COIVGI ALB1NVLE 
BENEMERENTI SIC 
VT SPIRITVM TVVM . UE 
VS REFRIGERET 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 

This seems to mean that the inscription was put 
up to secure relief for the departed lady ; evidently 
as suggesting to the faithful that they should pray 
for her. 

98 



DVLCISSIMO 
ANTISTHENI 
CONIVGI - SVO 
REFRIGERIVM 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 



99 



S-0 

rfw/rtSSIMO 



/ATER 

SPIRITVM . TVVM 
DEVS REFRIGERET 



Cemetery of S. Agnese. 



150 Christian Epigraphy 



Fa/ERIO VOLVSIANO 
. . . VTYCHETIS FILIO 
. . . O FORTVNATO QVI . VIM 
(?) igniS PASSI SVNT 

. . . GIA . PIENTISSIMIS 
. . . REFRIGERET NOS Q/ 

0///0TEST (anchor) 



In the Museum of Marseilles. 
(Le Blant, Man. tpig. ii. p. 348.) 

This inscription is considered by some to refer 
to certain martyrs, but the matter is by no means 
certain. At any rate there is here a prayer for 
refrigerium, in anticipation, on behalf of those who 
set up the tablet. 

Other expressions worthy of note are found in 
the following : 



. . . /ERRAE RECEPIT CORPVS LIVI 
... X DECEM ET QVATERQVE BINDS HIC 
ESTERREOS TERRE SOLVTVS ANIMA CHRISTO 
REDDITA EST 



Lateran Museum. 



Part II Chapter [V 



. . . in PACE . IN SINO DEI 

. . . vixit ann XX 
. . . dep IIII KAL AVG 



(De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist., 1873, p. 75.) 

This means the same as " in Christi gremium " ; 
cp. De Rossi. 



Prayers addressed to the Dead for their Intercession 
on behalf of the Living 

In some inscriptions, with the prayer for the 
repose of the souls of the departed is combined a 
prayer for his intercession on behalf of the survivors. 

The following are some instances: 



103 



(a vase graffito) (a lamp graffito) 

IANVARIA BENE REFRIGERA 
ET ROGA PRO . NOS (sic) 



" Januaria, be thou refreshed, and pray for us ! " 

Cemetery of Callisto. 



152 



Christian Epigraphy 



104 



. . . VIBAS 

IN PACE ET PETE 
PRO NOBIS 



" Live in (eternal) peace and pray for us ! " 

Cemetery of Domitilla. 

We often find the prayer for intercession 
behalf of the living standing alone. 

105 



on 



SABBATI DVLCIS 
ANIMA PETE ET . RO 
GA PRO FRATRES ET 
SODALES TVOS (sic) 



Cemetery of the Giordani on the Via Latina. 
(Muratori, Nov. Thes. p. 1934.) 

Note the phrase fratres et sodales as meaning 
Christians. 

1 06 



VINCENTIA IN 
PETAS PRO PHOE 

BE . ET PRO . VIR 
GINIO E 
IVS 



Cemetery of Callisto. 

By virginius is meant the husband who had not 
been previously married. 



Part II Chapter IV 



107 



PETE PRO PARENTES TVOS 

MATRONATA MATRONA 
QVE VIXIT AN I D . LII 



Lateran Museum. 



108 






ATTICE SPIRITVS TVVS 

IN BONO ORA PRO PAREN 

TIBVS TVIS 



Cemetery of Callisto. 
(Muratori, Nov. Thes. p. 1833.) 



109 



SVTI PETE 

PRO NOS 

VT - SALVI SIMVS 



Marangoni, Acta S. Victorini, p. 90. 

" Pray for us that we may be saved ! " a fine 
phrase. 



154 Christian Epigraphy 



MARINE . IM ET . . . 
MENTEM MA ... 

NOS (anchor) CRIA . . . 

HABETO NE EC . . 

DVOBVS 



" Oh Marinus, be mindful of us twain ! " 

Cemetery of Priscilla. 



in 



.... EPOTA 

TIIEP TUN TEKNflN 
META . . ANAPOC 



" Pray for thy children ! " 
Cemetery of Priscilla. 



KATTH |T OIFKAA 
IOTN ATFENAE 

ZHCAIC EN KO KAI 
EPDTA TIIEP HMflN 



" Augendus, live in the Lord, and pray for us ! 
Cemetery of Domitilla. 



Part II Chapter IV 155 



IAK3 10 4-IAHMONI 
TL - /caAflC ETH . ATfi META 
rONAIfiN ETXOT TIIEP H 
Atera rftN AFIfiX 



"To ... son Philemon who lived happily for 
two years with his parents. Pray for us, together 
with the Saints ! " 

Cemetery of Priscilla. 
114 

KAPA MNHMONETE MOT 

" Cara, remember me ! " 

Graffito in the cemetery of Priscilla. 



AIONTCIOC NHHIOC 
AKAKOC EX6A AEKEI 
TE META TON A 
rifiN MNHCKEC0E 
AE KAI . HMflN EX TAI 
C AFIAIC - TMfiN . HPETXAIC 
KAI . TOT TAT^ATOC KAI 
TOC 

(anchor) (dove) 



" The innocent child Dionysius lies here by the 
side of the Saints. Be mindful in thy holy prayers 
of him who carved this and of him who composed 
it!" 

Cemetery of Callisto. Kircherian Museum. 



156 Christian Epigraphy 

116 



ATTICE 

DORMI IN - PACE 

DE TVA INCOLVMITATE 

SECVRVS ET PRO NOSTRIS 

PECCATLS PETE SOLLICITVS 1 



Museum of the Capitol. 
(De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist., 1894, p. 58.) 

Found in March 1893 in preparing for the 
Lazaret at S. Sabina. 

The following is very fine; it affirms that our 
hope of salvation, theologically speaking, rests upon 
the efficacy of the prayers of the departed for the 
living : 

117 



GENTIANVS FIDELIS IN PACE 
QVI VIXIT ANNIS XXI - MENS VIII 
DIES XVI . ET IN ORATIONIS - TVIS (sic} 
ROGES - PRO . NOBIS QVIA SCIMVS 
TE IN 



"Pray for us in thy orisons, for we know that 
thou dwellest in Christ ! " 

Lateran Museum. 

1 Compare with this expression S. Cyprian, De mortalitate, 
chap. ix. : ' ' There awaits us a vast number of those dear to 
us, a large and serried crowd of parents, brothers, sons yearn- 
ing for us, assured of their own salvation, but still anxious 
concerning ours." 



Part II Chapter IV 157 






3 
Inscriptions referring to the Cult of Saints 

If the intercession of the departed availed any- 
thing, much more should the prayers of the martyrs 
avail, since of them there was no doubt that they 
were in the place of eternal bliss. 

The custom of commemorating martyrs is of great 
antiquity; we find a record of it as early as the i 
second century in a letter of the Church of Smyrna I 
to the Church of Lyons, written in the very year of f* 
the martyrdom of S. Polycarp, A.D. 155. J 

The martyrs were considered as the intercessors 
for the dead and their advocates before the throne 
of God; the idea is clearly expressed in the 
following inscription, in which martyrs are called 
advocates. 

1 Eusebius, H.E. iv. ic. 



158 Christian Epigraphy 



118 



CYRIACE 

QVAM NVLLVM AB HIS SORTE ET CON(rfiYi)ONE 

ESSE INMVNEM | /*OC CONSTET VERVM ID NOBIS 
DOLORI EST QVOD RARI EXEMPLI | foemiKA. IN 
QVA IVSTITIA MIRABILIS INNOCENTIA SINGVLARIS 
CASTITAS | mcONPARABILIS OBSEQVENTISSIMA IN 
OMNIBVS | ....NENTISSIMA ORBATIS TRIBVS LIBERIS 
QVI VNA MECV HVIC SEPVLCRO | CON LAVDIS 
EIVSDEM INDIDERVNT INMATVRI | ....ITE NOBIS AD 
QVIETEM PACIS TRANSLATA CVIQVE PRO VITAE 
SVE | fetfz'MONIVM SANCTI MARTYRES APVD DEVM 
ET CHRISTVM ERVNT ADVOCATI | que VIXIT ME- 
CVM INCVLPABILITER ET CVM OMNI SVAVITATE j 
<//CISSIME ANNIS IIII MENSIBVS QVINQVE DIEBVS 
DVODECIM | 



" The holy martyrs shall be advocates for every 
man before God and before Christ." 

Basilica of S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura. 



The same conception is often expressed in the 
catacombs by figures representing the dead stand- 
ing at the judgment-seat of Christ, defended and 
protected by the local martyrs. Sometimes the 
martyrs are represented as actually accompanying 
the dead to the divine judgment-seat. This idea 
is remarkably well expressed in the following 
inscription belonging to the city of Vercelli : 



Part II Chapter IV 159 



DISCITE QVI LEGITIS DIVINO MVNERE REDDI 
| 1 MERCEDEM MERITIS - SEDES CVI - PROXIMA . 
SANCTIS | MARTYRIBVS CONCESSA DEO . EST 
GRATVMQVE CVBILE | SARMATA QVOD ME- 
RVIT VENERANDO PRESBYTER ACTV | SEPTIES 

HIC QVINOS TRANSEGIT CORPORIS ANNOS 
| IN CHRISTO VIVENS - AVXILIANTE LOCO | 

NAZARIVS NAMQVE PARITER VICTORQVE - 
BEATI | LATERIBVS TVTVM REDDVNT - MERITIS- 
QVE CORONANT | O - FELIX GEMINO MERVIT 
QVI MARTYRE DVCI | AD DOMINVM MELIORE 

VIA - REQVIEMQVE - MERERI 



It commemorates a priest who was buried close 
to the Saints, and on whose behalf the intercession 
of the martyrs Nazarius and Victor is invoked ; it 
describes them as bearing him company till he 
reached the Lord. " Happy is he who is thought 
worthy of being accompanied by two martyrs." 

The other inscriptions that follow are also 
inspired by the same idea of commending to the 
Saints the souls of the departed, that they may 
introduce them into Heaven. 



DMA SACRVM XL 

LEOPARDVM . IN PACEM ^fc 

CVM SPIRITA SANCTA . ACCEP 
TVM EVM HABEATIS INNOCENTEM 
POSVER PAR . Q V . ANN VII MEN VII 



" May the Saints welcome this innocent soul ! " 

Museum of the Capitol. 



i6o 



Christian Epigraphy 



PAVLO FILIO MERENTI IN PA 

CEM TE SVSCIPIAN OMNIVM ISPIRI 

TA SANCTORVM QVI VIXIT ANNOS II - DIES N L 



" May the spirits of all the Saints welcome thee ! " 

From Rome, now at Carseoli in the Museo dei Bagni. 

This prayer is still used in our Funeral Service, 
in the words " Te suscipiant martyres." 

And the welcome given by the Saints to the 
departed is also expressed in paintings found in the 
cemetery ; e.g. a very fine one in the cemetery of 
Domitilla representing S. Petronilla receiving a 
matron named Veneranda and accompanying her 
to heaven. 

The following ajso is inspired by the thought 
that the deceased may be in the company of the 
Saints : 



AGATEMERIS - SPI 

RITVM - TVVM . INTER 

SANCTOS 

(dove) (dove) 



" May thy soul be in the midst of the Saints ! " 
Cemetery of Callisto. 



Part II Chapter IV 1 6 1 

123 



AVRELIAE MARIAE 

PVELLAE VIRGINI INNOCENTISSIMAE 
SANCTE PERGENS AD IVSTOS ET ELECTOS IN PACE 

QVAE VIXIT ANNOS XVI MESIS V 
DIES XVIIII SPONSATA AVRELIO DA 

MATI DIEBVS XXV AVRELIANVS 

VETERANVS ET SEXTILIA PARENTES 

INFELICISSIMAE FILIAE DVLCISSIMAE 

AC AMANTISSIMAE CONTRA VOTVM 

QVI DVM VIVENT HABENT 

MAGNVM DOLOREM 

MARTYRES SANCTI IN MENTE HA 

VITE MARIA 



The conclusion is fine "Ye holy martyrs, be 
mindful of Maria ! " 

In Aquileia. 



124 



.... &-EMERENTI IN PACE QVAE VIXIT 

ANNIS XXX MESIS SE 
KAL -SEPTENBRIS SANCTE LAVRENTI 

SVSCEPTA HABETO ANIMaw ejus 



" May Saint Lawrence receive her soul ! " 

Cemetery of Cyriaca. Naples Museum. 

Here we have the title of Sanctus^ which is of 
later use than dominus or domnus. 

M 



1 62 Christian Epigraphy 



125 



SOMNO AETERNALI 
AVRELIVS GEMELLVS QVI 

VIXIT -AN 

ET . MES . VIII DIES XVIII MATER 
FILIO CARISSIMO BENEMERENTI 
FECIT IN PACE 
CONMANDO BASILLA INNO 
CENTIA GEMELLI 



" I commend to S. Basilla the innocent soul of 
Gemellus." 

Lateran Museum. 



126 



DOMINA . BASILLA COM 
M"ANDAMVS TIBI CRES 
CENTINVS . ET MICINA 
FILIA NOSTRA CRESCEN . . . 
QVE VIXIT MEN X ET - DIES . . . 



" Oh martyr Basilla, we commend to thee 
Crescentinus and our daughter Micina ! " 

Lateran Museum. 

The dead were further commended to the 
martyrs by the prayer for refrigerium on their 



Part II Chapter IV 



163 



behalf through the intercession of the Saints, as in 
the following instances : 



127 

REFRIGERI IANVARIVS AGATOPVS FELICISSI 
MVS MARTYRES 

Graffito from the Cemetery of Praetextatus. 

(The prayer is addressed to the martyrs Januarius, 
Felicissimus, and Agapitus.) 



128 

REFRIGERET TIBI-DEVS ET CRISTVS 

ET-DOMNI-NOSTRI-ADEODATVS [sic] 

ET-FELIX 

Graffito in the Cemetery of Commodilla. 

(The prayer is addressed to the local martyrs 
Felix and Adeodatus.) 



'', 



129 



REFRIGERET TIBI 
DOMINVS . IPPOLITVS 



Cemetery of S. Hippolytus. 
130 



A DEO ET SANCTIS ACCETA (sic) 



"She was received by God and by the Saints." 

Cemetery of ?S. Peter and Marcellinus. 



164 



Christian Epigraphy 



RVTA OMNIBVS SVBDITA ET ATFABI 
LIS BIBET IN NOMINE PETRI 
IN PACE 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 
(Boldetti, Osseruazioni, p. 388.) 

This is valuable as invoking eternal life for the 
departed through the intercession of the Apostle 
Peter, of whose connexion with this cemetery 
there were many traditions. 

Again, in an inscription on glass found in the 
cemetery of S. Lorenzo, there is an allusion to the 
local saint : 

"Vivet in nomine Laurenti." 

(Garrucci, Vetri ornati di figure in oro, p. 122.) 



132 



CORPVS SANCTIS - COMEN 

DAVI IRENE TIBI CVM 

SANCTIS QVINTA VALE 

IN PACE 



Peace be to thee with the Saints ! " 

Capua. 



Part II Chapter IV 



165 



133 



HIC PASTOR MEDICVS MONVMENT . . . 

FELIX DVM SVPEREST CONDIDIT . . . 

PERFECIT CVMCTA EXCOLVIT QVI . . . 

CERNET QVO IACEAT POENA . . . 

ADDETVR ET TIBI VALENTINI GLODRIA (sic) Sancti 

VIVERE POST OBITVM DAT (tibi) DIGNA Dens 



Cemetery of S. Valentinus. 

Notice the words, "addetur et tibi Valentini 
gloria Sancti," as expressing that the merits of the 
martyr Valentinus may be applied to the relief of 
the deceased Felix, priest and physician. 



PROCVLA CL FEMINA 

FAMVLAj^ DEI 
A . TERRA ArT^MARTYRES 



/ 






Lyons. 



An ejaculation of triumph, meaning, " Fly from 
earth to Heaven, the abode of the martyrs ! " 



135 



NVTRICATVS DEO CRISTO 
MARTVRIBVS 



Lateran Museum. 



The record of a youth who had been brought up 
in the worship of .the true God and of the martyrs. 



1 66 Christian Epigraphy 

136 



MANDROSA HIC NOMINE OMNIVM PLENA FIDELIS 
IN XPO EIVS | MANDATA RESERVANS MARTYRVM 
OBSEQVIS DEVOTA TRANSEGI | FALSI SAECVLI VI- 
TAM VNIVS VIRI CONSORTIO TERQVINOS CONIVN- 
CTA | PER ANNOS REDDIDI NVNC DNO RERVM 
DEBITVM COMVNEM | OMNIBVS OLIM QVAE VIXIT 
ANN PLM XXXIII DP VIII KAL | FEBRVARIAS CONS 
AGINANTI FAVSTI V C 



Monastery of S. Paolo (A.D. 483). 

The words " martyrum obsequiis devota" are 
noticeable, as testifying to the cult of martyrs. 



137 



(wreath) 

DILECTISSIMO-MARITO-ANIME-DVLCISSIME-ALEXIO 
LECTORI | DE FVLLONICES QVI - VIXIT - MECVM 
ANN XV IVNCTVS MIHI ANN XVI | VIRGO AD 
VIRGINE CVIVS NVMQVAM AMARITVDINEM HABVI 
| CESQVE - IN PACE CVM SANCTIS CVM QVOS 
MERERIS I DEP VIII X KAL IANV 



"Sleep in peace beside the Saints, with whom 
thou hast earned the right to stand ! " 

Cemetery of Callisto. 



Part II Chapter IV 167 

138 



. . . . T ANNIS XVIIII 
.... NOTARIO 
.... *N MAPTVRIBVS 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 

The last line may mean either that the youth 
was buried beside the martyrs, or that he was 
enjoying eternal bliss with them. 



139 



HIC REQVIESCIT IN . PA 

CE . LVPICINVS 
QVI VIXIT . ANNOS NV 

MERO XXXV 
PLVS MINVS QVI NECSET III 

NON . OCTOB 

RESVRRECTVRVS CVM 

SANCTIS 



(Le Blant, Inscr. de la Gaule, p. 419.) 
140 



EuseBIVS IN FANS PER AETATEM SENE PECCAto 
*DENS AD SANCTORVM LOCVM IN PAce 
qui ESCIT 

(dove) 



Cemetery of Commodilla (now in the Casa De Rossi). 



i68 



Christian Epigraphy 



141 



HIC DALMATA CR 
ISTI MORTE REDEM 
TVS QVIISCET IN PA 
CE ET DIEM . FVTVRI 
IVDICII INTERCEDE 
NTEBVS - SANCTIS L 
LETVS SPECTIT (sic) 



(Le Blant, Inscr. de la Gaule, p. 478.) 

Occasionally the actual day of the martyrdom 
is recorded. 

142 



IIII NON SEPT PASSIONE MARTYR 
ORVM HORTENSIVM MARIANI ET 
IACOBI AATI MARIN RVSTICI CRISPI 
TAT + MEITVNI BICTORIS SILBANI EGIP 
Till SCI Dl MEMORAMINI IN CONSPECTVANI 
QVORVM NOMINA SCITIS qVI FECIT IN A XV 



Near Constantine in Africa. 

Sometimes the dates of the festivals of the 
martyrs are given, to show that the deceased 
brother was buried on one of those days. 



Locus FAVSTINIANI ET SORICES quern 
<w;//araz/ERVNT RECESIT NATALE SAnctz 
Laurenti IN PACE 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. 



Part II Chapter IV 169 

144 



ET2KIA . H AMENHTOS ZHSA(cra) 
XPHSTfiS KAI 2EMNA ETH 
HA 10 EAATTON KE ANE 
HAT2ETO TH EOPTH THS KT 
PIAZ . MOT AOTKIAS EIS . HN 
OTK ESTIN ENKOMEION 
EIHEIX XPHSTEIANH HIS 
TH TEAIOS . OTSA . ETXA 
PI2TOTSA . TO . EIAIfi . AN 
API HOAAA2 ETXAPI2 
TIAS 



u Euskia, the blameless one, who lived a life of 
goodness and purity for twenty-five years, died on 
the feast of our lady Lucia (S. Lucia), for whom no 
praise is adequate. She was a perfect Christian, 
well pleasing to her husband, and endued with 
much grace." 

In the catacombs of Syracuse. 



145 



PECORI DVLCIS ANIMA BENIT 
IN CIMITERV - VII IDVS IVL 
D . POSTERA DIE MARTVRORV 



Cemetery of SS. Processus and Martinianus on the Via Aurelia. 
Lateran Museum. 

This records the burial of Pecorius in this 



170 



Christian Epigraphy 



cemetery in the octave of the feast of its patron 
saints, July gth. 

This inscription has been incorrectly read as 
referring to the festival of the sons of S. Felicitas 
(July roth); a mistake which I corrected later, as 
above. 



146 



NATALE 
DOMNI CIRV 

KAL 



"Natale domni Cirulae pridie Kal. Octobris." 
The festival of a martyr named Cirula on 
September 3oth. 

(Africa Numidia. ) 



147 



Locus FELI CITATIS 

qui depo^>\ (orante) TA EST 
natalE - DOM NES THE 

clae 



Cemetery of Commodilla. 

This records the day of martyrdom of S. Thecla, 
the well-known disciple of the Apostle Paul. 



Part II Chapter IV 



171 



148 



PASCASIVS VIXIT 
PLVS MINVS ANNVS XX 
FECIT - FATV IIII . IDVS 
OCTOBRIS VIII . ANTE 
NATALE DOMNI AS 
TERI . DEPOSITVS IN 
PACE A o 



Cemetery of Commodilla. Lateran Museum. 

This states that Pascasius died eight days before 
the festival of S. Asterius, a martyr of Ostia. 

The inscription also shows that the present habit 
of distinguishing the days before or eve of the 
feasts of martyrs had then begun. 



149 



STVDENTIAE Veposilae 
DIE Natali - MARCELLI 
CONS SALLIES 



Basilica of S. Sebastian (A.D. 348). 

This Studentia was buried on the feast of 
S. Marcellus, January loth. 



i7 2 Christian Epigraphy 

150 



HIC EST POSITVS BITALIS PISTOR MIA 

SHIC ES RG XII QVI BICXITAN 

NVS PL MINVS N XLV DEPO 

SITVS IN PACE NATALE D 

OMNES SITIRETIS TERT 

IVM IDVS FEBR CONSVLA 

TVM FL VINCENTI VVC 

CONSS 

(bushel measure) 



Basilica of S. Paul (A.D. 401). 

Vitalis, a baker, is here recorded as having been 
buried on the feast of the martyr Soter, February 
nth, "natale Domnes Sitiretis." 

Occasionally reference is made to a commemora- 
tion service of the martyrs in the cemeteries, e.g. : 



XVI KAL OCTOB MARTVRORVwz in cimi 
TERV MAIORE VICTORIS FELIcis (famine ?) 
EMERENTI ANETIS ET ALEXAN^rz 



Museum of the Capitol (new Hall of Christian Inscriptions). 

This inscription is valuable because, besides 
giving the date of the feasts of the martyrs 
mentioned, it gives the name of the cemetery on 
the Via Nomentana in which they were buried. 
This was the larger cemetery of S. Agnese, so called 
to distinguish it from the smaller, which is situated 
under the basilica of S. Agnese. 



Part II Chapter IV 173 

Devotion to the martyrs was specially exhibited 
by the choice of a burial-place in the neighbour- 
hood of their tombs in the cemeteries or cemetery 
chapels. And the true mind of the Church in 
approving this custom is well expressed by 
S. Augustine, where he says that the dead are 
benefited, not by the physical juxtaposition to the 
martyrs, but by the opportunity of getting the 
special prayers of the faithful who visit their 
sanctuaries. "Adjuvat defuncti spiritum non 
mortui corporis locus, sed ex loci memoria vivus 
precantis affectus " (August. De cura pro mortuis, 
iv. 5). 

The inscriptions recording the proximity of the 
tomb to the sepulchre of the martyr are naturally 
numerous. The fact was commonly expressed by 
saying that the tomb was ad Domnum Caium ad 
Domnum Cornelium, etc. 

The following stated that the deceased is buried 
near the venerated tomb of a martyr : 



152 



BENEMERENTI IOVINE QVE CVM CO 

GEM SVVM HABVIT ANNOS V ET De 

CESSIT ANNORVM XXI QVE CONPAra 

BIT SIBI ARCOSOLIVM IN CALLISTI AD DOMN 

DEPOSITA DIE III IDVS FEBRVARIAS 

CAIVM FECIT COIVGI MERENTI IN PACI 



Cemetery of Callisto. 

The last line but one is as inserted later. 

The inscription says that Jovenis bought herself 
an arcosolium in the cemetery of Callisto near the 
tomb of Caius, Pope and martyr. 



174 



Christian Epigraphy 



T S3 



SERPENTIV 

S - EMIT LOCV 

A QVINTO - FOSSORE 

AD SANCTVM - CORNELIVM 



"Serpentius bought himself a tomb from the 
fossor (grave-digger) Quintus near the grave of the 
martyr S. Cornelius." 

Cemetery of Callisto, now near Avellino. 



154 



/awVARIVS ET S(tlana) 

loCVM BESOM urn 

emeruNT AT SANCTA EL(tdtatem) 



" Januarius and Silana bought themselves a tomb 
to hold two bodies* near the grave of S. Felicitas." 

Cemetery of S. Felicitas. 



155 



LVCILIVS PELIO SE VIVV CONPARA(wY) 
LOCVM VESCANDENTE IN BASILICA 
MAIORE AD DOMNV LAVRENTIVM 
IN MESV ET SITV PRESBITERIV 



The two persons mentioned bought themselves 
a tomb to hold two bodies near the grave of S. 
Lorenzo in the middle of the choir of the basilica. 

Cemetery of Cyriaca. 



Part II Chapter IV 

156 



DRACONTIVS PELAGIVS ET IVLIA ET ELIA 
ANTONINA PARAVERVNT SIB1 LOCV ^ 
AT IPPOLITV SVPER ARCOSOLIV PROPTER 
VNA FILIA 



" They prepared a sepulchre for their daughter 
above the arcosolium near the grave of the martyr 
S. Hippolytus." 

Cemetery of S. Hippolytus. Lateran Museum. 



157 



QVOR SVN NOMI 
NAE MASIMI 
CATIBATICV 
I SECVNDV 
MARTYRE 
DOMINV 
CASTVLV ISCALA 



This records a tomb situated in the second story 
of the cemetery near the steps that led to the grave 
of the martyr Castulus. 

158 



GAVDIOSA DE 
POSITA IN BAS 
ILICA DOMNI 
FELICIS 



" Gaudiosa, buried in the basilica of the martyr 
Felix." 

Via Aurelia. (Bosio, Roma sottcrranea, ii. p. 13.) 



176 Christian Epigraphy 



159 



AD SANCTVM PETRVM APOSTOLVM ANTE REGIA 
IN PORTICV COLVMNA SECVNDA QVOMODO 

INTRAMVS | SINISTRA PARTE VIRORVM 
LVCILLVS ET IANVARIA HONESTA FEMINA 

(dove) A -P O (dove) 



S. Peter's. (Bosio, Roma sotterranea, ii. p. 8.) 

The husband and wife, Lucilius and Januaria, 
owned the tomb in the porch of the basilica of S. 
Peter's, near the second column on the left on the 
men's side. 



160 



COSTATINOS EMIS 

SE IANVARIVM ET BRI 

TIAM - LOCVM ANTE - DO . 

MNA EMERITA A FOSSO 

RIBVS BVRDONE ET MICI 

NVM ET MVSCORVTIONE AVRISOLI 

DVM VN SEMES CONS D D N N THAE 

ODOSIO ET VALETINIANO II 



Cemetery of Commodilla, now lost (A.D. 426). 

This inscription is full of mistakes. It seems to 
mean that Januarius and Britia bought a tomb in 
front of the grave of the martyr S. Merita, from the 
fossores, at the price of ij golden solidi, "Constat 
nos emisse locum ante domna Emerita," etc. 



Part II Chapter IV 



177 



161 



FL EVRIALVS V H CON PA 
RAVIT LOCVM SIVI SE 
VIVO AD MESAl BEATI 
MARTVRIS LAVRENTI . DES 
CENDENTIB IN CRIPTA PAR 
TE DEXTRA DE FOSSORE 

V CI- IPSIVS 

DIE III KAL MAIAS FL STILICO 
NE SECVNDO CONSS 



Basilica of S. Lorenzo on the Via Tiburtina (A.D. 405). 
(Marruchi, Nuovo Bull, di arch, crist., 1900, pp. 127-141.) 

This states that the tomb of Flavius Euryalus 
stood near the altar-tomb of the martyr S. Lawrence, 
on the right hand as one went into the crypt. 

With this may be compared the next inscription, 
from Sirmio, which speaks of a tomb placed on the 
right of the grave of the martyr Syneros. 



162 



AD DOMNVM SINEROTEM AD DEXTERAM2 



Tombs were also constructed behind the tombs 
of the martyrs, a position described as "retro 
sanctos." 

1 Ad mensam, close to the altar. 
- Bull, di arch, crist., 1884-1885, pp. 144-145. 

N 



178 



Christian Epigraphy 
163 



IN CRYPTA NOBA RETRO 
SANCTOS 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. (Boldetti, Osservazioni, p. 53.) 

This describes a tomb in a newly made gallery 
behind the tombs of certain martyrs. 



164 



FELICISSIMVS ET . LEOPARD emerunt 

BISOMVM . AT CRISCENTwww martyrem 

INTROITV 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 

Felicissimus and Leoparda bought a grave to 
hold two bodies situated in front of the entrance of 
the burial-chamber of S. Crescendo. 



165 



ERMANOS POSSID . . . 

VNC VRBICI MEMBRA QVIES . . . 

MIECIVM LANVGINE MALAS . . 



RADIES ET FVNERE MERSIT ACERBO . . . 
SERINATORVM CARITATE PARENTES . . . 
VCTE POSVERVNT - LIMINA MARTYR . . . 
IVS ET VALERIA PARENTES FECERVNT . . . 
. . . RBICVS PRID KAL SEPTEMBRES 

M 
(dove) (wreath) (dove) 



Basilica of S. Paul. 



This says that the deceased was buried near the 
martyr, " ad tua limina martyr." 



Part II Chapter IV 179 

The sites next the tombs of the martyrs, known 
as "limina sanctorum," were specially sacred spots. 
Hence, as the following inscription tells us, a pious 
lady obtained for her great deserts the privilege of 
burial " intra limina sanctorum " ; a place desired 
by many, though few obtained it ; " quod multi 
cupiunt et rari accipiunt." 



166 



.... NA IN DOM CVLTRIX 
. . . . P NVTRIVIT 
.... VIS 

a matrix fauPE RO RVM 
quaepro tanta MERITA ACCEPIT 
sepulcrum intra /IMINA SANCTORVM 

. . . . T ACCEPIT 

quod nndti cupiitN ET RARI ACCIPIVN 
Antonio et S VACRIO CS 



Velletri. Borgia Museum (A.D. 381). 
(Marini, Manoscritti, pp. 904, 907.) 

167 



Malluit hie propriae corpus committere terrae 
Quam precibus quaesisse solum si magna patronis 
Martyribus quaerenda quies sanctissimus ecce 
Cum trini paribusque suis Vincentius ambit 
Nos aditos, setvatque domuin Dotninmnqi<e tuetu?~ 
A tenebris, lumen praebens de lumine vero 



(Le Blant, Inscriptions de la Gaule, No. 492.) 



180 Christian Epigraphy 



168 



VRSINIANO SVBDIACONO SVBHOC TVMVLO OSSA 
QVIESCVNT QVI MERVIT SANCTORVM SOCIARI 
SEPVLCRIS | QVEM NEC TARTARVS FVRENS 
NEC POENA SAEVA NOCEBIT 



(Treves. Cp. Inscr. de la Gaule, No. 293.) 

The ancient Christians undoubtedly held the 
martyrs in great devotion, as is proved to demon- 
stration by the monuments. These show us clearly 
how general that devotion was, and how extravagant 
sometimes in its outward manifestation, especially 
in the fourth and fifth centuries, when magnificent 
churches were built over the graves of the martyrs. 
Every one wished to be buried near the martyrs ; 
hence the more ignorant were led to believe that 
this alone was sufficient to secure salvation. 

This is why we* find an extraordinary number of 
tombs near the graves of the martyrs. 

These tombs were often made in the walls, thus 
ruining or disfiguring the adjacent monuments ; 
and the abuses were so scandalous as to call for 
the interference of the ecclesiastical authority ; 
and it interfered with some effect, as Sabinus, the 
archdeacon of the Roman Church, bears witness. 
The grave that he selected in S. Lorenzo was not 
near that of the martyr, but in the porch of the 
church. This he ordered purposely, to show his 
disagreement with those who wanted to be buried in 
actual touch with the martyrs. Damasus expressed 
the same objection when he wrote, " Hie fateor 



Part II Chapter IV 181 

Damasus volui mea condere membra sed cineres 
timui sanctos vexare piorum." 

Such an abuse had to be put down, as I have 
said already, by the authority of the Church, some 
of whose dignitaries gave an example of humility 
by placing their tombs at some distance from the 
holiest portion of the sanctuary. One of these was 
the aforesaid Sabinus in the fifth century, whose 
epitaph in verse expresses this very idea, suggesting 
that the best way to get into touch with the 
martyrs is to imitate their virtues. It is a noble 
epitaph, and runs as follows : 



169 



SEPVLCRVM SABINI ARCHIDIACONI 

Altaris primus per tempora multa minister 

Elegi Sancti Janitor esse loci. 
Nam terram repetens quae nostra probatur origo, 
Hie tumulor muta membra Sabinus humo. 
Nil juvat imo gravat tumulis haerere piorum 

Sanctorum merit-is optima vita prope est 
Corpore non opus est anima tendamus ad illos 

Quae bene salva potest corporis esse salus. 
Ast ego qui voce psalmos modulatus et arte 

Diversis cecini verb a sacrata sonis 
Corporis hie posui sedes in limine primo 

Surgendi tempus certus adesse cito 
Jam tonat angelica resonans tuba caelitus ore 

Et vocat ut scandant castra superna pios. 
At tu Laurenti martyr levita, Sabimim 

Levitam angelicis nunc quoque jnnge choris. 



S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura. 



1 82 Christian Epigraphy 



On the titles " Sanctus" and "Martyr" in Ancient 
Christian Inscriptions 

The title sanctus on ancient Christian inscriptions 
without any context is no mark of " veneration," in 
our modern sense. Indeed the epithet is not even 
exclusively Christian, being used by the pagans 
also : there are numerous passages in ancient 
writers and many inscriptions in which words like 
conjugi sanctae or even sanctissimae occur, which 
prove this incontestably. 

The title denotes veneration when combined 
with martyr. To the latter word, however, the epi- 
thet beatissimns was often also joined. It must 
nevertheless be observed that not even beatus 
or beatissimus, in the absence of further addition, 
proves that the deceased was the object of venera- 
tion, for it is found in ancient inscriptions applied 
to ordinary brethren. 

Very few of the primitive inscriptions exhibiting 
the glorious title of martyr date from the actual 
burial of the martyred saint. 1 There may have 
been more, but up to the present we have only two 
that we can quote as discovered in the Roman 
catacombs : one is the inscription of Pope Cornelius 
in the cemetery of Callisto (A.D. 253), and that of 

1 In a very early inscription painted in red in the cemetery 
of Priscilla it has been thought that the letter M inserted in the 
middle of the name was equivalent to the title of martyr ; but 
that is not proved with any certainty. 



Part II Chapter IV 



183 



the martyr Hyacinthus (about A.D. 258) in the 
cemetery of S. Hermes. 



170 



CORNELIVS . MARTYR 
EP 



Cemetery of Callisto. (Plate IX. 3. 
171 



DP Ill IDVS . SEPTEBR 

YACINTHVS 

MARTYR 



Cemetery of S. Hermes on the old Via Salaria ; now in the 
Church of the Propaganda. 

It has been hitherto believed that in the early 
inscription of Pope Fabianus which stands in the 
Papal crypt of the cemetery of Callisto the word 
martyr , expressed by a combination of Greek letters, 
was a later addition, though not much later, having 
been made when his martyrdom was officially 
recognised. Recently, however, it has been neces- 
sary to modify this view, owing to the discovery 
of the early inscription of Pope Pontianus, on 
which may be seen the same monogram for 
martyr as on the inscription of Fabianus ; and 
in the case of Pontianus, as we shall show later, 
there can be no idea of a later recognition. We 
must therefore conclude that in both these cases 
the title of martyr was added during the Time of 
Peace. We shall return to these points in a later 
chapter. 



1 84 



Christian Epigraphy 



The following early texts also mention the burial 
of martyrs : 

172 



ABVNDIO PRB 

MARTYRI SANCT 
DEP VII IDVS DEC 



Cemetery of Rignano. Lateran Museum. 

This is the inscription of Abundius, priest and 
martyr, who was buried in the cemetery near 
Rignano. 



173 



SIMPLICIVS MARTYR 
SERVILIANVS MARTYR 



From the Via Latina ; then in S. Angelo in Borgo ; now lost. 
(Bosio, Roma sotterranea, iii. p. 27.) 



174 




These two martyrs, natives of Vicenza, are 
supposed to have died in the persecution of 
Diocletian. 

(De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, iii. p. 436. ) 



Part II Chapter IV 185 

The inscription of one Ulvasius martyr from the 
cemetery of Domitilla, reported by Bosio, is of 
doubtful authenticity. 

Other inscriptions of martyrs again belong to the 
Time of Peace. 

We will not here cite the inscriptions set up to 
the martyrs by Pope Damasus, as they will be 
separately dealt with ; but we may mention the 
following from Milan ; it has lost its introduction, 
in which were recorded the names of the martyrs 
near whom Diogenes and Valeria were buried. 

175 

ET A DOMINO CORONATI SVNT BAEATI 
CONFESSORES COMIXES MARTYRORVM 
AVRELIVS DIOGENES CONFESSOR ET 
VALERIA FELICISSIMA BIBI - IN DEO FECERVNT 
SI QVIS - POST OBITVM NOSTRVM ALIQVEM 
CORPVS INTVLSERINT NON ET FVGIANT 
IRA DEI ET DOMINI NOSTRI 



(Seletti, Inscrizioni cristiane di Milano, 1897, No. 37, pp. 
34-35- ) 

Similarly the following inscription belongs to the 
Time of Peace : it contains a record of the most 
famous African martyrs, the companions of S. 
Perpetua, and was set up over their relics. 

176 



+ Hie SVNT 
+ SATVRVS SATVRninus 
+ REBOCATVS - SECVndu/us 
+ FELICIT PER/*T PAS . . 
+ MAIVLVS . , 



Found at Carthage by F. Delattre during the excavations of 1907. 
(See Nuovo Bull, di arch, crist., 1907, p. 250.) 



1 86 Christian Epigraphy 

I will conclude this section by giving the text of 
sundry votive inscriptions dedicated to martyrs in 
the fourth and fifth centuries. 



177 



TEMPORIBVS SANCTI 

INNOCENTI EPISCOPI 

PROCLINVS ET VRSVS PRAESBB 

TITVLI BYZANTI 

SANCTO MARTYRI 

SEBASTIANO EX VOTO FECERVNT 



S. Sebastian. Lateran Museum. 

This is a votive inscription cut on a pierced 
marble screen erected to protect the original tomb 
of the martyr S. Sebastian. It is of the time of 
Pope Innocent I. (402-417). It may be noted that 
this epithet sanctils applied to the then living Pontiff 
does not suggest any formal veneration ; on the 
other hand, in the case of the martyr Sebastian it is 
so intended. 

178 



AGNETI POTITVS SERBVS 
DEI ORNAVIT 



Museum of the Capitol. (New Hall of Christian Monuments.) 

This is a fragment of the architrave of the 
tabernacle of the altar of the ancient basilica of S. 
Agnese on the Via Nomentana. 



Part II Chapter IV 



187 



179 



ET ALEXANDRO DELICATVS VOTO josu 

DEDICANTE AEPISCOP VRS(o) 



Cemetery Church of S. Alexander. At the seventh 
mile-stone on the Via Nomentana. 



A votive inscription still to be seen on the marble 
screen standing near the tomb of the martyr S. 
Alexander (fifth century). 



180 



IVNIA SABINA 
C F EIVS 
FECERVNT 



181 



SANCTORVM 
ORNAVIT 






These two last are cut on blocks which formed 
the foundation of a small tabernacle on the altar- 
tomb of the martyr above mentioned. 

The following inscription is cut over a small 
foundation-stone like the preceding, and stood on 



1 88 Christian Epigraphy 

the altar-tomb of the martyrs Felix and Philippus 
in the basilica of the cemetery of Priscilla : 



182 



MARTIRVM 
FILICIS FILIPPI 



Cemetery of Priscilla ; now in the Louvre. 
183 



SANCTIS MARTVRIBVS 

PAPRO ET MAVROLEONI 

DOMNIS VOTVM REDD ^ 

CAMASIVS QVI ET ASCLEPIVS ET VICTORIN 

NAT H DIE IIIX KAL OCTOBR 

PVERI QVI VOT H VITALIS MARANVS 

ABVNDANTIVS TELESFOR 



Lateran Museum. 

A votive plaque in bronze, dedicated by an 
artist, Camasius, also called Asclepius, and his 
pupils, in honour of the martyrs Papias and Maurus. 

" Domnis (Sanctis) Papro et Mauroleoni (Papiae 
et Maura) votum reddit," etc. 

184 



PETRVS ET PANCARA BOTVM PO 
SVENT MARTYRE FELICITATI 



(Boldetti, Osservazioni, p. 431.) 

Records a vow made to the martyr Felicitas. 



Part II Chapter IV 



189 



185 



SANCTO 

MARTYRI 

MAXIMO 



Catacombs of S. Sebastian. 



A dedicatory inscription which must have be- 
longed to some sacred edifice on the Via Appia. 



186 



MARTVRES SIMPLICIVS ET FAVSTINVS 
QVI PASSI SVNT IN FLYMEN TIBERE ET POSI 
TI SVNT IN CIMITERIVM GENEROSES SVPER 
FILIPPI 



Cemetery of Generosa on the Via Portuensis ; now in the 
close of S. Maria Maggiore. 

This inscription is important as stating that the 
martyrs Simplicius and Faustinus were thrown into 
the Tiber, and afterwards buried in the cemetery of 
Generosa in the plot belonging to Philippus. The 
inscription, however, is of later date than the others. 

Note. It should be noted that some confusion 
has at times arisen with respect to some inscriptions 
in which the title martyr seems to appear, when it 
is in fact only a proper name. 



1 90 Christian Epigraphy 

Thus, for instance, there is an inscription in the 
cemetery of Domitilla in which DEP M ARTYRES 
occurs; which is only the Greek genitive of the 
proper name Martyre, corresponding to Martyria. 

Similar to this was the curious mistake made as 
to the meaning of the following inscription dis- 
covered some years ago in the cemetery of S. 
Agnese on the Via Nomentana, which was sup- 
posed to belong to a conjectured martyr Alfenia 
Narcissa : 



187 



ALFENIE 
P1LIE CARISSImae 
SIG MARTYR! 



The words signo Martyri correspond to such 
phrases as signo Musa or signo Leucadi^ etc. ; and 
only mean that Alfenia Narcissa had the surname 
Martyr. 

Finally, it should be observed that the words 
martyr and sanguis said to have been found on so- 
called phials of blood, or on the mortar by which 
these phials were attached to the tombs of the 
catacombs, are all modern forgeries ; and it should 
be further noted in this connexion that these phials 
must not be taken as a general rule to be indications 
of martyrdom, inasmuch as they did not usually 
contain blood, but only the liquid perfumes which 
were so largely used in the rites of Christian 
burial. 



CHAPTER V 

INSCRIPTIONS BEARING ON THE ORGANISATION OF 
THE EARLY CHRISTIAN SOCIETY 

HAVING discussed inscriptions illustrating doctrine 
and commemorating martyrs, we may properly go 
on to consider those which throw light on the 
constitution of the early Christian community, in 
connexion, first with the Church as a whole, next 
with its officers, and lastly with the various classes 
and professions of its members. 

For those who seek an accurate knowledge of the 
internal organisation of the primitive congregation 
of the Faithful the inscriptions which make special 
reference to these matters are of the highest 
possible value : hierarchically this community had 
its own classification, while socially it was fairly 
representative of all ranks from the highest to the 
lowest, though this vast and complex system was 
marvellously fused into one by the spirit of equality 
and of Gospel charity. The language used in 
Christian inscriptions, especially of the funerary 
class, and the descriptions of individuals which 
they contain, give a lively picture of the community 
of the Faithful. 

The corpus christianorum, or collective body of 
the faithful members of individual churches in the 
Roman world, was known by the descriptive name 
of ecclesia fratrum^ because the Faithful were in the 
habit of applying to one another the affectionate 
191 



192 Christian Epigraphy 

title of Brother; this may be proved from the 
following among other inscriptions : 



188 



AREAM AT SEPVLCRA CVLTOR VERBI CONTVLIT 

ET CELLAM STRVXIT SVIS CVNCTIS SVMPTIBVS 

ECCLESIAE SANCTAE HANC RELIQVIT MEMORIAM 

SALVETE FRATRES PVRO CORDE ET SIMPLICI 

EVELPIVS VOS SATOS SANCTO SPIRITV* 

ECCLESIA FRATRVM HVNC RESTITVIT TITVLVM 

M-A-I-SEVERIANI-C-V 

EX . ING ASTERII 



Africa Caesarea in Mauritania. 
(De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist., 1854, pp. 28-29.) 

One Euelpius, who describes himself as cultor 
verbi, endowed the eccksia sancta of Caesarea, which 
in the last line but one he calls eccksia fratrum 
simply, with a burial plot and a chapel at his own 
expense. After addressing a warm greeting to the 
Brethren, whom he describes as sati sancto spiritu, 
he goes on to mention on the marble the restitutio 
tituli effected by eccksia fratrum, probably in 
consequence of the destruction of an earlier tablet 
during some persecution. 



Inscriptions of Popes and Bishops 

The highest position in the Hierarchy from 
Apostolic times was that of Bishop of Rome, as it 
was to the Church of Rome that all other Churches 
were bound to conform ; so says S. Irenaeus in the 

1 Vos sahitat satos sancto spiritu, 



Part II Chapter V 193 

second century, "propter potentiorem principali- 
tatem." l The Roman Church took precedence of 
all others, as Ignatius of Antioch declares in the 
same century. 2 The first Popes up to and includ- 
ing S. Victor were interred around the tomb of 
the Prince of the Apostles in the Vatican, but we 
know nothing of their sepulchral inscriptions. On 
the other hand, we have some belonging to the 
group of Popes buried on the Via Appia in the 
third century, beginning with Pope Zephyrinus, 
buried in the cemetery of Callisto. The character- 
istic of these is their great simplicity, and their use 
of the Greek language, which was the official 
language of the Church in the first centuries; 
after the name they give the formal title, ITTIO-KOTTOS. 
We will give them in chronological order, beginning 
with the one assigned by De Rossi to Pope Urbanus, 
although it cannot be said that the identification is 
made out with absolute certainty. 



OTPBANOC ETT^/COTTO? ? 



"Urbanus, bishop." 

The inscription is sketched on the lid of a 
sarcophagus in the crypt of the Popes. The Pope 
Urbanus, to whom it may apply, ruled the Church 
from 224 to 231 in the reign of Alexander Severus, 
and died in a period of peace. 

1 Contra haereses, iii. 3. 

2 ' ' Ecclesia . . . digna quae beata praedicetur digna laude 
digna quae voti compos fiat, digne casta et universe caritatis. 
coetui praesidens. " (Epist. ad Romanes, i.) 

O 



194 Christian Epigraphy 

The following belong without a doubt to Popes 
of the third century : 

190 



nONTIANOC EHICK MP 



"Pontianus, bishop, martyr." (Plate X. i.) 

This inscription was very recently found (January 
1909) in an old well in the crypt of S. Caecilia, 
into which marble tablets and fragments of in- 
scriptions had been thrown in confusion. Pope 
Pontianus was exiled to Sardinia in the persecu- 
tion of Maximinus, and for that reason resigned 
his high office, "discinctus est." His body was 
brought home to Rome later, probably in the reign 
of the two Philips, 231-236. The abbreviation for 
the title of martyr was added here in times of 
peace, and can have nothing to do with the 
vindicatio martyris (the formal claim to the 
honour) ; for the death of Pontianus had occurred 
some three years before the removal of his body to 
Rome, and therefore his martyrdom must by that 
time have received official recognition. 

The next were disinterred in the cemetery of 
Callisto in the excavations which were carried out 
there in 1852 and onwards. 

191 



ANTEPftC 



" Anteros, bishop, . . ." (Plate IX. i.) 

Anteros was elected after the abdication of 

Pontianus, and was martyred after a very short 
pontificate in January 236. 



Part II Chapter V 



192 



<DABIANOC EIII MP 



"Fabianus, bishop, martyr." (Plate IX. 2.) 

Fabianus was Pope from 236 to 250, and was 
martyred in January 250. His death was an- 
nounced by an encyclical addressed by the Church 
of Rome to all other congregations of the faithful, 
" de glorioso ejus exitu." The symbol MP in this 
inscription, as in that of Pontianus, is evidently by 
a later hand ; in all probability the title of martyr 
was added in times of peace on these two epitaphs, 
and perhaps on others which have not been 
recovered. The purpose of so doing was to 
distinguish the martyr -Popes from those not 
martyred. 

193 



CORNELIVS 
EP- 



MARTYR 



" Cornelius, bishop, martyr." (Plate IX. 3.) 

Pope Cornelius was martyred in 253 at Centum- 
cellae (Civita Vecchia), and was laid in a gallery of 
the crypt of Lucina near the cemetery of Callisto, 
which gallery was widened later. The inscription 
is written in Latin, thus differing from those of 
previous Popes ; it is possible that the Latin 
language was used owing to the connexion between 
the Pontiff and the world-renowned Roman gens 
Cornelia. If the title of martyr is an addition here 



196 



Christian Epigraphy 



also, as has been lately suggested, the addition 
differs from those in the preceding cases in the 
fact of having been made contemporaneously with 
the inscriptions, possibly to correct an omission 
made in the first cutting. 



194 



AOTKIC 



" Lucius, bishop . . ." 

Pope Lucius suffered under Valerian about 255. 
S. Cyprian calls him beatum martyrem. 



195 



ETTTXIANOC EIIIC . 



" Eutychianus, bishop . . ." (Plate IX. 4.) 

Pope Eutychianus (273-283) was not really 
martyred, although he is venerated as a martyr. 
He was the last Pontiff buried in the crypt of the 
Popes. 

196 



IJ(AIO) 



! I 



EHI 



(CK) 



KAT 



np|o 



KAA 



MAm 



(N) 



"Burial of Caius, bishop, on April 22nd." 



Part II Chapter V 197 

Pope Caius was buried on the other side of the 
cemetery of Callisto in the region now called that 
of S. Eusebius. He ruled the Church from 283 to 
296, and died on April 22nd. Pope Marcellinus 
(f 304) is recorded in another inscription, which 
will be given in due course. 

The sepulchral inscriptions of ordinary bishops 
discovered in the Roman catacombs have been 
even fewer in number. 1 A record of a bishop of 
Albano has been found in a long inscription in the 
cemetery of Domitilla. 2 

From the Agro Verano 3 has been recovered the 
following metrical inscription of a bishop named 
Leo: 4 

197 



OMNIA QVAEQVE VIDES PROPRIO QVAESITA LA- 
BORE ( CVM MIHI GENTILIS IAMDVDVM VITA MA- 
NERET | INSTITVI CENSVM CVPIENS COGNOSCERE 
MVNDI | IVDICIO POST MVLTA DEI MELIORA SE- 
QWTVS | CONTEMPTIS OPIBVS MALVI COGNO- 
SCERE CHRISTVM | HAEC MIHI CVRA FVIT NVDOS 
VESTIRE PETENTES I FVNDERE PAVPERIBVS QVID- 
QVID CONCESSERAT ANNVS | PSALLERE ET IN PO- 
PVLIS VOLVI MODVLANTE PROPHETA | SIC MERVI 
PLEBEM CHRISTI RETINERE SACERDOS | HVNC MIHI 
COMPOSVIT TVMVLVM LAVRENTIA CONIVX | MORI- 
BVS APTA MEIS SEMPER VENERANDA FIDELIS | 
INVIDIA INFELIX TANDEM COMPRESSA QVIESCET | 
OCTOGINTA LEO TRASCENDIT EPISCOPVS ANNOS | 
DEP DIE PRID IDVS MARTIAS 



1 Cp. De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist., 1864, pp. 49 et seq. 
- An episcopus Albanensis is mentioned among many other 
names. 

3 [The Agro Verano, which is frequently mentioned in the 
course of this manual, was a plot of land behind S. Lorenzo fuori 
le Mura, and contained a catacomb, in which S. Lawrence is re- 
puted to have been buried ; large portions of this were destroyed 
when S. Lorenzo was built, and a modern cemetery has been 
laid out there. Many remains of the old catacomb have been 
brought to light by the grave-diggers of the present day. TK.] 

4 De Rossi, I.e. pp. 54-56. 



198 Christian Epigraphy 

This inscription has now acquired very great 
historical importance from the fact that in all 
probability this bishop Leo was the father of Pope 
Damasus ; if so, he must, of course, have separated 
from his wife on taking holy orders. 1 

198 



HIC REQVIESCIT IN PACE ADEODATVS EPISC 
QVI VIXIT ANN | PL M LXVII ET SED AN II ET 
M VIIII DEP SVB D - PRID KAL DECEM- 



Cemetery basilica of S. Alexander on the Via Nomentana. 

This and the following inscription belong to the 
bishop of some see in the Campagna of Rome. 



199 



PETRVS EPISCOPVS IN PACE XIII KL MAIAS 



Cemetery of S. Alexander. 
(De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist., 1864, p. 51.) 



EBVS PARITER ET NOMIN*- 

M TERRAMQVE SIMVL SOCIOSQVE religuit 

sancte .r^ERDOTII TENVIT QVI - SEDE CORONAM 

INIS ET SEPTEM REVOLVENTIBVS Attnis 

plebi CVNCTA GEMET - SVISMET CARV 

SIS SEXTI ITERVM P C SYMMACHI V C 

INDICTIONE 

From Vienne in France. 
(Le Blant, Inscriptions chrtt. de la Gaule, 481 A.) 

The title sacerdos, as appears from this inscription 

1 Cf. Marucchi, Nuovo Bull, di arch, crist., 1903, Nos. 1-3. 



Part II Chapter V 199 

and from that on Bishop Leo, No. 197, indicates 
episcopal rank. Indeed, in the inscription on S. 
Concordius, bishop of Aries, we read : 



LECTVS CAELESTI LEGE SACERDOS 



(Le Blant, Inscr. de la Gaule, No. 590. 



2 

Inscriptions mentioning priests by name are 
rather more numerous : in some cases the title is 
simply added to the name of the deceased ; others 
(and these are of more value to us) give the name 
of the urban " title " or parish to which the priest 
was attached. From the latter we can learn the 
names of these very early " titles " of the Church 
of Rome ; and with them, as the most remarkable, 
we will begin the list. 



LOG ADEODATI PRESB TIT PRISCAE 



From the Via Ostiensis. 

The " title " of Prisca still exists under the same 
name on the Aventine, as the Church of S. Prisca. 



200 Christian Epigraphy 

203 



LOCVS PRESBYTERI BASILI TITVLI SABINE 



Cemetery of S. Paolo. (Plate XI. 2.) 

The titulus Sabinae is the church of the same 
name on the Aventine. 

204 



. . . . S TITVLI CLEMENTIS VI IDVS APR 

raPVIT RECIA CAELI BLANDA 
. . . . VE BENIGNA SEMOTA PRVDENS 
.... VIGNAMQVE TVMVLO 

.... A QVIESCIT 

Domino PRAESTANTE RESVRGET 



Cemetery of Cyriaca on the Via Tiburtina. 

The titulus Clementis is the very early church of 
S. Clemente on the road to the Lateran. 



205 



HIC REQVIESCIT IN PACE ARGVRIVS QVI VIXiV . . . 
DEPS SVB D III NON MAIS CONS PROVINI. . . 
quern locum \ comJaRAVIT FILIA EIVS FAVSTA 
A PRB TIT PRAX</ 



Cemetery of S. Hyppolytus on the Via Tiburtina (A. D. 395). 

The titulus Praxedis corresponds to the existing 
church of S. Prassede on the Esquiline. 



Part II Chapter V 201 

206 



+ HIC REQVIESCIT M ...... tituli Sanctorum 

IOHANNIS ET PAVLI .... 

SEMPER CVM OMNES .... 

DEPOSITVS IN PACE .... 

DOMNO NOSTRO IVSTINO P P ang 

ET IN PACE AETERNAM ET ORET .... 

(dove) 



SNCO ' XHVK ' 1V>I IA Q d*P 
IHIW XIA3 FIX H d ' NV XIA 
OI ' TC3XI ' INmOHd JL3 
d NI Q ' IX ' K d NV XIA 



Basilica of S. Stefano on the Via Latina. 
(De Rossi, Inscript. christ. \. p. 514, No. 1123.) 

This stone was used for two tombs successively. 
The older inscription (which is upside down) bears 
the names of the consuls of the year 341 ; the later, 
which bore the name of a priest of the "title" of 
SS. Giovanni and Paolo (formerly called titulus 
Byzantis\ has a consular date which lies some- 
where between A.D. 566 and 578. 

Other inscriptions of priests with tituli or 
parishes have been recovered in the excavations 
of the cemetery of Commodilla on the Via 
Ostiensis ; they show the connexion between that 



202 Christian Epigraphy 

cemetery and the nearest city parish, viz. S. Sabina 
on the Aventine. See p. 200. 



207 



. . (?) NablKA QVAE VIXIT 
. . . . X DEPOSITA IN PA 
. . p c J/ABORTI VC CONS 
. . . <z/ETRO PRIMIC TIT SCAE 
Sabinac (?) suB PRB PAVLO 



Cemetery of Commodilla. 

(Marucchi, Nuovo Bull, di arch, crist., 1904, p. 92, No. 27, 
and pp. 140-141 ; 1905, p. 39.) 



208 



-I- LOCVS 
TITVLI S(a6inae) ( 
CV. 



Ditto. (Marucchi, op. cit., 1904, No. 27 A.) 
209 



CAIANVS EMIT CVM VIVIT 
SIBI ET VXORI SVAE AB ADEO 
DATO FOSSORE SVB PRESEN 
TI SANCTI MAXIM I PRESBITERI 
. P 



Ditto. (Marucchi, op. cit. , 1905, p. 53, No. 15.) 

The priest Maximus had possibly some special 
jurisdiction over the cemetery of Commodilla. 



Part II Chapter V 



203 




Cemetery of S. Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina. 

This gives the name of a priest of the church of 
S. Pudentiana, called ecdesia pudentiana on the 
great mosaic of the apse, which dates from Pope 
Syricius. 

To the same parish belongs a large inscription, 
now in the Lateran Museum, on which the names 
of the priests Ilicius and Leopardus appear. 



SALVO SIRICIO - EPISC - ECLESIAE SANCTAE 
ET ILICIO LEOPARDO ET MAXIMO PRESBB 



(De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist. , 1867, p. 52.) (Plate XL i. ) 

This also dates from Pope Syricius. 



TITVL IMClnae 

CONIVX MIHI 

sine ulla rVLPA CESQw/ in pace 



Cemetery of S. Valentinus on the Via Flaminia. 

The tititlus Lucinae of which this cemetery was a 
dependency is the existing church of S. Lorenzo in 
Lucina. 



204 Christian Epigraphy 

213 



hiC REQtf&ttV presbyter (?) 

/ITVLI - EVsedi 

in paCE DEP 



Cemetery of SS. Peter and Marcellinus. 

The titulus Eusebii is the existing church of S. 
Eusebio. 

214 



S EST . VICTOR PRAESB TITVLI 
NICOMEDIS | 

XII . KAL DECEMB 



From the ambo of the basilica of S. Lorenzo in the 
Agro Verano. 

The titulus Nicomedis is entirely unknown. 
215 



+ HIC QVIESCIT - ROMANVS 
PRESBITER . QVI SIDIT 
PRESBITERIO ANNVS XXVI 
MENSIS X DEP 

X KAL 

(constdatu] SEBERINI VC COns 



Cemetery of SS. Peter and Marcellinus on the Via Labicana 
(A.D. 461 or 482). 

There exists a practically identical replica of this 
inscription, which must have been returned to the 
artist's hands ; it is now in the Lateran Museum. 



Part II Chapter V 205 

216 



TIMOTEVS 
PRESBYTER 



Cemetery of S. Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina. 

This tablet is in the best Damasian lettering, 
of the shape specially adopted by Pope Damasus 
in historical inscriptions to the honour of martyrs. 
It was placed in the crypt of the martyr S. 
Hippolytus, and remains there still. 



217 



PRESBYTER HIC SITVS EST CELERINVS NO- 
MINE DICtus | CORPOREOS RVMPENS NEXVS 
QVI . GAVDET IN ASTRIS | DEP VIII KAL IVN 
FL SYAGRIO ET EVCERIO 



/*,< 



Cemetery of S. Agnese on the Via Nomentana. 

At present kept on the grand staircase of the 
basilica. The epitaph is in verse, and its consular 
date makes it A.D. 381. 



218 



HIC REQVIES 
CIT LEO PRES 
BYTER . , 



Cemetery of S. Paolo. 



206 



Christian Epigraphy 



219 



AIONTCIOT 

IATPOT 
HPECBTTEPOT 



Cemetery of Callisto. (Plate XII. 2. ) 

On a priest who also practised the art of healing. 



LOCVS VALENTINI PRAESB 



Basilica of S. Agnese. (Plate XL 3.) 



Inscriptions* of Deacons and Sub-Deacons 

Diaconus is the title given to the holders of the 
third grade in the Hierarchy, who assisted the 
priests and the bishops in their sacred functions. 

The deacons of the Roman Church were seven 
in number ; their duties were the custody of the 
tombs of the martyrs, the chanting of the services, 
the superintendence of the ecclesiastical districts, 
and the administration of the property of the 
Church. The archdeacon was the chief of them ; 
he acted as personal assistant to the Pope, especi- 
ally in the administration of the Common Area 
(Treasury) of the Brethren. As a general rule the 



Part II Chapter V 207 

archdeacon succeeded to the honours of the 
Pontificate. 

The best-known evidence in this connexion is 
the inscription of a deacon named Severus which 
was found by De Rossi in the cemetery of Callisto. 
It belonged perhaps to an archdeacon under Pope 
Marcellinus. 



CVBICVLVM DVPLEX CVM ARCISOLIS ET 
LVMINARE | IVSSV PP SVI MARCELLINI DIA- 
CONVS ISTE | SEVERVS FECIT - MANSIONEM 
IN PACE - QVIETAM | SIBI SVISQVE MEMOR 
QVO MEMBRA DVLCIA SOMNO | PER LON- 
GVM TEMPVS FACTORI ET IVDICI SERVET | 
SEVERA DVLCIS PARENTIBVS ET FAMVLI- 
SQVE | REDDIDIT VIII FEBRARIAS VIRGO - KA- 
LENDAS | QVAM DOMS - NASCI MIRA SAPIEN- 
TIA ET ARTE | IVSSERAT IN - CARNEM QVOD 

CORPVS PACE QVIETVM | HIC EST SEPVL- 
TVM DONEC RESVRGAT AB IPSO | QVIQVE - 
ANIMAM RAPVIT - SPIRITV SANCTO SVO | 
CASTAM - PVDICAM ET INVIOLABILE SEMPER | 
QVAMQVE ITERVM DOMS SPIRITALI . GLORIA 

REDDET | QVAE VIXIT ANNOS VIIII ET XI 
MENSES | XV QVOQVE DIES SIC EST TRAN- 
SLATA DE SAECLO 



This inscription states that Severus the deacon, 
by the authority of Pope Marcellinus (therefore 
previous to A.D. 304), made a sepulchral chamber 
for himself and his sister Severa, to whose virtues 
he pays a graceful tribute. The inscription has 
some doctrinal value, as pointing very clearly to a 



2o8 Christian Epigraphy 

belief in the Resurrection, "hie est sepultum donee 
resurgat ab ipso," and furthermore as alluding to 
the gifts of the Spirit, "quique animam rapuit 
spiritu sancto suo." 

The inscription is also noticeable as naming the 
arcosolia and the sky-lights (luminare) which 
Severus the deacon made in his chamber. 

The following gives clear testimony to the 
dependence of deacons upon the bishops whom 
they assisted in their sacred ministry : 



DIACONI 



Cemetery of S. Sebastian. 

Now kept in the small local museum. 



223 



VERECVNDAE PVDICAE 

TOTIVSQVE INTEGRITATIS FEMINAE 

AVRELIAE . GEMINIAE . CONIVGI 

DVLCISSIMAE FELIX DIAK 



From Porto ; now in Lateran Museum. 

On one Aurelia Gemina, wife of a deacon 
named Felix. 



Part II Chapter V 209 



224 



Quisque vides tumulum vitam si quaeris operti 

Ter morior denos et post bis quattuor annos 

Servatum Christo reddens de corpore munus 

Cujus ego in sacris famulus z-el in ordine lector 

Officio levitafui Florentius ore 

Qui pater in fern's item mihi sancte SACERD#.y 

Contigit et natum tenuit IAM SORTE SECVNDA 

HOC SVPERAfc meo discedil SPIRITVS ORAE 

ISTE SEN/ casus gravis est ntiYLl MORTE BEATVS 

QVOD PATRIS hospitio bene nunc inea membra quiescunt 

DEP-DIE -PR. . 



Agro Verano. Lateran Museum. 1 

This is a Damasian inscription commemorating 
one Florentius who was levita or deacon. Accord- 
ing to my own investigations as to the family of 
Pope Damasus, it is highly probable that this 
Florentius, the son of Bishop Leo (who was also 
buried in the Agro Verano), was a brother of 
Damasus. But I shall have occasion to deal with 
this matter in the chapter on Damasian inscriptions, 
in which I shall also go into the history of the 
family of Damasus, and describe my recent special 
investigation of this important question. 

The mention of sub-deacons or minor deacons 
is of a later date : it appears that in the Roman 
Church they also were seven in number, and con- 
stituted in early time an actual Minor Order. 

1 The restorations (in italics) are taken from an early transcript. 

P 



2io Christian Epigraphy 



22$ 



LOCVS INPORTVNI SVBDIAC REG QVARTAE 



Cemetery of S. Agnese. 



226 



HIC REQVIESCIT APPIANVS SVBDIACONVS 
QVI VIXIT-ANNV | XXXIII DIES -XXVIIII-D- III 
IDVS APRI CUN POSTVMIANI V C 



Cemetery of S. Alexander on the Via Nomentana (A.D. 448). 
(De Rossi, Inscript. christ. i. p. 324, No. 742. ) 



227 



LOCVS MARCELLI SVBD - REG SEXTE 

CQNCESSVM SIBI ET POS | 

TERIS EIVS . A . BEATISSIMO PAPA 

IOANNE | QVI VIXIT ANN 

P M LXVIII DEP P^C BASILI 

V~^C ANN XXII | IND XI 

VNDECIMV KAL 

IANVARIAS 



In the crypt of the Vatican. 

An inscription of the year 563, in the pontificate 
of John III. 



Part II Chapter V 



211 



Inscriptions of Inferior Church Officers 

The inscriptions that follow all refer to inferior 
grades among the clergy. 



228 



GELASIVS EXORCISTA IN PACE 
DEP V IDVS M . . . . ann XXXXV 
fiAE El . . VS DEO GRATIAS 



Cemetery of Domitilla on the Via Ardeatina. 

The duty of exorcists was to exorcise those 
possessed by evil spirits, so as to set them free 
from the power of the devil. 

This inscription is of value for the expression Deo 
gratictS) which the orthodox of the fourth century 
used in place of the Deo laudes of the Donatists. 



229 



IN PACE AP.VNDANTIVS ACOL 

REG QVART ET T VESTINE QVI VIXIT ANN XXV 

DEP IN P D NAT SCI MARCI MENSE OCX TND XII 

Recovered in the cemetery of S. Agnese. 

Acolytes in the Roman Church had the duty of 
serving at religious functions ; and it was their 



212 Christian Epigraphy 

business to carry the Eucharist to those who had 
been absent from Mass. A celebrated name 
among the acolytes was that of S. Tarsicius, the 
youthful martyr in the cause of the Eucharist, who 
died, according to tradition, in the persecution of 
Valerian. 

The "title" of Vestina corresponds to the 
modern church of S. Vitale. 

The duty of lectores or readers was to read 
the Holy Scriptures publicly in the churches. 
Even boys were often admitted to this office. 
Some inscriptions of lectores give the name of the 
parish church in which these officers acted. 



230 



OLYMPI . LECTORIS DE - EVSEBI 
LOCVS . EST 



Cemetery of SS. Peter and Marcellinus. 

The word dominico or titulo must be understood 
before Eusebii. 

231 

LECTOR DE SAVI(a) 

IO QVI VIXIT 

NIS XVI 

Cemetery known as that of Balbina on the Via Appia, 
near the cemetery of Callisto. 

A "graffito" inscription on plaster. It records 
tituhis Sabinae the modern church of S. Sabina. 



Part II Chapter V 



213 



232 



LOCVS - ADEODATI 

LECTORIS - DE BELA 

BRV 

DEP SYRICA . XVII KAL . AVG 

QVAE . VIXIT ANNOS 

P M XII . CONS 

SEBERINI (A.D. 460 or 461) 



Cemetery of Callisto. Lateran Museum. (Plate XIII. i.) 

This lector belonged to the parochial church of 
the Velabrum, possibly the modern S. Giorgio. 



2 33 



(crown) 

DILECTISSIMO MARITO ANIME DVLCISSIME ALEXIO 
LECTORI | DE FVLLONICES QVI VIXIT . MECVM 
ANN XVI IVNCTVS MIHI ANN XVI | VIRGO 
AD VIRGINE CVIVS NVMQVAM AMARITVDINEM 
HABVI | CESQVE IN PACE CVM SANCTIS CVM 
QVOS MERERIS 

DEP VIII . X . KAL . IANV 



So-called cemetery of Balbina. 

This titulus 'Fullonices is absolutely unknown ; it 
may have taken the name from a neighbouring 
fullonica or laundry. 

There is one solitary inscription of one VR- 
SATVS VSTIARIVS, a gate -porter. (Gruter, 
1056, 6.) 



214 Christian Epigraphy 

234 



hie POSITVS EST PETRVS VIII IDVS 
warTIAS QVI VIXIT ANNIS XVIIII 

.... DEP IN PACE PHILIPPO ET SALIA 

COSS DVO FRATRES .... 
ANTIVS LECTOR DE PALLACINE QVI VIXIT 

. . DEP XII KAL SEPT 



Cemetery of Priscilla on the Via Salaria (A.D. 348). 
(De Rossi, Inscrip. christ. i. No. 97. ) 

The parochial church of Pallacine is the modern 
church of S. Marco. 

But the earliest inscription of a lector is the 
following, the beautiful lettering of which is not 
later than the beginning of the third century : 

235 



FAVOR FAVOR (anchor) LECTOR 



.Cemetery of S. Agnese. 

The lowest offices are those of notarius and 
exceptor. 

236 



. M CALOPODIVS NOTAR 



ANN . XLVIII DEPOS 



Cloister of the basilica of S. Paolo. 

This inscription gives the name of an ecclesi- 
astical notarius ^ Calopodius, which may be noted 
for its rarity. 



Part II Chapter V 215 

237 



vixfl - ANNIS XVIII 

NOTARIO 

. rwN MARTVRIBVS 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 

The exceptores were the shorthand writers of the 
chancery of the Roman Church. This office was 
held, it may be remarked, by the father of 
Damasus, as appears from the well-known in- 
scription placed by that Pontiff in the workrooms 
of the Ecclesiastical Record Office situated near the 
theatre of Pompey : Hinc pater exceptor, lector, 
levita, sacerdos, etc. (See the chapter on Damasian 
inscriptions.) 

5 

Inscriptions bearing on the various Classes of 
Christian Society 

(a) VIRGINS 

The whole community of the Faithful was in- 
cluded in the description plebs Dei; within that, 
the members were divided into classes according 
to the positions of the individuals in relation to the 
Church. 

One of the most highly esteemed classes within 
the bosom of the primitive Church was that of 
the virgins who had consecrated their lives to 
God, and who were therefore called virgines Dei, 



2l6 



Christian Epigraphy 



and (in later days) sanctimoniaks \ they received 
special mention in the public prayers, and had 
special seats reserved for them at divine service. 
We find records of them in many inscriptions. 



238 



QVIESCIT IK pace PRAETEXTATA 
VIRGO SACRA . DEP^TA D VII 
ID AVG CONS . RVstiCI ET OLYBRI 



From the Agro Verano. Museum of the Capitol (A.D. 464). 

Remark the name Praetextata, which connects 
this virgin with the Christian branch of the 
illustrious family of the Praetextati. 



239 



NICELLA VIRGO DEI QVE VI 
XIT ANNOS PM XXXV DE 
POSITA XV KAL MAIAS BENE 
MERENTI IN PACE 



Lateran Museum. 
240 



HIC THEODVLE IACET ^ 

VIRGO ANNORVM XVII 

PVELLA DEP VI IDVS IANVARIAS 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. 



Part II Chapter V 
241 



217 



BICTORIA FIDELIS BIRGO 
QVE VIXIT ANNIS XVII 
MENSIS VIII DIES V IN PACE 
DEFVCTA VIDVS SEPTEMB 



Lateran Museum. (Plate XIII. 3.) 
242 



IENVARIE BIRGINI 
BENEMERENTI IN 
PACE BOTIS DEPOSITA 



Galleria Lapidaria of the Vatican. 

The words votis deposita refer to the prayers 
offered at the burial of this holy virgin. 



243 



AESTONIA VIRGO PEREGRI ^ 
NA QVE VIXIT ANIS XL I ET DS 
VIII IIII KAL MAR DECESSIT 
DE CORPORE 



Lateran Museum. (Plate XIII. 7. ) 

The expression Virgo peregrina shows that the 
holy virgin was a foreigner who had been received 
into the community of the Roman Church. 



2l8 



Christian Epigraphy 
244 



ADEODATE 
DIGNAE ET 
MERITAE 
VIRGINI 


ET QVIESCIT 
HIC IN PACE 
IVBENTE 
XPO EIVS 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. (Plate XIII. 5. ) 

Note the phrase jubente Christo ejus. 

(b) WIDOWS 

Widows were highly honoured in the primitive 
Church and were called sometimes viduae Dei, 
sometimes by their Greek name x^P aL - They 
devoted themselves to works of charity. 



245 



OC TA VI AE . MA TRONAE 
VI DV . AE DE I 



Lateran Museum. (Plate XIII. 6. 
246 



DAFNE VIDVA Q CVN VIXzV . 
ACLESIA NIHIL GRAVAVIT A 



Lateran Museum. (Plate XIII. 4.) 

Observe the praise bestowed on her for not 
having been a burden on the Church : Ecclesiam 
nihil gravavit. 



Part II Chapter V 219 



(c] THE FAITHFUL 

The Faithful (fideles, Trio-rot) were all those who 
had been baptized and fully instructed in all the 
Christian mysteries. 



247 



AArnioc nicToc EN EIPHNH 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. (Plate XIV. 2. 
248 



B M 

PARTHENIO FIDELI IN PACE QVI BIXIT ANNIS XXVIII 
DEP XVIIII KAL FEE 



Lateran Museum. (Plate XIV. i.) 



249 



DEPOSITVS ZOSIMVS 
FIDELIS ANNORVM 
OCTOGINTA 

X KALENDAS DECEMBRES 
IN PACE 



Lateran Museum. 



220 



Christian Epigraphy 



(d) NEOPHYTES 

The neophytes, from the Greek veo^vros (recently 
planted), formed the class of the Faithful who had 
but lately received baptism. 



250 



^ PAVLINO NEOFITO 
IN PACE QVI VIXIT ANOS VIII 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. (Plate XIV. 4. ) 
251 



MIRAE Y&nocentiae 

PVLCRITV(<ffw) 

HAERMOG .... vix ann . . 
V ..NEOFIT . EENEmenns 



Dittc. 



252 



ZOSIMO Q VIXIT . ANN 
V M VIII D XIII NEOF IN 
DONATVS P F B M 
ET IVSTA M 



Lateran Museum. 



Part II Chapter V 

253 



221 



IVNIVS . BASSVS V C 
IN IPSA . PRAEFECTVRA VRBIS 
NEOFITVS . IIT . AD DEVM 
EVSEBIO ET IPATIO CONSS 



Grottos of the Vatican (A. D. 359). 

This is the celebrated inscription of Junius 
Bassus, prefect of Rome in 359, who died a 
neophyte while holding his political office. It is 
cut on the magnificent sarcophagus, ornamented 
with striking sculpture, in which that official was 
buried. 

254 



BENEMERENTI 
IN PACE . LIBERA 
QVAE BIXIT AN VIII 
NEOFITA DEP . DIE" 
III . NONAS MAI AS 
CONS GRATIANO III 
ET EQVITIO 



Kircherian Museum (A.D. 375). 

(e) CATECHUMENS 

The name catechumen (from the Greek 
I instruct) was given to those who were making their 
initiate into the Faith and preparing to receive 



222 Christian Epigraphy 

baptism. They were kept distinct from the Faith- 
ful, properly so called, and were only allowed to be 
present at certain portions of divine service. They 
were dismissed at the moment of oblation, whence 
S. Augustine says : Fit missa catechumenis, mane- 
bunt fideles. At Easter they received the rite of 
baptism in solemn form ; those who were fit to be 
baptized were called catechumeni competentes. 



255 



LVCILIANVS BACIO VALERIO 
. . QVI BISIT AN VIIII 
. . VIIII DIES XXII CATECVM 



Lateran Museum. 
256 



KITE BIKTOP KATHXOTMENOC 
AITON EIKOCI nAPGENOC 
AOTAOC . TOT . KTPIOT IHSOT 3 



" Here lies Victor, a catechumen of twenty years 
of age, a bachelor, and a servant of the Lord Jesus 
Christ." 

From a cemetery on the Via Tiburtina ; now in the museum 
of the German cemetery in the Vatican. 

This inscription was discovered by me in a vine- 
yard near the Via Tiburtina ; I published a special 
review of it, entitled "A Valuable and Unpublished 
Christian Inscription," in Sfitdi in Italia, sixth year, 
vol. ii. No. IT, 1883. 



Part II Chapter V 223 

6 
Slaves and Freedmen 

One of the largest classes in old pagan society 
was that formed of slaves and freedmen (emanci- 
pated slaves) ; and both of these are very frequently 
mentioned in old pagan inscriptions. In old 
Christian inscriptions, on the other hand, records of 
slaves and freedmen are very rare, owing to the 
fact that the Faithful, in obedience to the great 
Christian principle of the equality of all men before 
God, eschewed social caste-distinctions, while the 
pagans were always for insisting on them. To 
show that Christianity abolished slavery in theory, 
even though unable to do so immediately in 
practice, we need only cite the evidence of Lac- 
tantius, who solemnly affirms the principle of 
Christian equality in these noble words : Apitd 
nos inter servos et dominos interest nihil ; nee alia 
causa est cur nobis invicem fratrum nomen imperti- 
amus, nisi quia pares nos esse credimus. (Div. 1st. 

v. 14-15-) 

Accepting these views the Christians were not 
in the habit of mentioning in their inscriptions the 
status of slave or freedman ; they remembered, 
moreover, the words of S. Paul, "There is neither 
bondman nor free" (Gal. iii. 28). It is at any 
rate undeniable that these descriptions scarcely 
ever appear on Christian monuments. 

There are, however, a few here and there which 
record the fact. In the cemetery of Priscilla an 
inscription was discovered in the eighteenth century 
commemorating the death of a girl, in which the 



224 



Christian Epigraphy 



parents state that they manumitted seven slaves at 
her funeral, septem (servos} manomisimus. The text 
runs thus : 



257 



SECVNDVS ET RVFINA 
FILIAE DVLCISIMAE 
HVNC F | VNVS SCRITVRA 
INTRA NOS VII MANOMISIMVS 
TV | AM CARITATEM . FILIA 
DVLCISSIMA SIN NA III K S 



(Boldetti, Osservazioni, p. 386. ) 



258 



ALEXANDER 
AVGG SER FECI 
SE BIVO MARCO FILIO 
DVLCISSIMO CAPVT A 
FRICE SI QVI DEPVTA 
BATVR INTER . BESTITO 
RES QVI VIXIT ANNIS 
XVIII MENSIBVS VIIII 
DIEBV V PETO A BOBIS 
FRATRES BONI PER 
VNVM DEVM NE QVIS 
HVNC TITE LO MOLES(^) 
POS MOR (sic) 



Cemetery of S. Hermes on the old Via Salaria. 
Kircherian Museum. 



Part II Chapter V 225 

The following speaks of an imperial freedman : 



(a genius 
support- 
ing the 
tablet) 



259 



M . AVRELIO AVGG . LIB PROSENETI 

A CVBICVLO AVG 
PROC THESAVRORVM 
PROC . PATRIMONI - PROC 
MVNERVM PROC VINORVM 
ORDINATO A DIVO COMMODO 
IN KASTRENSE PATRONO PIISSIMO 

LIBERTI BENEMERENTI 

SARCOPHAGVM DE SVO 
ADORNAVERVNT 



(a genius 
support- 
ing the 
tablet) 



On the front of a sarcophagus in the Villa Borghese in Rome ; 
found at the seventh milestone of the Via Labicana near 
Torre Nuova (A.D. 217). 



259 (a) 



PROSENES RECEPTVS AD DEVM 
V NON aJrlLlS SAuro in Camp 
ANIA PRAESENTE ET EXTRICATO II 

REGREDIENS IN VRBE 

AB EXPEDITIONIBVS SCRIPSIT AMPELIVS 
\ARertus 



De Rossi decided that this inscription was 
Christian on account of the words receptus ad Deum. 
(Inscr. i. 5.) l 

1 Possibly Proxenes was secretly a Christian. 



226 



Christian Epigraphy 



260 



PETRONIAE - AVXENTIAE 
C - F . QVAE VIXIT | ANN 
XXX LIBERTI FECERVNT 
BENEMERENTI IN PACE 



Cemetery of Callisto. 

These were perhaps slaves who had been 
emancipated by the Lady Petronia Auxentia on the 
day of her baptism. 



Alumni, a class often mentioned in Christian 
inscriptions, were children who had been deserted 
by pagan parents, and adopted and brought up as 
sons on charity in the families of the Faithful. 



261 





IIETPOC - 








PEIITOC 






(dove) 


TA T - K 


. on . TA . 

A L A (dove) 




TOO EN 


EH - 


(sic) 



" Peter, my foster-son, live in God ! " 

The Greek word 0/>e7rros answers to the Latin 
alumnus 



Part II Chapter V 



227 



262 



EROTIS ALVMNO 
DVLCISSIMO ET PAMMVSO 

CVMNICO . VALENTINES 
FILIES MEES VIXIT ANNOS 

XVI 

DEFVNCTVS - EST - IDIBVS 
IVNIS DIE SATVRNI 

ORA NONA 
(wreath) (palm) 



Kircherian Museum. 



7 

Inscriptions bearing on Offices and Professions 
carried on by the Faithful 

The Faithful of the first centuries, while dis- 
tinguished from the pagan world by their moral 
and religious principles and by their mode of 
burial, none the less took their part in public life, 
and were found in all offices and carrying on all 
professions, from the highest to the humblest. 
Hence Tertullian is able to say that the idolaters 
could find Christians in all places, in the army, 
the workshops, the civil service, everywhere except 
in their temples (Apolog. 42). 

The various classes of society to which Christians 
belonged are recorded in the inscriptions. 

One of the best known of these is that of an 
unknown consul and martyr named Liberalis who 
was buried on the old Via Salaria, and whose birth 



228 Christian Epigraphy 

was so lofty that his very name added new dignity 
to the fasces of the consul. We shall quote this 
important text in dealing with the historical in- 
scriptions. 

The greater number of the inscriptions which 
record offices held by Christians belong, as is 
natural, to the times of peace. There are one or 
two, however, of earlier date, such as the following : 

263 



XVIII KAL AVRELIVS PRIMVS 
SEPT AVG - LIB TABVL 

ET COCCEIA ATHENAIS 

FILIAE FECERVNT 

AVRELIAE PROCOPENI 

QVAE BIXIT ANN XIII MESIBVS III 

DIEBVS XIII PAX TECV 



Cemetery of S. Hermes. Kircherian Museum. 

This records an imperial freedman, who was a 
tabularius, or .keeper of the emperor's books and 
private papers. 

In the cemetery of Priscilla there is also an 
inscription to an imperial freedman, praepositus 
tabernaculariorum^ who, like Aquila and Prisca, and 
even S. Paul himself, carried on the trade of a tent- 
maker : 

264 



. . . AVG LIB PRAEPOS1TVS TABERNACVL(rzV>r;//) 

. . . IDI SORORI BENEMERENTI QVAE VIXIT AN . . 

. . SORORI QVAE VIXIT ANN XVII SERAP . . . etc. 



Part II Chapter V 229 

\ 

The following are of a later date ; they mention 
various employments : 

265 



Hie situs est Vict(fo FIDENS REMEARE SEPVLTOS 
LAETIOR In coelum superam QVI SVRGAT AD AVRAM 
IMMACVLATA piae conservans/OEDERA MENTIS 
CONCILIO SPLENDENS PRudens et in urbe SENATOR 
INLVSTRES MERITO CEPIT \Enerandus /wncrES 
SVBLIMISQ COMES NOTVS virtutibus aulae 
VIVIDVS ANNONAM REXIT Canonemgue proba-vit (?) 



Basilica of S. Sebastian. 
This is on one Victor, a senator. 

The following refer to employes in the administra- 
tion, and in the offices of the emperor's establish- 
ment, after the reforms effected in the middle of 
the fourth century : 

266 



CALLIDROMVS EX -|DISP - HIC Dormit 

SIGNO LEVCADI ANIMA - BONA 

TIANVS AVG LIB - ADIVTOR PROC 

rum rationuin \ 

ET SEIA HELPIS FILI DVLCISSIMI ET Valeria 

CRESCENTINA COIVX . EIVS 



From Ostia. Lateran Museum. 

From the tomb of a dispensator. The words 
signo Leucadi mean " with the sobriquet of 
Leucadius." 



230 Christian Epigraphy 

267 



HIC QVIESCIT IN PACE LAVRENTIVS 

SCRIBA - SENATVS DEP . DIE - IIII IDVVM MART 

ADELFIO . VC CONS 

(dove) 



Porch of S. Maria in Trastevere. 

On the tomb of a clerk to the senate. 
268 



HIC QVIESCIT IN PACE FL - CELERINVS 
VD SCRINIARIVS INL PATRICIAE SEDIS 
DEP-D-IIII- ID -NOVEMB-QVI-VIXIT-A~NN -XXXIII -FEM 
DN PL VALENTINIANO VII ET AVIENO VCS 



Basilica of S. Paolo (A.D. 450). 
(De Rossi, Inscr. christ. i. No. 751.) 

Scriniarius -was a clerk of the archives. 
269 



(wreath) IN HOC LOCV DEPOSITVS EST 
FARETER PROTECTOR DOMESTICVS 
QVI VIXIT ANNVS XXV REQVIESCIT 
IN PACEM 


(tree) 



Monastery of S. Paolo. 

Protector domesticus was a member of the 
emperor's police. 



Part II Chapter V 231 

270 



ANASTASO BEN|^W'RENTI 

N PACE DEPOSITVS IIII IDVS OCTOBR 
D MILITANS BESTEARV DOMINICV 



Monastery of S. Paolo. 

Vestiarius dominicus, like vestitor in the next 
inscription, means keeper of the imperial wardrobe. 



271 



HIC POSITVS - EST BENEMERITVS EL . AS 

VESTITOR IMPERATORIS QVI VIX 

DEPOSITVS D VIIII KAL SEPTEMBR consulate 
DOMINI N HONORI AVG VI CCSS . . 



Basilica of S. Paolo (A. D. 404). 
(De Rossi, Inscr. christ. i. No. 53 i. 

272 



+ HIC REQVIESCIT IN PACE IOHANNIS - VH 
OLOGRAFVS PROPINE ISIDORI QVI - VIX 
ANN PLVS M XLV E)EP X KALEN IVNIA 
CONSVLATV VILISARI VS 



In the Vatican grottos (A.D. 535). 

The olographus propinae was the book-keeper at 
a tavern. 



232 Christian Epigraphy 

273 



CVCVMIO ET VICTORIA 

SE VIVOS FECERVNT 
CAPSARARIVS DE ANTONINIANAS 



Cemetery of Domitilla. 

The capsararii were the attendants who took 
charge of clothing at the public baths. The baths 
here mentioned are the Thermae Antoninianae, 
now known as the Baths of Caracalla, on the Via 
Appia, 

The next inscription gives the name of a super- 
intendent of roads on the Via Flaminia : 

274 



HIC POSITVS EST MAXIMVS QVI 
VIXIT ANNVS P M LXX PRAEPOSITVS 
DE VIA FLABINIA (sic) 



Cemetery of S. Valentinus on the Via Flaminia. 

Next are some epitaphs on soldiers : 
275 



VDI XII ET AVRELIAE BARB 

CV QVE VIXIT AN XXVI MES VIIII DIES 

^wRELIVS BARBAS VET AVGG - NN X COHT - PR ... 
KARISSI M SB M FECIT 

Cemetery of S. Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina. 

This and the next mention two soldiers, veterans 
under two emperors. 



Part II Chapter V 233 

276 



P MARCELLO BETERANO 
AAGG NN EQ - R 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 

Inscription No. 276 is still to be seen on its own 
tomb in the baptistery quarter of the cemetery of 
Priscilla. Besides having the title of veteranus, the 
deceased is also described as eques Romanus (cavalry 
soldier), a description seldom found in Christian 
inscriptions. 

Here are two epitaphs of praetorian soldiers : 

277 



LICINEIVS MILX PRETORIANVS 
AYR PRICE COIVGI K BENE 
MERENTI - IN PACE COH VI 



Larger cemetery of S. Agnese. 
278 



. IIS IVS MILEX COHS . . . 
. . VSTVS FRTER F PATRV 
EMERENTI POSVIT QVI . . 
ANNIS XXX IN PACE 



Cemetery of S. Nicomedes on the Via Nomentana. 



234 



Christian Epigraphy 



The next is on the tomb of a soldier who had 
been recalled to service after discharge, evocatus, 
and attached to the tenth city cohort : 



279 



COMINIO MAXI 

MO . EVOCATO COHO 

RTIS X . VRBANAI QVI DE 

POSITVS EST . DIE - XV KAL MART 



Lateran Museum. 



The two next inscriptions belong \JQ pneumatici; 
a word which has had several different inter- 
pretations. 

The first gives the name of the deceased, who 
was a physician (tar/oos): 



280 



EN9A . KATAKITE AAEAN 
APOC IATPOC XPICTIANOs 
KAI HNETMATIKOC - 



(De Rossi, Cod. vat. lat. 10,517, fol. 190.) 

Some think the word may be taken as meaning 
a " physician of the soul"; but more probably it 
refers to some special school of medicine, or what 
we call a "specialist" [? Christian scientist. TR.]. 



Part II Chapter V 235 

The second inscription, in which the same word 
occurs, is on one Ablavios, a native of Galatia : 



281 



EN0AAE KATAKEITAI ABAABHC 
TAAATHC XfiPIOT MOTAIKOITIOC 
$OTINOT . ZHSAS ETH . TPIAKONTA 
HNETMATIKOS . KAATHTEI TH 
EIPHNH 201 



Some have suspected that the description may 
refer to the sect of pneumatici. 

The last words, meaning " the earth hides thee : 
peace to thee ! " are rare, but occasionally found 
even in Christian inscriptions. 



282 



PVLLA DIE III IDVS OCTOBRIS 

CALYPI 

SCOLASTICVS DIE VIIII KAL AVG 
consulatu POSTVMIANI IN PACE 



Cemetery of Pontianus (A.D. 447-448). 

Selwlasticus is possibly the name of a person ; but 
it is also the name of a profession, meaning teacher, 
and it is used in this sense on other inscriptions. 



236 



Christian Epigraphy 
283 



MAECILIO HILATI DV 
LCISSIMO NVTRITORI CAE 
IONIORVM PVSCIANAE C F 
ET CAMENICV QVI VIXIT 
LXXV M X FECIT MAE 
CILIA ROCATA DOMINO PA 
TRI DVLCISSIMO MELLITO 



AN 



AMATORI 
BONO QVI OM 
NES SVOS AM 
ABIT CARISSIMO 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 

No. 283 gives the name of one Maecilius Hilas 
who was nutritor (angl. tutor) in the family of 
the Ceionii. Observe that mellitus in the last line 
is synonymous with the preceding dulcissimus. 

No. 284 speaks of one Antimius, who is called 
papas, or " father " ; it is a mistake to take it as 
meaning Pontiff: 



284 



PERPETVAM SEDEM NVTRITOR - POSSIDES IPSE 
HIC MERITVS FINEM MAGNIS DEFVNCTE PERICLIS 
HIC REQVIEM FELIX SVMIS COGENTIBVS ANNIS 
HIC POSITVS PAPAS ANTIMIO QVI VIXIT 
ANNIS LXX \ DEPOSITVS DOMINO NOSTRO - AR- 
CADIO II ET FL RVFINO 

VVCC SS NONAS NOBEMB 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. 
Galleria Lapidaria of the Vatican (A.D. 392). 



Part II Chapter V 



237 



285 



PELICA 

IN PACE 

(vessel in the IN . FIDE DEI 
shape of a cask) QVI VIXIX ANIS 

XXXIIII 
PREPO 
SITVS 
MEDIAS 

TINORVM DE MONETA OFFICINA 
PRIMA 



Lateran Museum. 

He was an employe in the imperial mint. 



286 



M 

bonae meMORlE CATADROMARIVS 
MANIS QVI CATADROM 

CCXXI IN GLAVCE (palm branch) 



charioteer of the 



S. Sebastian. 

The epitaph of a racing 
"glauca," or blue faction. 

In this inscription, as in those of pagan 
charioteers, there is a statement of the number of 
races won by the deceased for his faction, which 
was 221 at least, and possibly more. 



238 Christian Epigraphy 



287 
DE BIA NOBA 



(grave) 



POLLECLA QVE ORDEVM BENDET IN BIA NOBA 

Cemetery of Domitilla. 

Scratched on the mortar of a grave. It gives 
the name of a barley-seller of the via nova. The 
only part of the inscription now existing is the 
expression de bia noba. 



288 



ARTIS ISPECLARARIE . 

SABINIVS . SANTIAS . ANIMA (mirror) 

DVLCIS QVI . VIXIT ANNIS . XLVI 



Cemetery of Pontianus on the Via Portuensis. 

The epitaph of a mirror-maker. 

289 



. . . CRESCENTIO FERRARIVS DE SVB(r) 
. . . NQVE SIBI ET SVIS QVI OMNIBVS . . . 



S. Paolo. 

The epitaph of a blacksmith who lived in the 
Subura. 



Part II Chapter V 
The next is on a worker in marble : 



2 39 



290 



1C POSITVS EST SILBANVS MARMORARIVS 
Q VI AN XXX ET FECIT CVM VXXORE AN III 
ET MENSIS III DEPOSITVS IIII KAL IVLIAS 



Lateran Museum. 



291 



DEP III IDVS MAI IOSIMVS QVI 

VIXIT ANNVS XXVIII QVI FECIT 

CVM CONPARE SVA ANNVS SEPTE 

MENSIS VIIII BENEMERENTI IN PACE CON 

SVLATV NICOMACI FLABIANI LOCV MAR 

MARARI QVADRISOMVM 



Basilica of S. Paolo (A. D. 394). 
Lateran Museum. 

This worker in marble had made himself a tomb 
to hold four bodies (locus quadrisomus). 



292 



LOCVS DONATI QVI 
MANET IN SVBVRA 
wAIORE AD NIMFA 
LINTEARIVS BISOMV 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. 

This epitaph on a cloth-weaver is to be noted, 
giving the name (ad nymphas) of a district in the 
ancient Subura. 



240 Christian Epigraphy 

In the cemetery of Commodilla there is an 
epitaph on a fruiterer (pomarius). 

Again we have an epitaph on a worker in ivory 

(elephantarius) : 

293 



LOCVS OLYMPI 
ELEFANTARI 



Cemetery of Commodilla. 

With these we close this series of inscriptions 
bearing on the occupations of the primitive 
Christian community. 



Instances of Christian Inscriptions mentioning 
Persons of High Rank or connected with Families 
of High Rank. 

There can be no doubt that among the members 
of the first Christian congregations were to be found 
many of the nobility, and of those connected in 
some way with families of high rank, and even with 
the family of the emperor. Even in the time 
of S. Paul there were Christians in the imperial 
household : salutant vos omnes sancti, maxime autem 
qui de Caesaris domo sunt (Phil. iv. 22) : these were 
probably freedmen of Nero. 

By the end of the first century Christianity had 
made its way into the illustrious home of the Acilii 
Glabriones, and into that of the Flavii, of which 
Vespasian Titus and Domitian were members ; and 
not long afterwards it had also reached the equal 
noble house of the Caecilii. 



Part II Chapter V 241 

At the beginning of the third century there were 
many Christians in the Senate, as we are told by 
Tertullian, who mentions clarissimi viri and Claris- 
simae foeminae ; and Pontius the deacon in his life 
of S. Cyprian tells us that among the confessors 
to the faith in Africa there were many egregii et 
clarissimi ordinis et sanguinis sed et saeculi nobilitate 
generosi. 

Many other Christians in the first centuries held 
high office in the state, or important municipal 
dignities. Flavius Clemens, a cousin of Domitian, 
was consul, as also was Acilius Glabrio ; and in the 
reign of Commodus there was a senator, Apolloriius 
by name, who read an Apology for Christianity to 
the Senate. Later there was another consul, 
Liberalis, who was also a martyr (see p. 409). 

These facts are all corroborated by inscriptions 
in which these high and illustrious personages are 
mentioned. We will give some of them as 
specimens. 

294 



M ACILIO . GLABRIONI 
FILIO 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 

This belonged to a sarcophagus which was 
recovered in the subterranean vaults of the Acilii 
which run into the cemetery of Priscilla. It records 
one Manius Acilius Glabrio^ who was probably the 
son or grandson of Manius Acilius Glabrio, consul 
in A.D. 91, and martyred under Domitian. 1 

1 See on this point De Rossi, Dull, di arch, crisf., 1887- 
1889, p. 67. 

R 



242 



Christian Epigraphy 



295 



M ACILIVS Verm 

V-C 
PRISCILLA C F 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 

This speaks of one Manius Acilius Verus vir 
clarissimus, i.e. of senatorial rank ; and of one 
Priscilla clarissima foemina, his wife. 

This inscription shows that a connexion existed 
between the family of Pudens and Priscilla and 
that of the Acilii. 

296 



(A)KIAIOC - POT^INOC 

(Z)HCHC EN BEft 



Acilius Rufinus, mayest thou live in God ! " 
Cemetery of Priscilla. 



297 



KA 

AKEIAIOT - 
TAAEPIOT 



" The tomb of the youth Claudius Acilius Valerius." 

Cemetery of Priscilla. 



Part II Chapter V 



243 



298 



<J>A CABEINOC KAI 
TITIANH AAEATOI 



"Flavius Sabinus and Titiana, brother and sister." 
Cemetery of Domitilla. 

The personage here mentioned belonged to the 
Christian branch of the Flavii, and bore the same 
name as Flavius Sabinus, the elder brother of the 
Emperor Vespasian. 

De Rossi has shown that the branch of the ' 
Flavii which was converted to Christianity as early 
as the first century was the very same that sprang 
from Flavius Sabinus, who was the father of Fabius 
Clemens, consul and martyr, and husband to 
Flavia Domitilla. 1 



299 



TITVS FLAVIVS 

FELICISSIMVS 
hie <fe/*SITVS - EST 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 

Possibly belonging to a freedman of the Emperor 
Titus. 



Bull, di arch, crist., 1875, pp. 37 et seq. 



244 



Christian Epigraphy 
3 oo 



IIoMimNIOC 



"Pomponius Grecinus." 
Cemetery of Callisto. 

De Rossi thinks this person may have belonged 
to the same family as Pomponia Grecina, wife of 
the senator Aulus Plautius under Nero. 

Other inscriptions, as well in Greek as in Latin, 
have been brought to light in the cemetery of 
Callisto, as to the gens Pomponia which was 
connected with the Caecilii. 1 

301 



Q CKEcilio 

MAXIMO 

C- P 

(clarissimo puero) 



"To Quintus Caecilius Maximus, a youth of 
senatorial family." 

Cemetery of Callisto. 

This was a relative of the celebrated martyr 
S. Caecilia, who was buried in the same cemetery 
on the Via Appia ; that cemetery was constructed 
in a property belonging to the illustrious family of 
the Caecilii. 

1 Roma sotterranea, vol. ii. plates 41 and 69. 



Part II Chapter V 245 

To the same family belong the following in- 
scriptions of personages entitled to the prefix 
clarissimi : 



302 



ATTICA 

CAECILIANA C F - VIX 

A . XVII M . Ill 

. D . XX 



Cemetery of Callisto. 
303 



POMPEIA - OC 
(/)ABIA ATTICA 
CaECILIANA - C - P 
VIXIT MEN . 



Cemetery of Callisto. 

34 



CAECILIANVS V . C 
m/aCE- DEPOSITVS 
tduS MAIAS VIX 
annos XXXXIIII 
menses VIII 



Cemetery of Callisto. 



246 



Christian Epigraphy 



In the cemetery of Callisto there is 'also the 
epitaph of Septimius Praetextatus Caecilianus, 1 of 
senatorial rank : 

35 



CEHTIMIOC IIPAITESTATOC 
KAIKIAIANOC 



The two next belong to persons of the noble 
gens Annia : 

306 



ANNIA <I>ATCTEINA 



Cemetery of Callisto. 
307 



KATOS 



Cemetery of Callisto. 

Here is one of Licinia, a lady of rank : 
308 



AIKINIA 3>ATCTEINA 



Cemetery of Callisto. 



1 The recovery of a further fragment makes it probable that 
we should read " Licilianus " instead of " Caecilianus." 



Part II Chapter V 247 

The next is on a lady of the noble gens Emilia : 

309 



EMILIA 


PVDENTILLA 



Cemetery of Callisto. 
310 



OTPANIA TFATHP HPOAHC 



" Urania, daughter of Herodes." 

Cemetery of Praetextatus. 

! De Rossi thinks this was the daughter of the 
celebrated Herodes Atticus, a man of rank, con- 
temporary of Marcus Aurelius. 1 

We will add three epitaphs of ladies of senatorial 
family, clarissimae foeminae : 



3 11 



AELIVS SATVRNINVS 
CASSIAE FARETRIAE CLARISSIME 
FEMINE CONIVGI BENEME 
RENTI DEPOSTIO TERTIV NO 
NAS - FEBRARIAS (sic) 

(dove) 



Cemetery of Callisto. 



Bull, di arch, crist,, 1872, p. 625. 



248 Christian Epigraphy 



312 



PETRONIAE AVXENTIAE C F QVAE VIXIT 

ANN XXX LIBERTI FECERVNT BENEMERENTI 

IN PACE 



Cemetery of Callisto. 
One of the very rare Christian inscriptions which 



mention freedmen. 

313 



LVRIA . IANVARIA C F 
GAELIC FELICISSIMO V E 
COIVG KARISS 



"The Lady Luria Januaria, of senatorial rank, 
placed this to the memory of her beloved husband 
Caelius Felicissimus, of equestrian rank " (egregius). 

Cemetery of S. Agnese. 

Inscriptions of members of noble families become 
naturally more numerous in the peaceful times of 
the fourth and fifth centuries, when many other 
patrician families embraced Christianity, such as 
the Anicii, and many other nobles of the highest 
rank. And of these inscriptions a large number 
are still to be seen in various cemeteries. Those 
of the Anicii Bassi in the Vatican are specially to 
be noted. With these and others of the same sort 
we shall deal in the chapter treating of metrical 
inscriptions other than those of Damasus. 



CHAPTER VI 

GENERAL INFORMATION ON INSCRIPTIONS BEARING 
CONSULAR DATES OR OTHER CHRONOLOGICAL 



INDICATIONS 



IT is well known that the ancient Romans, while 
they used the year of the foundation of the city 
(anni ab urbe condita) as their chronological starting- 
point for inscriptions, deeds, and letters generally, 
used the "consular" reckoning. It is further well 
known that, as consuls were still nominated under 
the empire, this method of marking the date 
was continued into imperial times, and used by 
Christians also. Hence it is that in old Christian 
inscriptions we find the names both of consuls of 
subject rank, and of emperors who assumed that 
dignity. 

The Christians used the same indications of date 
as the pagans ; and they placed on their inscriptions 
the names alike of their great protectors and of their 
cruellest enemies. So we read therein not only the 
names of Constantine, Jovianus, Gratianus, and 
Theodosius, but also that of Julian the Apostate ; 
and we find the years of the consulship even of 
usurpers carefully noted. Moreover, the Christians 
did not even change the conventional titles ; nay, 

1 These preliminary notes are taken from the masterly 
Preface to vol. i. of Inscriptiones christianae, by G. B. De Rossi. 

249 



250 Christian Epigraphy 

they also used the word Divi to describe deceased 
sovereigns; and this not only in the case of 
Christian emperors, but also in that of Julian. But 
it must be noted that in the days before the peace 
of the Constantinian age the title of Divus given 
to the deceased ruler implied a superstitious and 
idolatrous worship, and therefore in that period it 
is never given to them in any Christian inscription. 
But after the empire had become officially Christian, 
the custom of describing the dead emperor as Divus 
was continued, but only as an honorific epithet;, 
as we say in the present day, sanctae memoriae, 
felicis recordationis, sanctissimae recordationis. 

In Rome the consuls had been in the habit of 
giving their names to their year of office ; and thus 
it came about that generally in the Roman empire 
the years were thus designated. But there was this 
difference between Rome and the provinces of the 
empire, that whereas in Rome only the names of 
the consuls were used to distinguish the year, in the 
provinces we find the monuments naming emperors, 
and provincial presidents also. We may note that 
the years of frhe emperor's reign are not generally 
recorded before the middle of the sixth century; 
and if an inscription mentions them, there is always 
something in the history to account for the irregu- 
larity. Thus a Christian inscription contains the 
words sub Maxentio : now we know from history 
that the intrusion of this tyrant into the empire dis- 
turbed the regular order of the consuls, and this 
is the precise reason why the writer gave a mere 
general date, sub Maxentio. 

In Rome then, as a general rule, the date of a 
monument was indicated by the names of the 
consuls only ; and hence Christian inscriptions 



Part II Chapter VI 251 

with consular date are very common in Rome. 
They are rarely found indeed in the first and second 
centuries ; but in the third they begin to appear 
rather oftener ; in the fourth and the beginning of 
the fifth they are very numerous ; then they go on 
diminishing in number to the middle of the sixth 
century, after which time they return to their 
original rarity. Outside Rome it should be 
noticed that certain provinces had their own 
methods of marking dates. In Spain, Africa, 
Egypt, and in all the East, where there was a great 
variety of systems of chronology, consuls are very 
rarely mentioned : inscriptions from those regions 
bearing a consular date are very few in number, 
and nearly all of the sixth century. 

Consuls were termed ordinarii when they began 
their duties on January ist and gave their names to 
the year ; they were called suffecti when they took 
the place of ordinarii leaving office for any reason 
whatever before the end of the year. In in- 
scriptions; the names of the consuls are sometimes 
abbreviated, sometimes set out in full ; sometimes 
the year is designated by the names of both 
consuls, sometimes of only one ; in some cases the 
proper order of the names is not maintained. 
Often, again, a period is reckoned from the year 
of the preceding consuls. The abbreviations to 
indicate consular dignity are many : COS, COSS, 
CONS, CONSS. It is worth notice that in some 
cases other titles of office are mentioned. Lastly, 
the conventional form may be used in the ablative 
or in the genitive case, e.g. Titio et Caio consulibus, 
or consulate Titii et Can. The conjunction et 
is always inserted between the names of the two 
consuls by constant and well-recognised usage; 



252 Christian Epigraphy 

there are very few cases of its omission. As for the 
number of the consulships served by one person, 
we should notice that when no number is stated, it 
is understood that the consul has not served before ; 
if the number is placed after both names, e.g. 
PRAESENTE ET EXTRICATO II, it signifies 
that both consuls were holding the fasces for the 
second time. In these cases the word CON- 
SVLIBVS is often omitted, as in the instance 
quoted above. Furthermore, where the abbrevia- 
tion COS stands for two consuls, it may be inferred 
that the inscription is comparatively ancient, while 
the word CONSVLIBVS written in full only ap- 
pears about the middle of the fourth century. 

A large use was also made of the words DOMINI 
NOSTRI, DOMINORVM NOSTRORVM, 
applied to the Augusti and the Caesars. The 
doubled letters DD. NN. (Dominis nostris) begin 
to occur in the date-marks at the beginning of the 
third century, and the practice lasted to the end 
of the fifth. The abbreviations DOM. N. and 
especially DOMNO belong to a later period. The 
epithet nobilissimi was officially applied to the 
Caesars from the age of Commodus and Septimius 
Severus, but it does not appear in Christian in- 
scriptions before the fourth century. At that time 
the sons of the Augusti (and also of the relatives of 
the Augusti) were styled nobilissimi before becom- 
ing Caesars. Under Constantine too the abbrevia- 
tion N. P. makes its appearance, signifying 
nobilissimus puer. Deceased Augusti could receive 
the title of Divi by decree of the Senate. This 
before the age of Constantine signified actual 
bestowal of divinity and therefore is never found in 
Christian inscriptions anterior to the Peace ; but 



Part II Chapter VI 253 

after Constantine, as we have already pointed out, 
it only means that the emperor referred to is dead. 

In A.D. 305 the division of the Roman empire 
took place. Hereupon arose quarrels between 
the Augusti, who began by establishing separate 
administrations in the provinces that fell to their 
respective shares, and everything, including the 
creation and proclamation of consuls, fell into 
confusion. The old historians make no mention 
of these details and the consular fasti present many 
difficulties ; but in the obscurity of the history the 
inscriptions, when read alongside of the fasti, give 
a certain amount of light. And some Christian 
inscriptions of the time of Maxentius enable us to 
detect a complete and sudden change in the ancient 
system 'of consular fasti. 

For in the year A.D. 307 appears for the first 
time the formula post consulatum, the consuls 
mentioned being those of the previous year. This 
was the year in which the fierce dissensions arose 
between Maximianus Herculeus and his son 
Maxentius ; the adherents of the latter, who was 
masters of Rome, were afraid to place the name of 
the consul Maximianus on public monuments ; and 
hence was devised the formula post consulatum, 
which was officially sanctioned. After the defeat of 
Maxentius, Constantine and his sons maintained, 
in name at least, the unity of the Roman empire, 
and even during the struggle between Licinius and 
Constantine consuls continued to be proclaimed 
according to ordinary rule. If in A.D. 346 Christian 
inscriptions are dated post consulatum Amantii et 
Albini rather than by the consulship of the two 
August!, _ this was not by the whim of an individual, 
but by reason of the fact that in that year the 



254 Christian Epigraphy 

consulship of the two August! was not proclaimed, 
in Rome and throughout the West, till the last 
months of the year: this is shown by the inscriptions, 
the tables of the fasti, and the Council of Cologne 
(Colonia Agrippina), which all show the same date- 
mark as above given. But the reason of the fact 
is still unknown to us. 

In 350, after Constans had been slain, Nepotianus 
and Magnentius invaded the empire, and for this 
reason an epitaph written in the month of July gives 
the date post consulatum Limenii et Catullini. 

In the year 360 Julian the Caesar was saluted as 
emperor by the troops in Gaul and traces of the 
strife which arose between Julian and the Emperor 
Con stan tius on this account are to be found in 
some Christian inscriptions. Under Jovian and 
the other emperors up to Valentinian II. there 
were no disturbances that affected the consular 
fasti. In the year 375 Valentinian II. was saluted 
as emperor in Pannonia, but his sovereignty was 
not immediately recognised throughout the Roman 
world; in Rome and in Alexandria his name was 
inserted between those of the emperors after the 
beginning of the year 376, as we learn from a 
fragmentary Christian inscription. 1 The tyrant 
Maximus, after defeating Valentinian II., marched 
into Italy, and even to Rome ; later on, after the 
slaughter of Valentinian, Eugenius usurped the 
Western empire. Of all these vicissitudes we find 
clear traces in the consular inscriptions of the time. 

It has been often thought that immediately after 
the death of Constantine, and the division of the 
empire among several Augusti, the practice was 
adopted of nominating two consuls, one in the East, 

1 Cp. De Rossi, Inscr. christ. p. 254. 



Part II Chapter VI 255 

the other in the West ; because towards the end of 
that century we find a habit of entering at one time 
the name.of one consul, at another of two, at another 
again the form post consulatum. But this variety 
of usage, so far from being accidental, represents 
historical facts. From the year 366 to 386 the 
formula/^/ consulatum, contrary to ancient practice, 
appears in Roman inscriptions, but only in the first 
months of each year, indicating that in those months 
the names of the consuls were not known. In the 
years in question, therefore, some change must have 
been made in the manner of proclaiming consuls, 
or else that ceremony was postponed for three or 
four months. And this last was exactly what had 
happened ; and history explains why. Those were 
the days when the emperors were always at a great 
distance apart, and were incessantly engaged either 
in civil struggles or in wars with the barbarians ; and 
thus, as is easily understood, the proclamation of 
consuls was hindered or belated. In fact matters 
came to such a pass that in the year 375 no consuls 
at all were nominated, a thing which had never 
before happened. S. Jerome, too, records this, 
writing in his Chronicon (for 375) : Qm'a superior e 
anno Sarmatae Pannonias vastaverant, iidem consules 
permansere. Thus in that year, as the inscriptions 
show us, the date was given by post consulatum. 

The college of consuls was maintained undivided 
till the year 399. Then began the division of the 
consulate, as the eunuch Eutropius, who had been 
nominated by the Emperor Arcadius as consul in 
the East, was not recognised in the West, where 
Theodorus only was recognised, on the nomination 
of the Emperor Honorius. And then, as it was 
contrary to usage to mark the date by one consular 



256 Christian Epigraphy 

name only, we find inscriptions in which, while 
Theodorus alone is mentioned, he is given several 
names, i.e. Flavius Mallius Theodorus. 

From that time onwards many variations were 
introduced in the fasti and on monuments. The 
proclamation of the Eastern consul in the West, 
as of the Western consul in the East, was 
largely neglected, so that in the first months of a 
year every one recorded the name of his own 
consul only; in fact the name of the other 
was often entirely left out. But, as the law re- 
quired that the names of both consuls should be 
given, if the other was not known they had to use 
the words, et qui de Oriente vel de Ocddente fuerit 
nuntiatus. This expression is well known in laws 
and in other historical records, but is very un- 
common in inscriptions. 

After the destruction of the Roman empire 
and the subjection of Italy to the barbarians, the 
creation of consuls continued as before ; and this 
privilege was left by the barbarian kings exclusively 
to the Roman senate, which exercised it in con- 
junction with -the Roman emperor of the East. 
Theodoric, however, used to nominate the Western 
consul himself; hence during his time the latter 
alone is mentioned and the Byzantine consul is 
entirely ignored. It follows that the names of 
consuls found on inscriptions dating from the 
rule of the Goths must be looked for on the fasti 
of the West. 

In the year 535 Belisarius was elected consul of 
the East ; he finished his year of office at Syracuse 
after wresting that city from the Goths and restoring 
it to the dominion of the Emperor Justinian. During 
the twenty years of the Gothic War great confusion 



Part II Chapter VI 257 

reigned in the method of denoting the date by the 
names of the consuls. From the beginning of the 
war and the consulship of Belisarius in 535, the 
Gothic kings ceased to nominate a consul; and 
the Emperor Justinian, having taken possession of 
Italy and of Rome itself, on several occasions 
nominated two consuls for the Roman world. 
After the year 534, when the Emperor Justinian 
was consul in the East and Paulinus in the West, 
one consul was created every year by Justinian in 
the East, and another by the Roman Senate in the 
West; but in 536 and 537 there were no consuls 
appointed; in 538, 539, and 540 Johannes Appius 
Justinus was named, and in 541 Basilius ; and with 
him the list of the ancient fasti closes. During 
the reign of Justinian the date was noted either by 
the single consul nominated by him, or by the 
years after a consulship. In the countries subject 
to the Goths, the names of Justinian's consuls 
could not be entered, as they were not recognised ; 
and for this reason the years were numbered from 
the consulship of Paulinus, the last who was 
proclaimed and officially accepted in the West. 
The Burgundians and the Franks, out of respect 
for the Eastern empire, recognised the consuls of 
Justinian. After them began a period during which 
time was counted from the consulship of Basilius, 
who had been recognised throughout the Roman 
empire, and this lasted twenty-four years. On the 
death of Justinian, his successor Justinus took the 
office of consul into his own hands. But in the 
Gallic provinces and in Burgundy, time continued 
to be counted post consulatum Basilii for forty-six 
years ; the custom, however, gradually died out, 
and the'-habit began of denoting time by the years 

s 



258 Christian Epigraphy 

of the king's reign. In 568 the rule of the 
Lombards in Italy began, but it seems that the 
computation from the consulship of Justinus was 
continued even where the Lombards were in 
occupation; indeed an inscription of 575, belong- 
ing to the Lombard period, marks the year by the 
formula post consulatum Justini imperatoris. 

As for the date at which each variety of this 
formula came into use, we must observe that in 
early times the word consulibus or consule, as the 
case might be, never preceded the names of the 
consuls, but always followed them ; e.g. Pisone et 
Bolano consulibus, not vice versa. Then came in 
the practice of saying, e.g., consulatu Juliani et 
Sallustii, and even consulatu Modesto et Ariuntheo. 
The word consulatu, either in full or abbreviated, 
standing before the names of the consuls, and the 
names of the consuls in the genitive case, are marks 
of an age later than the middle of the fourth 
century. In Greek inscriptions it would seem that 
about from the middle of the fourth century the 
word vTrarots is altogether dropped, and ^Trareia 
regularly used. 

To indicate the years after a consulship, from the 
middle of the fourth to the middle of the fifth 
century, the forms POST-CONS or POST CONSS 
(sometimes only POS), or again POST CON- 
SVLATVM or POST CONSVLATV in full, were 
used ; sometimes POST or POS only was written 
with the names of the consuls in the genitive or 
ablative case. In the middle of the fifth century 
the abbreviation PC comes into use ; and this 
lasted to the end of the sixth century. In the 
second half of that century the names of kings, 
and later also sometimes of Popes, are substituted 



Part II Chapter VI 259 

for those of consuls to mark the date; the rare 
exceptions to this practice were due to the assump- 
tion of the consular title by the Byzantine emperors 
even at that late period. 

We must now say a little on the chronological 
reckoning known as the Vulgar era, and on its 
origin. 



Of the Dionysian or Vulgar Era 

In the first half of the sixth century the monk 
Dionysius, a native of Scythia, with a view to 
harmonising the practice of the Eastern and 
Western Churches as to the date of the celebra- 
tion of Easter, introduced in the Latin Church the 
cycle of ninety-five years known as the Cyrillian ; 
but while the cycle of Cyril took as its starting- 
point the first year of the reign of Diocletian, 
Dionysius selected for the starting-point of his 
cycle the birth of Christ, which he determined 
to be the year 754 from the foundation of Rome. 1 
But the pious monk's calculation was found to be 
erroneous by the learned Sanclemente and other 
chroniclers ; and it is now generally admitted that 
Christ was born A.U.C. 747. It is indeed quite 
clear that he was born in the reign of Herod, and 
that Herod died in A.U.C. 750; and, besides that, 

1 Cf. Sanclemente, De emendatione temporum, book iv. 
chap. viii. p. 458. But the date of Christ's birth had naturally 
been already made the subject of calculation. Thus S. 
Augustine writes : "A nativitate autem Domini hodie compu- 
tantur anni ferme quadringenti viginti, a resurrectione autem vel 
adscensione ejus anni plus minus CCCXC. " (Aug., Epist. 
199, 20). 



260 Christian Epigraphy 

the date-mark given in the Gospel of S. Luke, 
which says that Quirinus was president of Syria, 
and that of Tertullian, who mentions Sensius 
Saturninus as governor of that province, bring us 
back to the same date, 747. The conclusion we 
must therefore draw is that the Dionysian or 
Vulgar era is seven years in arrear, and hence 
that the year commonly known as 1910 is the year 
1917 of the true and correct Christian era. 

The Vulgar era was introduced by Dionysius 
in the year A.U.C. 1279, which he called A.D. 525 ; 
but it was not immediately brought into common 
use, and for a long time years were still marked by 
a consular or other similar date-mark. The Vulgar 
era is first recorded on Christian monuments of 
the seventh and eighth centuries ; hence it is never 
to be met with in the inscriptions of the older 
subterranean cemeteries of Roman Christians, 
which were not used after the fifth century, nor in 
the open-air cemeteries of the Roman suburbs, in 
which ordinary burials ceased after the middle of 
the sixth century. 

Olivieri, in his work on the inscriptions of Pesaro, 
records an inscription with the date-mark ERA 
CCCC LI ; but this inscription was afterwards 
admitted to be a forgery. 

The oldest inscriptions hitherto known which 
contain a date of the Vulgar era are that in the 
baptistery of Brescia of 617 (SACRAE SALVT 
SAECVLO CCCCCCXVII), and that in the 
basilica of S. Valentine at Terni of 727 (A S 
DCCXXVII). 1 But it should be noted that just 
at the time when the new era came into common 

1 Cf. Mai, Scriptorum veterum nova collectio, vol. v. part i. 
P- 157. SI P- 170, 3- 



Part II Chapter VI 261 

use, there was a great variety and much confusion 
in the manner of denoting the year. Thus some 
gave a post consulatum of some sort along with 
the Indiction ; others joined to the Indiction the 
years of the reign of Roman pontiffs or of Byzantine 
emperors ; others, again, confined themselves to the 
cycle of Indictions, a method which is absolutely 
useless for chronological purposes. 1 

These few remarks on the Vulgar era will suffice, 
as we have already pointed out that it is never 
used in the inscriptions with which this Manual 
of Ancient Christian Epigraphy is concerned. 



Of the Tables of Consular Fasti 

The consular fasti are the list of the names of the 
consuls ; by the aid whereof any " consular " date 
may be at once expressed by the corresponding 
year of the era of the foundation of Rome, and 
therefore of the Vulgar era also. As we have to 
deal with consular inscriptions of the Christian 
era, it is obvious that we need not consider either 
the ancient marble fasti of the Capitol nor others 
of a very early date, but only the fasti of the 
imperial age which record the names of the consuls. 
Among these the best and earliest are those of 
Philocalus, edited for the first time by Bucher, 
and called the Bucherian on that account. They 
include the period A.D. 254-354. 

1 Cf. C. L. Yisconti, Dell' i/so e della utilita del monumenti 
cristiani cronologici anteriori all' uso dell era volgare, Roma, 
1856, pp. 11-17. 



262 Christian Epigraphy 

The annals of the history of S. Athanasius give 
us his actual letters translated into Syriac, and also 
the year-names from 324 to 373 ; the letters were 
edited for the first time in 1848 by William Cureton, 
and afterwards translated into Latin by Cardinal 
Mai. The earlier part of this chronological list 
gives the gentile names of the consuls; for later 
years we find the cognomens only, as in the 
ordinary fasti. 

Fasti of the Fifth and Sixth Centuries 

Many compilations of the consular fasti were 
made in the fifth and sixth centuries, as they were 
needed by jurists for their editions of the statutes ; 
and when the chronicles of Eusebius and Jerome 
came to be popularly known, that description of 
literature was much cultivated among Christians. 
The fifth century was above all remarkable for the 
violent discussions as to the date of the Easter 
festival in which Alexandria and Rome took so 
leading a part ; these induced many learned men 
of the day to collect the particulars of the dates of 
previous Easters, in order to forecast those to come. 

In these fasti, however, the older part must be 
carefully distinguished from the portion compiled 
in the fifth century; the former appears to be 
an original document, and a common basis to 
nearly all. 

Thus the fasti called the Idatian and those in 
the paschal chronicle of Alexandria are undoubtedly 
taken from a common original ; thus, again, the 
chronicles of Pompeius of Aquitania were made 
use of afterwards by Victorius (also of Aquitania) ; 
and again, too, those of Victorius were utilised by 



Part II Chapter VI 263 

Cassiodorus and others. But we had better confine 
ourselves to a consideration of the fasti of the 
fifth and sixth centuries, as it was especially in 
that period that great differences existed between 
the East and the West in the nomination of 
consuls. 

Fasti of the West 

I. The Paschal Index, covering the eighty-four 
years ending with A.D. 437 : Codex Vat. Reg. 2077, 
p. 79. Published by Manzi in Apparatus ad 
Baronii Annales, pp. 237-342. 

This Codex was probably written in the seventh 
century. From A.D. 354 to 398 it records the names 
of both consuls; from 399 to 437 the Western 
consul only is named. 

II. Paschal Table from the death of Christ to the 
year 448. This list was drawn up in 447 and 448, 
and gives the series of consuls for 420 years ; it 
goes back therefore to A.D. 29. The very little 
that is left of this valuable record is published by 
Haenel in Kritische Jahrbticher fiir deutsche Rechts- 
wissenschaft, vol. i. (Leipsic, 1837), pp. 756-760. 

III. Fasti Prosperiani. These form part of 
the Chronicle of Prosperus of Aquitania. This 
chronicle is in two parts ; the first, from A.D. 28 to 
378; the second appears to have been frequently 
re-edited with continuations ; the last revision by 
the original author is probably the one ending 
A.D. 455. 

IV. Fasti Idatiani. The work of Bishop Idatius 
is of great value for the consulships of the time of 
Maxentius, particularly if compared with the Index 
of Philocalus. 



264 Christian Epigrapliy 

V. Fasti Veronenses. Found in the parchment 
palimpsest LV. 53, of the famous library of the 
Cathedral of Verona ; on p. 89 is a list of consuls 
from 439 to 486. 

VI. Chronicon Cuspinianaeum. Two consular 
lists which Cuspiniani was the first to use ; the first 
runs to 493, the second to 539, but in Mommsen's 
opinion both are copies of the same work. 

VII. Cassiodori Senatoris Chronicon. Cassio- 
dorus copied Victorius of Aquitania so far as the 
consuls are concerned ; his list goes down to the 
time of Theodoric. 

VIII. Tabula paschalis Neapolitana. Found in 
Cod. Vat. Reg. 2077. It goes from 464 to 614. 
The method of designating the years shows that 
it comes from Southern Italy, which was nearly 
always under the sway of Byzantium. Furthermore, 
the precise indication of the months and days of 
the month on which eruptions of Vesuvius occurred 
point clearly to the city of Naples as the birth- 
place of this document. 

Fasti of the East 

I. Marcellini comitis Chronicon ab ignoto auctore 
continuatum ad annum j66. From A.D. 421 on- 
wards the two consuls are entered, the consul of the 
East taking precedence of the consul of the West. 

II. Victoris Tunnunensis Chronicon. This runs 
from 444 to 566. The fasti are Western up to 459 ; 
from that year to 500 (with the exception of 460) 
they are Eastern. Then, from 501 to 532, Victor 
makes use generally, though not always, of the 
Western fasti ; and from 533 to 566 goes back to 
the Eastern. The dates, however, are very in- 



Part II Chapter VI 265 

accurate, often more through the ignorance of the 
copyist than from the fault of the writer. 

III. Fasti Graeci Florentini majores ab anno 
222 ad 630. Dodwell gave these the name of 
Heraclian. They are very useful, as they give all 
the Eastern consuls. 

IV. Chronicon paschak. In this the consul- 
ships are recorded historically. 

N.B. The list of consuls in the above- 
mentioned fasti is to be found in many chrono- 
logical works ; but two works may be recommended 
as extremely practical : 

Klein, Fasti consulares inde a Caesaris nece usque 
ad imperium Diocktiani (Leipsic, 1881). 

Vaglieri, / consoli di Roma antica. (From the 
dictionary of inscriptions of De Ruggiero, Spoleto, 



CATALOGUE OF THE NAMES OF CONSULS WHOSE 
NAMES MIGHT OCCUR IN CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 

This synoptical catalogue contains the names of 
the consuls from the foundation of the Christian 
Church to the middle of the sixth century. 

Birth of Christ, A.u.c. 747; death, A.u.c. 782, A.D. 29. 

A.D. 

29. L. Rubellius Geminus C. Fufius Geminus. 

30. M. Vinicius I. L. Cassius Longinus. 

1 Yaglieri also gives an alphabetical index of the consuls, by 
means of which the year of our Lord corresponding to any 
consular date may easily be found. 

[For reasons of convenience the subjoined list has been taken 
from the Fasti consulares imperil Romani (W. Liebenam, 
Bonn, 1909), and differs in some points' from that given by 
S. Marucchi. TK.] 



266 Christian Epigraphy 

A.D. 

31. Tiberius Aug. V. L. Aelius Seianus. 

32. Cn. Domitius Aenobarbus M. Furius Camillus 

Scribonianus. 

33. Ser. Sulpicius Galba L. Corn. Sulla Felix. 

34. Paulus Fabius Persicus L. Vitellius I. 

35. C. Cestius Gallus M. Servilius Nonianus. 

36. Sex. Papinius Allenius Q. Plautius. 

37. Cn. Acerronius Proculus Caius Petronius Pontius 

Nigrinus. 

38. M. Aquila lulianus P. Nonius Asprenas. 

39. Caius Caesar German. Caligula II. L. Apronius 

Caesianus. 

40. Caius Caesar German. Caligula III. 

41. Caius Caesar German. Caligula IV. Cn. Sentius 

Saturninus. 

42. Tib. Claudius Aug. II. Caius Cecina Largus. 

43. Tib. Claudius Aug. III. L. Vitellius II. 

44. C. Passienus Crispus II. T. Statilius Taurus. 

45. M. Vinicius II. T. Statilius Taurus Corvinus. 

46. Valerius Asiaticus I. M. lunius Silanus. 

47. Tib. Claudius Aug. IV. L. Vitellius III. 

48. Aulus Vitellius L. Vipstanus Publicola. 

49. C. Pompeius Longtis Gallus O. Veranius. 

50. C. Antistius Veto M. Suillius ^Jerullinus. 

51. Tib. Claudius Aug. V. Serv. Corn. Orfitus. 

52. Faustus Corn. Sulla Felix Lucius Salvius Otho 

Titianus. 

53. Decimus lunius Silanus Torquatus -- Quintus 

Haterius Antoninus. 

54. M. Asinius Marcellus Manius Acilius Aviola. 

55. Nero Aug. I. L. Antistius Vetus. 

56. Q. Volusius Saturninus P. Cornelius Scipio. 

57. Nero Aug. II. L. Calpurnius Piso. 

58. Nero Aug. III. M. Valerius Messala Corvinus. 

59. C. Vipstanus Apronianus C. Fonteius Capito. 

60. Nero Aug. IV. Cossus Cornelius Lentulus. 

61. L. Caesennius Paetus P. Petronius Turpilianus. 

62. P. Marius Celsus L. Afinius Gallus. 

63. C. Memmius Regulus L. Verginius Rufus I. 



Part II Chapter VI 267 

A.D. 

64. C. Lecanius Bassus M. Licinius Crassus. 

65. A. Licinius Nerva Silianus M. Vestinus Atticus. 

66. C. Luccius Telesinus C. Suetonius Paulinus II. 

67. Fonteius Capito C. lulius Rufus. 

68. Galerius Trachalus Turpilianus C. Silius Italicus. 

69. Galba Aug. II. T. Vinius Rufinus. 

70. Titus Fl. Vespasianus Aug. II. Titus Caesar 

Vespasianus I. 

71. Vespasianus Aug. III. M. Cocceius Nerva. 

72. Vespasianus Aug. IV. Tit. Caesar Vespasianus 

73. Domitianus Caesar II. L. Valerius Catullus 

Messalinus. 

74. Vespasianus Aug. V. Titus Caesar Vespasianus 

75. Vespasianus Aug. VI. Titus Caesar Vespasianus 

IV. 

76. Vespasianus Aug. VII. Tit. Caesar Vespasi- 

anus V. 

77. Vespasianus Aug. VIII. Tit. Caesar Vespasi- 

anus Vl. 

78. L. Ceionius Commodus. D. Novius Priscus. 

79. Vespasianus Aug. IX. Tit. Caesar Vespasianus 

VII. 

80. Titus Aug. VIII. Domitianus Caesar VII. 

81. L. Flavius Silva Nonius Bassus Asinius Pollio 

Verrucosus. 

82. Domitianus Aug. VIII. T. Flavius Sabinus. 

83. Domitianus Aug. IX. Q. Petillius Rufus II. 

84. Domitianus Aug. X. C. Oppius Sabinus. 

85. Domitianus Aug. XI. T. Aurelius Fulvus. 

86. Domitianus Aug. XII. Ser. Cornelius Dolabella 

Petronianus. 

87. Domitianus Aug. XIII. L. Volusius Saturninus. 

88. Domitianus Aug. XIV. O. Minucius Rufus. 

89. T. Aurelius Fulvus Attrattinus. 

90. Domitianus Aug. XV. M. Cocceius Nerva II. 

91. M. Acilius Glabrio M. Ulpius Traianus. 

92. Domitianus Aug. XVI. O. Volusius Saturninus. 



268 Christian Epigraphy 

A.D. 

93. Pompeius Collega Priscinus. 

94. Lucius Nonius Torquatus Asprenas T. Sextius 

Magius Lateranus. 

95. Domitianus Aug. XVII. T. Flavius Clemens. 

96. C. Antistius Vetus T. Manlius Valens. 

97. Nerva Aug. III. L. Verginius Rufus III. 

98. Nerva Aug. IV. M. Ulpius Traianus Caesar II. 

99. A. Cornelius Palma I. Q. Sosius Senecio I. 

100. Traianus Aug. III. Sex. Julius Frontinus III. 

101. Traianus Aug. IV. Q. Articuleius Paetus. 

102. L. lulius Ursus Servianus II. L. Licinius 

Sura II. 

103. Traianus Aug. V. M. Laberius Maximus II. 

104. Sex. Attius Suburanus II. M. Asinius Mar- 

cellus. 

105. Tib. lulius Candidus II. C. Antius lulius 

Quadratus II. 

106. L. Ceionius Commodus Verus Cerealis. 

107. L. Licinius Sura III. Q. Sosius Senecio II. 

1 08. App. Annius Trebonius Gallus - - M. Atilius 

Metellus Bradua. 

109. A. Cornelius Palma II. Q. Baebius Tullus. 

1 10. Servius Scipio ! Salvidienus Orfitus M. Pe- 

ducaeus Priscinus. 
in. C. Calpurnius Piso M. Vettius Bolanus. 

112. Traianus Aug. VI. T. Sextius Africanus. 

113. L. Publicius Celsus II. C. Clodius Cris- 

pinus. 

114. Q. Ninnius Hasta P. Manilius Vopiscus. 

115. L. Vipstanus Messala M. Vergilianus Paedo. 

1 1 6. L. Aelianus Lamia Vetus. 

117. Q. Aquilius Niger M. Rebilius Apronianus. 

1 1 8. Hadrianus Aug. II. -- Cn. Pedanius Fuscus 

Salinator. 

119. Hadrianus Aug. III. O. lunius Rusticus. 

120. L. Catilius Severus II. T. Aurelius Boionius 

Arrius Antoninus. 

121. M. Annius Verus II. Arrius Augurinus. 

122. Manius Acilius Aviola Corellius Pansa. 



Part II Chapter VI 269 

A.D. 

123. O. Articuleius Paetinus L. Venuleius Aproni- 

anus. 

124. Manius Acilius Glabrio C. Bellicius Torquatus 

Tebanianus. 

125. Valerius Asiaticus II. L. Epidius Titius Aqui- 

linus. 

126. M. Annius Verus III. C. Eggius Ambibu- 

lus. 

127. M. Gavius Squilla Gallicanus T. Atilius Rufus 

Titianus. 

128. Torquatus Asprenas II. M. Annius Libo. 

129. P. luventius Celsus II. - L. Neratius Mar- 

cellus II. 

130. O. Fabius Catullinus M. Flavius Aper. 

131. Ser. Octavius Laenas Pontianus M. Antonius 

Rufinus. 

132. C. Serius Augurinus C. Trebius Sergianus. 

133. M. Antonius Hiberus P. Mummius Sisenna. 

134. L. lulius Servianus III. T. Vibius Varus. 

135. L. Tutilius Lupercus Pontianus P. Calpurnius 

Atticus Atilianus. 

136. L. Ceionius Commodus Verus S. Vetulenus 

Civica Pompeianus. 

137. L. Aelius Caesar II. L. Caecilius Balbinus 

Vibullius Pius. 

138. C. Pomponius Camerinus K. lunius Niger. 

139. Antoninus Aug. II. C. Bruttius Praesens II. 

140. Antoninus Aug. III. M. Aelius Aurelius Verus 

Caesar. 

141. T. Hoenius Severus - - M. Peducaeus Stloga 

Priscinus. 

142. L. Cuspius Rufinus L. Statius Quadratus. 

143. C. Bellicius Torquatus -- T. Claudius Atticus 

Herodes. 

144. L. Lollianus Avitus T. Statilius Maximus. 

145. Antonius Aug. IV. M. Aelius Aurelius Verus 

Caesar Aug. II. 

146. Sex. Erucius Clarus II. Cn. Claudius Severus 

Arabianus. 



270 Christian Epigraphy 

A.D. 

147. L. Annius Largus C. Prastina Pacatus Mes- 

salinus. 

148. C. Bellicius Torquatus P. Salvius lulianus. 

149. Ser. Cornelius Salvidienus Scipio Orfitus Q. 

Nonius Sosius Priscus. 

150. M. Gavius Squilla Gallicanus Sex. Carminius 

Vetus. 

151. Sex. Quintilius Condianus - - Sex. Quintilius 

Maximus. 

152. M. Acilius Glabrio senior - M. Valerius 

Homullus. 

153. C. Bruttius Praesens A. lunius Rufinus. 

154. L. Aelius Aurelius Commodus Titus Sextius 

Lateranus. 

155. C. lulius Severus M. lunius Rufinus Sabinia- 

nus. 

156. M. Ceionius Silvanus C. Serius Augurinus. 

157. M. Ceionius Civica Barbarus M. Metilius 

Aquil. Regulus. 

158. Ser. Sulpicius Tertullus O. Tineius Sacerdos 

Clemens. 

159. Plautius Quintilius M. Statius Priscus. 

1 60. Appius Annius Atilius Bradua - T. Clodius 

Vibius Varus. 

161. M. Aelius Aurelius Verus III. L. Aurelius 

Commodus II. 

162. Q. lunius Rusticus II L. Plautius Aquilinus. 

163. M. Pontius Laelianus A. lunius Pastor. 

164. M. Pompeius Macrinus P. luventius Celsus. 

165. M. Gavius Orfitus L. Arrius Pudens. 

1 66. Q. Servilius Pudens L. Fufidius Pollio. 

167. L. Aurelius Verus Aug. III. M. Ummidius 

Quadratus. 

1 68. L. Venuleius Apronianus II. L. Sergius Paulus 

169. Q. Sosius Priscus Senecio P. Caelius Apolli- 

naris. 

170. M. Cornelius Cethegus C. Erucius Clarus. 

171. T. Statilius Severus L. Alfidius Herennianus. 



Part II Chapter VI 271 

A.D. 

172. Ser. Calpurnius Scipio Orfitus - - Ouintilius 

Maximus. 

173. Cn. Claudius Severus II. Tit. Claudius Pom- 

peianus II. 

174. Gallus Flaccus Cornelianus. 

175. L. Calpurnius Piso Salvius lulianus. 

176. T. Pomponius Proculus Pollio II. M. Flavins 

Aper II. 

177. L. Aurelius Commodus Aug. M. Plaut. Ouin- 

tilius. 

178. Orfitus Rufus lulianus. 

179. L. Aurelius Commodus Aug. II. P. Martius 

Verus II. 

1 80. L. Fulvius Praesens II. Sex. Quintilius Con- 

dianus. 

1 8 1. L. Aurelius Commodus Aug. III. L. Antistius 

Burrus Adventus. 

182. Petronius Mamertinus Rufus. 

183. Aurelius Commodus Aug. IV. C. Aufidius 

Victorinus II. 

184. L. Cossonius Eggius Marullus Cn. Papirius 

Aelianus. 

185. M. Com. Nigrinus Curiatius Maternus T. Cl. 

Bradua Atticus. 

1 86. Aurel. Commodus Aug. V. M. Acilius Glabrio 1 1. 

187. L. Bruttius Quintus Crispinus - - L. Roscius 

Aelianus. 

1 88. Seius Fuscianus II. M. Servilius Silanus II. 

189. Duilius Silanus Q. Servilius Silanus. 

190. Aurel. Commodus Aug. VI. M. Petronius Sura 

Septimianus. 

191. Pedo Apronianus M. Valerius Bradua Mauri - 

cus. 

192. Aurel. Commodus Aug. VII. P. Helvius Perti- 

nax II. 

193. Q. Sosius Falco C. lulius Erucius Clarus. 

194. Septimius Severus Aug. II. Clodius Septimius 

Albinus Caes. II. 

195. Scapula Tertullus Priscus Tineius Clemens. 



272 Christian Epigraphy 

A.D. 

196. Domitius Dexter II. L. Valerius Messalla 

Thrasea Paetus. 

197. T. Sextius Lateranus L. Cuspius Rufinus. 

198. Saturninus Callus. 

199. Cornelius Anullinus II. M. Aufidius Fronto. 

200. T. Claudius Severus C. Aufidius Victorious. 

201. L. Annius Fabianus M. Nonius Arrius Muci- 

anus. 

202. Septimius Severus Aug. III. M. Aurelius 

Severus Antoninus Pius Aug. 

203. Fulvius Plautianus II. P. Septimius Geta II. 

204. M. Fabius Cilo Fulcinianus II. M. Annius 

Flavius Libo. 

205. M. Aurel. Severus Antoninus Pius Aug. II. P. 

Septimius Geta Caesar. 

206. M. Nummius Primus Senecio Albinus Fulvius 

Aemilianus. 

207. Aper Maximus. 

208. M. Aurel. Sev. Antoninus Pius Aug. III. P. 

Septimius Geta Caesar II. 

209. Pompeianus Avitus. 

210. M. Acilius Faustinus A. Triarius Rufinus. 

211. Gentianus Bassus. 

212. C. lulius Asper II. C. lulius Galerius Asper. 

213. M. Aurel. Sev. Antoninus Pius Aug. IV. D. 

Caelius Calvinus Balbinus II. 

214. L. Valerius Messalla -- C. Octavius Appius 

Suetrius Sabinus. 

215. M. Maecius Laetus II. Sulla Cerialis. 

216. P. Catius Sabinus II. P. Cornelius Anullinus. 

217. C. Bruttius Praesens T. Messius Extricatus 

II. ; 

218. Macrinus Aug. Oclatinius Adventus. 

219. Imp. Caes. Aurelius Antoninus Pius II. Q. 

Tineius Sacerdos II. 

220. Imp. Caes. Aurelius Antoninus Pius III. 

Valerius Eutychianus Comazon. 

221. Vettius Gratus Atticus Sabinianus M. Flavius 

Vitellius Seleucus. 



Part II Chapter VI 273 

A.D. 

222. Imp. Caes. Aurelius Antoninus Pius IV. M. 

Aurelius Severus Alexander Caesar. 

223. Marius Maximus Perpetuus Aurelianus II. 

L. Roscius Paculus Papirius Aelianus. 

224. App. Claudius lulianus II. L. Bruttius Crispinus. 

225. Ti. Manilius Fuscus II. -- Sex. Calpurnius 

Domitius Dexter. 

226. Imp. Caes. Aurelius Severus Alexander II. 

L. Aufidius Marcellus II. 

227. M. Nummius Senecio Albinus - - M. Laelius 

Maximus Aemilianus. 

228. Modestus II. Probus. 

229. Imp. Caes. Aurelius Severus Alexander III. 

Cassius Dio Cocceianus II. 

230. L. Virius Agricola Sex. Catius Clementinus 

Priscillianus. 

231. Claudius Pompeianus -- T. Flavins Sallustius 

Paelignianus. 

232. Lupus Maximus. 

233. Maximus II. Paternus. 

234. Maximus II. (sic) Urbanus. 

235. Cn. Claudius Severus L. Ti. Claudius Aurelius 

Quintianus. 

236. Imp. Caesar C. lulius Verus Maximus M. 

Pupienius Africanus. 

237. Marius Perpetuus L. Mummius Felix Corneli- 

anus. 

238. Fulvius Pius Pontius Proculus Pontianus. 

239. Imp. Caes. M. Antonius Gordianus M. Acilius 

Aviola. 

240. Sabinus II. Venustus. 

241. Imp. Caes. M. Antonius Gordianus II. Pom- 

peianus. 

242. C. Vettius Gratus Atticus Sabinianus C. Asinius 

Lepidus Praetextatus. 

243. L. Annius Arrianus C. Cervonius Papus. 

244. Ti. Pollenius Armenius Peregrinus -- Fulvius 

Aemilianus. 

245. Imp. Caes. M. lulius Philippus Titianus. 

T 



274 Christian Epigraphy 

A.D. 

246. C. Brutius Praesens Albinus. 

247. Imp. Caes. M. lulius Philippus II. Imp. Caes. 

M. lulius Severus Philippus fil. 

248. Imp. Caes. M. lulius Philippus III. Imp. Caes. 

M. lulius Philippus fil. II. 

249. Fulvius Aemilianus II. L. Naevius Aquilinus. 

250. Imp. Caes. C. Messius Quintus Traianus Decius 

II. Vettius Gratus.~ 

251. Imp. Caes. C. Messius Quintus Traianus Decius 

III. Q. Herennius Etruscus Messius Decius 
Caesar. 

252. Imp. Caes. C. Vibius Trebonianus Gallus II. 

Imp. Caes. C. Vibius Afinius Gallus Veldum- 
nianus L. Volusianus. 

253. Imp. Caes. C. Vibius Afinius Gallus Veldumni- 

anus L. Volusianus II. Maximus. 

254. Imp. Caes. Licinius Valerianus II. Imp. Caes. 

Licinius Egnatius Gallienus. 

255. Imp. Caes. Licinius Valerianus III. Imp. Caes. 

Licinius Egnatius Gallienus II. 

256. L. Valerius Maximus II. M. Acilius Glabrio. 

257. Imp. Caes. Licinius Valerianus IV. Imp. Caes. 

Licinius Gallienus III. 

258. M. Nummius Tuscus Pomponius Bassus. 

259. Aemilianus Bassus. 

260. P. Cornelius Saecularis II. C. lunius Donatus 1 1. 

261. Imp. Caes. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus IV. 

T. Petronius Taurus Volusianus. 

262. Imp. Caes. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus V. 

Faustinianus. 

263. Albinus II. Dexter. 

264. Imp. Caes. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus VI. 

Saturninus. 

265. P. Licinius Cornelius Valerianus II. Lucillus. 

266. Imp. Caes. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus VII. 

Sabinillus. 

267. Paternus Arcesilaus. 

268. Paternus II. Marinianus. 

269. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Claudius Paternus. 



Part II Chapter VI 275 

A.D. 

270. Flavius Antiochianus II. Virius Orfitus. 

271. Imp. Caes. L. Domitius Aurelianus Pomponius 

Bassus II. 

272. Quietus Veldumnianus. 

273. M. Claudius Tacitus Placidianus. 

274. Imp. Caes. L. Domitius Aurelianus II. Capito- 

linus. 

275. Imp. Caes. L. Domitius Aurelianus III. Mar- 

cellinus. 

276. Imp. Caes. M. Claudius Tacitus II. Aemilianus. 

277. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Probus Paulinus. 

278. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Probus II. - Virius 

Lupus. 

279. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Probus III. Nonius 

Paternus II. 

280. Messala Gratus. 

281. Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Probus IV. C. lunius 

Tiberianus I. 

282. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Probus V. Victorinus. 

283. Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Carus Pius -- Imp. 

Caes. M. Aurelius Carinus. 

284. Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Carinus II. Imp. Caes. 

M. Aurelius Numerianus. 

285. Imp. Diocletianus II. Aurelius Aristobolus. 

286. M. lunius Maximus II. Vettius Aquilinus. 

287. Imp. Caes. Valerius Aurelius Diocletianus III. 

Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Valerius Maximianus 
Aug. 

288. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Valerius Maximianus 

Aug. II. Pomponius lanuarinus. 

289. M. Magrius Bassus L. Ragonius Quintianus. 

290. Imp. Caes. C. Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus 

Aug. IV. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Valerius 
Maximianus Aug. III. 

291. C. lunius Tiberianus II. Cassius Dio. 

292. Afranius Hannibalianus Asclepiodotus. 

293. Imp. Caes. C. Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus 

Aug. V. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Valerius 
Maximianus Aug. IV. 



276 Christian Epigraphy 

A.D. 

294. C. Flavius Valerius Constantius Caesar - 

Galerius Valerius Maximianus Caesar. 

295. Nummius Tuscus Annius Anullinus. 

296. Imp. Caes. C. Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus 

Aug. VI. C. Flavius Valerius Constantius 
Caesar II. 

297. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Valerius Maximianus 

Aug. V. - - Galerius Valerius Maximianus 
Caesar II. 

298. Anicius Faustus II. Virius Gallus. 

299. Imp. Caes. C. Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus 

Aug. VII. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Valerius 
Maximianus Aug. VI. 

300. C. Flavius Valerius Constantius Caes. III. 

Galerius Valerius Maximianus Caesar III. 

301. T. Flavius Postumius Titianus II. Popilius 

Nepotianus. 

302. C. Flavius Valerius Constantius Caesar IV. 

Galerius Valerius Maximianus Caesar IV. 

303. Imp. Caes. C. Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus 

Aug. VIII. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Valerius 
Maximianus Aug. VIII. 

304. Imp. Caes. C. Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus 

Aug. IX. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Valerius 
Maximianus Aug. VIII. 

305. C. Flavius Valerius Constantius Caesar V. - 

Galerius Valerius Maximianus Caesar V. 

306. Imp. Caes. C. Flavius Valerius Constantius Aug. 

VI. Imp. Caes. Galerius Valerius Maximianus 
Aug. VI. 

307. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Valerius Maximianus 

Aug. IX. Flavius Valerius Constantinus nob. 
Caesar. 

308. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Valerius Maxentius Aug. 

M. Valerius Romulus nob. puer. 

309. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Valerius Maxentius Aug. 

II. M. Valerius Romulus nob. puer II. 

310. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Valerius Maxentius Aug. 

III. Sicorius Probus, 



Part II Chapter VI 277 

A.D. 

311. Eusebius C. Ceionius Rufus Volusianus. 

312. Imp. Caes. M. Aurelius Valerius Maxentius 

Aug. IV. 

313. Imp. Caes. Flavius Valerius Constantinus Aug. 

III.- Imp. Caes. Galerius Valerius Maximinus 
Aug. III. 

314. C. Ceionius Rufus Volusianus II. Petronius 

Annianus 

315. Imp. Caes. C. Flavius Valerius Constantinus 

Aug. IV. Imp. Caesar P. Valerius Licinianus 
Licinius IV. 

316. Sabinus Rufinus. 

317. Ovinius Gallicanus lunius Bassus. 

318. Imp. Caes. Valerius Licinianus Licinius V. 

Flavius lulius Crispus nob. Caesar. 

319. Imp. Caes. C. Flavius Valerius Constantinus 

Aug. V. Valerius Licinianus Licinius nob. 
Caesar. 

320. Imp. Caes. C. Flavius Valerius Constantinus 

Aug. VI. - - Flavius Claudius Constantinus 
junior nob. Caesar. 

321. Flavius lulius Crispus nob. Caesar II. Flavius 

Claudius Constantinus junior nob. Caesar II. 

322. Petronius Probianus Annius Anicius lulianus. 

323. Acilius Severus C. Vettius Cossinius Rufinus. 

324. Flavius lulius Crispus nob. Caesar III. Flavius 

Claudius Constantinus junior nob. Caesar III. 

325. Sex. Cocceius Anicius Faustus Paulinus II. P. 

Ceionius lulianus. 

326. Imp. Caesar Flavius Valerius Constantinus Aug. 

VII. Flavius lulius Constantius nob. Caesar. 

327. Flavius Caesarius Constantinus Maximus. 

328. lanuarinus lustus. 

329. Imp. Caesar Flavius Valerius Constantinus Aug. 

VIII. Flavius Claudius Constantinus junior 
nob. Caesar IV. 

330. Fl. Gallicanus Aurelius Tullianus Symmachus. 

331. Annius Bassus Ablabius. 

332. Papinius Pacatianus Maecilius Hilarianus. 



278 Christian Epigraphy 

A.D. 

333 Dalmatius Zenophilus. 

334. Optatus Anicius Paulinas junior. 

335. I. Costantius Rufius Albinus. 

336. Nepotianus Facundus. 

337. Felicianus T. Fab. Titianus. 

338. Ursus Polemius. 

339. Constantius Aug. II. Constans Aug. 

340. Acindinus Proculus. 

341. Marcellinus Petronius Probinus. 

342. Constantius III. Constans Aug. II. 

343. Placidus Romulus. 

344. Fl. Leontius Fl. Sallustius Bonosus. 

345. Amantius Albinus. 

346. Constantius Aug. IV. Constans Aug. III. 

347. Rufinus Eusebius. 

348. Philippus Sallia. 

349. Limenius Catullinus. 

350. Fl. Anicius Sergius Nigrinianus. 

351. Imp. Magnentius Gaiso. 

352. Decentius Paulus. 

353. Constantius Aug. VI. Constantius II. 

354. Constantius Aug. VII. Constantius III. 

355. Fl. Arbitio Q. Fl. Lollianus Mavortius. 

356. Constantius Aug. VIII. lulianus Caes. 

357. Constantrus Aug. IX. lulianus II. 

358. Datianus Cerealis. 

359. Eusebius Ypatius. 

360. Constantius Aug. X. lulianus Caes. III. 

361. Fl. Taurus Fl. Florentius. 

362. Cl. Mamertinus Fl. Nevitta. 

363. lulianus Aug. IV. Sallustius. 

364. lovianus Aug. Varronianus. 

365. Valentinianus Valens Aug. 

366. Gratianus Dagalaifus. 

367. Fl. Lupicinus lovinus. 

368. Valentinianus II. Valens II. 

369. Valentinianus (nobilis puer) Victor. 

370. Valentinianus III. Valens III. 

371. Gratianus II. Probus. 



Part II Chapter VI 279 

A.D. 

372. Fl. Domitius Modestus Fl. Arynthaeus. 

373. Valentinianus IV. Valens Aug. IV. 

374. Gratianus III. Equitius. 

375. P. c. Gratiani III. Equitii. 

376. Valens Aug. V. Valentinianus junior. 

377. Gratianus IV. Merobaudes. 

378. Valens Aug. VI. Valentinianus junior II. 

379. Ausonius Olybrius. 

380. Gratianus V. Theodosius Aug. 

381. Fl. Syagrius Eucherius. 

382. Cl. Antonius Fl. Syagrius. 

383. Merobaudes II. Saturninus. 

384. Ricomeres Clearchus. 

385. Arcadius Bauto. 

386. Fl. Honorius Euodius. 

387. Valentinianus junior III. Eutropius. 

388. Imp. Theodosius II. -- Maternus Cynegius in 

Roma Imp. Maximus II. 

389. Timasius Promotus. 

390. Valentinianus Aug. IV. Neoterius. 

391. Fl. Tatianus Q. Aur. Symmachus. 

392. Arcadius Aug. Fl. Rufinus. 

393. Theodosius Aug. III. Eugenius Aug. 

394. Nicomachus Flavianus. 

- Arcadius III. - Honorius II. 

395. Anicius Olybrius Probinus. 

396. Arcadius Aug. IV. Honorius Aug. III. 

397. Fl. Caesarius Nonius Atticus Maximus. 

398. Honorius IV. Fl. Eutychianus. 

399. Fl. Mallius Theodorus. 

400. Fl. Stilicho. 

401. Fl. Vincentius Fravita. 

402. Arcadius V. Honorius Aug. V. 

403. Theodosius Aug. Fl. Rumoridus. 

404. Honorius Aug. VI. Aristaenetus. 

405. Fl. Stilicho II. Anthemius. 

406. Arcadius Aug. VI. Anicius Petronius Probus. 

407. Honorius Aug. VII. Theodosius Aug. II. 

408. Anicius Bassus Fl. Philippus, 



280 Christian Epigraphy 



A.D. 



409. Honorius Aug. VIII. Theodosius Aug. III. 

410. Tertullus Varanes. 

411. Fl. Theodosius Aug. IV. 

412. Honorius Aug. IX. Theodosius V. 

413. Heraclianus Lucius. 

414. Fl. Constantius Constano. 

415. Honorius X. Theodosius VI. 

416. Theodosius VII. lunius Quartus Palladius. 

417. Honorius XI. Constantius II. 

418. Honorius XII. Theodosius VIII. 

419. Monaxius Plinta. 

420. Theodosius IX. Constantius III. 

421. Eustathius Agricola. 

422. Honorius XIII. Theodosius X. 

423. Fl. Avitus Marinianus Asclepiodotus. 

424. Fl. Castinus Victor. 

425. Theodosius XI. Valentinianus Aug. 

426. Theodosius XII. Valentinianus Aug. II. 

427. Hierius Artabures. 

428. Flav. Felix Tauro. 

429. Florentius Dionysius. 

430. Theodosius XIII. Placidus Valentinianus Aug. 

III. 

431. Anicius Bassus Antiochus. 

432. Aetius 'Valerius. 

433. Theodosius Aug. XIV. Petronius Maximus. 

434. Fl. Aspares Ariavindus. 

435. Theodosius XV. Valentinianus Aug. IV. 

436. Fl. Senator Isidorus. 

437. Fl. Aetius Sigisvultus. 

438. Theodosius XVI. Anicius Acilius Glabrio 

Faustus. 

439. Theodosius XVII. Festus. 

440. Valentinianus V. Anatolius. 

441. P. c. Valentiniani V. Anatolii Constantius 

Cyrus (in Oriente). 

442. Dioscorus Eudoxius. 

443. Petronius Maximus II. Paterius. 

444. Theodosius Aug. XVIII. Albinus. 



Part II Chapter VI 281 

A.D. 

445. Valentinianus VI. Nomus. 

446. Aetius III. Symmachus. 

447. Calepius Ardabur. 

448. Rufus Praetextatus Postumianus Fl. Zeno. 

449. Asturius Protogenes. 

450. Valentinianus VII. Avienus. 

451. Adelfius Marcianus Aug. 

452. Fl. Bassus Herculanus Sporacius. 

453. Opilio Vincomalus. 

454. Aetius Studius. 

455. Valentinianus VIII. Anthemius. 

456. Joannes Varanes. 
Eparchius Avitus. 

457. Fl. Constantinus Rufus. 

458. Maiorianus Aug. Imp. Leo. 

459. Ricimeres Patricius. 

460. Magnus Apollonius. 

461. Severinus Dagalaiphus. 

462. Leo Aug. II. Severus Aug. 

463. Fl. Basilius Vivianus. 

464. Rusticus Olybrius. 

465. Herminericus Basiliscus. 

466. Leo Aug. III. Tatianus. 

467. Puseus loannes. 

468. Anthemius Aug. II. 

469. Marcianus Zeno. 

470. Severus lordanes. 

471. Leo Aug. IV. Probianus. 

472. Festus Marcianus. 

473. Leo Aug. V. 

474. Leo junior Aug. 

475. Fl. Zeno Aug. II. 

476. Basiliscus Aug. II. Armatus. 

477. P. c. Basilisci II. et Armati. 

478. Illus. 

479. Zeno Aug. III. 

480. Fl. Basilius junior. 

481. Rufius Placidus. 

482. Severinus Trocondus. 



282 Christian Epigraphy 

A.D. 

483. Anicius Acilius Aginatius Faustus. 

484. Venantius Theodoricus. 

485. Q. Aur. Memmius Symmachus. 

486. Caecina Mavortius Longinus. 

487. Boethius. 

488. Dynamius Syfidius. 

489. Petronius Probinus Eusebius. 

490. Fl. Probus Faustus junior Longinus II. 

491. Fl. Olybrius junior. 

492. Anastasius Aug. Rufus. 

493. Albinus Eusebius II. 

494. Fl. Asterius Praesidius. 

495. Viator. 

496. Paulus. 

497. Anastasius Aug. II. 

498. Paulinus lohannes (Scytha). 

499. lohannes (Gibbus). 

500. Patricius Hypatius. 

501. Avienus Pompeius. 

502. Fl. Avienus junior Probus. 

503. Volusianus Dexicrates. 

504. Nicomachus Cethegus. 

505. Fl. Theodorus Sabinianus. 

506. Fl. Messala Dagalaifus. 

507. Venantius.. Anastasius III. 

508. D. Marius Venantius Basilius Celer. 

509. Importunus. 

510. Manlius Anicius Severinus Boethius. 

511. Fl. Felix Secundinus. 

512. Paulus Muschianus post consul. Felicis. 

513. Probus Taurus Armonius. 

514. Senator. 

515. Fl. Florentius Anthemius. 

516. Fl. Petro. 

517. Agapitus Anastasius Paulus Probus. 

518. Anastasius Paulus Probus Moschianus Probus 

Magnus. 

519. Fl. Eutharicus Cillica lustinus Aug. 

520. Rusticius Vitalianus. 



Part II Chapter VI 283 

A.D. 

521. Valerius lustinianus. 

522. Symmachus Boethius. 

523. Fl. Maximus. 

524. Opilio lustinus Aug. II. 

525. Probus junior Philoxenus. 

526. Fl. Anicius Olybrius. 

527. Fl. Vettius Agorius Basilius Mavortius. 

528. Fl. lustinianus Aug. II. 

529. Fl. Decius junior. 

530. Lampadius Orestes. 

531. Post consul. Lampadii et Orestis. 

532. Iterum p. c. Lampadii et Orestis. 

533. Fl. lustinianus Aug. III. 

534. Fl. Dec. Paulinus jun. lustinianus Aug. IV. 

535. P. c. Paulini junioris Fl. Belisarius. 

536. P. c. Belisarii. 

537. P. c. Belisarii. 

538. lohannes. 

539. Fl. Appion. 

540. Fl. lustinus. 

541. Fl. Anicius Faustus Albinus Basilius. 

This Basilius was the last regular consul in a 
private position. After A.D. 541 the consular date 
was expressed by post consulatum Basilii for 44 
years, i.e. to A.D. 585, alternately with post con- 
sulatum Justini Aug., and the latter was then con- 
tinued in some records up to the ;2nd year, A.D. 
612. After that date all mention of consuls 
ceases. 



In some ancient Christian inscriptions reference 
is made to the Easter festival, and also to lunations, 
both of which are matters connected with the 
Calendar. It will be as well, therefore, to give here 
some information on the subject of the Calendar. 



284 Christian Epigraphy 



2 

The Calendar 

The astronomical or sidereal day is the interval 
of time between two successive transits of any star 
over the same meridian in the same hemisphere, and 
its length is 24 hours; the solar day is the interval of 
time between two transits of the sun over the meri- 
dian, amounting to 24 hours 3' 56". The sidereal 
year is the period of time at the end of which the 
earth returns to the same point in its orbit ; the 
tropical or equinoctial year, again, is that between 
one spring equinox and the next, and is 365 days 
5 hours 48' 51" in length; the sidereal year is a 
trifle longer, viz. 365 days 6 hours 8J'. The 
tropical year is the one accepted as the legal year, 
because it involves the periodical recurrence at 
identical intervals of time of the same phenomena, 
constituting the succession of the seasons. The 
ancients had "only an approximate idea of the 
length of the tropical year; thus in the days of 
Romulus they made it only 304 days, which they 
divided into 10 months, beginning with March. 
According to tradition, Numa Pompilius, knowing 
that the measurement of the year was incorrect, 
added the two months of January and February ; 
thus the year came to have 12 months, or 12 
lunations, covering 355 days ; some of the months 
contained 31 days, others 29, and others, again, 
28. But there was still a deficiency of some 1 1 days 
between this and the true year, and that difference 
grew to 22 days in 2 years. It was therefore 



Part II Chapter VI 285 

determined to insert an additional month of 22 
days between the 23rd and 24th of February in 
every other year : this was called the Mercedonian 
month, and the duty of carrying out the intercala- 
tion was entrusted to the pontifices, who often 
lengthened or shortened the year without due 
reason. Matters remained thus up to the days 
of Julius Caesar, by which time the correct length 
of the year had been very nearly ascertained, 
and determined at 365 days 6 hours. Then 
the dictator, principally by the advice of Sosi- 
genes, a celebrated astronomer of the school of 
Alexandria, undertook the task of regulating the 
Calendar, which had up to that time been in an 
uncertain condition : he ordained that the ordinary 
year should consist of 365 days, and in order to 
allow for the yearly defect of 6 hours, amount- 
ing in 4 years to the error of a whole day, he 
directed that every fourth or intercalary year should 
have 366 days ; and he inserted the supplementary 
day in the same place in the Calendar as the old 
Mercedonian month, i.e. between the 23rd and 24th 
of February. Now February 23rd was called " VII. 
Kalendas Martias," and the additional day would 
therefore be " VI. Kalendas," and the 24th would 
then be " bis VI. Kalendas," whence the year took 
its name of bissextile. Thus while Julius Caesar 
added some days to Numa's year, he retained his 
twelve months, only lengthening all of them, except 
February, in which for religious reasons he made no 
change. But even this intercalation does not bring 
the year into exact correspondence with the motion 
of the sun. Julius Caesar assumed the length of 
the year to be 365 days 6 hours, whereas its true 
length is 365 days 5 hours 48' 51.6" ; so that on his 



286 Christian Epigraphy 

system it was still n' 8.4" too long. This error 
meant that at the end of the civil year the actual 
year had been completed 1 1' 8.4" earlier; and hence 
after the lapse of 100 civil years, there had been an 
actual lapse of 100 years and a little more than 
1 8 hours; and this deficiency when accumulated 
through many years made a serious alteration in the 
date of the annual recurrence of certain phenomena. 
The Council of Nice, which met in A.D. 325, 
assumed, for the determination of the date of the 
Easter festival, that as the spring equinox had 
occurred in that year on March 2ist, so it would 
always return on that day ; whereas the above- 
named error of n' 8.4" caused each equinox to 
fall n' 8.4" earlier than in the previous year; and 
after the lapse of 1356 years, i.e. about the end of 
the sixteenth century, it made the equinox fall 10 
days earlier ; so that while the Calendar continued 
to describe it as occurring on March 2ist, it had 
actually taken place on the nth. It was obvious 
that a reform was required to regulate the Calendar 
and reorganise it on exacter data ; and this reform 
was duly carried out by the most famous astrono- 
mers of the day, with Lilius and Clavius at their 
head, and under the patronage of Gregory XIII., 
from whom it derived the name of Gregorian. It 
was effected by adding ;the ten days' arrears which 
had accrued through the mistake as to the true 
length of the year, and thus making March 2ist 
again coincide with the spring equinox ; and it was 
carried out by a papal brief ordaining that the 
morrow of October 4th, 1582, should be called the 
1 5th instead of the 5th. But the correction, 
though it remedied the past mischief caused by the 
Julian Calendar, did nothing to prevent its future 



Part II Chapter VI 287 

recurrence, as the few minutes' difference between 
the Julian and the true year would still exist ; a 
difference which in 400 years amounts to three 
days, i.e. three days more than actually occur in 
that period. It was therefore determined that in 
every 100 of the bissextile years which, according 
to the Julian system, would occur in 400 years, 
three should be cancelled, and this was done as 
follows: the "century" years, such as 1400, 1500, 
1600, being all bissextile in the Julian Calendar 
because exactly divisible by 4, it was ordered that, 
for the future, of every four consecutive "century " 
years, one only should be of 366 days, and that it 
should be that one of the four the number of 
whose hundreds was exactly divisible by 4. By this 
method, known as the Gregorian reform, such a 
degree of exactness can be reached, that the spring 
equinox will be only one day too early 4000 years 
hence ; an error which those then living may be 
left to deal with. 

We may now pass to other matters closely con- 
nected with the Calendar. The solar cycle is a 
period of 28 years, after which time relations are 
restored to identically the same order as at its 
beginning ; and the days of the month fall on the 
same days of the week. The starting-point of the 
solar cycle is assigned to B.C. 9, or, in other words, 
A.D. i was the tenth in the current solar cycle. So 
to find the place occupied in a solar cycle by any 
given year, all that is needed is to add 9 to the 
year and divide by 28 ; the quotient gives the 
number of completed cycles, and the remainder 
the place in the then current cycle. The solar 
cycle is used to find the day of the week, which is 
done by what is known as the Dominical or 



288 Christian Epigraphy 

Sunday letter. For this purpose every day in the 
year is distinguished by one of the first seven letters 
of the alphabet, from A to G, the first day being 
marked A, the second B, and so on up to the 
seventh ; the eighth is again marked A, the Qth B, 
etc. ; so that, as the year contains 52 weeks and i 
day, if the first day be marked A the last day will bear 
the same letter. Furthermore, during the whole 
year the same letter corresponds to the same day 
of the week; and the letter which corresponds to 
the Sundays is called the Sunday letter. Given 
the Sunday letter of a year, one may calculate 
on what day of the week the year began ; e.g. if 
the Sunday letter be known to be A, the year 
will have begun with a Sunday ; if B, with a 
Saturday, etc. ; and this being known it is easy to 
calculate on what day of the week any given day of 
a month falls. But if the Sunday letter is not 
known, it can be discovered by a very simple 
calculation. 

There is another very important astronomical 
period, viz. the lunar cycle of Meto, also called the 
cycle of the Golden Number. That astronomer, 
who lived about 430 B.C., observed that every 19 
years the same phases of the moon recurred on 
the same day, and nearly at the same hour of the 
day, a fact depending on the retrograde motion of 
the lunar nodes, which take 19 years to return to 
the same position. This lunar or Metonic cycle 
was then introduced, and its superiority to all others 
in accuracy eventually brought it into universal use ; 
it was called the cycle of the Golden Number, 
because, after having been lost and found again, it 
was carved in letters of gold in the Agora of Athens. 
This Golden Number denotes the place occupied by 



Part II Chapter VI 289 

the year in the lunar cycle of Meto ; i.e. if it was 
the ist, 2nd, or 3rd in the cycle, it would have for 
Golden Number i, 2, or 3, up to 19, after which 
there is a return to i. It has been calculated 
that this cycle started in the year preceding A.D. i, 
so that A.D. i had the Golden Number 2 ; and 
thus, if you wish to find the Golden Number of 
any given year, add i to the number of the year 
and divide by 19; the quotient gives the number 
of completed cycles, and the remainder is the 
Golden Number of the year. 

By "lunar" year is meant a period of 12 re- 
currences of the new moon, or 12 lunations, i.e. 
the number of completed lunations in a solar year. 
As an average or mean lunation contains 29 J days, 
the lunar year consists of 354 days, or n days less 
than an ordinary solar year, and 12 less than a 
bissextile. In fact, however, the mean lunation of 
29 \ days is 44' and a fraction shorter than the true 
lunation ; and this error, multiplied by 1 2, amounts 
to a loss of 8| hours in the full lunar year, or of 
about 7 days in the 19 lunar years of the complete 
cycle of Meto. To make up for this loss, the 
number of the days is altered in 7 lunations in 
the course of the cycle of 19 years, six being in- 
creased by about a half-day from 29 \ days to 30, 
and one diminished by about a half-day to 29. 
(The lunations so altered are technically called 
embolismic.) To understand how this alteration 
corrects the above-mentioned loss of 7 days, it must 
be noted that an embolismic lunation of 30 days 
is longer than a true lunation by 1 1 hours and a 
fraction, giving for the six 3<D-day lunations an excess 
of 67 J hours call it 2 days 20 hours and for 
the one lunation of 29 days a defect of 12 J hours, 

u 



2 QO Christian Epigraphy 

making a net gain on this account of 54! hours, 
or 2 days 6f hours. We have now to take into 
account the bissextile or leap years, of which 
there are about 5 in a cycle of 19 years; add 5 
days on their account to the 2 days 6f hours previ- 
ously arrived at, and we get a total net gain of, say, 
7j days, which about compensates for the loss of 
7 days which we found to exist owing to the differ- 
ence between the true and the mean lunations. 

The difference of 1 1 days between the solar and 
lunar years is kept 'constant by the addition of an 
intercalary day into the February lunation in a bis- 
sextile year. Now let us take for the first year of 
a cycle one in which a new moon falls on January 
ist : the lunar year of 354 days being shorter than 
the solar by n days, the new moons will fall n 
days earlier in the following year ; or to put it in 
another way, the last new moon of that year will 
fall on its 354th day, i.e. December 20th, and the 
moon will be n days old on the next January ist; 
this age of the moon on January ist is what is 
called the epact\ and the 2nd year of the cycle will 
have the Epact XI., while the first year will have 
the Epact O. Then in the 3rd year of the cycle 
the new moons will again be 1 1 days earlier than 
in the 2nd, or 22 days earlier than in the first; 
therefore the Epact will be XXII. In the 4th 
the new moons will be 33 days earlier; but, as 
30 days go to a lunation, the moon will be 3 days 
old on January ist, and the Epact of the 4th 
year will be III. If the Golden Number of a 
year be known, its Epact can be found by multi- 
plying the Golden Number minus i by u, and 
dividing by 30 ; the remainder will be the Epact. 
Indeed, given any particular year, if it be required 



Part II Chapter VI 291 

to express in terms of lunar years the fraction of a 
lunar cycle which has elapsed before it, it can be 
done thus : take 1 1 for each of the previous solar 
years of the cycle, or more simply multiply n 
by the Golden Number of the preceding year, 
divide the product by 30 ; the quotient will give us 
the number of the lunar years, and the remainder 
that of the day of the lunation coinciding with 
January ist of the year in question, which is, in 
fact, the Epact But care must be taken when 
dealing with a year antecedent to the Gregorian 
reform, to allow for the days deducted by virtue of 
that reform. 

By the use of the Epact it is easy to find the new 
moons of a year : for this purpose the Epact of the 
year must be subtracted from the number of days 
in the lunation of the month whose new moon it is 
sought to ascertain, remembering that if the year 
begins with an incomplete lunation, that lunation 
always contains 30 days, and that the first lunation 
that falls entirely within the year is always of 29 days 
(unless the Epact is O or higher than XXIV., in 
which case such first lunation is of 30 days) ; after 
this the lunations are alternately of 29 and 30 days. 
There are some further small errors, which are 
corrected by adding i to the Epact at the beginning 
of a century when necessary. 

The Council of Nice, which met a few years after 
the famous Edict of Milan, by which the Emperor 
Constantine officially recognised the Church, be- 
sides providing for other very material matters, 
thought it desirable to regulate also the date of the 
celebration of Easter, on which matter there had 
been some want of agreement among the Churches ; 
and it was decreed that Easter should for the future 



292 Christian Epigraphy 

always be celebrated on the Sunday immediately 
following the full moon occurring on or after March 
2 1 st. In order, then, to find Easter in any year the 
date of the March full moon must be found ; if that 
occurs on or after the 2ist, it will be the Easter 
full moon, and the following Sunday will be Easter; 
if it falls before the 2ist, the next full moon must 
be found, and on the Sunday after that Easter will 
be celebrated. 

Easter may therefore be ascertained for any year, 
past or future, by means of the materials we have 
described under the present heading; i.e. by 
finding the Sunday letter, the Golden Number, 
and the Epact in the way we have explained. And 
this method may easily be applied to verify the 
correctness of the inscriptions in which the festival 
of Easter is mentioned. 

3 

Some Specimens of " Consular " Inscriptions 

The completes! series of Roman consular in- 
scriptions is that given by De Rossi in vol. i. of 
Inscriptiones christianae, which includes those 
known up to 1861. Others were published by him 
in the Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, and by 
his successors in the Nuovo Bullettino. The 
sequel of the series with the above-mentioned 
and other additions will shortly appear, published 
by Comm. Giuseppe Gatti in vol. ii. of the In- 
scriptiones. 

Here we propose to give only a small number 
as specimens ; others may easily be found in the 
above-mentioned volume of De Rossi. 



Part II Chapter VI 293 

314 



.... VESPASIANO Ill . COS 



Lateran Museum (A. D. 71). (Table XIX. i.) . 

According to De Rossi this is the only Christian 
inscription as yet known which bears a consular 
date of the first century. 1 

315 
.... aN XXX SVRA ET SENEC COSS 

(A.D. 107.) 
Sura et Senedone consulibus. 

316 

SERVILIA . ANNORVM XIII 
PIS ET BOL - COSS 

(A.D. in.) 
Pisone et Bolano consulibus. 

The two preceding were transcribed by Boldetti, 
who states that they were "graffiti" on mortar in 
the cemetery of Lucina near the Via Ostiensis ; but 
they have never been seen since. De Rossi con- 
sidered them to be genuine and printed them as 
such.' 2 There is now, however, some suspicion 
that they were incorrectly transcribed by Boldetti ; 
but the point has not been yet cleared up. In any 
case, no other Christian consular inscription of the 
second century is known. 

In the third century occasional Christian con- 
sular inscriptions begin to appear, but they do not 

1 De Rossi, Inscr. christ. i. No. i. 
2 Ibid. i. Nos. 2, 3. 



294 Christian Epigraphy 

become frequent till later. One of the oldest 
appears to be one accepted as Christian by De 
Rossi, and quoted above, p. 225, with the date 
A.D. 217. We will go on to mention next a few 
others of the third century, and then some of a 
later date. 



KftCOTAE . KAVAIft 
EA IIATEPNfi NONEIC 
NOBENBPEIBOTC AEI E BENEPEC 
[ AOTNA . XXIIII 

AETKE 4>IAIE CHBHPE KAPECCEME - 

[ nOCOTETE 
EA EICEEIPITft CANKTfi - TOTfi 



Consule Claudio et Paterno nonis nobenbribus die 
Veneris Luna XXIIII. Leuca filiae Sever ae caris- 
simae posuit et ispirito sancto tuo J . . . 

A cemetery on the Via Salaria (A.D. 269). 
Lateran Museum. 

This Latin inscription, incorrectly transcribed in 
Greek characters, is remarkable for its date of 269, 
and for the further mention of the days of the 
month and of the week, and of the age of the 
moon. 

1 A postscript in smaller character states that she died at the 
age of about six years. 



Part II Chapter VI 
318 



2 95 



CVMCVMVIXIT SEVERA SELEVCI 

ANE CVM AVRELIO SABVTIO ANNIS 

DECE - ET SEPTE IMP - PROBO AVG III ET NONIO 

PATERNO BIS CONS QVOT VIXIT IN SECVLO 

ANNIS TRIGINTA ET DVO ET MENSES DVO IMP 

CLAVDIO AVG ET PATERNO CONSS 



Museum of the Capitol (A.D. 269-276). (Plate XIX. 2.) 

The next belongs to the time of Diocletian : 



VIBIVS FIMVS R KAL SEP 
DIG IIII ET MAX - COS 



Vibius Fimus recessit kalendis Septembris Diode- 
tiano IIII. et Maximiano consulibus. 

Cemetery of Callisto (A.D. 290). 



320 



CATILIAE IN PACE FILIAE 
DVLCISSIME INGENV 
A . MATER FECIT D 
P VIIII K IVL DIG 
CLETIANO III ET - MAXI 
MIANO II 



Cemetery of S. Hippolytus (A.D. 290). Lateran Museum. 
(Plate XIX. 3.) 1 

1 Here we have an instance of a consular date incorrectly 
stated (see De Rossi, Inscr. christ. i. pp. 22-23). [Cp. Fasti 
consulares, p. '275 sup. TR.] 



296 



Christian Epigraphy 



321 



< TIBERIANO ET DI 
g 3 ONE CONSS qVIN 
^ > TV KAL DEC .... NTONI 
. ESIT 



Cemetery of S. Agnese. Lateran Museum. (Plate XIX. 4. 



322 



IVLIA EVSTOCHIA . . . 
ET CAESIO LEONTIO . . 
BENEMERENTI DEP . . . 
FAVSTO ET GALLO . . 



Lateran Museum (A.D. 298). 



323 



.... STAB DVLCIS 

am'/na piYj SESES (zeses) 

itep .... DECEM . POST . VI 



Cemetery of SS. Peter and Marcellinus (A.D. 307 [?3o6. TR.]). 
Lateran Museum. (Plate XIX. 5.) 

Notable for the indicative post sextumconsulatum^ 
which suggests the age of Maxentius (see above ; 
cp. De Rossi, Inscr. christ. i. p. 30). 



Part II- -Chapter VI 



297 



324 



accer 

situs ab ANGELIS QVI VI 

xit ANN XXII MESIS VIIII 

DIEB VIII IN PACE DEP IDI 

BVS DEC MAXENT III COS 



Lateran Museum (A. D. 310). 

After the peace of Constantine in 313 Christian 
inscriptions bearing consular dates become very 
common and may be counted by the hundred. 

Here are some specimens of the fourth and 
fifth centuries, selected from those which give any 
special or remarkable indications as to date : 



325 



ASELLVS ET LEA . FRISCO PATRI BENE 

MERENTI IN - PACE | 

QVI . BIXIT ANNIS LXIIII MENSIBVS- III 

^ IN SIGNO ^ DIES N XII 

V K OCT D BASSO ET ABLAVIO 

CONSS 



Cemetery of S. Agnese (A.D. 331). Lateran Museum. 

Observe in the last line but one the expression 
in signo Christi^ evidently alluding to the name of 
Christ placed on the standard of Constantine, the 
memory of which was still fresh in men's minds. 



298 Christian Epigraphy 



326 



CVBICVLVM AVRELIAE MARTINAE CASTISSIMAE 
ATQVE PVDI | CISSIMAE FEMINAE QVE FECIT 
IN CONIVGIO ANN XXIII D XIIII | BENEMERENTI 
QVE VIXIT ANN XL M XI D XIII DEPOSITIO 
EIVS | DIE III NONAS OCX NEPOTIANO ET 
FACVNDO CONSS IN PACE 



Lateran Museum (A. D. 336). (Plate XX. i.) 



327 



FL BALBILLA VIXIT ANN XXVIII 
MENS VII D XII REQVIEVIT IN PACE 
MAMERTINO ET NEBIDDA COSS PREF VRB 
MAXIMO V KAL FEBR 



Cemetery of Callisto (A.D. 362). 

Remarkable as being a hitherto unique instance 
of the use of the name of the prefect of Rome to 
give the date : praefecto urbis Maximo. This tablet 
is also important in connexion with the topography 
of that portion of the cemetery to which it belongs. 
It was discovered in a burial -chamber of the ceme- 
tery of Callisto, which has lately been very arbi- 
trarily identified as the tomb of Pope Damasus, 
an idea which I have shown to be utterly without 
foundation. 



Part II Chapter VI 

328 



299 



HIC IACET NOMINE MATRONA C F IN PACE 

VXOR CORNELI PRIMICERI CENARIORVM 

FILIA PORFORI PRIMICERI MONETARIO 

RVM QVE - VIXIT ANN P M XXIII QVE -1RECESSIT 

DIE MERCVRIS ORA VIII ET DEPOSITA DIE 

IOVIS IDVVM MAIARVM INCONTRA 

COLOMNA VII C0NS FL HERCVLANI VC 



Monastery of S. Paolo (A.D. 452). (Plate XX. 2.) 

Noticeable for the offices recorded ; also for the 
statement that this lady's tomb lay close to the 
seventh column of the basilica of S. Paul. 



329 



HIC QVIISCIT ROMANVS PBB 
QVI SEDIT PBB ANN XXVII . M X 

DEP . X . KAL AVGVS 
CONS SEVERINI V . CL 



Cemetery of SS. Peter and Marcellinus (A.D. 461). 
Lateran Museum. (Plate XX. 3.) 

The expression qui sedit presbyter is noticeable. 



330 



ARIA IN PACE 

que vixit awNVS Ill MENS IIII 

()AL SEP CON DMN 

Basilisciet ARM ATI - VV CC 

Cemetery of S. Valentinus in Rome (A.D. 476). 



300 Christian Epigraphy 

The consulship of Basiliscus and Armatus denote 
the year 476, in which Odoacer extinguished the 
Western empire. 



Consuls continued to be named after the fall 
of the empire, under the rule of the barbarians, 
and later under Byzantine dominion, as we have 
already said, up to Basilius, who was the last private 
person to be invested with the consular dignity 
before its abolition by the Emperor Justinian. 
The habit continued for some years of dating 
inscriptions post consulatum Basilii. Here is one 
of the latest instances, which gives the year as the 
sixteenth after that consulship : 



331 



_f_ HIC REQVIESCIT IN PACE IVLIANVS ATUjT 
QVI 'VISIT | ANNVS PLVS MINVS XLV DE- 
POSITVS EST SVB D XVII KAT | NOBEMBRIS 
P~C BASILI V~C ANNO XVI 



Basilica of S. Agnese (A.D. 557). 
Lateran Museum. (Plate XX. 4.) 

After the abolition of the consular dignity, we 
find dates indicated by the years of the emperor's 
reign ; as, for instance, in the last lines of the 
epitaph on Boethius, the son of the notary 
Eugenius: 



Part II Chapter VI 301 

33 2 



_|_ DEP EST BOETIVS CL P - OCT KAL NOBR 
INDICT XI OTP | DOM N IVSTINO PP AVG 
ANN XII ET TIBERIO CONST CAER | ANN III 
DEP EST - IN PACE ARGENTEA MAT SS XIII 
KAL DETIEMB j QVI SS BOETIVS VIXIT ANN XI 
M VIIII D XXIII S ET MAT EIVS VIXIT ANN 
XXXII M II -D -XIII 



Rome. Church of S. Angelo in Borgo (A. D. 578). 
(Plate XXI. i, 2.) 

At the end of the present group of inscriptions 
we shall give some (though of an earlier date) 
which record the date by the name of the Pope. 
But it must be noted that such a practice is ex- 
tremely rare. 

333 



SVB IVLIO A.tttistite 

DRO - FOSSORE . 

PERCVSS . 



Cemetery of Callisto. 

It mentions the pontificate of Julius I. (A.D. 337- 

352). 

334 



<fcFVNCTA EST EVPLIA QVAR 
to w?VS MAI AS QVE FVIT ANNORV 
<yiQVE DEPOSITA IN PACE SVB LIBE 
RIO PAPA 



Cemetery of Callisto. Lateran Museum. (Plate XXII. i.) 

The pontificate of Liberius was A.D. 352-366. 

1 ... comparavit ab Alexandra fossore . . . 



302 



Christian Epigraphy 

335 



.... A CVMPARAVIT 
. . . . ONVS SE BIBO 
sedenfS. PAPA LIBERIO 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. 
336 



ERENI QVE VIXIT ANN 
PM XLV CVM CVPARE 
SVO FECIT ANNVS VIII 
QVE RECESSIT III NON IN 
PACE SVB DAMASO EPISCO/0 



Lateran Museum (A.D. 366-384). (Plate XXII. 2.) 

This records the pontificate of Damasus (A.D. 
366-384), a period of great importance, as immedi- 
ately preceding the final triumph of Christianity 
under Theodosius. Note that the deceased was 
called Irene, like the sister of Damasus. 



337 



SALBO PAPA N IOHANNE COGNOMEN 
TO MERCVRIO EX SCE ECCL ROM PRESBYTE 
RIS ORDINATO EX TIT SCI CLEMENTIS AD GLO 
RIAM PONTIFICALEM PROMOTO BEATO PETRO 
AT PATRONO SVO A VINCVLIS EIVS SEVERS PB 
OPFERT | ET - IT PC LAMPADI ET ORESTIS VV CC 
VRBI+CLVS CEDRINVS EST 



Church of S. Pietro in Vincoli (A.D. 533). (Plate XXII. 3.) 



Part II Chapter VI 303 

A votive inscription which combines the indica- 
tion of the date by the pontificate of John II. 
(salvo papa Johanne] with that by post consulatum 
Lampadi et Orestis (A.D. 533). 

In the sixth century they began in some places 
to indicate the year by means of the names of the 
barbarian kings : 

338 



IN HOC TV.M 

OLO REQVIESCIT 

IN PACE BONE 

MEMORIAE IVLIA 

NETA TRASIIT IN 

ANNOS XXXXV 

ANNO NONO X REG DOMNI 

NOSTRI ALARICI 



(A.D. 503.) 
(Le Blant, Inscriptions chrtt. de la Gaule, No. 569.) 

So in Rome in the first half of the sixth century 
the name of King Theodoric is often given to 
indicate a date ; and is often used as a stamp on 
bricks, thus : 

REGNANTE D N THEODORICO 
FELIX ROMA 

After the sixth century the emperors alone are 
named ; and finally in Rome the custom is started 
of recording only the names of the Popes. 



304 Christian Epigraphy 

The Christian era was never used in old 
Christian inscriptions ; it does not begin to appear 
in inscriptions before the seventh century, as has 
been already stated. 

We may add here a few inscriptions which bear 
some peculiar indications of date, as, for instance, 
the age of the moon, the sign of the zodiac, or 
sometimes the Easter festival : 

339 



PVER NATVS 

DIVO IOVIANO AVG ET 

VARRONIANO COS (A.D. 364) 

ORA- NOCTIS;- IIII 

IN(0VXIT1 VIII IDVS MAIAS 

DIE SATVRNIS LVNA VICESIMA 

SIGNO CAPIORNONOM2 SIMP(/z)CIVS 



Cemetery of Giordano on the Via Latina. 
(Boldetti, Osservazioni , p. 84.) 

This inscription records the birth of the boy in 
364, on Saturday, May 8th, when the moon was in 
the sign of 'Capricorn. 

The next marks only the season (winter) and 
perhaps the days of the winter solstice : 

340 



PATER FILIO SILBINIANO 

BENEMERENTI IN PACE 

QVI ABET DEPOSSIONE BRVMIS 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. 

1 Inluxit (dies natalis ejits], etc. 

2 Signo capricorni. Another inscription referring to Capri- 
corn was published by me, together with others, from the 
cemetery of Commodilla in Nuovo Bull. Nos. 1-4 of 1904. 



Part II Chapter VI 



35 



341 



AVRELIVS MELITIVS 
INFANS CRISTAEANVS 
FIDELIS PEREGRINVS - HIC 
POSITVS EST QVI VIXIT 
ANNIS IIII DIES DVO QVI 
DEFVNCTVS EST DIAE 
SATVRNI PASCAE NOCTIS 
IPSIVS PERVIGILATIO ORA 
TIONE QVINTA VITA-PR1VATVS 
EST ET SEPVLTVS DIAE SOLIS 
VI KAL APRIL PP . . 



Cemetery of S. Mustiola in Chiusi. 

The boy Aurelius Melitius died in the night of 
Easter Eve, in the fifth hour of that vigil, and was 
buried on Easter Sunday, March 27th. The year 
is omitted, but may be recovered by calculation 
from the date of Easter. 



342 



(hie) IACET DECORA 

MERCVRINA QVAE 

VIXIT ANNOS XX 

OVIIT-XIII KAL -MA 

IAS - VIGELIA PASCE. 
CALIPIO VC CONS 



Lyons in France (A.D. 447). 
(Le Blant, I user, chrtt. de la Gaule, No. 35.) 

In the year 447, given in this inscription, Easter 
fell on April 20th, and XI I L Kal. Maias or April 
1 9th was actually Easter Eve. 

X 



306 Christian Epigraphy 

343 



in hoc ^PVLCRO REQVIESCET PVELLA VIRGO 
SACRA B M ALKXAtttfru | QVAE RECEPTA 
COELO MERVIT OCCVRRERE XPO AD RESVR- 
RECTionem \ pracmium o^ERNVM SVSCIPERE 
DIGNA HAEC DEP VII KAL &f(yilis\ \ die 
Sabbatl VIGILIAS - SACRAS CONS FL ASTVRIO 
V C 



In the choir of the church of S. Prassede in Rome (A.D. 449). 

The holy virgin Alexandra was buried on March 
26th, 449, which was Easter Eve in that year; 
hence she is said to have been buried on the 
specially holy Vigil, i.e. the Vigil of Easter. Note 
also the beautiful statement that she was received 
in Heaven, and held worthy of appearing in the 
presence of Christ. 

It would-.be easy to add further specimens, but 
those I have given are sufficient as samples of the 
more unusual expressions. 



CHAPTER VII 



INSCRIPTIONS SELECTED FOR CERTAIN SPECIAL 



EXPRESSIONS 



Ejaculations Language bearing on the Conception 
of a Future Life 



344 



ATPEAIOC 6EOAOTAOC 
KAI KEKIAIA MAPIA CTMBIOC 
ATTOT . ZfiNTEC EHOIHCAN E 
ATTOIC KAI . TOIC TEKNOIC AT 
TOT OTPBIKO KE BONIJ>ATIE 
EZHCHN AE 0EOAOTAOC - ETH 
B KATAKEITE j^ Z KAA 
NOENBPK3N . EIC - AFAHEN 



Cemetery of Callisto. 

The inscription states that Aurelius Theodulus 
and Cecilia Maria his wife made a tomb for them- 
selves and their children. 

Observe the ejaculation in the last line EIC 
ArALIHN, the hope that the deceased may be 
admitted to the mystical love feast of the Saints. 

1 In this chapter will be also recorded several inscriptions 
which have been left out of the groups already given. 

307 



308 



Christian Epigraphy 



In a Latin inscription the same ejaculation is 
found : 



345 



IVSTE . NOMEN 

TVM IN AGAPE (dove) 



From the Via Salaria Nova. Lateran Museum. 
(Plate XXIII. 2.) 




Cemetery of Praetextatus. 

After the name Spiliara Ilara must be understood 
the words (Deus suscipiat] spiritum tuum sanctum. 



347 



DALMATIVS IN PA 

CE . TE PARADIS . SV (sic) 

FIDELIS IN DEO 

VIXIT ANNIS 



In pace te paradisus (suscipiat). 
Africa (Carthage). 



Part II Chapter VII 

348 



309 



DOMINE NEQVANDO 
ADVMBRETVR SPIRITVS 
VENERES DE FILIVS IP 
SEIVS QVI SVPERSTI 
TIS SVNT . BENIROSVS 
PROIECTVS 



Cemetery of Callisto. Lateran Museum. (Plate XXIII. i.) 

The prayer herein contained is noticeable as 
imploring that the soul of Veneria should not be 
left in the shadow of death, thus corresponding to 
the words of the Psalmist : " Give light to those 
who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death." 
The concluding sentence means that the inscription 
was put up by her surviving sons, Venerosus and 
Projectus. 

349 



SOLVS DEVS ANIMAM . TVAM 
DEFEND AD ALEXANDRE (sic) 



Cemetery of Domitilla. 



350 



IN . HOC SIGNO SIRICI .... 



Cemetery of S. Agnese. 
Museum of sacred objects, Vatican Library. 

An ejaculation, reminding us of the words on the 
labarum of Constantine : m hoc signo vinces. 



310 Christian Epigraphy 

Here again is the same form of words : 
351 



IN HOC 


SIGNVM 


SEM 


PER 


VI 


N(c-es) 


c 









Carthage. l 

352 



NEGLICIA 
PAX TECVM 

CASTA 
CHRISTIANA 

Aries. 2 
353 



VICTRIS QVE VIXIT ANNIS 

VIIII DEPOSITA ES PRIE NON 

AS AVGVSTAS MANET IN PACE ET IN CRISTO 



Cemetery of S. Felicitas. 

Mark the beautiful expression "dwells in peace 
and in Christ." 

1 Cp. De Rossi, " De titulis Carthaginiensibus," in the 
Spicilegium of Pitra, iv. p. 516. 

2 Cp. Blant, L Epigr. chrMenne en Gaule et dans VAfrique 
romaine, Paris, 1890, p. 9. 



Part II Chapter VII 311 

Sometimes the prayer for peace is intended to 
apply to the survivors, as in the greeting of the 
liturgy pax vobis. Thus an inscription set up by 
one Salvius Ceppenius Vitalis to his wife Julia 
Veneranda closes with the beautiful words PAX 
OMIBUS (pax omnibus] (Lateran Museum, wall 
xvii. i). 

The following variant on the form in pace is 
noticeable : 



354 



IVLIA NICE QVE VICXIT ANNIS 
XL IN PACE MECVM 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. (Plate XXIII. 3.) 

The next contains, again, another important 
variant : 



355 



DEPOSITVS HERILA 
COMES IN PACE - FIDEI 
CATHOLICE - VII KAL 
AVG QVI VIXIT ANN 
PL M - L . DN . SEVERI AVG 
PRIMO CONS 



Cemetery of S. Valentinus in Rome (A.D. 462) 
(De Rossi, Inscr. christ. i. p. 807.) 



312 Christian Epigraphy 

The following figurative expression for death is 
very fine : 

356 



. . . rAPTA AB - ANGEL w . . . 

... AM MARITO . . . 

. CAL AVG . 



She was borne away by angels." 

Cemetery of Cyriaca. 

357 



TEPTI AAEAOE 
ETOTXI - OTAIC 
A6ANATOO 



" Tertius, my brother, be of good cheer, no man 
is immortal ! " This expression is found both in 
Christian and in pagan inscriptions. 

Cemetery of Priscilla (in red paint on brick). 

We may next notice some expressions of 
affectionate tenderness applied to the deceased, 
and referring to their innocence, their sweetness of 
disposition, etc. : 

358 



FLORENTIVS FELIX 
AGNEGLVS - DEI 



" Florentius Felix, lamb of God ! " 

Cemetery of S. Agnese. Lateran Museum. (Plate XXIII. 4.) 



Part II Chapter VII 

359 



313 



LAVRENTIA MELIS DVL 
CIOR QVIESCE . IN pace 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. 

A pretty phrase " sweeter than honey." 

Similarly, in an inscription of the cemetery of 
Praetextatus, very lately discovered, we find the 
epithet melHtissima^ equivalent to duldssima : 

360 



CALLIOPE 

Q . V A . XXVII 

CASTISSIMA ET 

MELLITISSIMA 



361 



MACEDONIAN FILIO 
CARISSIMO SVPER 
OMNEM DVLCITV 
DINE FILIORVM 
DVLCIOR QVI VIXIT 
IN SECVLO ANNIS 
N VIIII -DIES N -XX 
CARO SVO FECI 
IN PACE 



Inscription on a sarcophagus in the cemetery of Callisto, 
standing in the chamber known as the cubiculum of the 
Apostles and erroneously supposed by some to belong to 
the family of Pope Damasus. 

This tells that the deceased boy Macedonianus 
was the most charming of the family. 



Christian Epigraphy 
362 



DASVMIA QVIRIACE BONE FEMINE PALVMBA 
SENE FEL | QVAE VIXIT ANNOS LXVI DEPO- 
SITA IIII KAL MARTIAS | IN PACE 



Cemetery of Callisto. 

Notice the pretty expression palumba sine felle, 
"dove without gall," to indicate the sweetness of 
character of the deceased. 

363 



ISPIRITO SANTO BONO 
FLORENTIO QVI VIXIT ANNIS XIII 
CORITVS MAGITER QVI PLVS AMAVIT 
QVAM SI FILIVM SVVM P:T COIDEVS 
MATER FILIO BENEMERENTI FECERVNT 



Via Salaria Nova. Lateran Museum. (Plate XXIV. 2.) 

The soul of the youthful Florentius is here 
called spiritus sanctus bonus. 

364 



MAI DN GRATIANO Au 
G IIII ET MEROBAVD* 
CONSS LAETVS - ANIMo 
AMICVS OMNIVM 
SINE VILE (sine bile] 






Cemetery of S. Sebastian (A.D. 377). 

This describes the deceased as the friend of all, 
cheeiful of character, and devoid of "bile": sine 
bile, sine ulla bile, mean that his disposition was 
devoid of spitefulness ; the expression is found in 
other inscriptions. 



Part II Chapter VII 315 

365 



CECILIVS MARITVS CECILIAE 
PLACIDINE COIVGI OPTIME 
MEMORIAE CVM QVA VIXIT ANNIS X 
BENE SENE VLLA QVERELA IX0YC 



Cemetery of Basilia. Lateran Museum. 
Sine ulla querela, "without any bickerings." 
The word IX9YC at the end is tantamount to a 
profession of belief in the Divinity of Christ, as has 
been already pointed out under the head of 
doctrinal inscriptions. 

366 



HIC REQVIESCIT SVPERBVS 

TANTVM IN NOMINE DICTVS 

QVEM INNOCENTEM MITEMQVE SANCTI NO 

VERE BEATI IN QVO MISERABILIS PA 

TER OPTAVERAT ANTE IACERE DEPOS 

V KAL AVG STILICHONE VC BIS C(i) 



Cemetery of Praetextatus (A.D. 405). 

The deceased, it says, was Superbus by name, 
but only by name, being in fact innocent and 
gentle. 

Sometimes other word-plays on the name are 
found. Thus, for instance, in an inscription 
painted in the cemetery of Commodilla a matron 
by name Turtura is described as having been a 
very turtle-dove for amiability : Turtura nomen 
habes sed turtur vera fuisti. (See Nuovo Bull, di 
arch, crist., 1904, Nos. 1-4.) 

1 Stilichone viro clarissimo bis consule. 



316 Christian Epigraphy 

The two following inscriptions contain unusual 
expressions : 

367 



CITONATA IN PACE 
QVE VEX ANN 
ET QVATOR-. MESES 
POSTERV . CALEDAS 
NOBEBES (sic) 






Discovered in the cemetery of S. Felicitas, but since lost. 

This baby of sixteen months old had been 
prematurely born (cito natd). 



368 



APRICLA 

VISSIT AN 

NOS - DECEOT 

TO IN DECENOBEM 



Cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. (Plate XXIV. 3.) 

Notice the words vissit and deceotto, belonging to 
the rural dialect of Latin, from which the modern 
language has sprung. 

It is just this trace of rural Latin which gives 
their value to some ancient Christian inscriptions. 
Thus we find toti tres (Ital. tutti e tre), bocata so 
for vocata sum, cinque for quinque, etc. 



Part II Chapter VII 317 

Sometimes the words fatum facere are used to 
express dying : 

369 



AGATE FILIA DVLCISSIMA QVE 
VIXIT ANN P M VIIII ET D LXIII 
FATVM FECIT PRID - IDVS MART 



Cemetery of Commodilla. Lateran Museum. 

In others we find mention of the "Brethren," 
meaning the Christian community, as in the fine 
inscription already given (No. 188) with the words 
ecdesia fratrnm. 

370 




Cemetery of Priscilla. 

This expresses the last farewell of the Brethren 
to Leontius at his burial. 



371 



BENE QVIE 
SQVENTI 
FRATRI BAG 
CHYLO IN PACE 

FRATRES (palm branch) 



Bene quiescenti fratri Bacchylo in pace^ fratres 
{posuerutif). 

Kircherian Museum, 



318 



Christian Epigraphy 



Within the general community which we call the 
Church, to which all the Brethren belonged, there 
were then, as now, particular associations ; and we 
find records of some of these in the inscriptions ; 
that of the Eutychii, for instance, in an inscription 
in the cemetery of Callisto ; and the following as to 
the Pelagii : 



37 2 



AVREL PETRO FIL .... 
DVLCISSLMO QVI vixit annos .... 
MENS VII . VIRGO AVR . M . . . . 
AEL DONATA - PARENT** 
PELAGIORVM 



Cemetery of Priscilla. 

In some inscriptions allusion is made to the 
light that shall shine upon the departed in a future 
life; and the day of their death is accordingly 
described as that which rose upon them in bright- 
ness. That is .the sense of the following, which 
is apparently of considerable age : 



373 



.... (C/a)DIA - AGRIPPINA REDD 
.... CVIVS DIES . INLVXIT 
. DEPOSITA IDIBVS 



Cemetery of Callisto. 






Part II Chapter VII 



374 



C CLODIO FABATO 
MARITO OPTIMO 
ATILIA MARCELLA 
TERRENVM CORPVS 
CAELESTIS SPIRITVS IN ME 
QVO - REPETENTE SVAM 
SEDEM NVNC VIVIMVS ILLIC 
ET FRVITVR SVPERIS 
AETERNA IN LVCE FABATVS 



(De Rossi, Cod. Vat. Lat. 10,530, fol. 38.) 

According to De Rossi one part is at Niebla in Spain, and the 
rest at Rignano in the church of S. Abbondio. 

There was a Greek inscription once to be seen in 
the cemetery of Priscilla, but now unfortunately 
lost, which expresses very beautifully the idea of 
the Eternal Light that shines on the Saints in a 
future life. It is very ancient, and it may be added 
to the list of doctrinal inscriptions : 

375 



MAPITIMA 2EMNH - TATKEPON 

OT KATEAE*A2 | 

E2KES TAP META SOT (fish and anchor) 

JIANA9ANATON - KATA IIANTA | 

ETSEBEIA - TAP . SH HANTOTE . SE 

nPOAFEI 



"Sainted Maritima, thou didst not leave the 
pleasant light behind thee, for with thee thou didst 
bear (i'x#vs) Him who is immortal in all things; 
for thy piety has gone before thee everywhere." 

(Boldetti ; see De Rossi, I user. chr. ii. pp. xxvii-xxviii. ) 



3 20 



Christian Epigraphy 
376 



CL CALLISTO V I (viro illustri} 

SIVE HILARIO VXOR 

ET FILII BENEMERENTI FECER 

VIR BONVS ET PRVDENS STVDIIS 

IN PACE DECESSIT NOMEM DIGNI 

TATIS EXIMIVM LAVDEMQ SVPER 

BAM DEVM VIDERE CVPIENS VIDIT 

NEC FRVNITVS OBIIT SIC SIBI VOLV 

IT AC MERITIS SVIS FVNVS ORNARI 

OMNES FILII BONVM PATREM CLA 

MITANT QVERENTES PARITER ET 

VXOR LVGET QVAERET NON IN 

VENTVRA QVEM PERDIDIT 

QVI VIXIT ANNIS LXV 

D P PRID N FEE 



Cemetery of Domitilla. 

Notice the statement that Claudius Calixtus, 
yearning to see God, attained to the sight of Him. 

The following records the native country of the 
deceased and speaks of eternal life : 

377 



*l 



KAAAICTOC AIIO THC 
CIKEAIAC - EN0AAAI 
KIME IIAPOIKHCAC 
ETE TECCEPAKON 
TA KATOIKfi TON 
E12NA 



" Here I lie, Calixtus of Sicily, forty years of age; 
I now dwell in eternity." 

Greater cemetery of S. Agnese. 



Part II Chapter VII 321 

Another fine Greek inscription in the cemetery 
of Priscilla concludes with the words : \ 

. . . . EIC ANACTACIN - AlfiNION 
"till the resurrection into immortality." 

(See Bull, di arch, crist., 1892, p. 79.) 

We will now add some other inscriptions 
remarkable for even more unusual expressions ; 
we will give three as specimens. The first relates 
to the veneration for the blood of the martyrs ; the 
second is that of a bishop, and mentions the 
persecutions ; the third belongs to an acolyte, and 
speaks of the journeys he had made. 
378 



TERTIV IDVS ^ IVNIAS DEPOSI 
TIO CRVORIS SANCTORVM MARTYRVM 
QVI SVNT PASSI SVB PRAESIDE - FLORO IN CIVI 
I TATE MILEVITANA IN DIEBVS TVRIFI 
| CATIONIS INTER QVIBVS HIC INNOC 
ens EST . . . . IN PACE 



Mastar in Numidia. 

"On June nth was deposited here the blood of 
the holy martyrs who suffered under Florus the 
president in the city of Milevis in the days of the 
incense-burning . . ." 

This inscription shows that the Faithful of early 
days were in the habit of preserving the blood of 
the martyrs with special care, a fact confirmed by 
Prudentius, who says that they kept it in their 
houses, domi ut reseruent poster is. There is also a 
record of the days of " thurification " under Dio- 
cletian, when attempts were made to force the 
Christians to burn incense before idols. 

(Cp. Ottato di Milevi, De schismate Donat. iii. 8. ) 

Y 



322 Christian Epigraphy 



379 . 

We will now give a translation of the second 
specimen, which is in Greek ; it was discovered a 
short time ago by Calder in Lycaonia : l 

1 ' I, Marcus Julius Eugenius, served in the army of Pisidia as 
a member of the forces of Cyrillus Celer the senator ; I was the 
husband of Julia Flaviana, daughter of the senator Caius 
Nestorianus, and I completed my military career with honour. 
Then, Maximinus issued an order compelling Christians to do 
sacrifice but without abandoning their service in the army ; and 
having suffered many annoyances from the General Diogenes,' I 
resigned my military commission, holding fast to the Christian 
faith. After dwelling for a short time in Laodicea, I was by 
the will of God made bishop, and for twenty years I laboured in 
the episcopate with honour : I built the church from its founda- 
tions upwards, to wit, the porches, the fore-courts, the paint- 
ings, the sculptures, the font, the vestibule, etc. ; and having 
completed all this, I renounced the life of man, and wrought 
myself a marble sepulchre ; and I ordered that the aforesaid 
matter would be inscribed on the tomb built for myself and 
my issue." 

This is important, because contemporary with 
the last persecutions, and because it gives us some 
information as to the persecution of Maximinus 
Daza, which took place about 311, shortly before 
the Peace of Constantine. The celebrated in- 
scription of Aricanda also speaks of this period. 2 

1 See the Expositor of London, Nov. 1908, pp. 385-408. 
The Greek text is given, with Ramsay's restorations, by 
P. Sisto Scaglia in his Notiones archaeol. Christ, vol. ii. part i. 
p. 271. 

2 O. Marucchi, " Un nuovo monumento della persecuzione 
di Diocleziano" in Nuova Antologia, June 1893. 



Part II Chapter VII 323 

The third inscription, which has been only lately 
brought to light, is very remarkable as referring 
to an acolyte, Annius Innocentius, who travelled 
on Church business in Greece and elsewhere, and 
finally died in Sardinia : 

380 



AN INNOCENTIVS ACOL QVI VIXIT ANN XXVI 
HIC OB ECCLE | SIASTICAM DISPOSITIONEM 
ITINERIB SAEPE LABORABIT NAM | ITER VSQ 
IN GRAECIS MISSVS - SAEPE - ETIAM CANPANIA 
CA | LABRIAM ET APVLIAM POSTREMO MIS- 
SVS IN SARDINIAM | IBI EXIT DE SAECVLO 
CORPVS EIVS HVC VSQ EST ADLATVM DOR- 
MIT | IN PACE VIII KAL SEPTB AN VINCEN- 
TIVS FRATER EIVS PRESB - CV | QVO BENE 
LABORABIT FECIT (fourth to fifth century) 



Cemetery of Callisto, under the Trappist Monastery. 

We will now pass to inscriptions speaking of the 
tomb itself and its position : 

381 



M ANTONI 
VS RESTVTV 
S . FECIT YPO 
GEV SIBI ET 
SVIS FIDENTI 
BVS IN DOMINO 



Cemetery of Domitilki. 

This speaks of a subterranean burial-chamber 
constructed by M. Antonius Restutus for himself and 
those of his family who, like him, trusted in the Lord. 



3 2 4 



Christian Epigraphy 



382 



MONVMENTVM VALERI M 
ERCVRI ET IVLITTES IVLIAN 
I ET QVINTILIES VERECVNDIES LI 
BERTIS LIBERTABVSQVE POSTE 
RISQVE EORVM AT RELIGIONE 
M PERTINENTES MEAM HOC A 
MPLIVS IN CIRCVITVM CIRCA 
MONVMENTVM LATI LONGE 
PER PED BINOS QVOD PERTIN 
ET AT IPSVM MONVMENT 



Cemetery of S. Nicomedes on the Via Nomentana. 



383 



DIGNO ET MERITO 
PATRI ARTEMIDORO 

D P VIII CVIVS HAEC DOMVS KAL AG 
AETERNA VIDETVR 
BENEMERENTI IN PACE 



Lateran Museum. 

In this, as in some other Christian inscriptions, 
the grave is called domus aeterna^ but not, of 
course, in the pagan sense, which excluded the 
possibility of resurrection ; in fact, in the present 
case the writer may have meant to say that the 
grave may seem to be domus aeterna, but is not so. 



Part II Chapter VII 325 

Indeed, another inscription describes the domus 
aeterna as made for the "refreshment" (refrigerium) 
of the deceased, because there prayers might be 
offered up for him : 

384 



M AELIVS TIGRINVS 
OB REFRIGERIVM 
DOMVM AETERNAM 
VIVVS FVNDAVIT 



In the Cathedral of Terni. 

Some inscriptions indicate the exact location of 
the tomb, and are therefore very valuable for 
topographical purposes. 

For instance, on the two next an old Christian 
cemetery of Rome is mentioned by name, and the 
purchase of the site is spoken of : 

385 



SABINI - BISO 
MVM . SE BIBVM 
FECIT . SIBI IN . CYME 
TERIVM BALBINAE 
IN . CRYPT A . NOBA 



"Sabinus in his lifetime made a tomb for two 
bodies in the cemetery of Balbina in the new 
crypt" (i.e. in the new gallery). 

Lateran Museum. 



326 



Christian Epigraphy 



3 86 



FELIX FAVSTINIAN 
VS EMIT SIBI ET VX 
OKI SVAE . FELICITA 
TI A FELICE FOSSORE 
IN BALBI(**) 



"Felix Faustinianus purchased for himself and 
his wife Felicitas of Felix the fossor this tomb 
in the cemetery of Balbina " (close to S. Callisto). 

Museum of the Capitol (Hall of Christian Inscriptions). 

Sometimes the location of the tomb in the 
cemetery is more precisely indicated, e.g. : 



387 

VNDECIMA . CRYPTA 
PILA . SECVNDA 
GREGORI 

" The tomb of Gregorius in the eleventh gallery 
and on the second wall." 

A ' ' graffito ' ' inscription on the mortar of a grave in the 
cemetery of Priscilla. 

This inscription is specially valuable as telling us 
that the old excavators called crypto, what we now 
term a gallery, and gave the name of pila to the 
wall in which the graves were cut. 



Part II Chapter VII 327 

The positions of the tombs had to be entered on 
the registers kept in the managers' offices for each 
cemetery, as may be gathered from the next 
inscription : 



388 



LOCVM VINCENTI 
QVEM CVMPARA 
VIT CVM SVIS SI 
QVI VOLVERIT REQVI 
RERE VENIAT IN CLE,(meterium) 



" Property of Vincentius. . . . Any one wishing 
to examine (the purchase-deed) should attend at the 
cemetery " (i.e. at the manager's office). 

(See De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, iii. p. 545.) 

In some the position of the tomb in the cemetery 
is indicated by some particular feature, thus : 



389 



EGO EVSEBIVS ANTIOCENO 
AN PL M LXX COMPARAVI E 
GO SS VIVVS IN CATACVMBAS AD 
LVMINAREM A FOSSORE OC 
APATOSTANEES AMICV - (sic) 

S D III IDVS SEPT T* 
(sic) X 



Cemetery of S. Sebastian ; now in the courtyard of the 
Ambrosian Library at Milan. 

This Eusebius of Antioch had purchased a tomb 
in the catacombs "near a skylight." 



328 



Christian Epigraphy 



390 



LOCVS TRI 
SOMVS VIC 
TORIS IN CRV 
TA DAMASI (sic) 



From a vault in the Via Ardeatina. 
(Seen and copied by Marini, but now lost.) 

This refers to a tomb for three bodies (locus 
trisomus) bought by one Victor, valuable as 
telling us that the tomb was in the vault under the 
mausoleum of Pope Damasus (in crypta Damasi). 

This mausoleum has not yet been discovered; 
it consisted probably of a monument built above- 
ground, like so many others. At any rate it is now 
certain that the burial-chamber recently discovered 
under the Trappist monastery cannot be called the 
tomb of Damasus, as some have rather too hastily 
imagined. 



391 



+ LOCA ADPERTENENTE (j/V) . . . 
AD CVBICVLV GERMVLAN . 



Cloister of S. Paolo fuori le Mura. 

The tombs here mentioned stood in a burial- 
chamber owned by a certain Germulanus. 



Part II Chapter VII 



329 



392 



FL TATIANO - ET QVINTO 

AYR SVMMACO VIRIS 
CLARISSIMIS EGO - ZITA 

LOCVM QVADRIC 

SOMVM . IN BSLIC(a) 

ALVA EMI 



Cemetery of Uomitilla (A.D. 391). 

This inscription says that a lady named Zita 
purchased a site for four bodies (quadrisomum) in 
basilica, i.e. in the great basilica of the cemetery of 
Domitilla, near the tombs of the martyrs Nereus 
and Achilleus. 

The last line ALVA EMI is interpreted by De 
Rossi as = salva emi, " I bought it in my lifetime." 
But it is better explained as meaning that the tomb 
purchased stood in basilica alba^ i.e. " in the white 
basilica." This was the above-named basilica, 
which had been erected just at that date, and was 
called white, because it had been lately white- 
washed, which is tantamount to saying that it was 
newly built. Now we know from other sources 
that the basilica in question was not built before 
390 ; and this inscription is of 391. 

In the same way, another inscription of the same 
date, belonging to the same basilica, speaks of a 
tomb constructed /;/ basilica nova. 



330 Christian Epigraphy 

I may add here the text of an African inscription, 
in which a portion of a basilica is mentioned, and 
a martyr of the name of Casta is recorded. It 
must, however, be observed that it is a votive and 
not a sepulchral inscription : 



393 



AD HANC DO 
M V M DEI T R 
IBVNAL BASI 
LICAE DOMI 
NAE .CASTAE 
SANCTAE AC 
VENERAN DE 



SABI N I A N VS 
VNA CVM CON 
IVGE ET FILIS 
VOTVM PER 



From Henchir-Chorah (Africa). On a pilaster of the basilica. 
(See Nuovo Bull, di arch, crist., 1906, p. 15.) 

Very important on account of the notice of the 
martyr Casta, which occurs also in the martyrology 
of Jerome ; 1 and also for the mention (of which 
there is no previous instance) of the tribunal 
basilicae, or choir of the church, which was usually 
raised above the general level of the building, 
exactly like the tribunal in the civil basilica. 

1 This martyr is commemorated on the 2ist and 24th of 
February, ist and 2nd of June, and 3151 of October. 



Part II Chapter VII 331 

Let us return to sepulchral inscriptions. The 
following speaks of a tomb in the shape of an 
arcosolium : 

394 



DOMVS ETERNALIS 

AYR CELSI ET AYR ILAR 

ITATIS - CONPARI M 

EES - FECIMVS NOBIS 

ET . NOSTRIS ET . AMIC 

IS ARCOSOLIO CVM P 

ARETICVLO - SVO IN PACEM 



Kircherian Museum. 



The parieticulum was the wall next to the 
arcosolium, in which graves were also cut, as we 
often see in underground cemeteries. 



395 



ANNIBONIVS FECIT SIBI ET SVIS 
LOCVM HOMIBVS N VIII INTRO FORMAS (sic) 
EC TON EMON PANTON TVTO EM ON 



Cemetery of Domitilla ; now in the basilica 
of S. Maria in Trastevere. 

"Annibonius made for himself and his family 
a tomb to contain eight in the formae" or graves 
cut in the pavement. 

The last line is a Greek sentence in Latin 
characters, meaning, " Of all that I had this alone 
is mine," i.e. the tomb. 



332 Christian Epigraphy 

In some inscriptions we are told of the mode of 
burial practised. Thus in one from Civita Vecchia 
we read : 

396 



_j_ HIC REQVIESCIT IN PACE APOL 

LONIVS QVI VIXIT PL M ANNOS LXX 
ET CVM VXVRE SVA DVLCAIA AN 
NOS XL ET DEFVNCTVS EST IPSAS 
KAL MAIAS ITEM POST MORTE 
IPSIVS MORTVA EST NEPVS 
EIVS NOMINE PASCASIA ET 
REPOSITA EST SVPER PEC 
TVM ABVNCVLO SVO IN PACE 
ET CVM MARITO SVO VIXIT MENSIS 
NOVE QVI DEMISIT LVCTVM SEM 
PITERNVM PATRI VEL MATRI ET A~B 



Civita Vecchia palace of the sub-prefect. 

This tells us that Pascasia was buried on the 
bosom of her uncle Apollonius. 



397 



bcnemer'ER'Xl SABINAE ALVMNA* quae 

vix aN P M XXX D XXIII SVPER PATROnum 

DEC III IDVS . . 



"To the worthy foster-child Sabina, who lived 
. . . and was buried above the tomb of her foster- 
father." 

Cemetery of S. Agnese. 



\ 



Part II Chapter VII 333 

398 



I 

CAELIDONIVS HIC Dor 
MIT QVI BIXIT ANNIS - XXV 
MES VIII DIAES . XVIIII LOCA 
QVAE . IPSE CLVSIT 



Ostia. 

This tells us that Celidonius was the last to be 
buried in the family tomb, and so "closed" the 
list of excavated graves. 

Next come some inscriptions which speak of 
tombs purchased from the grave-diggers, and of the 
price paid for them, which is often expressed in 
gold solidi. 

These inscriptions show that in the fourth and 
fifth centuries the fossores or grave-diggers had 
the right to dispose of tombs in the catacombs, 
and that they carried on a regular business in 
them; a practice of which there is no trace in 
earlier times. 

399 



EGO TIBERIVS .... 
NVS CONPARABI . . . . ab Exu 
PERANTIVM FOssore .... 
MVM DEPOSITA E . 



" Ij Tiberius, purchased this tomb from the 
fossor Exuperantius ..." 

Cemetery of Commodilla. 



334 



Christian Epigraphy 



400 



. . <-wPTVM EST AB IPOLYTVM FOSSORE 
.... VIXIT AN III 
.... PANCRATIVS QVI 

ONAS MAIAS 

Ka/^TINIANO III 

et Valente III M GERONTI 



Cemetery of Pontianus (A.D. 370) ; now in the museum 
of the Teutonic cemetery. 

The tomb was purchased of a fossor named 
Hippolytus. 



401 



EMPTVM LOCVM AB AR 
TAEMISIVM VISOMVM 
HOC EST ES PRAETIVM 
DATVM FOSSORI HILA 
-. RO IDEST FOT N MD PRAE 
SENTIA SEVERI FOSS ET LAVRENT 



Museum of the Capitol. 

This speaks of a " double " tomb, bought by a 
certain Artemisius of a fossor Hilarius for 1500 
folks * in the presence of two other fossors, Severus 
and Laurentius, who acted as witnesses to the 
contract and to the payment of the purchase 
money. 

1 Follis was the smallest coin in use. 



Part II Chapter VII 
402 



335 



CONSTANTIVS ET SOSANNA 
SE VIVI LOCVM SIBI EMERVNT 
PRAESENTIS A^O OMNIS FOS 
SORES (sic) 



" Constantius and Susanna in r their lifetime 
purchased this tomb in the presence of all the 
fossors," i.e. of all the fossors of this cemetery. 

The insertion of the monogram of Christ 
between the letters A and ft in the middle of this 
inscription is curious. 

Cemetery of Commodilla. Lateran Museum. 



403 



AYR . EXSV 
PERANTIVS 
COSTAT ME 
EMISSE A FO 
SSORIS DISC 
INDENTIB(j) 



Cloister of the basilica of S. Lorenzo. 

This declares that, according to certain written 
documents, that tomb had been purchased from 
the family of the fossor. 

This confirms the supposition that in every 
cemetery there was an office in which the register 
of the purchase of tombs was kept, as at present. 



336 



Christian Epigraphy 



Some tombs were bought with the expressed 
assent of the chaplains of the cemetery : 



404 



L FAVSTINI QVEM COM 
PARAVIT A IVLIO 
MANSONARIO SVB 
CONSCIENTIA PRES 
BYTERI MARCIANI 



Kircherian Museum. 
405 



CAIANVS EMIT CVM VIVIT 

SIBI ET . VXORI SVAE AB ADEO 

DATO FOSSORE SVB . PRAESEN 

TI SANCTI MAXIM I PRESBYTERI (sic] 



Cemetery of Commodilla. 
406 



-|- FL- MAXIMO- V-C-CONsute. .. 
CONCESSVM LOCVM- P . . . . 

ROME EXTRB VOLVP 

ET - CONIVGI EIVS IOHAN . . . . 

PAPA HORMISDA ET TRA 

PRAEPST BASC BEATI PETRI . 



In the grottos of the Vatican (A.D. 523). 

This records a person described as tribunus 
voluptatum to the Court, to whom a tomb had been 



Part II Chapter VII 337 

granted by the praepo situs of the Vatican basilica 
in the time of Pope Ormisdas (A.D. 514-523). 

In some inscriptions there are threats of penalties 
for the profanation of the tomb. The oldest 
instance is the one already quoted in the inscription 
of Abercius, p. 129 et seq.^ which declares the 
amount of the fine to be paid to the treasury if 
another body be placed above that of the owner. 
But these minatory expressions are found more 
frequently in Christian inscriptions of a late date. 
Thus the following, of the year 430, ordains the 
payment of a fine to the Church chest if another 
body is placed in that tomb : 



407 



HIC REQVIESCIT IN PACE DVION ANCILLA BA 
LENTE SE SPONSA DEXTRI DEPOSITA EST III 
IDVS SEPTB CONSVLATV DN THEODOSIO 
AVG XIII ET VALENTINIANO AG BES CC SS~AD1V 
RO PER DEVM ET PER LEGES CRESTEANOR 
VT QV1CVMQVE EXTRANEVS VOLVERIT AL 
TERVM CORPVS PONERE VOLVERIT DET 
ECLESIE CATOLICE SAL AVR III 



" Adjuro per Deum et per leges christianorum . . . 
that he who dares to place there another body pay 
Ecdesiae Catholicae Salonitanae aureos III." (three 
gold pieces). 

Cemetery of Salona in Dalmatia (A.D. 430). 

The mention of a lex Christiana and of a 
" Church chest " are both very noticeable. 

z 



338 Christian Epigraphy 

1 In other inscriptions, also of a late date, actual 
imprecations against possible violators of the tombs 
are to be met with. Thus : 

408 



ADIVRO VOS OMNES XRlANI | ET TE CVSTODE 
BEATI | IVLIANI PER DM ET PER TREMENDA DIE | 
IVDICII VT HVNC SEPVLCRVM VIOLARI | NVNQVAM 
PERMITTATIS SED CONSERVETVR | VSQVE AD FI- 
NEM MVNDI VT POSIM | SINE IMPEDIMENT IN VITA 
REDIRE 1 CVM VENERIT QVI IVDICATVRVS EST VI- 
VOS | ET MORTVOS 



One fragment of this is in the Palazzo Ghirardi, Como. 

The remainder has been preserved by Peiresc. 
(Bibliotheque Nationale de Paris, MS. 8957, f. 16. ) 

Christians are here adjured not to profane the 
tomb. 

409 



.... MALE PEREAT INSEPVLTVS IACEAT NON RE- 
SVRGAT CVM IVDA PARTEM HABEAT SI QVIS 
SEPVLCRVM HVNC VIOLA VERIT 



From the Roman catacombs. 
( Published by Bosio in Roma sotterranea. ) 

This imprecation of the fate of Judas upon the 
culprit is to be met with in other texts, also of a 
late date. 

I will close this series of inscriptions remarkable 
for out-of-the-way expressions with one recently 
discovered, in which an abbess of the convent of 
S. Maria in Trastevere in Rome is mentioned, 



Part II Chapter VII 339 

apparently of the sixth century. It is one of those 
referred to above as containing curses upon the 
profaners of the tomb : 



4 io 



HIC REQVIESCIT IN PA 
CE ARGENTIA QVI (sic) BIX 
IT PLVS MINVS ANNOS XL LO 
CVM BERO QVEM SIBI BENERABI 
LIS ABBATISSA GRATIOSA PREPA 
RABERAT SE VIBAM MIHI EVM CES 
SIT CONIVRO PER PATREM ET FI 
LIVM ET SPIRITVM -BCM ET DI 
EM TREMENDAM IVDICII VT - NVL 
LVS PRESVMAT LOCVM - ISTVM 
VBI REQVIESCO VIOLARE QVOD 
SI QVI POT (post) ANC (sic) CONIVRA 
TIONEM PRESVMSERIT ANA 
TEMA ABEAT DE IVDA ET RE 
PRANAMANSYRIABEAT1 (sic) 



In the Casa Colafranceschi near S. Cecilia in Trastevere. 

The meaning is clear, except for the last line, 
which evidently contains a further curse on the 
profaner of the tomb, in addition to that of sharing 
the end of Judas. Possibly it may refer to the end 
of Haman, which was the same as that of Judas ; 
but perhaps the conjecture of Bacci is preferable, 
who reads these words as containing an impreca- 
tion of the leprosy of Naaman : et lepra Naman 
Syri habeat (repra for lepra). 

1 The words in this inscription run one into the other with- 
out intervening points, as in the last line. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE DAMASIAN INSCRIPTIONS 

DAMASUS, one of the most famous Pontiffs, was 
Pope from 366 to 384. The Liber pontificalis calls 
him a Spaniard, natione Hispanus ; but this must 
be understood as meaning of Spanish blood, for he 
was most probably born in Rome. 1 His father 
was one of the ecclesiastics working in the archives 
of the Roman Church, the offices of which were 
situated near the theatre of Pompey ; he filled the 
offices of clerk, lectorj deacon, and bishop succes- 
sively, as Damasus himself tells us in the inscription 
placed on the spot : 

Hinc Pater exceptor, lector, levita, sacerdos 

Cr ever at hinc meritis quoniam melioribus actis, etc. 2 

Damasus spent his youth in these same offices, 
and he seems to have belonged to the party 
opposed to Liberius; hence it was that, on his 
election as Pope at the death of Liberius, an anti- 
pope, named Ursinus, was put forward against him. 
Damasus, however, succeeded in putting an end to 

1 Any one wishing to find a collection of all the more im- 
portant historical notices relating to Damasus may consult a 
recent work of mine, The Pontificate of Pope Damasns and 
the History of his Family ', etc., Rome, Pustet, 1905. 

2 Carm. xxxv. (P.L. vol. xiii. col. 409). 

34 



Part II Chapter VIII 341 

all the quarrels that had vexed the Church ; and 
attributing his success to the protection of the 
martyrs, he at once set himself to protect, beautify, 
and restore their tombs; he uncovered those 
which had been hidden under ruins, he widened 
galleries, opened fresh lights, built staircases near 
the historical crypts, and thus fulfilled the vow that 
he had made to the martyrs on the healing of the 
schism : 

Pro reditu cleri Chris fo praestante triumphans \ 
Martyribus sanctis reddit sua vota sacerdos.^ 

But, above all, Damasus was the poet of the 
martyrs, an elegant versifier, says S. Jerome : 
elegans in versibus scribendis? At the same time 
he was a conscientious historian, and a diligent 
student of the traditions of the Roman Church ; his 
metrical panegyrics have preserved to us many 
precious pages of the history of the persecutions, 
which but for him would have been forgotten. 3 

The information given us by Damasus concern- 
ing the martyrs is of great value, seeing how well 
he must have been acquainted with the historical 
evidence of the persecutions kept in these Church 
muniment-rooms in which he had spent all his 
youth. 

The ancient collections of inscriptions have 
handed down to us the texts of his inscriptions, 
which have been published by Fabricius (1562), 
Sarazani (1638), Rivino (1652), Meranda, 4 Migne 

1 Carm. xvi. (P.L. vol. xiii. col. 390). 

' 2 Descriptor, eccles. ciii. (P.L. vol. xxiii. col. 701). 

3 On the metrical inscriptions of Pope Damasus, see 
De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, vol. i. pp. 118-122 ; Patrol. Lat. 
vol. xiii. 

4 Damasi papae opuscula et gesta, Romae, 1754. 



342 Christian Epigraphy 

(Pair. Lat. xiii.), and Ihm (JDamasi epigrammata, 

1895)- 

These inscriptions are nearly all written in hexa- 
meters, but the rules of prosody are not always 
strictly followed. They have a style of their own, 
and certain expressions recur very frequently, e.g. 
rector for Pope, fateor, supplex, mira fides, etc. 
S. Jerome says that Damasus was an admirer of the 
poet Vergil, Vergilii non incuriosus ; and no doubt 
there are in his poems several reminiscences of the 
Aeneid. 1 

Aeneid vi. 325 : . . . aeternumque tenet per 
saecula nomen. 

Damasus : . . . teneant proprium per saecula 
nomen.' 2 ' 

Aeneid ii. 39 : Scinditur incertum stitdia in con- 
traria vulgus. 

Damasus : Scinditur in partes populus gliscente 
furore. z 

Aeneid xii. 427: Non haec humanis opibus, non 
arte magistra. 

Damasus : Non haec humanis opibus, non arte 
magistral 

The Damasian inscriptions were cut in marble, 
in very beautiful lettering of a special type. The 
name of the artist to whom the execution of them 
was entrusted was discovered by De Rossi (Plate 

1 Hertz, Analecta ad Horatium, iv. p. 19. 

2 Ihm, No. 57. 

3 Idem, No. 18. 

4 Idem, No. 5. Damasus himself had imitators. Cp. Wey- 
mann, ' ' De carminibus Damasianis et pseudo-Damasianis obser- 
vationes " in Revue d'hist. et de litUrat. religieuse, 1896, pp. 58 
et seq. Stornaiolo, Literary and Philological Notes on the 
Damasian Inscriptions, Rome, 1886. Ihm, Damasi epigram* 
mata, 1895. 



Part II Chapter VIII 343 

XXVI. i). He recognised him as the celebrated 
Furius Dionysius Philocalus, whose name is re- 
corded in a fragment placed by Marini in the midst 
of the pagan inscriptions of the Vatican, which he 
restored thus : scrip sit Furius Dion(isius Philocalus] 
(Plate XXVI. 2). Moreover, the inscription of Pope 
Eusebius, discovered in the cemetery of Callisto in 
1856, proves that this was actually the name of the 
artist employed by Damasus. Some archaeologists 
used to call all letters Damasian which were 
ornamented with tendrils, but erroneously. It is 
well recognised now that the true Damasian letter- 
ing has a very peculiar character, as may be seen 
in Plate XXVI. i, already referred to. For in- 
stance, vertical lines are always terminated by a 
wavy line forming three curves; the letters are 
deeply cut, and invariably keep the same proportion 
between height and width ; the letter M has its 
side lines quite or almost vertical, while of the 
oblique lines one is thick and the other thin ; lastly, 
in the letter R there is a minute space between the 
oblique foot-line and the curve above. This old- 
fashioned hieratic lettering was generally reserved 
for the inscriptions of martyrs, and was only 
exceptionally used by Damasus in some other 
cases, e.g. in that of Projecta, preserved in the 
Lateran Museum. On the other hand, the in- 
scriptions that were cut for him before he began to 
embellish the tombs of martyrs exhibit the ordinary 
lettering of the fourth century, as may be seen in 
the two inscriptions of his mother and sister, which 
will occupy our special attention later on. It is 
clear too that Furius Dionysius Philocalus did not 
work for Pope Damasus exclusively, but that he 
carved other inscriptions in this lettering, and 



344 Christian Epigraphy 

accepted the commissions of others besides 
Damasus, e.g. the inscription of the priest 
Timotheus in the cemetery of S. Hippolytus. An 
attempt was made in later days to imitate this 
lettering of Philocalus, but the results always 
turned out inferior to the original. 

Damasian inscriptions have been found in well- 
nigh all the Roman catacombs, and also within the 
walls of Rome, as, for instance, at S. Clemente. 
But it does not appear that any existed on the 
tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul ; possibly 
because those monuments did not need any 
special indication. If Damasus placed an in- 
scription to the Apostles in the Platonia, this was 
perhaps done from fear that the record of the 
simultaneous burial of the two Apostles there 
might be lost. 

Next in order we propose to give a selection of 
some of the principal Damasian inscriptions found 
in the Roman cemeteries, beginning at the Vatican 
and then passing round by the Via Pinciana to the 
Via Ostiensis. 1 

The first is that in the baptistery of the Vatican, 
where Damasus tells us how he drained that spot, 
which was previously water-logged ; he gives the 
description mons to the place. Now this is an 
important detail, as it informs us that the part of 
the Vatican on which the basilica stands was also 
called "monte," and establishes that the evidence 
for the Apostle Peter having been crucified "in 
monte " may well refer to the Vatican. 

1 After each text I shall state whether, and where, the in- 
scription now exists, or if it is known from the Codexes only. 






Part II Chapter VIII 345 

4 n 



CINGEBANT LATICES MONTEM TENEROQVE MEATV | 
CORPORA MVLTORVM CINERES ATQVE OSSA RIGA- 
BANT i NON TVLIT HOC DAMASVS COMMVNI LEGE 
SEPVLTOS | POST REQVIEM TRISTES ITERVM PER- 
SOLVERE POENAS | PROTINVS AGGRESSVS MAGNVM 
SVPERARE LABOREM | AGGERIS IMMENSI DEIECIT 
CVLMINA MONTIS | INTIMA SOLLICITE SCRVTATVS 
VISCERA TERRAE | SICCAVIT TOTVM QVIDQVID MA- 
DEFECERAT HVMOR | INVENIT FONTEM PRAEBET 
QVI DONA SALVTIS | HAEC CVRAVIT MERCVR1VS 
LEVITA F1DEL1S 



Preserved entire in the caves of the Vatican. (Ihm, No. 4.) 

On the Via Pinciana, otherwise the old Via 
Salaria, there were two inscriptions in honour of 
SS. Protus and Hyacinthus : 



412 



EXTREMO TVMVLVS LATVIT SVB AGGERE MONTIS | 
HVNC DAMASVS MONSTRAT SERVAT QVOD MEMBRA 
P1ORVM | TE PROTVM RETINET MELIOR SIBI REGIA 
COELI | SANGV1NE PVRPVREO SEQVERIS HYACINTHE 
PROBATVS | GERMANI FRATRES ANIMIS INGENTIBVS 
AMBO | HIC VICTOR MERVIT PALMAM PRIOR ILLE 
CORONAM 



One half is kept in the church of the Quattro Coronati ; the 
other is known from the Collections. (Ihni, No. 49.) 



346 Christian Epigraphy 

The martyrdom of the brothers Protus and 
Hyacinthus is assigned to the persecution of 
Valerian (A.D. 257-258). 



The next records the work done in the cemetery 
of S. Hermes, near the tomb of the above-mentioned 
saints ; it seems, however, to be somewhat later in 
date, and is possibly not a genuine Damasian : 



413 



ASPICE DESCENSVM CERNES MIRABILE FACTVM | 
SANCTORVM MONVMENTA VIDES PATEFACTA SE- 
PVLCRIS | MARTYRIS HIC PROTI TVMVLVS IACET 
ATQVE HYACHINTHI | QVEM CVM IAMDVDVM TE- 
GERET MONS TERRA CALICO | HOC THEODORVS 
OPVS CONSTRVXIT PRESBYTER INSTANS | VT DO- 
MINI PLEBEM OPERA MAIORA TENERENT 



Kept in the cemetery of S. Hermes. (Ihm, No. 96.) 

In the cemetery of Priscilla used to exist the 
epitaph on SS. Felix and Philippus, the sons of 
S. Felicitas (A.D. 162). The first five verses are a 
summary of the Apostles' Creed ; the rest speak of 
the Saints. 



Part II Chapter VIII 



347 



414 



QVI NATVM PASSVMQVE DEVM REPETISSE PA- 
TERNAS | SEDES ATQVE ITERVM VENTVRVM EX 
AETHERE CREDIT | IVDICKT VT VIVOS RKDIEXS 
I'AKITERQVE SEPVLTOS | MARTYRIBVS SANCTIS 
PATEAT QVOD REGIA COELI | RESPJCIT INTERIOR 
SEQVITVR SI PRAEMIA CHRISTI | CVLTORES DOMINI 
FELIX PARITERQVE PHILLIPVS | HINC VIRTVTE PA- 
RES CONTEMPTO PRINCIPE MVNDI | AETERNAM PE- 
TIERE DOMVM REGNAQVE PIORVM | SANGVINE 
QVOD PROPRIO CHRISTI MERVERE CORONAS | HIS 
DAMASVS SVPPLEX VOLVIT SVA REDDERE VOTA 



From the Collections. 

Once erroneously believed to form two inscriptions. 
(Ihm, Nos. 91 and 47.) 

In the same cemetery was to be found the in- 
scription of Pope Marcellus (A.D. 309), which 
touches on the question of the lapsi and on the 
exile of the Pope : 



415 



VERIDICVS RECTOR LAPSOS QVIA CRIMINA FLERE | 
PRAEDIXIT MISERIS FVIT OMNIBVS HOSTIS AMARVS | 
HINC FVROR HINC ODIVM SEQVITVR DISCORDIA 
LITES | SAEDITIO CAEDES SOLVVNTVR FOEDERA 
PACIS | CRIMEN OB ALTERIVS CHRISTVM QVI IN 
PACE NEGAVIT | FINIBVS EXPVLSVS PATRIAE EST 
FERITATE TYRANNI | HAEC BREVITER DAMASVS 
VOLVIT COMPERTA REFERRE | MARCELLI VT PO- 
PVLVS MERITVM COGNOSCERE POSSET 



From the Collections. (Ihm, No. 48.) 



348 Christian Epigraphy 

The next stood on the tomb of S. Agnes in the 
Via Nomentana : 

416 



KAMA REFERT SANCTOS DVDVM RETVLISSE 
PARENTES | AGNEN CVM LVGVBRES CANTVS 
TVBA CONCREPVISSET | NVTRICIS GREMIVM 
SVBITO LIQVISSE PVELLAM | SPONTE TRVCIS 
CALCASSE MINAS RABIEMQVE TYRANNI | 
VRERE CVM FLAMMIS VOLVISSET NOBILE 
CORPVS | VIRIBVS IMMENSVM PARVIS SV- 
PERASSE TIMOREM | NVDAQVE PROFVSVM 
CRINEM PER MEMBRA DEDISSE | NE DOMINI 
TEMPLVM FACIES PERITVRA VIDERET | O 
VENERANDA MIHI SANCTVM DECVS ALMA 
PVDORIS | VT DAMASI PRECIBVS FAVEAS 
PRECOR INCLYTA MARTYR 



Preserved entire in the basilica of S. Agnese. 
(Plate XXVII. i.) (Ihm, No. 40.) 

This inscription speaks of the length of time 
which has elapsed since the martyrdom of Agnes, 
of her youth, and of her death by fire ; it alludes 
also to the attempted outrages on her modesty; 
and thus it may be read so to harmonise both with 
the traditional story given by Ambrose and with 
that which Prudentius followed. The closing 
prayer to the martyr to intercede for Damasus is 
noticeable. The martyrdom of Agnes is said to 
have taken place in the third century, but the 
precise date is unknown. 



Part II Chapter VIII 349 

In the tomb of S. Lawrence, on the Via Tibur- 
tina, stood an inscription which confirms the truth 
of the story of the condemnation of that martyr to 
death by fire during the persecution of Valerian 
(A.D. 258): 

417 



VERBERA CARNIFICIS FLAMMAS TORMENTA CATE- 
VINCERE LAVRENTI SOLA FIDES POTVIT [NAS 

HAEC DAMASVS CVMVLAT SVPPLEX ALTARIA DO- 
MARTYRIS EGREGIVM SVSPICIENS MERITVM [NIS 



From the Collections. (Ihm, No. 32.) 

A rare instance in Damasian inscriptions of 
pentameters alternating with hexameters. 

In a neighbouring cemetery there was an inscrip- 
tion of S. Hippolytus : 

418 



HIPPOLYTVS FERTVR PREMERENT CVM IVSSA TY- 
RANNI | PRESBYTER IN SCISMA SEMPER MANSISSE 
NOVATI | TEMPORE QVO GLADIVS SECVIT PIA VI- 
SCERA MATRIS | DEVOTVS CHRISTO PETERET CVM 
REGNA PIORVM | QVAESISSET POPVLVS VBINAM 
PROCEDERE POSSET | CATHOLICAM DTXISSE FIDEM 
SEQVERENTVR VT OMNES | SIC NOSTER MERVIT 
COXFESSVS MARTYR VT ESSET | HAEC AVDITA 
REFERT DAMASVS PROBAT OMNIA CHRISTVS 



From the Collections. (Ihm, No. 37.) 
Some fragments of this are in the cloister of the Lateran. 

Damasus here tells us that what little he knew 
of the history of Hippolytus was uncertain and 
obscure, and closes by saying that Christ alone 
knew the truth of the matter. 



350 Christian Epigraphy 

From the Via Tiburtina we pass to the Via 
Labicana; where, on the tombs of SS. Peter and 
\ Marcellinus, stood the following : 



419 



MARCELLINE TVOS PARITER PETRE NOSSE TRIVM- 
PHOS | PERCVSSOR RETVLIT DAMASO MIHI CVM 
PVER ESSEM | HAEC SIBI CARNIFICEM RABIDVM 
MANDATA DEDISSE | SENTIBVS IN MEDIIS VESTRA 
VT TVNC COLLA SECARET | NE TVMVLVM VE- 
STRVM QVISQVAM COGNOSCERE POSSET | VOS 
ALACRES VESTRIS MANIBVS MVNDASSE SEPVLCRA | 
CANDIDVLO OCCVLTE POSTQVAM IACVISTIS IN 
ANTRO | POSTEA COMMONITAM VESTRA PIETATE 
LVCILLAM | HIC PLACVISSE MAGIS SANCTISSIMA 
CONDERE MEMBRA 



From the Collections. (Ihm, No. 29.) 

Of importance as containing the affirmation of 
Damasus that he had heard the story of these 
martyrs from the actual executioner who put them 
to death in the persecution of Diocletian. 

In the same cemetery on the Via Labicana was 
to be seen the inscription of the martyr Gorgonius, 
of whose history, however, Damasus tells us 
nothing : 

420 



MARTYRIS HIC TVMVLVS MAGNO SVB VERTICE 
MONTIS | GORGONIVM RETINET SERVAT QVI AL- 
TARIA CHRISTI | HIC QVICVMQVE VENIT SANCTO- 
RVM LIMINA QVAERAT | INVENIET VICINA IN SEtE 
HABITARE BEATOS | AD COELVM PARITER PIETAS 
QVOS VEXIT EVNTES 



From the Collections. (Ihni, No. 31.) 



Part II Chapter VIII 351 

From the Via Labicana we pass to the Via 
Appia, where Damasus set up many inscriptions, 
most of them in the cemetery of Callisto. The 
following is that of Pope Eusebius (A.D. 310) : 

421 



DAMASVS EPISCOPVS FECIT 

HERACLIVS VETVIT LAPSOS PECCATA DOLERE 
EVSEBIVS MISEROS DOCVIT SVA CRIMINA FLERE 
SCINDITVR IN PARTES POPVLVS GLISCENTE FVRORE 
SEDITIO CAEDES BELLVM DISCORDIA LITES 
EXTEMPLO PARITER PVLSI FERITATE TYRANNI 
INTEGRA CVM RECTOR SERVARET FOEDERA PACIS 
PERTVLIT EXILIVM DOMINO SVB IVDICE LAETVS 
LITORE TRINACRIO MVNDVM VITAMQVE RELIOVIT 

EVSEBTO EPISCOPO ET MARTYRI 



Some fragments of the original Damasian inscription and a 
copy made in the sixth century are kept in the cemetery of 
Callisto. 

(Plate XXVII. 2, 4.) (Ihm, No. 18.) 

On the right and left of the main inscription, in 
two vertical lines, the sculptor has placed his name 
and a testimony to his affection for Pope Damasus : 

FVRIVS DIONYSIVS FILOCALVS SCRIBSIT 

DAMASI PAPAE CVLTOR ATQVE AMATOR 

. 

In this inscription Damasus relates an unknown 
episode in the life of the heresiarch Heraclius, and 
also alludes to the question of the lapsi, as in the 
inscription of Marcellus, No. 415. He adds that 
Eusebius died in exile in Sicily. 



352 Christian Epigraphy 

In the next Damasus speaks of the various cate- 
gories of martyrs buried in the cemetery of Callisto : 



422 



HIC CONGESTA IACET QVAERIS SI TVRBA 
PIORVM | CORPORA SANCTORVM RETINENT 
VENERANDA SEPVLCRA | SVBLIMES ANIMAS 
RAPVIT SIBI REGIA CAELI | HIC COMITES 
XYSTI PORTANT QVI EX HOSTE TROPAEA | 
HIC NVMERVS PROCERVM SERVAT QVI AL- 
TARIA CHRISTI | HIC POSITVS LONGA VIXIT 
QVI IN PACE SACERDOS | HIC CONFESSORES 
SANCTI QVOS GRAECIA MISIT | HIC IVVENES 
PVERIQ SENES CASTIQVE NEPOTES | QVIS 
MAGE VIRGINEVM PLACVIT RETINERE PV- 
DOREM | HIC FATEOR DAMASVS VOLVI MEA 
CONDERE MEMBRA | SED CINERES TIMVI 
SANCTOS VEXARE PIORVM 



In the crypt of the Popes in the cemetery of Callisto. 
(Ihm, No. 1 2-.) 

There was another inscription there which 
described the scene of the surprise of Pope Sixtus 
II. in the cemetery (A.D. 258) : 



423 



TEMPORE QVO GLADIVS SECVIT PIA VISCERA MA- 
TRIS | HIC POSITVS RECTOR COELESTIA IVSSA DO- 
CEBAM | ADVENIVNT SVBITO RAPIVNT QVI FORTE 
SEDENTEM | MILITIBVS MISSIS POPVLI TVNC COLLA 
DEDERE | MOX VBI COGNOVIT SENIOR QVIS TOL- 
LERE VELLET | PALMAM SEQVE SVVMQVE CAPVT 
PRIOR OBTVLIT IPSE | IMPATIENS FERITAS POSSET 
NE LAEDERE QVEMQVAM | OSTENDIT CHRISTVS 
REDDIT QVI PRAEMIA VITAE | PASTORIS MERITVM 
NVMERVM GREGIS IPSE TVETVR 



From the Collections. (Ihm, No. 13.) 



Part II Chapter VIII 353 

In the same cemetery Damasus placed the follow- 
ing inscription on the tomb of Tarsicius, a youth 
who was martyred in defence of the Eucharist, whom 
he likens to the proto-martyr Stephen. It is of great 
value in its bearing on the doctrine of the Eucharist, 
as he calls the Eucharistic elements coelestia membra. 
424 



j PAR MERITVM QVICVMQVE LEGIS COGNOSCE 

| DVORVM | QVIS DAMASVS RECTOR TITVLOS POST 
PRAEMIA REDDIT | IVDAICVS POPVLVS STEPHA- 
NVM MELIORA MONENTEM | PERCVLERAT SAXIS 

I TVLERAT QVI EX HOSTE TROPAEVM | MARTY- 
RIVM PRIMVS RAPVIT LEVITA FIDELIS | TARSI- 
CIVM SANCTVM CHRISTI SACRA MENTA GEREN- 
TEM | CVM MALE SANA MANVS PETERET VVL- 
GARE PROFANIS | IPSE ANIMAM POTIVS VOLVIT 
DIMITTERE CAESVS | PRODERE QVAM CANIBVS 

! RABIDIS COELESTIA MEMBRA 

I 

From the Collections. (Ihm, No. 14.) 

The next, of Pope Cornelius, records the work 
done upon his tomb : 

425 



ASPICE DESCENSV EXTRVCTO TENEBRISQVE 
FVGATIS | CORNELI MONVMENTA VIDES TVMV- 
LVMQVE SACRATVM | HOC OPVS AEGROTI DA- 
MASI PRAESTANTIA FECIT | ESSET VT ACCESSVS 
MELIOR POPVLISQVE PARATVM | AVXILIVM SAN- 
CTI ET VALEAS SI FVNDERE PVRO | CORDE 
PRECES DAMASVS MELIOR CONSVRGERE POS- 
SET | QVEM NON LVCIS AMOR TENVIT MAGE 
CVRA LABORIS 



The fragments containing the last portion are in the ceme- 
tery of Callisto. (The restoration is by De Rossi, Roma 
sotterranea, i. 291.) 

2 A 



354 Christian Epigraphy 

On the same road, in the cemetery of Prae- 
textatus, has been discovered the inscription of 
S. Januarius, the elder of the sons of S. Felicitas 
(A.D. 162). It consists of a simple dedication 
placed close to the tomb : 



426 



BEATISSIMO MARTYRI 

IANVARIO 

DAMASVS EPISCOP 
FECIT 



Still in situ. (Ihm, No. 22.) 

Here also were some verses in honour of the 
martyrs Felicissimus and Agapitus, deacons to 
Sixtus II. (A.D. 258), which ran as follows : 



427 



ASPICE ET HIC TVMVLVS RETINET CAELESTIA 
MEMBRA | SANCTORVM SVBITO RAPVIT QVOS 
REGIA COELI | HI CRVCIS INVICTAE COMIXES 
PARITERQVE MINISTRI | RECTORIS SANCTI ME- 
RITVMQVE FIDEMQVE SECVTI | AETHERIAS PE- 
TIERE DOMOS REGNAQVE PIORVM | VNICA IN 
HIS GAVDET ROMANAE GLORIA PLEBIS | QVOD 
DVCE TVNC XYSTO CHRISTI MERVERE TRIVM- 
PHOS | FELICISSIMO ET AGAPITO DAMASVS 



From the Collections. (Ihm, No. 23.) 



Part II Chapter VIII 355 

Hard by, in the cemetery of S. Sebastian, 
Damasus placed the next inscription, to preserve 
the memory of the spot where the bodies of the 
Apostles Peter and Paul had been deposited for 
some time in the year 258 : 
428 



HIC HABITASSE PRIVS SANCTOS COGNOSCERE 
DEBES | NOMINA QVISQVE PETRI PARITER PAVLI 
| QVE REQVIRIS | DISCIPVLOS ORIENS MISIT QVOD 
SPONTE FATEMVR | SANGVINIS OB MERITVM 
CHRISTVMQVE PER ASTRA SECVTI | AETERIOS PE- 
TIERES SINVS REGNAQVE PIORVM | ROMA SVOS 
POTIVS ;MERVIT DEFENDERE GIVES | HAEC DA- 
MASVS VESTRAS REFERAT NOVA SIDERA LAVDES 



From the Collections. (Ihm, No. 26.) 

Another, placed close to it, describes the cruel 
death of the martyr Eutychius : 
429 



EVTYCHIVS MARTYR CRVDELIA IVSSA TYRANNI | 
CARNIFICVMQVE VIAS PARITER TVNC MILLE 
NOCENDI ! VINCERE QVOD POTVIT MONSTRAVIT 
GLORIA CHRISTI | CARCERIS INLVVIEM SEQVITVR 
NOVA POENA PER ARTVS | TESTARVM FRAG- 
MENTA PARANT NE SOMNVS ADIRET | BIS SENI 
TRANSIERE DIES ALIMENTA NEGANTVR | MITTI- 
TVR IN BARATHRVM SANCTVS LAVAT OMNIA 
SANGVIS | VVLNERA QVAE INTVLERAT iMORTIS 
METVENDA POTESTAS | NOCTE SOPORIFERA 
TVRBANT INSOMNIA MENTEM | OSTENDIT LA- 
TEBRA INSONTIS QVAE MEMBRA TENERET | 
QVAERITVR INVENTVS COLITVR FOVET OMNIA 
PRAESTAT | EXPRESSIT DAMASVS MERITVM 
VENERARE SEPVLCRVM 



Kept in the basilica of S. Sebastian. (Ihm, No. 27.) 



356 Christian Epigraphy 

There is again another inscription by Damasus 
in honour of a set of unknown martyrs, two copies 
of which he set up, one on the Via Appia, the 
other on the Via Salaria, to celebrate the healing 
of the schism : 

430 



SANCTORVM QV1CVMQVE LEGIS VENERARE SE- 
PVLCRVM | NOMINA NEC NVMERVM POTVIT RE- 
TINERE VETVSTAS | ORNAVIT DAMASVS TVMV- 
LVM COGNOSCITE RECTOR | PRO REDITV CLERI 
CHRISTO PRAESTANTE TRIVMPHANS | MARTY- 
RIBVS SANCTIS REDDIT SVA VOTA SACERDOS 



From the Collections. (Ihm, No. 42.) 

On the neighbouring Via Ardeatina, in the 
cemetery of Domitilla, the inscription of SS. Nereus 
and Achilleus was once to be seen ; two important 
fragments of it have been recovered in excavating 
near the tombs of those martyrs : 

43 1 



MILITIAE NOMEN DEDERANT SAEVVMQVE GE- 
REBANT | OFFICIVM PARITER SPECTANTES IVSSA 
TYRANNI | PRAECEPTIS PVLSANTE METV SER- 
VIRE PARATI | MIRA FIDES RERVM SVBITO 
POSVERE FVROREM | CONVERSI FVGIVNT DVCIS 
IMPIA CASTRA RELINQVVNT | PROIICIVNT CLY- 
PEOS PHALERAS TELAQVE CRVENTA | CONFESSI 
GAVDENT CHRISTI PORTARE TRIVMPHOS | CRE- 
DITE PER DAMASVM POSSIT QVID GLORIA CHRISTI 



The restorations have been made from the Collections. 
(Ihm, No. 8.) 

The inscription gives us some particulars con- 
cerning these martyrs which are not to be found 



Part II Chapter VIII 357 

in their legendary history. It tells us that they 
had been in the army and had taken part in the 
persecution of the Christians. 

Between the Via Appia and the Ardeatina, 
Damasus had erected a tomb for himself by the 
side of those of his mother and his sister Irene, 
and there he placed some very noteworthy inscrip- 
tions. But with these we shall deal in the follow- 
ing chapter and its special appendix on the family 
history of Damasus. 

And now completing our round, we reach the 
cemetery of Commodilla, near the Via Ostiensis, 
where Damasus placed an inscription in honour of 
SS. Felix and Adauctus, martyred under Diocletian, 
whose tomb has been recently discovered in that 
spot. The text of it, with which we shall conclude 
this series, is as follows : 

432 



O SEMEL ATQVE ITERVM VERO DE NOMINE 
FELIX | QVI INTEMERATA FIDE CONTEMPTO 
PRINCIPE MVNDI | CONFESSVS CHRISTVM 
COELESTIA REGNA PETISTI | O VERE PRE- 
TIOSA FIDES COGNOSCITE FRATRES | QVA 
AD COELVM VICTOR PARITER PROPERAVIT 
| ADAVCTVS ! PRESBYTER HIS VERVS DA- 
MASO RECTORE IVBENTE | COMPOSVIT TV- 
MVLVM SANCTORVM LIMINA ADORNANS 



One fragment is in the Lateran Museum ; 
the rest is taken from the Collections. (Ihm, No. 7.) 

It may be added that Damasus undoubtedly 
wrote other inscriptions in honour of martyrs, the 
contents of which are unknown to us. Thus, a 



358 Christian Epigraphy 

Damasian fragment was recently discovered near 
the Via Flaminia on the tomb of the martyr S. 
Valentinus (Plate XXVI. i). 1 

For conciseness' sake I omit many more that 
could be added to the inscriptions already quoted ; 
they can be found in the various Collections, and 
especially in that compiled by Ihm, so often 
referred to already. 

, The reader does not need my help to run 
rapidly over the texts that I have printed above, 
and at once to appreciate their immense value. 
It is not too much to say that they have preserved 
for us whole pages of the stories of martyrs ; 
they contain expressions illustrative both of doctrine 
and of liturgy, which demonstrate the antiquity of 
'' the dogma of the Communion of Saints, and the 
existence of a cult of the martyrs; furthermore, 
they help us to locate the most venerated tombs 
in the respective cemeteries. They have thus a 
threefold value for doctrine, for history, and for 
topography : for doctrine, in respect of the con- 
fession of faith which they contain ; for history, on 
account of the particulars of the martyrs which 
they give us ; and lastly for topography, in respect 
of the position of their tombs in the catacombs. 

In proof of this, let me arrange the Damasian 
inscriptions above quoted in a synoptic form, show- 
ing the relation of each to one or other of the 
triple order of conceptions I have mentioned the 
doctrinal, the historical, and the topographical. 

1 Cp. Marucchi, "On an unknown Damasian inscription in 
honour of the martyr S. Valentine," Nuovo Bull, di arch, 
crist., 1905, p. 103. 






Part II Chapter VIII 359 



i. Doctrinal Inscriptions 

No. 414. The baptismal creed ; a profession of faith 
in the incarnation of Christ, in redemption through 
Him, in His resurrection and ascension into Heaven 
(11. 1-5). The cult of the saints (last line). 

416. Invocation of a martyr and prayer for inter- 
cession addressed to her (last line). 

417. Cult of saints and oblations on their altars. 

418. The unity of the Catholic Church. 

419. Cult of the relics of martyrs (last lines). 

420. Cult of saints (11. 3-5). 

422. Reverence for the tombs of saints (last two 
lines). 

424. Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist 
(11. 5-8). 

429. Cult of the tombs and relics of martyrs, inter- 
cession of the saints (last two lines). 

430. Invocation of martyrs (last line). 

432. Veneration of the tombs of martyrs (last line). 



2. Expressions of Historical Value 

412. Simultaneous martyrdom of the brothers Protus 
and Hyacinthus. 

415. Story of Pope Marcellus ; banished by Maxen- 
tius for his views on the lapsi. 

416. Allusion to the cruel persecution in which S. 
Agnes was put to death, and description of her 
martyrdom. 

417. Allusion to the martyrdom of S. Lawrence by 
fire. 

418. Obscure arid doubtful account of S. Hippolytus 
the martyr ; allusion to the Novatian schism by which 
he had been led away before his martyrdom, and his 
bold profession of faith before death. 

419. Martyrdom of Peter and Marcellinus ; their 



360 Christian Epigraphy 

place of sepulture originally concealed, afterwards 
transferred elsewhere. 

420. Schism of Heraclius in the Roman Church. 
Exile of Pope Eusebius, and his death in Sicily. 

423. Surprise of Sixtus 1 1. in the cemetery on the Via 
Appia while teaching his flock ; his forcible removal, 
and subsequent martyrdom under Valerian. 

424. Martyrdom of Tarsicius, "martyr of the 
Eucharist," who was stoned like Stephen the proto- 
martyr. 

425. Allusion to the martyrs Felicissimus and Aga- 
pitus as companions to Sixtus II. in his martyrdom. 

426. Temporary deposit of the bodies of the Apostles 
Peter and Paul on the Via Appia, and solemn testi- 
mony to the foundation of the Roman Church by the 
two Apostles from the East, who were both martyred 
in Rome, and hence were called " Roman citizens." 

429. Detailed description of the martyrdom of S. 
Eusebius. 

430. Allusion to the close of the schism created by 
the anti-pope Ursinus and to the return of the clergy 
to the unity of the Church. 

431. Important statement that Nereus and Achilleus 
were originally soldiers, and took part in a persecution 
(possibly that of Nero) ; that they were afterwards 
converted, and left the army ; that then they confessed 
Christ, and were martyred. 

432. Allusion to the episode of Adauctus bringing 
about his own martyrdom along with that of the priest 
Felix. 



3. Information of Special Topographical Value 

411. Construction of a baptistery on the Vatican. 

412-413. Discovery of the tombs of the martyrs 
Protus and Hyacinthus by Damasus. 

420. Location of the tomb of Gorgonius under a high 
hill. 

422. Classification of martyrs in the well-known 
tombs of the cemetery of Callisto. 



Part II Chapter VIII 361 

425. Ornamentation of the tomb of Pope Cornelius. 

429. Tomb of the martyr Eutychius successfully 
searched for and restored to veneration by Damasus. 

432. Ornamentation of the tombs of the martyrs 
Felix and Adauctus in the cemetery of Commodilla. 

This seems to me to be a good opportunity 
for the introduction of a special investigation of 
certain Damasian inscriptions, from which we may 
derive some important conclusions on the personal 
history of Pope Damasus and his family ; the more 
so as this investigation includes sundry new infer- 
ences of my own, made in consequence of recent 
discoveries. 

This digression will have its own use in the 
present manual, inasmuch as it gives a practical 
example of the value of the study of ancient inscrip- 
tions for historical purposes. 



CHAPTER IX 

APPENDIX TO THE DAMASIAN INSCRIPTIONS 



The Sepulchral Inscriptions of Damasus and his 
Family 

THE Liber pontificalis tells us that Damasus was 
buried on December nth, 384, in a basilica which 
he had himself erected in the Via Ardeatina, 
and that he was buried close to his mother and 
his sister : qui etiam sepultus est via Ardeatina in 
basilica sua III. Idus decembris juxta matrem suam 
et germanam suam. 1 

The body of Pope Damasus was still lying in the 
same tomb on the Via Ardeatina in the seventh 
century, and the fact is noted in the Itineraries. 2 
But we also know, on the authority of the Liber 
pontificalis ) that in the days of Pope Adrian I. 

1 Note that this basilica was built by Damasus after he 
became Pope, as is evident from the text of the Liber 
pontificalis. 

2 Et dimittis viamAppiam etperveniens ad S. Marcumpapam 
et martyrem et poslea ad S. Damasum papam (et martyrem] via 
Ardeatina. Et propre eandem viam (Ardeatinam) S. Damasus 
papa depositus est t etc. Inter viam Appiam et Ostiensem est 
via Ardeatina, ubi sunt Marcus et Marcellianus, et ibi jacet 
Damasus papa in sua ecclesia (v. De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, 
i. pp. 180-181). 

362 



Part II Chapter IX 363 

(772-795) it had already been placed in the church \ 
of S. Lorenzo in Damaso, where it is still venerated. 1 
It is probable, therefore, that the body was trans- 
ferred from the Via Ardeatina to the interior of/ 
Rome in the Pontificate of Paul I. (757-767). / 

The original tomb of Damasus as well as that of 
his sister once bore the metrical inscriptions with 
which we were already acquainted, as they have 
been preserved to us by the old Collections. The 
epitaph of Irene, the sister of Damasus, is singularly 
beautiful and affectionate ; but with that epitaph I 
shall deal later on. 

I come now to the inscription written by 
Damasus for himself, which for a long time 
adorned his original tomb. It contains a solemn 
profession of belief in the doctrine of the Resur- 
rection, declaring that the writer would assuredly 
rise again from the dead by the merits of the 
Redeemer, who walked on the waters with un- 
wetted feet, who causes the seeds of earth to revive, 
who bade Lazarus rise from his tomb. 

433 



QVI GRADIENS PELAGI FLVCTVS COMPRESSIT - 
AMAROS | VIVERE QVI PRAESTAT MORIENTIA 
SEMINA . TERRAE | SOLVERE QVI POTVIT LA- 
ZARO SVA VINCVLA MORTIS | POST TENE- 
BRAS FRATREM POST TERTIA LVMINA SOUS | 
AD SVPEROS - ITERVM MARTHAE - DONARE 
SOROR1 | POST CINERES DAMASVM FACIET 
QVIA SVRGERE - CREDO 



1 "(Hadrianus) renovavit etiam et tectum basilicae S. 
Laurentii quae appellatur Damasi . . . simulque et aliam 
vestem de post altare fecit, ubi requiescit corpus S. Damasi 
(Lib. pont., ed. Duchesne, i. p. 500). 



364 Christian Epigraphy 

The cemetery in which Damasus was buried is 
marked by De Rossi as being in one of the 
divisions of the cemetery of Domitilla on the right 
of the Via Ardeatina, but Wilpert has since placed 
it on the left of that road, owing to the discovery 
on that spot of the sepulchral inscription of the 
mother of Damasus, whom we know to have been 
buried in the cemetery in which the monument of 
that Pontiff afterwards stood. 1 

This inscription has come down to us in a very 
curious way: the original marble was lost, but an 
impression of it was preserved on the mortar by 
which a piece of marble had been at some later 
time joined to the slab bearing the inscription ; the 
piece with the mortar on it was afterwards thrown 
into the ditch in which it was eventually discovered. 

This short epitaph consists of four hexameters, 
cut in the ordinary lettering of the fourth century, 
and not in the elegant alphabet of Philocalus. 



434 



HIC DAMASI.- MATER POSVIT LAVREft memtRA 
QVAE FVIT IN TERRIS CENTVM MINV^ octo 



SEXAGINTA DEO VIXIT POST FOEakra sancta (?) 
PROGENIE QVARTA VIDIT QVAE laeta nepotes<?)1 



1 I must observe, however, that the tomb of Damasus was not 
at the place where this inscription was found, as has been arbi- 
trarily supposed ; the inscription was not on its own site, and 
must have come from some neighbouring spot. 

2 The capitals represent the imprint on the mortar, with the 
exception of the letters on. the right hand . . . RA . . . NOS, 
which come from a fragment of the original stone, identified as 
such by Wilpert. 



Part II Chapter IX 365 

We may infer with certainty from the newly 
discovered text that the name of the mother of 
Damasus was Laurentia, that she lived to a great 
age, probably of 89, possibly of 92 years, and that 
she lived to see a fourth generation, progenie 
quarta. 

It is certain in any case that Laurentia lived for 
60 years under vows to God, for this must be the 
meaning of the words Sexaginta (annos) Deo vixit, 
i.e. that she had taken the vow of chastity 60 years 
before her death. We shall see later where and 
why she took this vow. 

These biographical notices are scarcely sufficient 
to satisfy our curiosity as to the minor details 
respecting the family of the great Pontiff; but at 
any rate when carefully examined, and taken in 
connexion with some others which we already 
possess, they will lead us to some useful con- 
clusions. 

First of all, I think I can establish one point 
very material to the present inquiry, viz. that 
Laurentia, the mother of Damasus, died during her 
son's Pontificate. We know that he was Pope for 
1 8 years, from October 366 to December nth, 
384 ; and we have it on the authority of S. Jerome 
that he died at the age of So. 1 He was born, then, 
in 305, and ascended the Pontifical throne at the 
age of 6 1. Now as his mother had taken the vows 
60 years before her death, her youngest son cannot 
have been under 60 years of age at her death, 
probably indeed not under 61, for it is unlikely 
that she consecrated herself to a religious life 
immediately after the birth of her youngest child. 

1 Propre octuagenarius sub Theodosio principe mortuus est. 
(De viris illustribus, 103. ) 



366 Christian Epigraphy 

Furthermore, Damasus was not the youngest of the 
family, for it is probable that his sister Irene, of 
whom we shall shortly speak, was younger. 1 So 
at the death of his mother Damasus could not have 
been under, and was probably over, 61 years of age, 
and therefore he was already Pope; it follows, there- 
fore, that his mother died after October 366. And 
hence one can understand why on her sepulchral 
inscription he described her as Damasi mater ; the 
reason being that Damasus had already become a 
personage of note ; for it would have been the 
height of presumption to use the expression while 
he was no more than a private individual. 2 And 
on the same reasoning I conclude that the in- 
scription of his sister Irene, in which she is called 
soror Damasi, was also placed there after his 
election as Pope, as I will explain at greater 
length hereafter. And no difficulty need arise 
from the fact that both inscriptions, of mother and 
sister, are cut in the ordinary lettering, and not in 
that of Philocalus. Indeed, De Rossi insists 
that Damasus used the ordinary lettering for 
all the inscriptions of his first period; and he 
further expresses the opinion that he only adopted 
the lettering of Philocalus after having become 
Pontiff. 3 

1 I shall speak of the details of the life of Irene when I 
come to quote her inscription. 

2 That as early as the time of Damasus the Pope was held 
to be a personage of eminence, even from a civil point of view, 
appears from the celebrated reply of Praetextatus, prefect of 
Rome, when Damasus himself invited him to embrace 
Christianity : ' ' Facite me Romanae urbis episcopum et ero 
protinus Christiamis. " (Hieron. contra Johann. Jerosolim. 8.) 

3 Roma sott. iii. p. 241. Bull, di arch, crist., 1888-1889, 
pp. 146-151. 



Part II Chapter IX 367 

And to this indeed we may now add that he con- 
tinued to use the ordinary lettering for his inscrip- 
tions even after the beginning of his Pontificate. 
And this, so far from being improbable, is, on the 
contrary, consistent with all we know of him. 
Damasus had, as is well known, to meet t the 
opposition of his rival Ursinus and his followers : 
this schism lasted for some time after his election ; 
and it was because he attributed the settlement of 
it to the intercession of the martyrs that he pro- 
ceeded to adorn their tombs with his poems. 
In all probability, then, it was at that period 
when he had at last gained the victory over his 
opponents that he began to use for these votive 
monuments the beautiful lettering designed by 
Furius Dionysius Philocalus, as a sort of trium- 
phal alphabet. 

It was natural that Damasus, when he had 
become Pope, should begin to think of construct- 
ing his own tomb. As we know, he would have 
liked to place it in the Papal vault. But, as he says 
himself in his well-known verses, he refrained from 
so doing out of reverence for so holy a place : Hie 
fateor Damasus volui mea condere membra, sed 
dneres timui sanctos vexare piorum. And now we 
learn from the discovery recently made that he 
selected a spot at no great distance off, near the 
Via Ardeatina. 

The Liber pontificalis tells us that the tombs 
of the mother and sister of Damasus were on the 
Via Ardeatina; but nothing is said of his father, 
who was certainly not buried there, otherwise there 
would be some memorial of him. From this we may 
infer that his father had died long before, and was 
buried elsewhere. Damasus has left us a passing 



368 Christian Epigraphy 

remark on the subject of his father in the inscrip- 
tion on the Archives, in the place where he built 
the basilica dedicated to the martyred S. Law- 
rence, juxta theatrum (S. Lorenzo in Damaso). 
And I must now proceed to discuss that inscrip- 
tion, because upon it the whole of my argument 
hinges. 

The original of the inscription is no longer in 
existence ; we know its contents from the Pala- 
tine Collection, and from that of Verdun, but 
the two copies differ on a point of great import- 
ance. 1 

The entire text as given in the first -named 
Collection is as follows : 



435 



HINC PATER EXCEPTOR LECTOR LEVITA SA- 
CERDOS ! CREVERAT HINC MERITIS QVONIAM 
MELIORIBVS ACTIS | HINC MIHI PROVECTO CHRI- 
STVS CVI SVMMA POTESTAS | SEDIS APOSTO- 
LICAE VOLVIT CONCEDERE HONOREM | ARCHI- 
BIS FATEOR VOLVI NOVA CONDERE TECTA | 
ADDERE PRAETEREA DEXTRA LAEVAQVE CO- 
LVMNAS | QVAE DAMASI TENEANT PROPRIVM 
PER SAECVLA NOMEN 



In the codex of Verdun, on the other hand, the 
first verse, which, owing to laceration of the sheet, 
is the only one preserved, runs thus : 

Hinc puer exceptor, lector, levita, sacerdos. 

1 De Rossi, Inscr. christ. ii. p. 135, 7 ; p. 151, 23. 



Part II Chapter IX 369 

Scholars are divided into two camps, the one 
preferring pater ^ the other puer. It is obvious that 
according to the first reading Damasus would be 
speaking, first of his father, and afterwards of him- 
self; while on the second view he would be speaking 
throughout of himself. De Rossi, who had at first 
preferred the reading puer^ gave it up afterwards 
for that of pater ; x and this last reading was 
followed also by Duchesne, Ihm, and Rade. 2 And 
the reading pater may be demonstrated to be the 
only true one for the following reasons : 

1. The context of the poem shows that Damasus 
is speaking of two persons : one who creverat (had 
grown up) from that place into some higher dignity, 
whom he compares with himself, who had only left 
it to ascend the Apostolic throne. 

2. If in the first two verses Damasus were 
speaking of himself when a boy (puer) or puer 
exceptor^ we must necessarily hold that after having 
been lector and deacon he had become a bishop or 
at least a priest (for sacerdos^ as we shall see, may 
mean priest, though better used to signify bishop), 
and that from that rank of priest (or bishop) he 
had risen to the Apostolic throne. Now it is quite 
inconceivable that he had been a bishop before 
becoming Pope, for it is notorious that in those 
times this would have been contrary to ecclesiastical 
etiquette, and that the first bishop who was made 
Pope was Formosus in the ninth century. Nor 
can we allow that Damasus was ever a priest, as 
this also was contrary to the practice of the time, 

1 Bull, di arch, crist., 1881, pp. 48 et seq. ; 1883, p. 62 ; 
1884-1885, p. 24. 

2 Duchesne, Lib. pont. in Damaso. (note) ; Ihm, Damasi 
epigrammata, p. 58 ; Rade, Damasus Bischof von Rom (1882), 
p. 6. 

2 B 



370 Christian Epigraphy 

which was to select the Pope from among the 
deacons. Thus Liberius was made ,Pope when a 
deacon, and the same occurred in the case of 
Syricius, as their sepulchral inscriptions testify. 
We know also that Damasus before becoming Pope 
had been deacon to Liberius ; he is called diaconus 
ejus at least twice in a contemporaneous work, 
Libellus precum Faustini et Marcellini. 1 

From this work we may also draw the conclusion 
that Damasus was archdeacon at the death of 
Liberius, because it declares that it was he who 
summoned to his assistance arenarios et fossores. 
Now the archdeacon was just the officer who had 
jurisdiction over the Papal cemetery; and it was 
likewise a recognised practice of the early centuries 
that the archdeacon should be chosen as Pope. 2 
My conclusion therefore is that the lector, levita, 
sacerdos of the inscription on the Archives could 
not have been Damasus, and must have been some 
one else; which means that we must read pater 
and not puer. 

It has been argued in favour of the reading puer 
that this reading agrees excellently with the ex- 
pression pueri exceptores, which was sometimes 
used ; and we are asked to compare the expression 
in the Damasian inscription of S. Peter and S. 
Marcellinus : Percussor retulit Damaso mihi cum 
puer essem. 

But it must be remembered that pueri exceptores 
have nothing to do with pueri properly so called, 

1 Migne, P.L. xiii. pp. 81 et seq. The only record of the 
name of Damasus among the priests is in a document of much 
later date and of little historical authority, the Acta Liberii of 
the sixth century. 

2 See De Rossi, B^lll. di arch, crist., 1866, pp. 8 et seq. ib., 
1890, pp. 119 el seq. 



Part II Chapter IX 371 

for in that phrase piter means, not child, but 
servant It is common knowledge that the ancients 
used puer for servant ; so much so that in earlier 
times slaves were called, e.g., Gaipor (Gai puer) or 
Mardpor (Marci puer). The word is used in the 
same sense in the version of the psalm Laudate 
pueri Dominum, where the Hebrew text gives 
gavdim (servants). 1 

It follows from this that there is no reason why 
puer in the Damasian inscription of S. Peter and 
S. Marcellinus should have anything to do with 
puer exceptor ; in that inscription he may very 
well be speaking of his own childhood, when he 
heard the story of the martyrdom of the two saints 
told by their executioner. And even if it were 
argued that Damasus was puer exceptor, in the 
sense explained above, at the time when he heard 
the executioner's tale, the most that can be made 
of that is that he became exceptor at some later 
date, as his father had done before him. 

Moreover, we know that the escceptores in the 
ecclesiastical organisation corresponded to notaries, 
who were bound to be of a certain age, and could 
not be children. 

In confirmation of this we may cite two inscrip- 
tions of notaries of about the time of Pope 
Damasus, which prove that they might be of a 
tolerably mature age. 

The first is at Spoleto : 



1 Cp. puer meus jacet in domo paralyticus, Matt. viii. 6. 



372 



Christian Epigraphy 

43 6 



HIC REQVIESCIT BRITTIVS 

DALMATIVS NOTARI 

VS AECLESIAE ANNIS V 

L M XXXII 

PRAECESSIT IN SOMNO 
PACIS XII KAL IVNIAS 
CONSVLATV HONORI (A.D. 386)1 



The second is in Rome in the cloister of S. Paolo 
fuori le Mura, and records a notary of 48 years of 
age: 

437 



CALOPODIVS NOTAR 

ANN XLVIII DEPOS . . 



But if exceptores were notaries, it is manifest that 
the duty of an exceptor does not involve any 
extreme youth in the holder, and indeed is incom- 
patible with early manhood. Indeed, it is not 
likely that youths would be entrusted with the 
business of taking minutes of church conferences, 
which was the duty of exceptores. And therefore 
from the phrase cum puer essem of the inscription of 
S. Peter and S. Marcellinus no decisive argument 
can be drawn in favour of puer exceptor as against 
pater exceptor in the inscription of the Archives; 
and the correctness of the latter reading is demon- 
strable quite independently by the arguments stated 
above. 

1 De Rossi, Bull. p. 113. Even admitting that the figures 
giving the age in this inscription stand for 32 and no more, the 
deceased seems to have been made a notary at the age of 28. 



Part II Chapter IX 373 

To all these reasons for denying that Damasus 
was speaking of himself in the first two verses of 
the inscription of the Archives may be added 
another. The word creverat shows that he is 
speaking of another person, and the word meritis 
confirms the view. Damasus never used the word 
meritum except as applying it to Saints, or to 
deceased persons who had led a saintly life ; and 
he would never have applied it to himself. 1 

There is, again, another argument for pater in the 
place of pner. The transcriptions of the Palatine 
codex are more accurate than those of Verdun, 
however superior the latter codex may be in the 
correctness of its topographical classification of the 
inscriptions. The codex of Verdun, with all its 
topographical correctness, is very inaccurate ; it 
gives many variants in the language, and seems 
itself to be copied from another codex. 

To give instances from the poems transcribed in 
S. Lorenzo in Damaso, the Verdun codex writes 
saepius auxilio by mistake for saeptus auxiUo, the 
mistake occurring in exactly the same letter, T, as 
in the blunder of writing puer for pater. 11 Here we 
may see that either the first transcriber who copied 
the inscriptions on the spot, or the amanuensis who 
wrote the codex which has come down to us, was 
guilty of some carelessness in mistaking one letter 
for another. 

1 He used it in his eulogies on the following persons : 
S. Sixtus II., S. Stephen and S. Tarsicius, S. Felicitas, 
Felicissimus and Agapitus, S. Peter and S. Paul, S. Eutychius, 
S. Lawrence, S. Marcellus, S. Mark, and lastly in that on 
Irene, to whose intercession he commends himself. 

- Among other mistakes of transcription in the Verdun codex 
I may mention geminatus for geminatiim, lumina for limina, 
lumine fotjtumittt, etc. 



374 Christian Epigraphy 

And everybody will agree that in copying a 
partly effaced inscription, or one which is placed far 
above the eye, it would be easier to read PATER 
as PUER than vice versa, supposing the second 
and third letters to have been somewhat worn. 

My conclusion is therefore that, as at present 
advised, we should adopt the reading pater, which 
is accepted by most critics, and take it that 
Damasus is here speaking of his father, describing 
him as having been lector, levita, sacerdos. 

I have already pointed out that in the language 
of the age immediately following the Peace of 
Con stan tine the proper significance of the word 
sacerdos is " bishop," the priest being simply called 
presbyter. I may give the following (among many) 
illustrations. 

Damasus himself, in his well-known verses in the 
crypt of the Popes, says of Pope Miltiades, Hie 
positus longa vixit qui in pace sacerdos ; 1 and in the 
inscription of certain martyrs on the Via Salaria, 
he speaks of himself after his consecration as 
Pontiff: Martyribus sanctis reddit sua vota sacerdos? 

In the inscription of Syricius, the successor to 
Damasus, we read: Fonte sacro magnus meruit 
seder e sacerdos? The epitaph of Spes, bishop of 
Spoleto in the fourth century, speaking of the 
duration of his episcopate, says that vixit in 
sacerdotio.^ 

Lastly, in the inscription of Marea the priest, 

1 Ihm, No. 12. a 2 Ihm, No. 49. 3 Ib. No. 93. 

4 This is the text of the inscription : 

DEPOSITIO SANG | TAE MEMORIAE VE | NERABILIS 
SPEI | AEPISCOPI DIE - VIIII | KAL DECB VI | XIT IN 
SACERDOT | 10 ANNIS - XXXII 

(De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist., 1871, p. 113, Table VII.) 



Part II Chapter IX 375 

vicar to Pope Vigilius, which records how he 
forbade, in the name of the Pope, a second 
administration of the rite of confirmation, the 
bishops are called sacerdotes : 

Tuque sacerdotes docuisti chrismate sancto, Tangere 
bis nullum judice posse Deo. 1 

Rufinus, when relating the election of Damasus, 
says that post Liberium, sacerdotium in urbe Roma 
susceperat -^ so also Marcellinus, when naming 
Pope Liberius, calls him sacerdos urbis Romae. 
Moreover, it is common knowledge that the epis- 
copate is the true completion of the priesthood, 
and that the bishop is always the true priest : the 
proper title of priests is in variably presbyter, whence 
in the official language of the Church presbyter atus 
is to this day the title of the order which we 
generally now call the sacerdotal. Thus the Pope 
is sacerdos magnus, as he is called in an inscription 
of Syricius, and the plemis summusque sacerdos 
spoken of in the inscription of Liberius. 3 

Nor does the fact that the father of Damasus 
must have passed straight from the diaconate to 
the episcopate constitute any difficulty ; for besides 
the instance of several Popes given above, there 
are many others showing that the practice was 
common enough in those days. 

Therefore if this interpretation of sacerdos be 
accepted and it is the most natural one we have 
it on the authority of Damasus himself in his in- 
scription on the Archives that his father was a 
bishop ; a circumstance of the utmost import for 
my subsequent argument. 

1 De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist., 1869. 2 H.E. ii. 10. 

3 See De Rossi, Inscr. crist. ii. pp. 83, 85 ; cp. Bull di 
arch, crist., 1883, pp. 5 et seq. 



376 Christian Epigraphy 

And, again, if this be admitted, we have an 
excellent explanation of a metaphorical expression 
used in an inscription discovered a few years ago 
in the cemetery of S. HippolytuSj the meaning of 
which has not been hitherto clearly made out. It 
describes the work done in the cemetery and invites 
the Christian world to give thanks to God for these 
works, which it states were executed by the order 
of Pope Damasus. 

438 



LAETA DEO PLEBS SANCTA CANAT QVOD 
MOENIA CRESCVNT | ET RENOVATA DOMVS 
MARTYRIS IPPOLITI 1 ORNAMENTA OPERIS SVR- 
GVNT AVCTORE DAMA~SO | NATVS QVI AN- 
TISTES SEDIS APOSTOLICAE etc.i 



De Rossi explained the words natus antistes 
sedis apostolicae as meaning that Damasus, as the son 
of one who was already attached to the Church, 
had been in a sense predestined to the episcopal 
throne. And this bold metaphor finds a good 
parallel in the sepulchral inscription of Pope 
Anastasius II. (498), who was the son of a priest ; 
it says of him : 

Presbytero genitus delegi dogmata vitae 
Militiaeque Dei natus in officiis? 

From a comparison of these two passages it is 
clear that the expression natus to an ecclesiastical 
office was the precise term used of any one whose 
father was an ecclesiastic. And if it could be said 
of Anastasius, the son of a presbyter, that he was 

1 De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist., 1883, pp. 60 et seq. 
2 De Rossi, Inscr. christ. ii. p. 126. 



Part II Chapter IX 377 

natus in offidis militiae Dei^ much more could it be 
said of Damasus, the son of a bishop, that he was. 
natus antistes; and the expression must be taken 
to allude to the episcopal status of his father. 

This at any rate is another argument in favour 
of the view that Damasus was the son of one who 
at least held some office in the Church, and thus 
it strengthens the belief that the sacerdos of the 
inscription on the Archives was his father. 

To proceed, if on the strength of the ordinary 
meaning of sacerdos^ and of what has been said 
above, we are to allow that the father of Damasus 
was a bishop, it may well be inferred that he was 
bishop of one of the many small sees near Rome. 

Now it is well known that when a married man 
took holy orders he was bound by the rules of the 
Church to separate from his wife ; the celebrated 
canon of the Council of Elvira held in 306 is clear 
on this point at any rate. 1 Wherefore De Rossi, 
when discussing the question of a married man 
taking holy orders, says in so many words, "He 
who is acquainted with the ancient ecclesiastical 
discipline knows well that in such cases not only 
bishops, but also priests and deacons, were obliged 
to renounce marital intercourse." 2 On the basis 
of this reasoning, then, I think I may safely assert 

1 ' ' Placuit in totum prohibere episcopis presbyteris et 
diaconibus vel omnibus clericis positis in ministerio abstinere 
se a coniugibus suis et non generare filios. Quicumque vero 
fecerit, ab honore clericatus exterminetur " (Labbe, ColL 
Condi, i. col. 1231, canon 33). Cp. le lettere di papa Siricio 
ad Himerium Terraconensem ; Coustan, " Ep. Rom. Pont, di 
Innocenzo I. ad Victric Rothomag," ibidem; Leo Magnus, 
Epist. 14, cap. 4 ; V. Tommasini, Veteris et novae Ecclesiae 
disciplina, pars i. lib. ii. cap. 61. 

2 BzilL di arch, crist., 1864, p. 55. 



378 Christian Epigraphy 

that the father of Damasus (whoever he was), after 
receiving holy orders, was obliged to separate from 
his wife, whose name we now know was Laurentia ; 
it naturally follows that she must then have entered 
on a life of chastity; so that it might well have 
been said of her that from that moment vixit Deo. 
Hence it appears that the expression sexaginta Deo 
vixit post foe(derd] does not mean that she was an 
actual widow for sixty years, as some would explain 
it ; for this would imply that she did not consecrate 
herself to God till after the death of her husband, 
in other words, that she had lived maritally with 
her husband to the date of his death. But this 
was impossible, because the father of Damasus 
took orders and must have lived for several years 
separated from his wife ; these years, therefore, 
must be included in the sixty which she con- 
secrated to God. The period of sixty years must 
begin from the separation of the spouses, and must 
take in the years between that separation and the 
death of the husband as well as the years during 
which she survived him. It may be suggested that 
the words post foedera mean after the natural end 
of her married life, i.e. after the death of the 
husband. But this interpretation is impossible if 
we admit the validity of the proof that the father 
of Damasus had taken holy orders. And even 
apart from that, it is unsound. Post foedera (even 
allowing that foedera could mean matrimony here) 
does not mean post soluta foedera (upon the close 
of the contract), but simply post inita foedera (at 
some time after the contract was made); it does 
no more than give the date of the marriage of 
Laurentia as the point of time after which some- 
thing happened ; and if the missing word after 



Part II Chapter IX 379 

foedera be prima (which is by no means certain) 
it would show that this was her first and only 
marriage, and that subsequently to this she devoted 
herself to God. And the word "subsequently" 
may also mean subsequently to her marital life, and 
to the birth of her children. In other words, I 
believe this laconic phrase to be the equivalent 
of the following : " Laurentia married and bore 
children ; at some subsequent time she consecrated 
herself to God, and in this new state, i.e. of con- 
secration to God, she lived for sixty years" 

Wilpert has pointed out that Damasus has used 
the expression post foedera prima in another in- 
scription, that of Projecta (Ihm, 53), to mean after 
the dissolution of the marriage by death; and he 
argues that we must interpret the same phrase in 
the inscription of his mother in the same sense. 
But, in the first place, the word prima after foedera 
in the inscription of Laurentia is conjecturally 
supplied; and, in any case, in the inscription of 
Projecta, which I shall examine later, the expression 
has not the meaning suggested. 

So far it is clear that in the inscription of 
Laurentia the words sexaginta Deo vixit post foedera 
cannot be explained to mean a widowhood of sixty 
years in length ; for if the father of Damasus was a 
levita and sacerdos, he must have separated from 
his wife on taking holy orders, and Laurentia 
could not have continued to live with him up to 
his death. 

Her consecration to God (Deo vixit) therefore 
began before the death of her husband. And from 
this it follows that we cannot argue that Laurentia 
only began her self-dedication to God at the death 
of her husband, without giving up the reading him 



380 Christian Epigraphy 

pater in the inscription of the Archives ; now that 
reading has been demonstated to be the correct 
one by good arguments quite independently of this 
question, and we are bound to take it as such till 
the contrary is proved. 

Again, if we are to infer from the lately discovered 
text that her actual widowhood lasted for sixty 
years, we must conjecture that the lost words in the 
inscription were post foedera soluta, or to that effect; 
for the simple expression post foedera^ or even post 
foedera prima, if that reading could be accepted, 
would not of itself mean that the marriage had 
then come to an end. 

But, as has been already pointed out, the restora- 
tion post foe(dera prima) in the inscription of 
Laurentia, although taken from the verses on 
Projecta and therefore Damasian in style, is really 
conjectural. We may observe here that foedus by 
itself means any compact or contract, and not 
essentially marriage. So true is this that when 
Damasus wished to use foedus in the sense of 
marriage, as in the inscription of Projecta, he 
wrote thalami post foedera. And he might easily 
have used the same expression in the inscription 
on his mother in a hexameter which would have 
come spontaneously to his pen, sexaginta Deo 
thalami post foedera vixit. 

Probably then, as he did not add thalami to post 
foedera in the inscription to his mother, he meant 
to speak of some other foedus. 

Damasus in fact actually used the void foedus in 
his verses in other significations, all very different 
from that of marriage. Thus in the inscription of 
Eusebius he says "integra cum rector servaret 
foedera pads " ; and in that of Marcellus, " solvuntur 



Part II Chapter IX 381 

foedera pads." In the verses on S. Paul he uses 
the same word, " cum lacerat sanctae matris pia 
foedera coccus " ; and so in the inscription of S. 
Saturninus, " qui sciret sanctae servare foedera 
matris" l 

But what is more important for the purpose of 
the present case is that in the time of Damasus the 
word foedus was used specially to signify the vow 
of chastity; and S. Jerome uses it in this sense 
when, writing to Demetrias the virgin, he says, 
" nunc autem quia saeculum reliquisti . . . serva 
FOEDUS quod pepigisti." 2 It is again used in the 
same sense in the Vulgate: " pepigi foedus cum 
oculis meis ut ne cogitarem quidem de virgine " 
(Job xxxi. i). I can also add an instance from 
an inscription of about the age of Damasus, now 
in the basilica of S. Sebastian, in which the expres- 
sion immaculata [piae conservans] jfo'dm* mentis 3 is 
used to express the vow of chastity. 

If, then, foedus can include a vow of continence, 
we may reasonably fill the gap in the third line of 
the inscription of Laurentia thus : sexaginta Deo 
vixit post foe(dera sanctd) ; understanding by foedus 
sanctum the vow to live a life of chastity, a vow 
which, when a married couple is in question, must 
be the subject of a common agreement and a 
mutual compact; for this reason it would be a 
foedus in the true sense, and one which might 
properly be described as sanctum, seeing that not 

1 In a metrical inscription of the age of Damasus or there- 
abouts, found near the basilica of S. Paul, the words publica 
post docuit Romani foe(dera juris] are used with reference to the 

Roman civil law. 

2 Hieron. Epist. 130; P.L. xxxiii. col. 113 et seq. 

3 C.I.L. vi. 32,052. Cp. O. Marucchi, Le Catacombe 
romane, 1905, p. 213. See above, No. 265, p. 229. 



382 Christian Epigraphy 

even matrimony deals with a condition of life more 
perfect and more holy. If, then, we accept the 
arguments stated above, and if we admit the reading 
hinc pater in the inscription of the Archives, we 
establish the fact that the parents of Damasus 
must have taken the vows described, and entered 
into a new compact (foedus) together. When it is 
thus interpreted all difficulty disappears, and the 
notion that the inscription of Laurentia refers to 
a widowhood of sixty years is shown to be false. 

It is evident that nothing but the discovery of 
the missing fragment will enable us to complete 
with certainty that third line, sexaginta Deo vixit 
post foe(dera) but even if the word thus found 
could be used to show that post foedera meant 
"after the marriage," this would in no way alter 
my view of the meaning and that for the reasons 
already given unless it should turn out to be post 
foedera soluta or some similar expression ; in that 
case it would be necessary to explain it otherwise. 
But until this happens we must understand that 
Laurentia after her marriage (not immediately, but 
after more or less of an interval from its celebra- 
tion) entered upon a life dedicated to God, apart 
from her husband, and that she lived that life for 
sixty years! 

The words progenie quarta vidit quae . . . seem 
to me to suggest that Laurentia died immediately 
after seeing a fourth generation, and they might be 
completed thus : progenie quarta vidit quae laeta 
nepotes ; meaning that Laurentia died after having 
been cheered by the appearance of a fourth 
generation. 

I will add nothing on this point for the present, 
but I shall return to it later, when I come to deal 



Part II Chapter IX 383 

with the restoration of this line in connexion with 
another Damasian inscription. 



There are other important facts connected with 
the family history of Damasus which we may learn 
from the remarkably fine inscription which he set 
on the tomb of his sister Irene in the same 
cemetery of the Via Ardeatina in which his mother 
was buried. 

The text of this inscription was already known 
from the Collections of Inscriptions; but a small 
fragment of the original slab was recovered in 1880 
in the church of SS. Cosma and Damiano on the 
Forum Romanum, the lettering of which is not in 
the style of Philocalus, but the ordinary lettering 
of the fourth century. For clearness' sake I will 
quote here the entire text, marking the portion 
which has come down to us : l 

439 

Hoc tumulo sacrata Z>EO NVnt membra quiescunt, 

Hie soror est Damasi nvMEN SI QVAeris Irene. 
Voverat haec sese Christ CVM VITA WKneret 
Virginis lit meritum sanCTVS PVDOR IPSe probaret. 

Bis denas hi ernes necdum cvmfi/evERAT aetas, 

Egregios mores vitae praecesserat aetas, 

1 The entire text, written in cursive hand, is known to us 
through the Palatine Collection of the Vatican Library (cp. 
Ihm, No. 10). The fragment of inscription, which had gone 
astray after 1880, was rediscovered by me in 1900 among the 
marbles of the Forum ; and at my request it was presented by 
the Baccelli Ministry to the Commission of Sacred Archae- 
ology. It was at first placed in the basilica of S. Petro- 
nilla, and afterwards near the fragment of the inscription of 
Laurentia. 



384 Christian Epigraphy 

Propositum mentis pietas veneranda puellae, 
Magnificos fructus dederat melioribus annis. 
Te germana soror nostri tune testis amoris, 
Cumfugeret mundum, dederat mihi pignus hones turn. 
Quam sibi cum raperet melior sibi regia caeli, 
Non timui mortem, caelos quod libera adiret, 
Sed dolui, fateor, consortia perdere vitae. 
Nunc veniente Deo nostri reminiscere virgo 
Ut tua per Dominum praestet mihi facula lumen. 

On one point I am sure, namely, that the words 
of the fifth verse, Bis denas hiemes necdum com- 
pleverat aetas, are not to be taken, as some think, 
in the sense that Irene died before she was twenty ; 
in my opinion it must be understood as saying that 
she was barely twenty when she made her profession 
as a holy virgin. The fact is that in the opening 
lines Damasus is speaking only of the dedication 
of Irene to virginity ; in the line that follows Bis 
denas hiemes, etc., he says that her manner of life 
was beyond her years, and then he goes on to say 
that in following years she displayed the blessed 
fruits of her self-dedication. 1 All this seems to me 
to explain sufficiently that Damasus, when thus 
speaking of his sister's tender age, meant the age 
at which she made her profession. After saying 
this, he goes on to state that Irene had been com- 
mended to his care by some one on his or her 
deathbed. And surely had he wanted to tell us 
the age of Irene at her death, he would have put 
it at the end of the poem. 

But if line 13 is to be read as an expression of 
the grief of Damasus over the death of Irene, as 

1 Both PEREZ and BIRAGHI think that the twenty years 
mentioned refer to her consecration to God. See De Rossi, 
Bull, di arch, crist., 1888-1889, p. 159. 



Part II Chaffer IX 385 

his life -companion, dolui fateor consortia perdere 
vitae^ it involves the conclusion that he had spent 
a great part of his life in her company ; and this 
Damasus could not possibly have said if Irene 
had died in her twentieth year, since he could 
then have been only some two years older. 

There is withal the further consideration on 
which I have already dwelt, that the words Hie 
soror est Damasi show that Damasus was already 
Pope when he composed this inscription. It is open, 
however, to the reply that he might have written 
the epitaph long after the death of his sister. In 
all probability, however, it was not written later, but 
placed immediately after her death on the tomb 
which Damasus had already made. For these 
reasons I am of opinion that both the mother and 
the sister of Damasus died towards the beginning 
of his Pontificate. 

And this view is strengthened by lines 9-10, 
which say that some one who had witnessed the 
mutual affection of Damasus and Irene had, on his 
or her death-bed, commended the sister to the care 
of the brother : Te germana soror nostri tune testis 
amoris Cum fugeret mundum dederat mihi pigmts 
honestum. 

The most obvious explanation of this is that the 
person in question was their mother, who, as their 
father was dead, commended Irene to the care 
of her brother. 1 Biicheler, however, proposes to 
explain Germana soror as the name of another 
sister who had given this injunction.' 2 

But it is difficult to accept this, seeing that, as 

1 See De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist., 1888-1889, pp. 140 
et seq. \ Duchesne, L.P. i. p. 215. 

2 Ihm, Damasi epigrammata, p. 17. 

2 C 



386 Christian Epigraphy 

we now know from the mother's inscription, she 
did not die young, as once might have been 
supposed, but at an advanced age ; that being so, 
it is difficult to suppose that Irene should have 
been commended by this supposed sister to the 
brother while the mother was still living. Besides 
this, the word pignus in the language of the in- 
scriptions of that date always means offspring. 1 
Finally, Damasus uses germanus in the sense of 
"brother in blood" elsewhere, as, for instance, in the 
inscription of S. Protus and S. Hyacinthus, where 
he says, Germani fratres animis ingentibus ambo? 

De Rossi has given a very ingenious, and to 
my mind satisfactory, explanation of lines 11-13, 
referring them to the death of the mother; he 
completes them thus: Quam (matrem} sibi cum 
raperet melior sibi regia coeli, non timui mortem 
coelos qiwd libera adiret^ sed dohii fateor consortia 
perdere vitae ; observing that the verbs in the third 
person, raperet, adiret, cannot be construed as 
referring to the vocative germana soror? And his 
allusion to his grief on the death of his mother 
comes in very naturally after the reference to the 
death of her who gave him her dying injunctions. 

To sum up : the verses on Irene speak of the 
injunction given to Damasus by his dying mother ; 
then they allude to her death ; and they conclude 
with a prayer to the deceased sister. And the 
words consortia vitae , it may be added, are most 
appropriate as applied to a mother who had lived 
with her son up to extreme old age. 

1 " Pignus, in the sepulchral language of that time, means off- 
spring" (De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist., 1885-1889, p. 151). 

2 Ihm, No. 49. See above, No. 412, p. 345. 

3 De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist. I.e. 



Part II Chapter IX 387 

It may be objected that as Laurentia was at 
least 89 years of age at her death, and had taken 
the vow of chastity 60 years before, Irene could 
not have been less than 60 at her mother's death ; 
and some may perhaps consider that a commenda- 
tion of a woman of such advanced years to the 
care of another is rather improbable. But this is 
not a serious difficulty : an aged sister may well be 
commended to a brother, not as needing guardian- 
ship and advice like a girl, but as possibly wanting 
material aid and sustenance. 

And if testis amoris does not mean the mother, 
it must, by virtue of the meaning assigned above to 
pignus, refer to the father ; and indeed the injunc- 
tion would come perfectly well from a father, as 
head of the family, even in the lifetime of the 
mother. This, if admitted, would be another 
argument in support of the contention that the 
father of Damasus could not have died 60 years 
before his wife Laurentia; for in that case Irene 
and Damasus would both have been children at 
the date of his death, and he would scarcely have 
commended one child to the care of the other. 

And this seems to be the opinion of Wilpert, 
who thinks that the inscription of Irene was the 
first to be placed in the sepulchral vault, and he 
infers from this that she died before her mother. 
If so, the testis amoris who commended to 
Damasus the pignus honestum must have been 
the father; the latter must therefore have died 
when Damasus was of an age to accept such a 
commission, and not at the time of Laurentia's 
consecration to God, about 307, when Damasus 
was only about two years old. And I cannot see 
how Wilpert reconciles his opinion on this point 



388 Christian Epigraphy 

with his contention that Laurentia became a widow 
60 years before her death ; for 60 years before her 
death Damasus was still a child. 1 

However, the testis amoris who gave the injunc- 
tion was a woman, and not a man, as the expres- 
sion libera adiret undoubtedly refers to that person ; 
and as this testis must have been one of the parents, 
it could only have been the mother. It was there- 
fore the mother who commended Irene to Damasus 
on her death-bed ; it was therefore the mother who 
died first. And here is another proof of the un- 
soundness of Wilpert's conjecture that Laurentia 
was buried in the cubiculum known as the 
Apostles', near which was found the slab bearing 
her inscription ; for that cubiculum had certainly 
been previously used for burials, and could not 
therefore have been the sepulchral monument 
erected by Damasus for his mother, his sister, and 
himself. 

All these inferences are logically deducible from 
the inscriptions in which Damasus himself is 
certainly speaking of his own family; and if my 
inquiry were to stop here, I might still present it as 
an adequate comment on the newly discovered 
Damasian text. To summarise it, then, so far as 
we have gone, I think I have reached the following 
conclusions : 

i. The mother of Damasus was named Laurentia, 
and lived to 89, or rather 92 years of age ; she gave 
up marital life at the age of 29 at least, or more 
probably of 32, and then dedicated herself to God, 
because her husband had taken holy orders. 

1 Wilpert, I should say, has now given up his interpretation 
of the inscription of Laurentia. See Romische Quartahchrift , 
1908, pp. 73 et seq. 



Part II Chapter IX 389 

2. Her husband, the father of Damasus, was a 
notary of the Church, lector, deacon, and finally 
sacerdos, i.e. bishop. 

3. He died before his wife. 

4. Laurentia died towards the beginning of the 
Pontificate of Damasus. 

5. Irene, younger sister to Damasus, dedicated 
herself to God at about the age of 20, and died in 
advanced years after her mother, and therefore 
while Damasus was Pope. 

6. The parents of Damasus had other children 
besides Damasus and Irene, inasmuch as Laurentia 
"saw the fourth generation," i.e. descendants 
through some other son or daughter. 

7. Damasus was buried near his mother and his 
sister in a tomb of great pretensions, which he had 
erected after becoming Pope, and which, whether 
it was above ground or subterranean, was thought 
worthy of the title of basilica. This building must 
have stood on the Via Ardeatina on the left hand 
as one leaves Rome, near the cemetery of Callisto, 
and almost opposite that of Domitilla. The exact 
spot cannot be as yet identified with certainty, 
but in any case it could not have been in the 
cubiculum in which Wilpert rather prematurely 
boasted that he had rediscovered it. 1 

1 Wilpert's mistake arose from his assuming that the in- 
scription of Laurentia belonged to that cubiculum, whereas it 
was in fact brought from elsewhere, and laid on a block of 
travertine, in the ordinary course of building. 



39 Christian Epigraphy 



Inscriptions possibly referring to the Father of 
Damasus 

I can now take a farther step, and having thrown 
some light on the inscription of the mother of 
Damasus, I may go on to inquire into the person- 
ality of the father of the great Pontiff, a subject of 
much historical and epigraphical importance. 

And I must start with the prefatory observation 
that as the father of Damasus was a man of some 
mark, as a bishop, it is most probable that his son 
wrote an inscription in his honour, as he did for 
his mother and his sister; and further, that a copy 
of such inscription is probably preserved in the 
ancient Collections. Another preliminary remark 
must be made, that as the father of Damasus was 
not buried in the cemetery of the Via Ardeatina, 
with the mother and sister, it is extremely likely 
that he had predeceased them and been buried in 
some other place, from which his son had been 
unwilling to move his body owing to the invariable 
custom of not changing a burial-place without the 
gravest of reasons. And here I will remark on one 
or two coincidences which struck me, on my first 
reading the inscription of mater Damasi^ as existing 
between that same inscription and another well- 
known one, which has not, however, as yet been 
examined with sufficient care. 

The name of Laurentia^ which is now ascertained 



Part II Chapter IX 391 

to be that of the mother of Damasus, set me 
thinking at once of an inscription in which mention 
is made of an individual who must have had 
personal relations with Damasus, an unknown 
bishop of the name of Leo, whose tomb is on the 
Via Tiburtina in the agro Verano near the basilica 
of S. Lawrence, and who happened to have a wife 
named Laurentia. 

This inscription had been already known through 
the existing Collections, and a great part of it was 
actually recovered in the later excavations on the 
agro Verano near the above-mentioned basilica. 
De Rossi published it in the Bulletino of 1864, 
and pronounced it to be Damasian ; his words are 
as follows : " I think it cannot be doubted that 
Pope Damasus wrote these verses. His style has 
a distinctive mark which can be recognised among 
a thousand. If I cared to enter into a philological 
discussion, I could prove in every line that the 
metre and the language belong to Damasus." * 
To this I may add that the inscription of this Leo 
cannot possibly be a later imitation of Damasus. 
In fact, its lettering shows that it is not later than 
the Pontificate of Damasus, and is more likely 
earlier ; De Rossi attributes it to the age of Liberius. 
But as it contains expressions which are unmistak- 
ably Damasian, it may be set down with certainty 
as the production of Damasus himself, and not an 
imitation of his style. 

I will now give the text of this striking inscrip- 
tion, putting in italics the portion which, though 
perished, is known through the Collections, and in 
capital letters the portion which still exists. 

1 Bull, di arch, crist., 1864, pp. 54-56. 



392 Christian Epigraphy 

440 



OMNIA QVAEQ vides proprlo quaesita labore 
CVM MIHI GENTILE jatndudum vita maneret 
INSTITVI CVPIENS censum CQgnoscere mundi 
IVDICIO POST MV/te Dei meliora seCVTVS 
CONTEMPTIS OPUus malui c^^SCERE CHRIST;/; 
HAEC MIHI CVRafuit nudos vestlRE PETENTES 
FVNDERE PAVPerttus quid quid c^wCESSERAT ANNVS 



No. i, discovered in iSSi. 1 
440 (a) 



PSALLERE ET IN POPVLIS VOLVI Uaeiu/antc 

[PROFETA 

SIC MERVI PLEBEM CHRISTI RETI^RE SACERDOS 
HVNC MIHI COMPOSVIT TVMVLVM LAVRENTIA 

[CONIVNX 

..VMORIBVS APTA MEIS SEMPER VENERANDA FI- 

[DELIS 

INVIDIA INFELIX TANDEM COMPRESSA QVIESCET 

OCTOGINTA LEO TRANSCENDIT EPISCOPVS AN- 

DEP DIE PRID IDVS MARTIAS [NOS 



No. 2, discovered in i857. 2 



1 The fragment No. i was discovered in 1881 in the agro 
Verano in two pieces. I made for De Rossi the first transcription, 
which is preserved among his papers now in the possession of 
Prof. Gatti, his successor in the editorship of the Inscriptiones 
christianae. The supplementary portion is taken from the 
Collections (v. Ihm, No. 33). I have placed it in the Lateran 
Museum. 

2 The fragment No. 2 was found in the agro Verano -in 1857, 
and is preserved in the Lateran Museum, where I have lately 
attached it to fragment No. i, with the additions which belong 
to it (bottom of Wall X. of the Loggia). 



Part II Chapter IX 393 

The person here commemorated had been origin- 
ally an idolater and given up to worldly pursuits ; 
he was then converted to Christianity, took holy 
orders, and became successively reader, deacon, 
and bishop. Though the two first -mentioned 
offices are not recorded in their proper order 
(no doubt to suit the metre) they are neverthe- 
less clearly indicated. Haec mihi curafuit suggests 
an office held by the deceased; and the office 
which involved the duty of distributing food and 
clothing to the poor was exactly that of the deacon. 
Psallere in populis modulante prop he fa points 
obviously to the office of lector. 1 Lastly, it is 
recorded that he became a bishop ; and here the 
use of sacerdos in the sense of "bishop," for which 
I have argued above, besides being suggested by 
retinere Christo plebem is made a matter of certainty 
by the last line : octoginta Leo transcendit episcopus 
aiuws? 

Thus the unknown Leo, who was buried on the 
Via Tiburtina, was the honoured subject of a 
Damasian eulogy ; was lector, levita, sacerdos, like 
the father of Damasus ; was buried at the charge 
of his wife, by name Laurentia, like the mother of 
the great Pontiff, who, as we have seen, survived 
her husband. Moreover, Laurentia, the mother of 

1 There is no reason why the office of deacon should not be 
named before that of lector, to suit the verse ; there are other 
instances of the same. Another Damasian inscription (to which 
I shall return later), speaking of a deacon called Florentius, 
describes him first as in sacris famulus (deacon) and afterwards 
as lector. Cp. Ihm, Epigr. No. 34, pp. 39-40. 

2 Uamasus uses the verb retinere for " to preserve," " quis 
mage virgineum placuit retinere pudorem " " nomina nee 
numerum potuit retinere vetustas. " So retinere plebem Christi 
means " to keep, guard, govern " the people of Christ. 



394 Christian Epigraphy 

Damasus, lived for 60 years a life consecrated to 
God, sexaginta Deo vixit; and the same is clearly 
suggested of Laurentia, the wife of Bishop Leo, of 
whom the inscription says that her tenor of life 
corresponded to that of her husband, as they were 
both dedicated to the service of God; that she 
\w$> fidelis and of venerable age : moribus apta meis 
semper veneranda fidelis. 1 

Another point of similarity between the two 
cases may be noticed. In the inscription of the 
Archives Damasus says of his father, " Creverat hinc 
mentis quoniam melioribus actis " ; and in the 
epitaph on Bishop Leo, Damasus uses the same 
expression of his idea, "Judicio post multa Dei 
meliora secutus." Now it is remarkable that 
Damasus uses the word meliora in the sense of 
"a higher life" (acta meliora) three times only, 
once in the verses on S. Tarsicius, again in those 
on the Archives which speak of his father, and 
finally in these on Bishop Leo. The poem on 
Tarsicius says of the protomartyr Stephen, Judaicits 
populus Stephanum meliora monentem perculerat 
saxis, etc., evidently meaning Stephen's discourse 
in which he exhorted the Jews to turn to Jesus 
Christ. 2 In the verses on Bishop Leo meliora 
secutus must be understood as acta meliora secutus^ 
referring no doubt to his conversion, as the inscrip- 
tion tells us that he was so converted : Contemptis 
opibus malui cognoscere Christum. 

Arguing by analogy, then, I come to the conclu- 

1 The epithet fidelis is used of persons dedicated to God. 
Cp. Virgo fidelis in inscriptions, e.g. VIXIT PURA FIDE VIRGO 
FIDELIS (Roma sotterranea, iii. p. 230). 

- Acts vii. The inscription has been already quoted above 
No. 424, p. 353. 



Part II Chapter IX 395 

sion that in the poem of the Archives too, when he 
says of his father, Creverat hinc meritis quoniam 
melioribiis actis, the words melioribus actis refer 
to his conversion. Thus Damasus appears to 
allude here to the conversion of his father ; while 
we learn from the inscription that Bishop Leo was 
converted from paganism to Christianity; the 
coincidence is perfect. We may also remark that 
Damasus only uses the word meritum of Saints, or 
people of saintly life. Here, too, the words of the 
Archives inscription, creverat hinc meritis, would be 
admirably suited to describe Bishop Leo, who was 
afterwards venerated as a Saint. 1 

It must be allowed that the details of these two 
lives present an astounding resemblance which it 
is difficult to account for as the result of mere 
accident. From this harmony of coincidences the 
thought naturally arises that the unknown bishop 
of the agro Verano may have been the father of 
the great Pontiff. And another inference again may 
be drawn from the words, invidia infelix tandem 
compressa quiescet, used in the inscription of Bishop 
Leo, which clearly allude to persecutions and 
slanders. We know from the disputes which arose 
in the time of Pope Liberius that Damasus was 
always a mark for his enemies' hatred, even before 
ascending the Pontifical throne ; thus the Liber 
pontificalis says of him, "Accusatus invidiose in- 
criminatur de adulterio." Damasus alludes to this 
hostile feeling again in the inscription of the martyr 
S. Felix of Nola : hostibits extinctis fuerant qui 
falsa locuti? The odium against the son may 
have embittered the life of the aged father also, 

1 See De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist. p. 56. 
2 Ihm, No. 61. 



396 Christian Epigraphy 

and it may be to this circumstance that the verse 
in the inscription of Leo refers. 

But I must not ignore the objections that have 
been made in some quarters ; indeed I cannot state 
them more clearly than by showing that there is a 
very good answer to them. 

No i. Damasus inserted his own name in the 
inscriptions of his mother and his sister; why 
should he have omitted it in that of his father ? 

My reply is, first, in the epitaph of Leo the 
deceased is represented as speaking, not the writer 
of the inscription ; and it would have been rather 
strange for him to state that he was the father of 
Damasus. Next, the tomb was made by Laurentia, 
his wife, and not by his son. Thirdly, the inscrip- 
tion of Bishop Leo has not come down to us entire; 
and the fragment preserved in the Lateran Museum 
shows that besides the verses there must have been 
some words in prose, and more especially a dedica- 
tion, of which nothing remains but the letters VV 
(viro venerabili}. Now these dedications were not 
always transcribed in the Collections ; e.g. in the 
Damasian inscription of S. Eusebius there is an 
entire omission of two lines containing the dedica- 
tion by Pope Damasus and the signature by Furius 
Dionysius Philocalus. We are therefore at liberty 
to believe that the original monument, which must 
have been of some magnificence, and decorated 
with pierced marble screens, bore the name of 
Damasus. And if his father died, as is probable, 
some years before his mother, when the son was 
still only in minor orders, a prose dedication, e.g., 
Damasus patri suo, etc., would seem more natural 
than a statement in verse that the deceased was 
pater Damasi an expression which would savour of 



Part II Chapter IX 397 

arrogance before Damasus attained to the Pontifi- 
cate ; and it would in no way increase the dignity 
of a bishop to be known as father of a deacon. 
But if the verses were written by Damasus while he 
was a mere deacon, they read as naturally as possible. 

No. 2. Bishop Leo was over 80 when he died, 
leaving Laurentia, the mother of Damasus, a widow 
of 29 or 32 years of age : Leo then could not have 
been the husband of a lady so much younger than 
himself. I have already anticipated the answer to 
this objection, which might seem one of some 
gravity, by proving it to be a perfectly gratuitous 
assumption that Laurentia was still young when 
she became a widow, inasmuch as sexaginta Deo 
vixit cannot mean that she was an actual widow 
for 60 years before her death ; and that, on the 
contrary, these 90 years are to be reckoned from 
the date of her separation from her husband, on 
his taking orders. When this is understood, it 
matters not whether you supply the lacuna in the 
line as post foedera sancta or as post foedera prima, 
in neither case would any difficulty arise owing to 
the age of Leo. Suppose him separated from his 
wife when she was 29 or 32 years of age, and he 
perhaps a trifle older ; he may well have lived many 
years longer, and after passing through all the grades 
of the hierarchy he may have died at the age of 80. 

No. 3. Bishop Leo of the Via Tiburtina had 
been an idolater, then had made a fortune, and, 
lastly, on conversion had taken holy orders. On the 
other hand the father of Damasus had been exceptor 
and after that lector ; but exceptores took that office 
in early youth, and it would therefore have been 
difficult for him to find the time to do all he did 
before becoming exceptor; it follows that the life- 



398 Christian Epigraphy 

career of the father of Damasus does not correspond 
with that of Leo. 

This also I answered when I showed that 
exceptores were really notaries, and that the latter 
might be 40 years of age, as shown by inscriptions. 
If then we suppose that the father of Damasus was 
converted in his 3oth year, he clearly had plenty 
of time to give to business and to make money 
before his conversion. And we must not omit to 
notice that the words of the inscription of Leo, 
censum cupiens cognoscere mundi, rather suggest a 
youth starting in business than a man with the 
experience of many years. If this be so, Leo at 
his conversion was not of advanced age, but still 
young. Now the father of Damasus was not a 
child when he entered the clerical profession. 
And in this connexion I may cite the very 
opportune remark of Perez l on the words " Hinc 
pater exceptor, lector ; levita, sacerdos" which, he 
maintains, enumerate the offices which he held in 
their correct order; in short, that he was first ex- 
ceptor, then lector. And he observes that, as a rule, 
youths who entered for the clerical profession first 
became lectores, and from the lectores were after- 
wards selected the exceptores. To support this he 
quotes a passage of Ennodius which relates how 
Epiphanius of Pavia, after having filled the office 
of lector, was nominated exceptor? And hence 
Perez infers that if the father of Damasus was 
exceptor before being lector, he could not have 
entered the clerical profession as a boy, but must 

1 Damasns et Laurentius Hispanis asserti et vindicali 
(1756), p. 46. 

2 Ennodius, In vita Epiphanii Ticinensis. Ed. Paris, 
1611, p. 360. 



Part II Chapter IX 399 

have been of mature years, and competent to trans- 
act the difficult duties of exceptor. And we have 
already noticed that an office which was practically 
that of a notary and a stenographer could not 
possibly be filled by boys, and therefore that the 
expression puer exceptor must be understood to refer 
to anything rather than youthfulness of the official. 
And it is impossible, at any rate, to assert that a 
lector must necessarily be of very tender years, for 
the inscriptions inform us that there were lectores 
of over 30 years of age, and that some of them 
were married. 1 

So, too, there is no force in the argument derived 
from the fact that the Archives inscription describes 
the father of Damasus as exceptor^ lector^ levita, 
sacerdos, while that of Leo in the Via Tiburtina 
records lector^ levita, sacerdos only. For assuming 
the two people to be identical, there was a reason 
for mentioning in the Archives inscription the 
office of exceptor^ which the father of Damasus had 
filled on that spot, a reason which did not apply 
to his sepulchral inscription, where it was enough 
to mention his full holy orders. 

No. 4. Liber pontificalis says that Damasus was 
bom expatre Antonio ; therefore Bishop Leo could 
not have been his father. 

My answer is that Antonins is a gentile name, 
while Leo is a cognomen ; the father of Damasus 
may very well have been named Antonius Leo ; 
and as the use of more names than one was rather 
common, he might have been called Antonius qiti 

1 HIC - REQVIESCIT . RVFINVS LECTOR j QVI - VIXIT 
ANNIS P M XXXI | /&/OSITVS IN - PACE IIII IDVS | 
SEPT | arc ADIO ET HONORIO AVGG V CONSS ( A .D. 402). 
(From the Cemetery of S. Hermes. ) 



400 Christian Epigraphy 

et Leo, as may be seen on many inscriptions. 1 
Finally, Leo may have been his personal name. 

Furthermore, he may also, as was often done, 
have changed his name at baptism, having been 
previously an idolater ; this is the more possible 
as Leo had a Biblical meaning and was therefore 
more used by Christians than by pagans. 

If this hypothesis is correct, the Liber pontificalis 
would be following its own practice in recording 
the gentile name only of the father of Damasus, 
as it does in the case of other Popes. I may add 
that, in the opinion of Duchesne, the registers of 
the families of the Popes in the Liber pontificalis 
are not of much value before the Pontificate of 
Felix III. (483-492), a century later than Damasus. 2 

I have already observed on the fact that the 
inscription of Leo was carved on two separate 
screens, and had a dedication in prose (now lost) ; 
hence it is possible that the gentile name Antonius 
actually appeared in the dedication, while the 
personal name of Leo was used in the actual epitaph 
for the convenience of the verse. 3 

1 In an inscription of the year 352, and therefore contemporary 
with Damasus, we read of a MASCLINIVS LEO (Wilmans, 
Exempla inscriptionum, No. 2283). 

2 See Duchesne, Lib. pont. i. (Les Sources, p. Ixxvi). 

3 With regard to Antonius, the father of Damasus, it is 
worth noticing that, according to the Liber pontificalis , Damasus 
endowed the church which he built juxta theatrum, where his 
father's house stood (S. Lorenzo in Damaso), with a possessio 
Antoniana in territorio Cassino. Could this have been a 
family property ? If so, it would harmonise with the fact that 
Bishop Leo had been a business man in his youth, censnm 
aipiens cognoscere mundi, was a man of wealth, contemptis 
opibus, and property, omnia quaeque mdes proprio quaesita 
labore, etc. One of the charges made against Damasus by 
his detractors was of porrectae in longum possessiones (cp. 
Libellus precum already quoted). 



Part II Chapter IX 401 

It might also be objected that had Damasus 
been the son of an ecclesiastic the Liber pontificalis 
would not have failed to record the fact, as in the 
cases where it was true of other Popes. I can 
answer to this, that the Papal biographies are often 
silent on this point, possibly because the writer 
failed to notice it. Thus it is clear that it was 
omitted in the biographyof Anastasius II. (496-498), 
where the Liber pontificalis only says "ex patre 
Petro " ; whereas it is perfectly well known from 
his inscription quoted above that his father was a 
priest. 1 If, then, a point of this sort is left unnoticed 
in the portion of the work which is accepted as 
fairly authoritative on the genealogies of Popes, 
we need not be surprised if it is left equally un- 
noticed in the portion which has less historical 
authority. 

This is, I hope, an exhaustive answer to all the 
difficulties raised. 

And here it is important, I think, to notice, that 
if we accept the suggested identification of Bishop 
Leo with the father of Damasus, it may be gathered 
from what has been said above that the separation 
from his wife took place in A.D. 307, when she was 
about 32 years of age. Now he was probably 
but little older than his wife ; and if he died at 
over 80 (pctoginta Leo transcendit episcopus annos), 
we may conjecture, always on the assumption 
aforesaid, that he did not die before 350, when 
Damasus was a deacon. Clearly then, if he was 
converted at the age of 30, he had had plenty of 
time before that to devote himself to worldly affairs, 
and if he took orders in 307 and died about 350, 
he may very well have passed through all the steps 

1 Presbyterogenitiis, etc. ; see Duchesne, Lib. pont. i. p. 258. 

2 D 



402 Christian Epigraphy 

of the Hierarchy, and have been successively 
exceptor, lector, levita, sacerdos. 

It is worth attention that the verses on Bishop 
Leo, although Damasian in style, are cut in the 
ordinary lettering of the fourth century, exactly 
like the epitaphs of the mother and sister of 
Damasus ; and thus this fact, which might have 
raised some difficulties against my hypothesis, had 
we not known all about the originals of the two 
last-mentioned, now, on the contrary, turns out to 
agree with the practice of Damasus up to a certain 
time in his life ; for we have shown that he did not 
adopt the lettering of Philocalus till later. 

But notice should also be taken of the fact 
that on the precise spot in the agro Verano where 
the fragments of the inscription on Bishop Leo 
came to light, there were also found many fragments 
of inscriptions in the genuine and unmistakable 
lettering of Philocalus, which have no reference to 
the local martyr S. Lawrence. 1 One of these 
fragments, still in situ, was found in absolutely 
the same place as the fragments of the epitaph of 
Leo ; it runs as follows : 



441 



MARMORIBVS VESTITA navis? 

QVAE INTEMERATA FIDES 

HIC ETIAM PARIES IVSTO 

OMNIA PLENA VIDES . . 



I seem to recognise some connexion between 

1 Ihm, No. 35. I have been able to recognise a few more 
fragments as Damasian, or of that school, in my searches in 
the cemetery of Cyriaca. 



Part II Chapter IX 403 

this fragment and the epitaph on Leo. Indeed 
the last line of the fragment, omnia plena vides, 
recalls the first line of the epitaph, omnia quaeque 
vides; and the words intemerata fides in the second 
line of the fragment remind one of the eulogy on 
Laurentia, the wife of Leo, semper veneranda fidelis. 

Furthermore, the poem to which the words 
omnia plena vides belonged goes on to speak of 
a splendid monument, decorated with marble, 
marmoribus vestita . . ., and it would appear that 
this monument had been erected by the person 
described as having i?itemerata fides. 

And no doubt the tomb of Bishop Leo was 
splendid, seeing it was erected on his own property 
purchased by his own money ; and it was prepared 
for him by a spouse veneranda fidelis. We may 
well suspect, then, that the Damasian metrical 
inscription containing the words marmoribus vestita 
was placed on the actual tomb of Leo. If so, 
it might be inferred that Damasus, who wrote his 
first poem in honour of that worthy while still using 
the ordinary fourth-century lettering, put up another 
inscription to the same person after adopting the 
alphabet of Philocalus ; and this would confirm the 
idea that he held him in special affection. All 
which would, according to my hypothesis, be very 
natural and intelligible. 

Another detail which must not be neglected is 
that the tomb of Bishop Leo stands near that 
of the martyr S. Lawrence. It is true that he 
had, while still a pagan, bought himself a property 
there with no reference to the sanctuary of the 
Saint ; but it is also true that he did not construct 
his own tomb there, this having been done many 
years after, when he died Christi sacerdos, by his wife 



404 Christian Epigraphy 

Laurentia, who took charge of his funeral. The 
wife's very name might explain the choice of the 
spot, close to the martyr whose name she bore ; 
but we must also remember that the family of 
Damasus must have had a special devotion to the 
martyr S. Lawrence on account of their Spanish 
origin, which they shared with that heroic deacon of 
the Roman Church. 1 This explains the magnifi- 
cence of the gifts made by Damasus to the altar of 
S. Lawrence (cumulat altaria donis) and the con- 
secration of a basilica by Damasus to that martyr 
on the site of his father's house (S. Lorenzo in 
Damaso). 

And if we suppose that the tomb of the father 
of Damasus stood near so venerable and holy a 
spot, where he must have expressly desired to be 
buried, we shall understand why Damasus, though 
then Pope, and though he had founded a family 
tomb on the Via Ardeatina, should nevertheless 
have been unwilling to remove his father's bones 
from the place where they had lain for so many 
years. 

I will conclude this investigation with a few 
additional remarks. 

De Rossi, who was the first to publish the epitaph 
of Bishop Leo, published shortly afterwards another 
Damasian inscription on a young deacon of 38 
years of age, Florentius by name, whom he made 
out to be a son of the above-mentioned bishop who 
died before his father. A fragment of this inscrip- 
tion was preserved in the Lateran Museum, and 
another was recovered in the agro Verano. The 
complete text is supplied in the Corbeian Collec- 

1 See Perez, Damasus et Laurentius Hispanis asserti et 
vindicate (Romae, 1756). 



Part II Chapter IX 405 

tion at St. Petersburg (Bull, di arch, crist., iSSi, 
P- 34) : 

442 

Quisquc vides titmuliim vitam si quaeris operti 
Ter morior denos et post bis quattuor annos 
Servatum Christo reddens de corpore munus 
Cuius ego in sacris famulus vel in ordine lector 
Offirio levitafui Florentius ore 
Qui pater i?i terris item mi hi sancte SACERD^ 
Contigit et tiatum tenuit IAM SORTE SECVNDA 
HOC SVPERA^te meo discedil SPIRITVS ORAE 
ISTE SENI Casus gravis est milll MORTE BEATVS 
QVOD PATRIS hospitio be?ie nunc mea membra quie- 
DEP DIE -PR ..... . J \scunt. 

De Rossi explains natus sorte secunda as mean- 
ing that Florentius was both the actual and the 
spiritual son of Leo, being deacon to him. But 
it is better perhaps to take it as meaning that he 
was his second son. 

If my hypothesis is true, then he would be 
brother to Damasus ; and this would agree with 
what has been said above, that Damasus had other 
brothers and sisters besides Irene. And no difficulty 
arises from the fact that the inscription of Florentius 
is in the lettering of Philocalus, for as Damasus 
may have written a second and " Philocalian " 
epitaph on his father in later years after becoming 

1 One fragment of the inscription of Florentius is the 
property of the Lateran Museum ; the other has been lost, but 
I have lately recovered two pieces of it, one from the municipal 
stores, the other from the cemetery of Cyriaca. I have put the 
three fragments together, and placed them on the walls of the 
Lateran Museum by the side of the inscription of Leo. 



406 Christian Epigraphy 

Pope, so he may have written another for his 
brother also, after adopting this style. 

De Rossi, moreover, insisted that Damasus must 
have written the inscription of Florentius many 
years later, after the death and beatification of his 
father Leo, as it describes the son as beatus for 
finding a resting-place in the paternal tomb ; and 
this would explain satisfactorily the use of the 
" Philocalian " character. 

But we may get some more light from the 
actual name of Florentius. It is well known that 
we often find similar names in the same family, 
e.g. Florus, Florentius-., Valens, Valentinianus \ 
ConstantinuS) Constant^ Constantius, etc. Now it 
is worth noting that Damasus wrote another 
beautiful poem commemorative of the death of 
a young married lady of 1 6 years of age, of the 
name of Projecta, and she, be it observed, was the 
daughter of one Florus. This inscription, to which 
attention has been called already, bears the consular 
date of the year 383, and is cut in very elegant 
" Philocalian " character. 

For greater clearness I will quote the text of 
this beautiful epitaph, which is in the Lateran 
Museum : 



Part II Chapter IX 407 



443 



QVID LOQVAR AVT SILEAM PROHIBET DOLOR IPSE 
FATERI | HIC TVMVLVS LACRIMAS RETINET CO- 
GNOSCE PARENTVM | PROIECTAE FVERAT PRIMO 
QVAE IVNCTA MARITO | PVLCRA DECORE SVO 
SOLO CONTENTA PVDORE | HEV DILECTA SATIS 
MISERAE GENITRICIS AMORE | ACCIPE QVID MVL- 
TIS THALAMI POST FOEDERA PRIM A | EREPTA EX 
OCVLIS FLORI GENITORIS ABUT | AETHERIAM CV- 
PIENS COELI CONSCENDERE LVCEM | HAEC DA- 
MASVS PRAESTAT CVNCTIS SOLACIA FLETVS | 
VIXIT ANN XVI M IX DIES XXV DEP III KAL IAN - 
FL MEROBAVDE ET FL SATVRNIN CONSS (A.D. 383) 



Damasus was very aged when he composed this 
poem, being in the last year but one of his Pontifi- 
cate: he deplores bitterly the death of the young 
bride, saying that his very grief forbade him to decide 
whether he should speak or be silent. Quid loquar 
aut sileam ? prohibet dolor ipse fateri. Now I con- 
fess that the excessive grief of the aged Pontiff 
(who had already lost all his own relations) for the 
death of this young lady seems rather unnatural, 
unless she was connected with him by some family 
tie. If this be admitted, we must suppose that 
Florus, the father of Projecta, was a relative of 
Damasus, probably his nephew, in which case 
Projecta would have been his great-niece. 

And on that hypothesis the youthful Projecta 
would represent, as regards the mother of Damasus, 
the fourth generation, i.e. exactly the progenies 
quarto, recorded in the inscription of the mother of 
Damasus, lately found in the cemetery near the Via 
Ardeatina [No. 434, p. 364]. In that case the 



408 



Christian Epigraphy 



restoration of that line which I suggested in the 
first part of this work, Progenie quarta vidit quae 
laeta nepotes^ would be extremely suitable, as it 
would be equivalent to saying that Laurentia died 
shortly after the birth of Projecta. 

The inscription of Projecta tells us that she died 
on December 3oth, 383, at the age of 16 years 
9 months and 25 days ; she was therefore born on 
March 5th, 367 ; and therefore Laurentia, on the 
hypothesis stated, must have died shortly after that 
date. But Damasus was elected Pope in October 
366 ; these conjectures, then, would be in perfect 
agreement with the view I have maintained from the 
beginning, that Laurentia died at the commence- 
ment of the Pontificate of Damasus, that she left 
her husband in 307, and that she subsequently 
lived a consecrated life for 60 years. It is remark- 
able, at any rate, that the birth of Projecta (367), 
who may reasonably be supposed to have been 
connected with Damasus, and, as far as the dates 
go, might very well represent the fourth generation 
of his family (the progenies quarta named at the 
end of the inscription), is exactly 60 years after the 
date (307) which we have already fixed on other 
grounds as the beginning of Laurentia's consecration 
to God, which lasted exactly 60 years. This co- 
incidence of dates is undoubtedly of great value in 
solving the problem before us, and in establishing 
a connexion between the inscription of Projecta 
and the family of Damasus. 

De Rossi had already conjectured that some 
connexion existed between Damasus and Florus : 
in the opinion of my honoured master, Florus, 
the father of Projecta, was the person who placed 
a fine inscription on the tomb of Liberalis, consul 



Part II Chapter IX 409 

and martyr, in a cemetery on the old Via Salaria. 
(See for this inscription De Rossi, Inscr. i. 2, pp. 
145-146.) 

444 



MARTYRIS HIC SANCTI LIBERALIS MEMBRA QVIE- 
SCVNT | QVI QVONDAM IN TERRIS CONSVL HONORE 
FVIT j SED CREVIT TITVLIS FACTVS DE CONSVLE 
MARTYR | CVI VIVIT SEMPER MORTE CREATVS HO- 
NOR | PLVS FVIT IRATO QVAM GRATO PRINCIPE 
FELIX | QVEM PERIMENS RABIDVS MISIT AD ASTRA 
FVROR i GRATIA CVI DEDERAT TRABEAS DEDIT 
IRA CORONAM | DVM CHRISTO PROCERVM MENS 
IXIMICA FVIT | OBTVLIT HAEC DOMINO COMPONENS 
ATRIA FLORVS | VT SANCTOS VENERANS PRAEMIA 
IVSTA FERAT | QVAMVIS PATRICIO CLARVS DE GER- 
MINE CONSVL | INLVSTRES TRABEAS NOBILITATE 
TVAS | PLVS TAMEN AD MERITVM CRESCIT QVOD 
MORTE BEATA | MARTYRIS EFFVSO SANGVINE 
NOMEN HABES | ADIVNCTVSQVE DEO TOTA QVAM 
MENTE PETISTI | ADSERTOR CHRISTI SIDERA IVRE 
COLIS | SIT PRECOR ACCEPTVM QVOD POST DISPEN- 
DIA BELLI I IN MELIVS MANVS RESTITVERE FLORI 



This is a most important document, as it tells 
us of a consul altogether unknown, who became a 
martyr for the faith of Christ, and who is com- 
plimented on his illustrious birth, which, it is said, 
shed glory even on the fasces of a consul. 

This epitaph also states that Florus built a 
basilica on that spot COMPONENS ATRIA FLORUS ; 
and it would be very natural that a relative of 
Damasus should follow his splendid example in 
showing devotion to the tombs of the martyrs . 1 

1 De Rossi calls our attention to a piece of funerary glass, on 
which one Florus is represented by the side of Damasus, and he 
suggests that this person may have been the author of the poem 
and the father of Projecta (Bull, di arch, crist., 1894, p. 37). 



4io Christian Epigraphy 

These noble lines, which might well have been 
written by a contemporary of Damasus, conclude 
with a prayer to the martyr to accept the labour 
bestowed on his tomb post dispendia belli : 

Sit precor acceptum quod post dispendia belli 
In melius manus restituere Flori}- 

De Rossi thought dispendia belli may refer to the 
sack of Rome by Alaric in 410 ; and even accepting 
this view, Florus may have been a nephew of 
Damasus. But the inscription might actually date 
from the time of the Pontiff. And, for my part, I 
am inclined to think that the words post dispendia 
belli allude to the serious quarrels which arose 
at the beginning of the Pontificate of Damasus 
through the schism of Ursinus. Indeed, the 
struggle against the Ursinians was actually called 
bellum by the historian Rufinus, whose words are 
these : 

"Quo ex facto tanta seditio immo vero tanta 
bella coorta sunt a alterutrum defendentibus po- 
pulis ut implerentur humane sanguine orationum 
loca " (H.E. ii. 10). 

And Damasus himself, in describing similar 
contests between the followers of Pope Eusebius 
and those of the heresiarch Heraclius, uses an 
identical expression : " Seditio caedes bellum dis- 
cordia lites." 

This being so, I see no difficulty in inferring that 
Florus meant by post dispendia belli to refer to the 
end of the schism of Ursinus, when, following the 

1 The codex gives disperandia, but dispendia is evidently 
the correct reading : De Rossi, Inscr. christ. ii. p. 104. The 
last line, In melius manus restituere Fieri, has been added. 



Part II Chapter IX 411 

example of Damasus, he set himself to decorate 
the tombs of the martyrs just as Damasus had done 
when he wrote the line Pro reditit cleri Christo 
praestante triumphans. This, then, is one more 
link between Florus and Pope Damasus. 

And if Florus was nephew or grand-nephew to 
Damasus, we find ourselves getting nearer to 
Florentius, whose name suggests that they belonged 
to the same family ; and he again brings us back 
to Bishop Leo as his possible father : this at least 
is the opinion of De Rossi. 

Finally, I may remark that the name of his 
mother Laurentia may indicate that she also 
belonged to the family of the Florentii, as we find 
in that family a Florida and a Laurentius. 1 

To all this I may add one final observation. In 
the inscriptions relating to Pope Damasus himself 
years are not mentioned ; these are only taken into 
account, and that with great exactness, in the 
inscriptions of his mother Laurentia, of his sister 
Irene (which gives, as I pointed out, the date of her 
profession), of Bishop Leo, of Florentius the deacon, 
who was probably the son of Leo, and of Projecta 
the daughter of Florus. 2 And we know of no 
other inscriptions of private individuals that can be 
certainly assigned to Damasus besides those which 

1 See Riese, Anthol. Lat. ii. pp. 211-212. I have had 
occasion elsewhere to dwell on the importance of a burial-place 
of the family Flori Florentii near the cemetery of Callisto, a 
burial-place that had been previously discovered by Ue Rossi, 
Roma sotterranea , iii. p. 40. 

2 "Centum minus (octo per?)annos" (Laurentia). 

" Bis denas hiemes necdum compleverat aetas " (Irene). 
" Octoginta Leo transcendit episcopus annos " (Leo). 
1 ' Ter morior denos et post bis quatuor annos " (Florentius). 
" Vixit annos XVI., menses IX., dies XXV." (Projecta). 



412 Christian Epigraphy 

I have here recorded ; which so far justifies a cer- 
tain inference that some family tie existed among 
the subjects of these various private inscriptions 
composed by Damasus, on account of which he 
wished to record the minutest details concerning 
them. 1 

The rigorously logical result of my argument is 
this : if we admit the most reasonable, most natural, 
and most generally accepted interpretation of the 
inscription on the Archives, Hinc pater exceptor, 
lector, levita, sacerdos, and if we accept the evidence 
of the inscription of mater Damasi, even in its 
present condition, we cannot but recognise an extra- 
ordinary combination of coincidences between the 
facts we know about the father of Damasus and the 
statements about Bishop Leo in his inscription in 
the agro Verano, coincidences which have struck all 
to whom I have submitted this inquiry. 2 

1 From this inquiry, and especially from the comparison of 
these inscriptions, and on the hypothesis above stated, a 
possible chronological table might be drawn up of the proximate 
dates of the events in the lives of the individuals in question. 

PROPOSED TABLE 

275-278. Birth of Laurentia, mother of Damasus. 305. 
Birth of Damasus. 306. Birth of Irene. 307. Separation 
between Laurentia and her husband on his taking orders ; 
Laurentia being then 29 or 32 years of age, and her husband 
a little older. 350 (or later). Death of the father of Damasus, 
over 80 years of age. 366 (October). Election of Damasus to 
Pontificate at the age of 61. 367 (March 5th). Birth of 
Projecta, daughter of Florus and (perhaps) grand-niece of 
Damasus. 367. Death of Laurentia (after March 5th), aged 89 
or 92. 368-9. Death of Irene, aged 62 or 63. 383 (December 
3oth). Death of Projecta, aged 16 years 9 months and 
25 days. 384 (December nth). Death of Damasus, aged 
about 80. 

2 All archaeologists whom I have consulted agree in my 
proposed identification. I may add that even Wilpert, while 



Part II Chapter IX 413 

Indeed, if all that has been said be accepted, we 
have these two persons living at the same time, 
each celebrated by Damasus in an epitaph, each 
going through the same steps of an ecclesiastical 
career, each married to a wife named Laurentia 
who took Professional Vows, each having children, 
each predeceasing his wife ; and while one is ex- 
pressly declared to have been converted from 
idolatry, allusion to the same circumstance is made 
in the case of the other. 

And it is undeniable that these coincidences are 
sufficient to give my hypothesis an air of great 
probability, and of great importance for the study 
of the life of Damasus. 

I must hold that until it be demonstrated that 
the inscription on the Archives reads puet\ and not 
pater -, it must be admitted that the father of 
Damasus was lector, levita, sacerdos ; that until 
another fragment of the inscription of the mother 
of Damasus be recovered to show that post foedera 
means post soluta foedera mortis causa, the most 
natural explanation of the words sexaginta Deo vixit 
is that which I propose ; and thus, that pending 
new and conclusive discoveries, my hypothetical 
identification of Bishop Leo with the father of 
Damasus must be accepted as reasonable and 
probable. 

In this fashion we may, by careful investigation 
of some of the Damasian texts, arrive at a recon- 
struction of some important pages in the history of 

contesting its correctness, is obliged to allow that his interpreta- 
tion of the verses on the Archives, and of the inscription of 
Laurentia, which provided the principal arguments against my 
theory, could no longer be supported (See Rdmische Quartal- 
sckriff, 1908, pp. 128-129). 



414 Christian Epigraphy 

certain great personalities of the Roman Church 
in the fourth century. And with this important 
inquiry into a subject hitherto untouched I close 
my treatise on Damasian epigraphy, and I pass to 
the consideration of other classes of ancient 
Christian inscriptions. 



CHAPTER X 

ILLUSTRATIONS OF HISTORICAL (NON-DAMASIAN) 
INSCRIPTIONS FROM THE FOURTH TO THE 
SIXTH CENTURY 

I WILL begin this chapter with the long and very 
beautiful sepulchral inscription which De Rossi 
very properly attributes to Pope Liberius (352-366). 
The text of it is reported in the Corbeian Collection 
now in St. Petersburg ; and it stood in the cemetery 
of Priscilla, in which that Pope was buried. 1 

445 

Quam Domino fuerant devota mente parentes 2 

qui confessorem takm gennere potentem 

atque sacerdotem sanctum, sine f elk columbam, 

divinae legis sincero corde magistrum. 

Haec te nascentem suscepit Eccksia mater, 

uberibus fidei nutriens de\vo\ta beatum, ( *-> v 

qui pro se pas sums eras mala cuncta Hbenter. 

Parvulus utque loqui coepisti dulcia verba, 

mox scripturarum lector pius indole foetus, 

id tua lingua magis kgem quam verba sonaret, 

dikcta a Domino tua dicta infantia simplex, 

nullis arte do/is sceda fucata ma/ignis 

officio tali iusto puroque legendi. 

1 De Rossi, Inscr. christ. \. 2, pp. 83-86. 

2 Owing to the length of this inscription, it is not printed in 
uncial type. 

415 



4i 6 Christian Epigraphy 

Atque item simplex adolescent mente fuisti, 
maturusque animo ferventi aetate modestus, 
remotiis, prudens, mitis, gravis, integer, aequus ; 
haec tibi lectori innocuo fuit aurea vita. 
Diaconus hinc factus iuvenis meritoque fideli, 
qui sic sincere ; caste, integreque pudice 
servieris sine f ran de Deo, \quf\pectore purn 
atque annis aliquot fueris levita severus, 
ac tali iusta conversation beata, 
dignus qui merito inlibatus iure perennis 
huic tantae sedi Christi splendore serenae 
electus fidei plenus summusque sacerdos 
qui nivea mente immaculatus papa sederes 
qui bene apostolicam doctrinam sancte doceres 
innocuam plebem caelesti lege magister. 
Qins, \f\e tractante, sua non peccata reflebat? 
In synodo cunctis superatis victor iniquis 
sacrilegis, Nicaena fides electa triumphat. 
Contra quamplures certamen sumpseris units 
catholica praecincte fide possederis omnes. 
Vox tua certantis fuit haec sincera, salubris : 
atque nee hoc metuo neve illud committereque op to ; 
haec fuit haec semper mentis constantia firma. 
Discerptus, tractus, profugatusque sacerdos, 
insuper ut faciem quodam nigrore velar et 
nobili falsa manu portantes aemula caeli, 
ut speciem Domini foedare\f\ luce coritsc\am\ 
En tibi discrimen vehemens non sufficit annum, 
insuper exilio decedis martyr ad astra, 
atque inter patriarchas praesagosque prophetas, 
inter apostolicam turbam martyrumque potentum. 
Cum hac turba dignus mediusque locatus \honeste\ 
mitter\is iii\ Domini conspectit\in\ iuste sacerdos. 
Sic inde tibi merito tanta est coticessa potestas, 
ut manum imponas patientibus, incola Christi, 




Part II Chapter X 417 

daemonia expellas, purges mundesque repletos, 
ac salvos homines reddas animosque vigentes 
per Patris ac Filii nomen^ cui credimus omnes. 
Cumque tu\uni\ hoc obitum praecellens tale videmus, 
spem gerimus cuncti proprie nos esse beatos, 
qui sumus hocque tuum meritum fidemque secuti. 

The poet begins by calling Liberius a Confessor 
of the Faith : 

Quam Domino fuerant devota mente par entes 
qui confessorem talem genuere potentem. 

Then, after alluding to his early ecclesiastical 
career, he speaks of his election to the Apostolic 
See: 

Huic tantae sedi Christi splendore serenae 
electus fidei plenus summusque sacerdos 
qui nivea mente immaculatus papa sederes. 

He goes on to refer to a synod called together 
in Rome by Liberius, in which he triumphantly 
asserted the Creed of Nicaea : 

In synodo cunctis superatis victor iniquis 
sacrilegis, Nicaena fides electa triumphat. 

Moreover, he stood alone to fight for the purity of 
the Catholic Faith against its many foes ; and here 
allusion is made to the condemnation of the 
Council of Rimini : 

Contra quamplures certamen sumpseris unus 
catholica praecincte fide possederis omnes. 

The poet then asserts that these had always been 
the opinions of the Pontiff, and that he ever 
remained steadfast in the true doctrine : 

Haecftiit haec semper mentis constantia firma. 

2 E 



4i 8 Christian Epigraphy 

And he concludes by saying that he died a 
martyr to his faith, not positively in exile, but in 
consequence of it : Insuper exilio decedis martyr ad 
astra. 

From these words we may gather that there had 
been some accusations levelled against him, which 
his encomiast wished to refute ; thus he goes on to 
say that the Pope was driven into exile, and that 
attempts were made to make him sully the spot- 
lessness of his faith : ut fatiem quodam nigrore 
velaret. But he testifies, and solemnly declares, 
that the Pontiff's belief remained pure ; he calls 
him a Confessor of the Faith ; glorifies him as 
having his seat in Heaven among the patriarchs, 
prophets, apostles, and martyrs; and he finally 
declares that God had been working great miracles 
at his tomb through his intercession. 

The emphasis oh these last words may be 
attributed without doubt to the enthusiasm of the 
partisans of Liberius ; but at any rate such a con- 
temporary memorial of the Pontiff thus publicly 
exhibited in Rome is a splendid testimony to the 
belief of the Roman Church in Liberius as a 
champion of the Nicene faith and a stout fighter 
for Catholic truth. 

In my opinion, however, this inscription was 
placed on the tomb of Liberius some years after 
his death; this may have been done in the days of 
Pope Syricius, who was his faithful companion, 
and doubtless also his admirer, inasmuch as his 
own epitaph makes express mention of Liberius, as 
we shall see later. 

Liberius certainly received the honour of 
"Veneration," at any rate at a later period; his 
name is to be found in the martyrology of Jerome 



Part II Chapter X 419 

at least twice, on September 24th, the day of his 
death, and May lyth, the anniversary of his 
ordination. 

It could not, however, be said that he was 
admitted to the rank of saint in the fourth century 
immediately after his death; as the honour of 
immediate beatification was reserved to martyrs 
only. It is true that in his sepulchral eulogy he is 
called martyr ; but this must be taken merely as 
an emphatic way of speaking on the part of the 
writer, who was evidently an admirer of the Pontiff 
and who expressed the opinion of his other 
admirers. But from the rather exaggerated 
language of the eulogy (in which, by the way, 
justice was at last done to this unconquerable and 
much-calumniated Pontiff) it must not be inferred 
that Liberius was really placed on the same level as 
the martyrs in the fourth century, for the purposes 
of public worship. And it is difficult to accept the 
suggestion recently made, that the portrait of that 
date found on a tomb in the cemetery of Prae- 
textatus is a likeness of Liberius. 1 

Inscription of Pope Syricius 
(385-399) 

Pope Syricius was buried in the cemetery of 
Priscilla, according to the Liber pontificate ; the 
precise spot was near the tomb of Silvester, ad 
pedes Sylvestri^ as noted in one of the Itineraries. 2 

The text of his sepulchral inscription, which is 

1 See Nuovo Bull, di arch, crist., 1908, p. 77, note i. 

2 " Qui etiam sepultus est in cymiterio Priscillae via Salarin," 
L.P., Duchesne's ed. , i. p. 216. De Rossi, Kama sotterranea, 
i. p. 176. 



420 Christian Epigraphy 

modelled on the style of Damasus, is known 
to us through the two Collections of Lorsch and 
Verdun, which say that the verses were placed ad 
S. Silvestrum ubi ante pausavit super illo altare. 
This shows that the transcription was made after 
the relics of Silvester had been taken up thence 
and transported within the city, which took place 
in the Pontificate of Paul I. (757-767). 
The poem runs thus : 

446 



LIBERIVM LECTOR MOX ET LEVITA SECVTVS | 
POST DAMASVM CLARVS TOTOS QVOS VIXIT IN 
ANNOS | FONTE.SACRO MAGNVS MERVIT SEDERE 
SACERDOS | CVNCTVS VT POPVLVS PACEM TVNC 
SOLI CLAMARET | HIC PIVS HIC IVSTVS FELICIA 
TEMPORA FECIT | DEFENSOR MAGNVS MVLTOS VT 
NOBILES AVSVS | REGI SVBTRAHERET ECCLESIAE 
AVLA DEFENDENS | MISERICORS LARGVS MERVIT 
PER SAECVLA NOMEN | TER QVINOS POPVLVM 
QVEM REXIT IN ANNOS AMORE | NVNC REQVIEM 
SENTIT COELESTIA REGNA POTITVS 1 



From the old Collections. 

This inscription is very well known, but it has 
not hitherto been thoroughly investigated. 

It begins by saying that Syricius was first lector, 
and then deacon to Pope Liberius ; that afterwards 
he served in the same office of deacon to his suc- 
cessor Damasus ; and that he was distinguished in 
the performance of these duties (clarus) through- 
out the Pontificate of the latter (366-384). 

We may next note the expression fonte sacro 
magnus meruit sedere sacerdos^ cunctus ut popuhts 
1 For the text of the poem see De Rossi, Inscr. christ. i. n, 
p. 102, No. 30 ; p. 138, No. 21. 



Part II Chapter X 421 

pacem tune soli damaret. These words must refer 
to some solemn recognition of Pope Syricius having 
taken place close to a memorial baptistery. 1 

Inscription of Pope Coekstinus 

(423-43 2 ) 

Celestine succeeded Boniface I. in 423 ; he ruled 
the Church up to 432, and was buried in the 
cemetery of Priscilla, et sepultus est in cymiterio 
Priscillae via Sa/aria.' 1 His sepulchral inscription 
is known from the Collections of Tours and 
Lorsch, but it does not contain the slightest 
allusion to the history of his Pontificate. 3 The 
epitaph confines itself to saying that the Pontiff 
earned the veneration of the Christian world, that 
he ruled for ten years, and then passed into that 
eternal life which is the guerdon of saints ; that 
his body lies in the tomb, but will rise from it 
one day, and that meanwhile his spirit enjoys the 
vision of Christ. The text is as follows : 

447 



PRAESVL APOSTOLICAE SEDIS VENERABILIS OMXI j 
QVEM REXIT POPVLO DECIMVM DVM CONDERET 
ANNVM | CAELESTINVS AGENS VITAM MIGRAVIT 
IN ILLAM | DEBITA QVAE SANCTIS AETERNOS 
REDDIT HONORES | CORPORIS HIC TVMVLVS RE- 
QVIESCVNT OSSA CINISQVE | NEC PERIT HINC 
ALIQVID DOMINO CARO CVNCTA RESVRGET | TER- 
REXVM NVNC TERRA TEGIT MENS NESCIA MORTIS | 
VIVIT ET ASPECTV FRVITVR BENE CONSCIA CHRISTI 



From the ancient Collections. 

1 See Nuovo Bull, di arch, crist., 1908, pp. 79 et seq. 

- Lib. pont. , Duchesne's ed. , i. p. 231. 
3 De Rossi, Inscr. christ. i. 2, p. 62, i ; p. 101, 19. 



422 . Christian Epigraphy 

There would be remarkably little to say about 
the tomb of Celestine, were it not for the memories 
which his name revives of the great Council of 
Ephesus held under him. To that Council he 
sent Philip the priest by special appointment as 
legate of the Apostolic See, who then as repre- 
sentative of the Pope solemnly and publicly 
asserted the supremacy of the Church of Rome 
over all other churches of the world; and the 
Council acknowledged that supremacy by its accept- 
ance of Philip's unqualified and solemn declara- 
tion : " Nulli dubium imo omnibus saeculis notum 
est quod Petrus apostolorum princeps et caput, 
fidei columna, Ecclesiae catholicae fundamentum, a 
Domino nostro Jesu Christo claves regni accepit 
. . . et semper in suis successoribus vivit et 
judicium exercet." 1 

And we find an echo of this solemn statement 
in a monument of the age of Celestine, viz. the 
dedicatory inscription on the basilica of Santa 
Sabina on the Aventine, where that Pontiff is 
called "the first bishop of the world": Culmen 
apostolicum cum Coelestinus haberet -primus et in 
toto fulgeret episcopus orbe. 

The following is the inscription placed by the 
above-named Philip, priest, in his titular church of 
S. Pietro in Vinculis ; it contains an allusion to the 
Council of Ephesus : 



1 Coll. dei Concill, Coleti's ed. vol. iii. p. 1154. 



Part II Chapter X 423 

448 



CEDE PRIVS NOMEN NOVITATI CEDE VETVSTAS | 
REGIA LAETANTER VOTA DICARE LIBET I HAEC 
PETRI PAVLIQVE SIMVL NVNC NOMINE SIGNO | 
XYSTVS TAPOSTOLICAE SEDIS HONORE FRVENS | 
VNVM QVAESO PARES VNVM DVO SVMITE MV- 
NVS | VNVS HONOR CELEBRET QVOS HABET VNA 
PRIDES | PRESBYTERI TAMEN HIC LABOR EST ET 
CVRA PHILIPPI | POSTQVAM EPHESI CHRISTVS 
VIC1T VTRIQVE POLO | PRAEMIA DISCIPVLIS ME- 
RVIT VINCENTE MAGISTRO | HANC PALMAM FIDEI 
RETTVLIT INDE SENEX 



From the Collections of Inscriptions (De Rossi, Inscr. i. 2, 
p. no). 

In this inscription Sixtus III. is named as the 
successor to Celestine; and it is to Sixtus III. 
(Pope 432-440) that the following refers: 

449 



VIRGO MARIA TIBI XYSTVS NOVA TEMPLA DICAVI | 
DIGNA SALVTIFERO MVNERA VENTRE TVO | TE GE- 
NITRIX IGNARA VIRI TE DENIQVE FETA | VISCERI- 
BVS SALVIS EDITA NOSTRA SALVS | ECCE TVI TE- 
STES VTERI SIBI PRAEMIA PORTANT | SVB PEDIBVS 
IACET PASSIO CVIQVE SVA | FERRVM FLAMMA FE- 
RAE FLVVIVS SEVVMQVE VENENVM | TOT TAMEX 
HAS MORTES VNA CORONA MANET 



In the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. 
From the Collections of Inscriptions. 1 

This inscription records the work carried out by 
Sixtus III. in the basilica of Liberius, which he had 

1 De Rossi, Inscr. christ. i. 2, pp. 71, 98. 



424 Christian Epigraphy 

dedicated to the Virgin as a memorial of the above- 
mentioned solemn decision of the Council of 
Ephesus. 

, The composition of it is very good, besides being 
of the greatest value as evidence of the cult of the 
Virgin. Moreover, it describes the mosaics which 
the Pontiff had ordered to be made for the basilica, 
representing martyrs, with the emblems of their 
martyrdom. 

These mosaics have perished, but those of the 
great chancel arch are still preserved ; they repre- 
sent the Virgin in the scene of the Epiphany ; and 
above the arch are still to be read the words in 
which the Pope dedicated the building to the 
people of Christ : 

XYSTVS . EPISCOPVS PLEBI DEI 

Next to this I will quote another inscription of 
the time of Pope Leo the Great (440-461) : 



450 



CVM MVNDVM LIywENS VEMetrias ANNIA 
virgo | CLA^ERET Ejtr/REMVM NON MORIfera 
diem \ HaeC TIBI PAP LEO VOTORVM EX- 
TREMA suorum \ TraffDIT uT sacrAE SVR- 
GERET AM la domus \ MNDTI COMPLEX- FIDES 
SED GLOR/ major \ ITERIVS VOTVM SOL- 
VERE QVAM PROPA/; | INo^V/ERAT cVLMEN 
STEPAanVS QVI - PRIMVS IN OR^ | RAPTVS 
MORTV trVCl REGNrt/ IN ARCE poll \ PrAE- 
SVLIS YLAnc jussV TIGRINVS Presbyter aulam \ 
EXcOLIT INS(fNIS MENTE LABOr^ vigens 



In the basilica of S. Stefano on the Via Latina. 1 
1 The letters in italics represent restorations of the text. 



Part II Chapter X 425 

We learn from this inscription that the noble 
maiden Demetrias, belonging to a Roman family 
of rank, at her death bequeathed to the Church 
one of her farms, for the erection thereon of a 
basilica, in honour of the protomartyr Stephen ; and 
that after the pious lady's death Pope Leo under- 
took the duty of carrying out her wish. -The 
magnificent ruins of this sacred edifice still exist : 
it was basilical in shape, consisting of three aisles 
with an apse, a chapel of the relics, and an adjoin- 
ing baptistery: the remains of these were brought 
to light in 1857. The erection of this suburban 
church, which is recorded in Liber pontificalis, 
like the restoration of other churches which was 
carried out by the same Pope Leo, must be 
attributed to the last period of the life of the 
Pontiff, when he devoted himself to the repair of 
the mischief, material as well as moral, which the 
Church of Rome had suffered from the invasions 
of the barbarians ; and for this reason the basilica 
of S. Stefano with the inscription of Demetrias may 
be looked upon as records of the occurrences which 
shed eternal glory on the Pontificate of the great 
Leo. 

Not long after the Pontificate of Leo the Western 
Empire fell (476), and barbarian rule over Italy 
began. To Odoacer succeeded Theodoric ; and 
the following inscription is an important record of 
the relations between the Roman Pontiffs and the 
Ostrogoth government: 



426 Christian Epigraphy 

45* 



AVLA DI CLARIS RADIAT SPECIOSA - METALLIS 
IN QVA PLVS FIDEI LVX PRETIOSA MICAT 

MARTYRIBVS MEDICIS POPVLO SPES CERTA SA- 

[LVTIS 
VENIT ET EX SACRO CREVIT HONORE LOCVS 

OPTVLIT - HOC DNO FELIX ANTISTITE DIGNVM 
MVNVS VT AETHERIA VIVAT - IN ARCE POLI 



In the apse of SS. Cosmo and Damiano in the Forum 
Romanum (letters in mosaic). 

This inscription is a record of Pope Felix IV. 
(526-530), who decorated and consecrated this 
church, and whose Pontificate is of much historical 
importance. He succeeded John I., who was 
martyred through the senile jealousy of Theodoric ; 
and he was elected to the Papacy by the express 
direction of the king of the Goths. This is the 
first instance of the -interference of the civil 
power in the election of Popes ; a practice which 
was carried on by the king's successors, which 
passed from them to the Byzantine emperors, and 
thence again to the mediaeval German emperors, 
thus causing the secular dissensions between Church 
and Empire. This inscription also bears witness 
to one of the oldest instances of the transformation 
of a pagan public edifice of the Forum into a 
Christian church ; for the existing church is formed 
by combining parts of two ancient constructions 
of different dates, one being the temple of Romulus, 
the son of Maxentius, built on the side of the Via 
Sacra, of which the circular cella still exists, and 
the other being the templum sacrae urbis, the 
entrance to which was on the Forum of Peace, 



Part II Chapter X 427 

and in which were found the fragments of a 
plan of Rome on marble executed in the days of 
Septimius Severus. 1 

45 2 



Cumperitura Getac POSVISSENT CASTRA SVB VRBE 

Morerunt sancTIS BELLA NEFANDA PRIVS 
Istaque sacrilege VERTERVNT CORDE SEPVLCHRA 

Martyribus yw^NDAM RITE SACRATA PUS 
Qnos mostrante Deo ZteMASVS SIBI PAPA PROBATOS 

Affixo monuit carmine jure coli 
Sed periit titulus confracto marmore satictus 

Nee tamen his iteruin posse perire fuit 
Diruta Vigilius nam tnox haec papa getniscens 

Hostibus expulsis omne novavit opus 



In the Lateran Museum. 2 

This inscription tells us that the Goths, while 
encamped under the walls of Rome, laid waste 
some of the martyrs' tombs, and destroyed the 
marble slabs bearing the epitaphs placed thereon 
by Pope Damasus, and that these injuries were 
made good by Vigilius, after the enemy had been 
driven out. 

This destruction took place in 537-538, at the time 
when Vitiges had placed his Goths in permanent 
camp under the walls of Rome; indeed Liber 

1 Cp. O. Marucchi, Le Forum romain et le Palatin, pp. 249 
et seq. 

- The only surviving fragment of this inscription was found 
in the cemetery of S. Peter and S. Marcellinus on the Via 
Labicana, and is kept in the Christian Museum of the Lateran 
(3rd compartment). The restorations are taken from the 
Codex Palatinus of the Vatican, No. 833, where this inscription 
is copied in its entirety among many others ; but it appears 
to have been transcribed from another original existing in the 
Via Salaria in the ninth century. 



428 Christian Epigraphy 

pontificaliS) in describing the siege, says that 
ecdesiae et corpora sanctorum martyrum exterminata 
sunt a Gothis (see life of Silverius). 

It was an easy matter for the barbarian soldiery 
to go down into the Roman catacombs, as their 
cantonments lay along the high roads, close to the 
entrances of these underground galleries ; thus not 
only the cemetery on the Via Salaria, where this 
inscription was seen by the compiler of the 
Palatine Collection, but also that of S. Peter and 
S. Marcellinus, where all that is left of the original 
marble was discovered, was contiguous to the two 
cantonments of the Gothic forces. 

There can be no doubt as to the date of the 
restoration of the Damasian inscriptions through 
the efforts of Vigilius ; it must have been at a date 
subsequent to March 538, when Vitiges, after 
raising the siege, was defeated and taken to Rome 
as prisoner by Belisarius, there received the sworn 
promise that his life would be spared, and was 
thence taken to Constantinople. At the same 
time, it cannot be much later than that date, as 
that was the last occasion on which Pope Vigilius 
stayed in Rome for any time ; after leaving Rome, 
he visited the Imperial court to discuss the famous 
question of the Three Chapters, and never returned 
to his See. As we know of two identical copies of 
this inscription found in two different and widely 
separated cemeteries, we may infer that the 
Damasian inscriptions restored by Vigilius after 
the siege of Vitiges were fairly numerous ; thus 
one of these restorations which was found in the 
cemetery of Callisto is a counterpart of the epitaph 
on the Pope and martyr S. Eusebius which has 
been already quoted. 



Part II Chapter X 429 

The ruin wrought by the barbarians, and the 
work of repair carried out in the Roman catacombs 
and in the suburban basilicas after their departure, 
are also commemorated in other metrical inscriptions 
known to us through the Palatine Collection ; I 
will quote one specimen which used to stand in 
one of the cemeteries of Via Salaria, on the tomb 
of the martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria : 



453 



HIC VOTIS PARIBVS TVMVLVM DVO NOMINA SER- 

[VANT 

CHRISANTI DARIAE NVNC VENERANDVS HONOR 
EFFERA QVEM RABIES NEGLECTO JVRE SEPVLCHRI 

SANCTORVM TVMVLOS PRAEDA FVRENTIS ERANT 
PAVPERIS EX CENSV MELIVS NVNC ISTA RESVRGVNT 

DIVITE SED VOTO PLVS PLACITVRA DEO 
PLANGE TVVM GENS SAEVA NEFAS PERIERE FV- 

[RORES 

CREVIT IN HIS TEMPLIS PER TVA DAMNA DECVS 



From the Collections. 
(De Rossi, Inscr. christ. i. 2, pp. 84, 87, etc.) 

This tells us of some restoration effected at the 
expense of a private individual, and we have no 
means of determining whether it belongs to the 
same period as the one last quoted, or is later than 
the other sieges which Rome had to endure from 
the forces of Totila; in the latter case it would 
belong to the period of tranquillity which followed 
the fall of the Gothic domination. 



430 Christian Epigraphy 

454 



Devastata ITERVM SVMMOTA.f!efefrtcatttitfft 

Priscum PERDIDERANT ANTRA sacrata decus 
Nee tuajam waRTYR POTERANT venerande sepulcra 

Huic mundo LVCEM MITTERE qua/men's 
Lnx tawen ista TVA EST QUAE NESCIT/wNEr sett quo 

PerfeTVO CRESCAT NEC MINVAfwr /uiREl 
Nam nigra NOX TRINVM STVPVIT PER SPECVLA 

[LVMEN 

AttmittttnKyrE, NOVVM CONCoeuc SAXA DIEM 
Frustra iaKBARIClS/remuerunt AVSIBVS HOSTES 

Foedaruntque SACRVM tela CRVENTA LOCVM 
Inclyta SED MELIVS splendescit MARTYRIS AVLA 

AVCTOREMQVEr^*z;;,/IA FACTA SVVM 
PRAESVLE VIGILIO SVMPSerunt ANTRA DECOREM 

PRESBYTERI ANDREAE CVRA PEREGIT OPVS 



This inscription was found in the cemetery of 
S. Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina, where it still 
stands. It speaks of the work done there in the 
Pontificate of Vigilius (praesule Vigilio] by a priest 
of the name of Andreas, who restored the crypt 
(antra sacrata}. 1 

The particular work here recorded is the opening 
of skylights into the vaulting of the small under- 
ground basilica, so as to remedy its defective light. 
And when that historic crypt was once more 
uncovered, in 1881, the traces were once more 
seen of this splendid work carried out under Pope 
Vigilius at the charge of Andreas the priest, who 
proposed by these restorations to repair the injuries 
done to these monuments by Gothic barbarism. 

1 For the restorations of the text, see De Rossi, Bull, di 
arch, crist., 1882, p. 60. 



Part II Chapter X 431 

455 



DIGNE TENES PREMIVM MARAE PRO NOMINE XPI 

VINDICE QVO VIVIT SEDES APOSTOLICA 
PRAESVLIS IN VICIBVS CLAVSISTI PECTORA SAEVA 

NE MANDATA PATRVM PERDERET VLLA FIDES 
TVQVE SACERDOTES DOCVISTI CHRISMATE SANCTO 

TANGERE BIS NVLLVM IVDICE POSSE DEO 
TE QVAERVNT OMNES TE SAECVLA NOSTRA RE- 

[QVIRVNT 

TV FVERAS MERITVS PONTIFICALS DECVS 
PAVPERIBVS LARGVS VIXISTI NVLLA RESERVANS 

DEDISTI MVLTIS QVAE MODO SOLVS HABES 
HOC TIBI CARE PATER debita PIETATE NOTAVI 

VT RELEGANT CVNCTI QVAM BENE CLARVS ERAS 
REQVIESCIT IN PACE MAREAS PB QVI 

. ST BASILI INDC III 



In the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere. 

This important inscription was found in 1869 in 
the restoration of the pavement of the church of 
Santa Maria in Trastevere, and is now to be seen 
in the porch of that basilica; the text of it was 
already known through the Palatine Collection. 1 
It is a laudatory epitaph on a priest of the name 
of Marea, who died in a year distinguished by the 
words post consulatum of Basilius, and of the 3rd 
Indiction, circumstances which agree with the year 
555, being the fourteenth year after that consulship ; 
thus the period of life of this worthy corresponded 
pretty nearly with the stormy years of the Gothic 
war. From the general tenor of the inscription 
we learn that Marea the priest was a man of 
great influence in Rome, that he was firm in 

1 De Rossi, Bull, di arch, crist., 1869, No. 3, pp. 17 et seg. 



432 Christian Epigraphy 

asserting the authority of the Apostolic See (vindice 
quo vivit Sedes Apostolica\ that he preserved the 
purity of the faith, gave liberally of his riches to 
the poor, and restrained the fury of the barbarians 
as vicar of the Pope (praesulis in vicibus clausisti 
pectora saeva). These details point to a time when 
Rome was without its shepherd, and torn by wars, 
sieges, and other great calamities, a date which corre- 
sponds with the second period of the Gothic war, 
when the barbarian Totila on no less than two 
occasions treacherously obtained possession of the 
city by bribing the I saurian mercenaries who held 
its gates. It was just at this time that Pope Vigilius, 
who had left Rome for Constantinople to discuss 
the question of the Three Chapters and had stopped 
for a few days in Sicily on his way, had despatched 
Valentinus, bishop of Selva Candida, as his vicar 
with some shiploads of corn to meet the needs of 
the besieged city ; but the ships were captured by 
the Goths in the port of Rome, and the unfortunate 
bishop was cruelly mutilated. 1 History does not 
give us the name of the successor of Bishop 
Valentinus in the administration of the Church in 
Rome as vicar of the absent Vigilius; but from 
this inscription we learn that it was Marea the 
priest, either on an express appointment by the 
Pope or by the election of the Roman clergy, we 
cannot say which. Marea, as the epitaph tells, 
worthily upheld his office : he bridled the fury of 
the Goths, and perhaps induced the furious Totila 
to spare the unfortunate city from the destruction 
with which he had threatened it; he maintained 
the standard of faith and discipline, and ever stood 
up for the authority of the absent Pontiff. This is 
1 Procopius, De bello Gothico, iii. c. 16. 



Part II Chapter X 433 

a bright record for so gloomy a period, when this 
unfortunate city had fallen into the depths of 
misery of all sorts, so that Procopius (though with 
obvious exaggeration) could say that after the first 
entry of Totila into the city in 546 it remained for 
more than forty days an absolute desert and a mass 
of ruins inhabited only by wild beasts. 1 The 
following inscription throws some light into the 
obscurity of those days, and reveals to us the 
name of an individual who deserved well of his 
country in that dark time : 

45 6 

_ 



I DEMOVIT DOMINVS TENEBRAS VT LVCE CREATA 

HIS QVONDAM LATEBRIS SIC MODO FVLGOR INEST 
I ANGVSTOS ADITVS VENERABILE CORPVS HABEBAT 
j HVC VBI NVNC POPVLVM LARGIOR AVLA CAPIT 
PRAESVLE PELAGIC MARTYR LAVRENTIVS OLIM 

TEMPLA SIBI STATVIT TAM PRETIOSA DARI 
1 MIRA FIDES GLADIOS HOSTILES INTER ET IRAS 
| PONTIFICEM MERITIS HAEC CELEBRASSE SVIS 
TV MODO SANCTORVM CVI CRESCERE CONSTAT 

[HONORES 
FAC SVB PACE COLI TECTA DICATA TIBI 



In the apse of the basilica of S. Lorenzo on the Via Tiburtina 
(restored by the aid of the Collections). 2 

This inscription is to be read in the mosaic of the 
apse of the suburban basilica of S. Lorenzo in the 
agro Verano : the last distich is all that remains of 
the original ; the remainder was supplied on the 
authority of ancient and authoritative copies. The 
inscription states that Pope Pelagius II. (578-590) 

1 Procopius, De bello Gothico^ iii. c. 22. 
- De Rossi, Inscr. christ. i. 2, pp. 63, 106. 

2 F 



434 Christian Epigraphy 

enlarged and adorned the basilica of S. Lorenzo. 
We know from Liber pontificalis that this restora- 
tion was on a very considerable scale, and consisted 
of the enlargement of the old basilica of Constantine, 
and the cutting away of the rising ground of the 
agro Verano above it, which made the church damp 
and dark. Yet these works were carried out amid 
the din of hostile arms that were threatening the 
very existence of Rome, gladios hos tiles inter et iras\ 
words which carry us in thought to the memorable 
time of the Lombard invasion of Italy, when those 
rude conquerors, after occupying the southern 
provinces of the peninsula, were threatening to 
overrun it from one end to the other. And we 
learn also from this record that the Lombards 
were considered general enemies, that their advance 
was looked for with terror, and that recourse was 
had to the intercession of the Saints to obtain 
peace, fac sub pace coli tecta dicata tibi. 

This inscription of Pelagius, which stands above 
the mosaic, speaks of the work done for improving 
the light of the old Constantinian basilica of S. 
Lorenzo ; another inscription placed by the same 
Pontiff round the chancel arch of that building 
contains a distich comparing the light thus 
restored to the martyr's church to the glow of the 
flames in which he suffered martyrdom : 

MARTYRIVM.FLAMMIS-OLIM.LEVITA.SVBISTI- 
IVRE-TVIS-TEMPLIS-LVX-VENERANDA-REDIT. 

I will now give another specimen of the inscrip- 
tions of the same period, which is placed on the 
tomb of a notary of the Roman Church, by name 
Eugenius. It bears the date of the twelfth year of 
the reign of Justinus (578) : 



Part II Chapter X 435 

457 



-f SEPVLCHRVM EVGENI NOT CVM SVIS 
+ IMPIA MORS RAPIENS TENERIS TE NATE SVB ANNIS 
INVIDIT MERITIS CRISCERE MAGNA TVIS 
TE EORALE DECVS PRIMO CVM CARMINE CEPTO 
DOCTOREM DOCTOR VIDIT ET OBSTIPVIT 
VICISTI PRISCOS LONGEVA ETATE PARENTES 
ANNIS PARVE QVIDEM SED GRAVITATE SENEX 
NON LVXVS TIBI CVRA FVIT NON GRATIA PONPAE 
DOCTILOQVM CVPIDVS CARMINIS ARDOR ERAS 
TV MERITIS ORNATE TVIS MONVMENTA RELINQVIS 
QVAE RECOLENS SEMPER SIT SINE FINE DOLOR 
MORTE TVA GENITRIX OPTAVIT SVMERE MORTE 
SE QVOQVE FELICEM SI POTERITVR AIT 
TER DENOS PRIMVM QVAM LVNA RESVMERET IGNES 
CONIVNCXIT MEMBRIS MEMBRA SEPVLTA TVIS 
NVNC COMMVNE NOBIS CVSTVS TV SERVA SEPVL- 

[CRVM 

QVE NOS HEC TECVM MOX TEGET ORNA SIMVL 
+DE'P EST BOETIVS CL P OCT KAL NOBR INDICT XI 

[IMP 

DOM N IVSTINO PP AVG ANN XII ET TIBERIO CONST 

[CAER 

ANN III DEP EST IN PAC ARGENTEA MAT SS XIII KAL 

[DECEMB 

QVI SS BOETIVS VIXIT ANN XI M VIIII D XXIII ET 
[MAT EIVS VIXIT ANN XXXVI MUD XII 



In the church of Sant 1 Angelo in Borgo (sic}. 

(Plate XXI. Nos. i and 2.) 
(De Rossi, Inscr. christ. \. No. 1122.) 

This contains a turgid eulogium of Boethius, the 
son of the notary Eugenius, who had distinguished 
himself in early youth by his industry and poetical 
talent. 

There are two circular slabs on the two sides of 
the inscription, on which are engraved two extracts 
from the will of Eugenius, containing some im- 
portant instructions as to certain funds belonging 
to his estate, which were to be expended on 



43 6 Christian Epigraphy 

oblations at his family tomb. The text of these is 
as follows : 

On the left : Deputavimus in ista sepultura nostra 
extremam paginam ad oblationem vel luminaria no- 
stra Orti trans tiberini uncias sex forts mitros iuxta 
porta Portuense, quod fuit ex iure quondam Micini 
Cancellari inlustris urbanae sedis patris mei. 

. On the right : Sed quatuor uncias fundi Eucarpi- 
ani quod est constitutum iuxta sanctum Ciprianum 
in via Labicana inter affines fundi Capitiniani iuris 
Sanctae Ecclesiae Romanae, sed et fundi Flaviani 
iuris publici iuxta Sabinianum. Explicit. 

Finally, as the last inscription of the sixth century 
I will give the epitaph of Pope Gregory the Great : 

458 



SVSCIPE TERRA TVO CORPVS DE CORPORE SVMPTVM 

REDDERE QVOD VALEAS VIVIFICANTE DEO 
SPIRITVS ASTRA PETIT LETI NIL IVRA NOCEBVNT 

CVI VITAE ALTERIVS MORS MAGIS IPSA VIA EST 
PONTIFICIS SVMMI HOC CLAVDVNTVR MEMBRA SE- 

[PVLCHRO 

QVI INNVMERIS SEMPER VIVIT VBIQVE BONIS 
ESVRIEM DAPIBVS SVPERAVIT FRIGORA VESTE 

ATQVE ANIMAS MONITIS TEXIT AB HOSTE SACRIS 
IMPLEBATQVE ACTV QVIDQVID SERMONE DOCEBAT 

ESSET VT EXEMPLVM MYSTICA VERBA LOQVENS 
AD CHRISTVM ANGLOS CONVERTIT PIETATE MA- 

[GISTRA 

ADQVIRENS FIDEI AGMINA GENTE NOVA 
HOC LIBER HOC STVDIVM HAEC TIBI CVM HOC 

[PASTOR AGEBAS 

VT DOMINO OFFERRES PLVRIMA LVCRA GREGIS 
HISQVE DEI CONSVL FACTVS LAETARE TRIVMPHIS 

NAM MERCEDEM OPERVM IAM SINE FINE TENES 
HIC REQVIESCIT GREGORIVS I PP QVI SEDIT ANNOS 

MENS VI DIES X DEPOSITVS III ID MART [XIII 



Some fragments of this exist in the grottos of the Vatican. 

The text is taken from the Collections (De Rossi, Inscr. i. 2, 

pp. 52-78, etc.). 



Part II Chapter X 437 

The few remaining fragments of this metrical 
epitaph from the tomb of the great Pope Gregory I. 
were discovered by Sarti and Settele, the learned 
investigators of the grottos of the Vatican, in 
which they are now kept. The entire eulogy was 
already known, having been recorded in the bio- 
graphy of that Pope written by John the Deacon 
in the ninth century, and also in the Palatine Codex 
of the Vatican, No. 833. 

The period of the Pontificate of Gregory, recorded 
in this inscription (590-604), is memorable for the 
continuous advance of the Lombards, who 
threatened to overrun the whole of Italy ; in fact, 
the forces of Agilulphus all but reached the walls 
of Rome in 593, and laid waste the Campagna. 1 
This siege is vividly described by the Pope in a 
letter to the archbishop of Ravenna, in which he 
tries to induce him to move the exarch to ask for 
aid from Constantinople ; it tells us how in that 
mournful time Gregory had to look to everything, 
even to the posting of the guards on the city walls. 2 

But there is another of the notable deeds of 
Gregory to which this inscription bears witness, and 
one that was of great importance to the whole 
civilised world; viz. the conversion of England to 
the Christian faith : Ad Christum Anglos convertit 
pietate magistra, adquirens fidei agmina gente 
nova. In order to spread the light of the Gospel 
among the divisos toto orbe Britannos, Gregory 
despatched the monks from his private monastery 
on the Caelian Hill, under the command of 
Augustine, to make their way into regions which 

1 See S. Gregorii homil. vi. book ii. on Ezekiel ; Epist. 
xxx. book iv. to Mauritius. 
- Ep. xxxii. book ii. ind. x. 



438 Christian Epigraphy 

the unshaken legions of Claudius and Severus had 
never penetrated. It is to this high-hearted though 
humble expedition that the noble British nation 
must look for the source of its civilisation : this it 
is that justifies the application to this great Pontiff 
of the title, given in this inscription, of "the 
triumphing Consul," "a Consul not of man, but of 
God," whom the poet bids rejoice in his triumphs : 
Hisque Dei consul factus laetare triumphis. 

With the inscription of Gregory "the last of 
the Romans" we have reached the limit laid 
down by De Rossi to the ancient Christian 
epigraphy of Rome. We propose, however, to add 
two more chapters to the present selection. In the 
first we shall give specimens of the "graffiti," or 
inscriptions rudely scratched by pilgrims to the 
catacombs, whose visits were still tolerably 
numerous in the sixth and seventh centuries. In 
the second we shall add an appendix on some of 
the last of the inscriptions running from the dawn 
of the Middle Ages up to the ninth century. 



CHAPTER XI 

" GRAFFITI " OR INSCRIPTIONS SCRATCHED BY 
EARLY VISITORS IN THE ROMAN CATACOMBS 

THE subterranean sanctuaries of the martyrs situ- 
ated in the Roman catacombs were always the 
objects of the veneration of visitors ; but it would 
seem that the practice of scratching a record of 
their visits on the plaster of the walls did not come 
in till the period of tranquillity. Then from the 
fourth century on at least to the eighth century we 
find a constant habit of scratching the visitor's name 
and a prayer of some sort on the walls of the crypts 
or near the stairs that led to them. These inscrip- 
tions, known as the "visitors' graffiti," are of great 
importance as testifying to the unceasing veneration 
exhibited towards the tombs of the martyrs, and as 
indicating to us the places of historical interest in 
the underground cemeteries. Of these graffiti there 
were certainly a vast number in every cemetery ; but 
at the present time only a few remains of them 
are here and there to be seen. We shall here re- 
produce some of the most important, classifying 
them according to their position in the cemeteries 
of Rome. 

Cemetery of Callisto.^ The following graffiti are 

1 For these graffiti, see De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, vol. ii, 
pp. 17, 18, etc. 

439 



440 Christian Epigraphy 

still to be seen near the door opening into the 
well-known crypt of the Popes in this cemetery 
(see Plate XXVIII. ). 

The following is a transcription of the names in 
order beginning from the top ; they may be com- 
pared with the facsimile on Plate XXVIII. : 

459 

MariaNVS BONIZO 
, , . i viv"* 

FELiVI PER PECCATOR 
POY^INA 
SANCTE XVO 
,1/AXIMI EN Gew METaITANTw/> ayuav 

7V/MITI W IIONTIANE ZHCHC SANCfe Susie 

PRO A LINIANI ' "" 

TE ABEAS IN ORATIONE 
Te elC MIAN 

XTE/ROME EVSTArA/VM 

PRIMITI NONNANLC SANTE SVSTE IN MENTE 

/JMANTI HABEAS IN HORATIONES 

NA NA AVRELIV REPENTINV 

' IERVSALE CI VITAS ET 

A PETE PRO MARCIANVM ALVMNV IIM 

ANASTATXA 

ORNAMENTVM 

CARA MATER 
MARTYRV D NABALTARIA 

CVIVS . . . , BER TALLA 

SANCTE SVSTE . . . 
. . . REPENTI/* 

SVCCESSVM RVFINVM AGAPITVM E 

SANCTE XYSTE 
in /<?NTE HABEAS IN HOrationes 

SVSTE SANf/^ 
VT AELIBERA 



Part II Chapter XI 441 

SVCC . . . SVM RVFINVM AGAPITVM SA 

CROCEO 

RV rr FINVM TeAAC IZH CeXe 

KV ^ e(J 



VQVOD 

ITERAVI/wiw FACER BIBAC IN 

IN Pace ASTRA PETE TYXIC 

ELIA 

NTE BIBAC 

E SATVR IN AEG MARCIANVM 

ARANTIAM AQ 
ORTA MAX SVCCESSVM 

TVA ANCTA 

VT VERICVNDVS CVM SVIS SEVERVM SPIRITA ^ 
ARM EN BENE NAVIGET 

SEBATIA ^. 

Z? p PATWSI SANCTA IN MENTE 

,|| N^ xic ^ HAVETE ET OM 

AICXIONAC NES FRATRES NOS 
AAPIANOC TROS ? LEONTIVIBaj 

AEO AVIVS 1 IN VITA 



The most important expressions used are as 
follows : 

Sancte Suste (an invocation of the martyr 
Sixtus II). 

iv dei^t fj.era TTOLVTUV 
Ilovriave 



(an invocation of the Pope and martyr Pontianus). 

Sancte Siste in mente habeas in orationes Aureliu 
Repentinu (a prayer addressed to Sixtus II.). 

lerusale civitas et ornamentum martyrnm Dei, 



442 Christian Epigraphy 

An enthusiastic exclamation, showing the venera- 
tion felt towards that great sanctuary of martyrs. 

Sancte Siste . . . Siste Sancte (another invocation 
to Sixtus II.). 

Spirita Sane fa in mente havete et omnes fratres 
(a direct prayer to the martyrs on behalf of all 
the brethren). 

There too a pilgrim of old, before entering the 
principal sanctuary, wrote : " Sophronia vivas . . . 
cum tuis " (Sophronia, live, thou and thine) ! A 
little farther on, on the door of another chapel, he 
repeated the wish in more pious language : 
"Sophronia (vivas) in Domino " (live in the Lord) ! 
Farther on still, close to the tomb in another 
chapel, the last in fact which pilgrims of those 
days visited, he wrote in capital letters and in a 
larger and more regular hand these affectionate 
words, " Sophronia dulcis semper vives in Deo " 
(sweet Sophronia, thou shalt ever live in God) ; and 
immediately below he repeats it, as if unable to 
leave the thought, "Sophronia vives." Here we 
have on these walls the tender and touching story 
of the emotions that filled the soul of that pious 
pilgrim, one succeeding the other, perhaps uncon- 
sciously to himself, during his visit to the tombs 
of the martyrs; first he tells us of his regret, his 
love, his constant thought of her, his tender hope- 
fulness ; then, under the softening influences of the 
holy places, the hope turns into an affectionate faith, 
thence into certainty, and finally is transfigured into 
a shout of triumph and love, enlightened by faith. 1 

1 Northcote-Allard, Rome souterraine, p. 196: "Semper 
vives Deo : the last sublime greeting, expressing, not the hopeless 
eternal farewell of the pagan, but the hope and faith of the 
Christian." De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, vol. ii. p. 15. 



Part II Chapter XI 443 

Cemetery of Praetextatus. Graffito on a stone 
forming part of the tomb of the martyrs Felicissimus 
and Agapitus : 

4 6o 

FELI 

FELICISSIMVS ET AGAPITVS 
-f A . . . . STI . . . . PRESB 

-}- EO LEO PRB PETRI . . . .* 

In the apse of the spelunca magna (great cave), 
on the plaster : 

461 

SVCVRITV . . . . VT 
VINCA .... IN DIE IVU (icii?} 

Cemetery of S. Peter and S. Marcellinus? In the 
historic crypt of the martyrs : 



462 

MARCELLINE 
PETRE PETITE 
(/)RO GALL .... 

WHRISTIANO .... 

1 Deciphered and published by Armellini, A Historic Graffito 
in the Cemetery of Praetextatus, Rome, 1874. 

2 For these graffiti, see O. Marucchi, Nuovo Bullettino 
di archeologia cristiana, 1898, pp. 162 et seq. 



444 Christian Epigraphy 

Then come these from the same cemetery 

463 
-f 0EOC TH IIPECBHA 

TfiN ATON MAPTTPfiN KAI THC 
AFHAC EAHNHC COCON 
TOTC COT AOTAOTC 
IOANNH (sic) 



"Oh Lord, on the intercession of the martyred 
Saints and of S. Helena, save thy servants John," 
etc. 

464 
DOMINE LIBERA 

VICTOREM 
TIBVRTIVS IN ^ 

CVN SVIS 

AMEN 

DOMINE CONSERB0 
CALCIDIONE IN NO/// 
INE TVO SANCTO 

465 

VICTORINE FOSOR 
PERDVCAT TE VSOR TVA 

466 

1 

CRISTE IN MENTE HABEAS MAR 
CELLINV PECCATORE ET IOBI 
NV SEMPER VIVATIS IN DEO 



Part II Chapter XI 445 

Cemetery of S. Hippolytus. On the wall of the 
entrance gate of the historic crypt : 



467 

IPPOLYTE IN MENTE (habeas) 
PETrww 



In the apse of that crypt : 

4 68 

4. CRISAFIVS MENOR 
TEARIVALITVS PREP 

469 
BENE SERBVS DT 

Cemetery of Priscilla. On the arch of the 
baptistery : 

470 
QVI SITET VEN(rf ad me et bibat) ' 



VRSE VIBAS 
FELICISSIME 
DONATA VI Tj 
VATIS IN ^ 

On the lower side round the arch : 

472 
fCRIPSIT ASELLVS SERBw De 



446 Christian Epigraphy 

Near the burial-chamber of the martyr Crescentio: 

473 

SALE A ME 
DOMNE 
CRESCENTIONE 

MEAM LVCE ..... 

474 
CITO CVNCTI SVSCIPIA/r vOTis 

DOMNAE PRISCILLAE BEaTE 

(^)LICTI KAVSIS AGI VO 

ATTINVS ET . . . , . 

The next is noticeable as recording a libation 
made on the spot in February 375 : 

475 
. . . IDVS FEBR 



CONSS GRATIANI III ET EQVITI (A.D. 375) 

FLORENTINVS FORTVNATVS ET 

FELIX AD CALICE BENIMVS 

In the burial-chamber of the martyr Crescentio : 

47 6 

PAVLINA REQVIESCAS IN PACE 
ET FILI TVI OMNES DEVM HABEANT 
PROTECTOREM . 



Cemetery of S. Hermes. In the burial-chamber 
of the martyrs Protus and Hyacinthus : 

477 
AGATIO SVBD PECCATORI MISERERE DS 

" God be merciful to the subdeacon Agatius, a 
sinner ! " 



Part II Chapter XI 447 

Cemetery of Pontianus on the Via Portuensis. 
Over a painting representing the martyrs Peter and 
Marcellinus : 

47 8 

EVSTATIVS HVMILIS PECCATOR PRESBYTER SERVITOR 
BEATI MARCELLINI. MARTYRIS ET TV QVI LEGIS ORA 
ME ET HABEAS DEVM PROTECTOREM [PRO 
HVMILIS PECCATOR PRESB VESTER 

On the other wall : 

479 

DIE IIII NAT SCI MILIX MART ALDVS SERVVS DEI .... 
BEATA ANIMA IN PACE 

Cemetery of Commodilla. In the recently opened 
crypt of the martyrs Felix and Adauctus : 

480 

+ LEO CESVFLVS CLERICVS BIBAT IN DO 
SEMP ET TV QVI LEGIS ORA PRO ME 
MEMENTO DNE 
PETRI IND D (indigni diaconi?} 



481 

CRISTOFORV 

-j- DEVS DEDI PRB -j- GAIDO 

PER 4- EGO IOAN VSTR (presbyter vesfer] 

BIBA IN "D MAVRVS 

PER 4- EGO MINNA 

CEHORGIOS 4- EGO DICO 

BOBI(j) LETAMINI 
__ EGO SERBVS Dl 



448 Christian Epigraphy 

482 

4- EGO PETRVS BIBA IN DO 
_ EGO FVSCINNVS _ COSTANTINVS 
SERBV DTEGO DOMINICVS PRB 

483 
-j- 15S DONA PRB PECCATOR l 

These are only a few specimens of the inscrip- 
tions scrawled by visitors of old on the walls of the 
catacombs. Their dates fall between the fourth 
century and the eight and ninth centuries, when 
the transfer of the bodies of martyrs into the 
interior of the city was effected ; hence the latest 
of them may be taken to be the last inscriptions 
made in the Roman catacombs. Thus they mark 
for us the passage of Christian Epigraphy from one 
period to another ; and they suggest that we may 
give at least a few specimens of the inscriptions of 
the early Middle Ages which record either restora- 
tions of Christian churches or donations then made 
to them, or the translation of the bodies of martyrs 
from the suburban cemeteries ; and this we shall 
do in the following Appendix. 

1 For these and other graffiti of the cemetery of Commodilla, 
see O. Marucchi, Nuovo Bull, di arch, crist. , 1904, p. 149. 



APPENDIX 

INSCRIPTIONS RELATING TO RESTORATIONS, 
DONATIONS, AND TRANSLATIONS OF MARTYRS 

WE will begin with an inscription of the seventh 
century : 

484 



AVREA CONCISIS SVRGIT PICTVRA METALLIS 
ET COMPLEXA SIMVL CLAVDITVR I PSA DIES 

FONTIBVS E NIBEIS CREDAS AVRORA SVBIRE 
CORREPTAS NVBES RVRIBVS ARVA RIGANS 

VEL QVALEM INTER SIDERA LVCEM PROFERET IRIM 
PVRPVREVSQVE PAVO IPSE COLORE NITENS 

QVI POTVIT NOCTIS VEL LVCIS REDDERE FINEM 
MARTYRVM E BVSTIS HINC REPPVLIT ILLE CHAOS 

EVRSVM VERSA NVTV QVOD CVNCTIS CERNITVR 

[VSQVE 

PRAESVL HONORIVS HAEC VOTA DICATA DEDIT 
VESTIBVS ET FACTIS SIGNANTVR ILLIVS ORA 

EXCITAT ASPECTV LVCIDA CORDA GERENS 



Basilica of S. Agnese on the Via Nomentana. 

This inscription is in the mosaic of the apse of 
the suburban basilica of S. Agnese, and refers to 
the splendid work executed there under the care of 
Pope Honorius I. (625-638). Above the inscription 
is the figure, also in mosaic, of the youthful martyr 
to whom the church is dedicated, richly dressed, 
449 2 G 



45 Christian Epigraphy 

and near her the symbols of her martyrdom, fire 
and the sword. On the two sides of her are two 
Pontiffs clad in chasubles; the one, Symmachus, 
who restored the basilica at the end of the fifth 
century, the other, Honorius, who rebuilt it almost 
entirely at a later date; he is therefore depicted 
in the act of presenting the building to the saint. 
The style of the draughtsmanship, as well as that 
of the dedicatory inscription, may give us a fair 
idea of the depths of degradation into which arts 
and literature had fallen in the seventh century 
under Byzantine dominion ; we see evident traces 
of this influence in the handling of the mosaic, 
and in the identity of the robes of the saint with 
those of the Empresses of Constantinople. 

To the same Pontiff Honorius belongs the 
following inscription, which he placed in the apse 
of the basilica of S. Pancratius. It is of material 
importance, as it records certain work done there 
in honour of the martyr ; his tomb, which originally 
stood obliquely to the axis of the building, was 
placed under a new altar at right angles thereto. 

485 



OB INSIGNE MERITVM ET SINGVLARE BEATI PAN- 
CRATII MARTYRIS BENEFICIVM BASILICAM VETV- 
STATE CONFECTAM EXTRA CORPVS MARTYRIS 
NEGLECTI ANTIQVITATIS EXTRVCTAM HONORIVS 
EPISCOPVS DEI FAMVLVS ABRASA VETVSTATIS 
MOLE RVINAQVE MINANTE A FVNDAMENTIS NOVI- 
TER PLEBI DEI CONSTRVXIT ET CORPVS MARTYRIS 
QVOD EX OBLIQVO AVLAE IACEBAT ALTARI INSI- 
GNIBVS ORNATO METALLIS LOCO PROPRIO COL- 
LOCAVIT 



In absida Sancti Pancratii." (Einsiedeln Collection.) 



Appendix 45 1 

Here is a specimen of an inscription as to a 
donation to the funds of a church : 



486 



Dilectissimo filio lohanni presb. tit. s. wVGINIS ET 
[MARTYRIS XPI SVSAN- 

nae et per eum eidein ven. eccl. SERGIVS EPISC. SER- 

[VVS SERVORVM DI 

Dum. apost. Pont. Div. /ROVIDENTIAE SVAE DIGNA- 

[TIONE DNS 

! N. I. C. eccl. suae regimen eT ECCLESIASTICARVM 

[RERVM DISPEN- 

sationem cotnm. pro data potestA.T'E, QVI VICEM APO- 

[STOLORVM PRIN- 

cipis gerit lib. perpendat opus EST VT PERAEQVARI 

[DEBEANT EC- 

cles. sub quaestus et zW/'GENTIAM SVSTINENTI SVC- 

[CVRRI 

quatenus non altera lauto reditu gaudeal, altera angustiis 
preinalur inopiae. Quocirca considerantes ecclesiam sanctae 
virginis et martyris Susannae quae in regione quarto, ad 
duos domnos constituta est 



The surviving fragment of this inscription is in 
the Galleria Lapidaria of the Vatican Museum, and 
formed part of a long inscription recording the 
donations made by Pope Sergius I. (687-701) to 
the church of S. Susanna on the Quirinal; it was 
seen in that church in an almost perfect condition 
and copied by Panvinius, and also by the anonymous 
Spaniard. It has been printed by De Rossi, who 
comments thereon with his customary learning. 
The act of donation is addressed to John, titular 
priest of S. Susanna, and states that the Pope, being 
aware of the smallness of the endowment attached 

2 02 



452 Christian Epigraphy 

to that title (having held it himself before becoming 
Pope), assigned to it several plots of lands forming 
part of sundry estates held by the Roman Church. 
The interest of this inscription is topographical, inas- 
much as it goes on to give a long list of the names 
of these plots, with their respective situations ; and 
thus the record is of great value to students who 
are trying to reconstitute the topography of the 
neighbourhood of Rome in the dark ages. The 
value of the donation of Sergius, from the historical 
standpoint, lies in the evidence it gives of the vast 
and rich possessions of the Roman Church in the 
neighbourhood of Rome, and of the amount of rural 
population and of churches which they contained. 
The following properties are named : patrimonium 
Sabinense,patrimonium Tusciae,patrimonium Appiae. 
Another fact, of which we have no other evidence 
but this inscription, is that the Holy See had also 
some urban property, in the shape of orchards 
and vineyards within the walls. 1 And the long list 
of cultivated lands in districts which were once 
crowded with population paints for us in lively 
colours the extreme degradation, the squalor, and 
ruin into which the wretched city of Rome was 
ever plunging deeper, now that it was reduced to 
the status of a provincial town depending on the 
distant Byzantium. As we read the long schedules 
of church property on which a large portion of the 
entire population were enjoying peace and security, 
we cease to wonder at the enormous influence 
which the Popes came gradually to acquire, or to 
be surprised that they, who had long been accepted 
as the mainstays of Rome and Italy, should in 

1 Item, ex patrimonio urbano intra hanc nrbem Romam domum 
et hortum quae appellatur quondam Catelli, Siricari . . . 



Appendix 453 

the next century have developed into temporal 
sovereigns. 

The next is an inscription recording the donation 
of sundry articles to the church of S. Clemente 
which took place under Pope Zacharias (741-752) : 

487 



HISRAHELITICVS DEO OFFEREBAT POPVLVS RVRI 

ALIVS QVIDEM AVRVM ALIVS NAMQVE AR- 

[GENTVM 

QVIDEM QVOQVE AES QVIDAM VERO PI- 

[LOS CAPRARVM 

INFELIX AVTEM EGO GREGORIVS PRIMVS 

[PRESBYTER ALM^E 

SEDIS APOSTOLIC^E HVIVSQVE TITVLI 

[GERENS 

CVRAM AC BEATI SVPPREMVS CLIENS 

[CLEMENTIS 

OFFERO DE TVIS HAEC TIBI XPE THE- 

[SAVRIS 

TEMPORIBVS SCISS ZACCHARI^E PR^E- 

[SVLIS SVMMI 

PER MARTVREM ET SANCTVM PARVA MVNVSCVLA 

[TWM 

CLEMENTEM CVIVS MERITIS MEREAR DELICTIS 

[CARERE 

ATQVE AD BEATAM ^ETERNAM INGREDI VITAM 

AISTI QVANTVM HABES REGNVM VALET CCE- 

[LORVM 

SVSCIPE HOS DOMINE VELVT MINVTA VIDV^E QVESO 

VETERIS NOVIOVE TESTAMENTORVM DENIQVE 

[LIBROS 

OCTATEVCHVM REGVM PSALTERIVM AC PROFE- 

[TARVM 

SALOMONEM ESDRAM HISTORIARVM ILICOPLENOS 

REQV1RE SYLLABARVM LECTOR SEQVENTIAM HARVM 



In the church of S. Clemente. (Plate XXX. i.) 

It was put up by a parish priest of S. Clemente, 



454 Christian Epigraphy 

by name Gregorius, who presented to his titular 
church a volume of the books of the Old and New 
Testament. Amongst them is mentioned by name 
the "Octateuch," the Book of Kings, the Psalter, 
and the Book of the Prophets, "Solomon and 
Esdras"; and it is mentioned that these books 
were illustrated, historiarum ilico plenos. 1 

Next is the epitaph on Pope Adrian I. (772-795) 
composed by Charlemagne : 

488 

Hie Pater Ecdesiae Romae decus inditus auctor 

Hadrianus requiem papa beatus habet. 
Vir cui vita Deus pietas lex gloria Christus 

pastor apostolicus promptus ad omne bonum. 
Nobilis ex magna genitus iam gente parentum 

Sed sacris longe nobilior meritis, 
Exornare studens devoto pectore pastor, 

semper ubique suo templa sacrata Deo. 
Ecdesias donis populos et dogmate sancto 

imbuit et cunctis pandit ad astra viam. 
Pauperibus largus nulli pietate secundus, 

et pro plebe sacris pervigil in predbus 
Doctrinis opibus muris erexerat arces, 

urbis et orbis honos indita Roma, tuas, 
Mors cui nil nocuit Christi quae morte perempta est 

ianua sed vitae max melioris erat. 
Post Patrem lacrimans Carolus haec carmina scripsi ; 

tu mihi dulcis amor, te modo plango Pater. 
Tu memor esto mei, sequitur te mens mea semper, 

cum Christo teneas regna beata poll. 
Te derus populus magno dilexit amore, 

omnibus unus amor optime praesul eras. 

1 Cp. Bartolini, Di S. Zaccaria papa, Ratisbon, 1879, p. 
261, doc. lett. A. 



Appendix 455 

Nomina iungo simul titulis darissime nostra 

Hadrianus Carolus, rex ego tuque Pater. 
Quisque legas versus devoto pectore supplex 

amborum mitis die miserere Deus. 
Haec tua nunc teneat requies carissime membra, 

cum sanctis anima gaudeat alma Dei. 
Ultima quippe tuas donee tuba canet in aures, 

prindpe cum Petro surge videre Deum. 
Auditurus eris vocem scio iudicis almam 

infra nunc Domini gaudia magna tui. 
Turn memor sis tui nati, Pater optime, posco, 

cum Patre die natus per gat et iste metis. 
O pete regna Pater fell x coelestia Christi, 

inde tuum precibus auxiliare gregem. 
Dum sol ignivomo rutilus splendescit ab axe, 

laus tua sancte Pater semper in orbe manet. 
Sedit beatae mem. Hadrianus papa, annos XXIII., 

mens X., d. XVII., obiit VII. KaL Ian. 

In the portico of S. Peter's. 

Adrian died at Christmas time A.D. 795, to the / 
grief of Charlemagne, with whom his friendship had 
been long and close : in the present inscription 
we find an expression of the tender affection of the 
Frankish hero for the deceased Pontiff, combined 
with language of magnificent eulogy, and a pious 
commendation of himself to the prayers of the 
beloved one departed. 

It is only right that such an inscription should 
stand in the portico of S. Peter's : looking upon it, 
one may imagine the hero kneeling in the old 
basilica of Constantine, while he makes a solemn 
gift of his conquests to the Pontiff over the tomb 
of the Apostles ; the Pope meanwhile proclaiming 
him Defender of the Church, and already dreaming 



456 Christian Epigraphy 

of restoring in his person the ancient majesty of the 
Empire a magnificent idea, which was realised 
later in the coronation of Charles by Leo III. (800). 
An inscription recording the restoration of a 
church and the translation of relics from the 
suburban cemeteries : 

489 



EMICAT AVLA PI A VARIIS DECORATA METALLIS 
PRAXEDIS DOMINO SVPER AETHRA PLACENTIS 

[HONORS 

PONTIFICIS SVMMI STVDIO PASCHALIS ALVMNI 
SEDIS APOSTOLICAE PASSIM QVI CORPORA CON- 

[DENS 

PLVRIMA SANCTORVM SVBTER HAEC MOENIA PONIT 
FRETVS VT HIS LIMEN MEREATVR ADIRE PO- 

[LORVM 



In the church of S. Praxede. 

This inscription in mosaic is still to be seen in 
the apse of the basilica of S. Praxede on the 
Esquiline. This graceful building, which we may 
consider with another not far from it, S. Maria in 
Domnica (la Navicella), and a third, S. Cecilia in 
Trastevere, reminds us of the Pontificate of Pascal 
I., the successor of Leo III. (817-824), who com- 
pletely restored it, and adorned it with pictures in 
mosaic, among which is still preserved the authentic 
portrait of that Pope. 

These churches also recall the many translations 
of the bodies of martyrs by Pascal I. from the 
suburban cemeteries (which meant the catacombs) 
to the interior of the city. 

In the inscription before us it is stated of Pascal, 
passim qui corpora condcns plurima sanctorum subter 






Appendix 457 

haec moeniaponit, i.e. he placed them in the church 
of S. Praxede. In that church there is also pre- 
served a marble slab inscribed with a long catalogue 
of these relics ; it states that the Pontiff had taken 
more than two thousand bodies of martyrs from the 
cemetery crypts that had been deserted and gone 
into decay, and had placed them under various 
altars of that famous basilica, especially in the 
magnificent chapel of S. Zeno, which he had built 
as a burial-place for his mother, Theodora episcopa^ 
whose portrait in mosaic is also placed therein. 

The reader will find a reproduction on Plate 
XXX., No. 2, of the upper part of this celebrated 
inscription, containing the long list of names of the 
martyrs whose bodies had been brought from the 
catacombs. 

The whole text is as follows : 

49 o 

+ In nomine Domini Dei Salvatoris nostri lesu 
Christi. Temporibus sanctissimi ac ter beatissimi et 
apostolici Domini Paschalis Papae infraducta sunt 
veneranda sanctorum corpora in hanc sanctam et 
venerabilem Basilicam beatae Christi virginis Pra- 
xedis quae praedictus Pontifex diruta ex cymiteriis 
seu cryptis iacentia auferens et sub hoc sacrosancto 
altare summa cum diligentia propriis manibus con- 
didit in mense lulio die XX. indictione decima. 
Nomina vero Pontificum haec sunt Urbani Stephani 
Antheri Meltiadis Faviani lulii Pontiani Siricii 
Lucii Xysti Felicis Anastasii et Coelestini. Item 
nomina episcoporum Stratonici Lucii et Optati. 
Quamquam presbyterorum et levitaru Nicomedis 
archipresbyteri lustini et Cyrini Cyriaci diaconi 
Nemesii atque lachei. Etiam et martyrum nomina 



458 Christian Epigraphy 

ista sunt Zotid Herenei lachinti Amanti Mari 
Audifax Abbacu ac sanctorum octingentorum quo- 
rum nomina scit omnipotens Castuli Felicis militis 
Gordiani Epimachi Serviliani Sulpidi Diogenis 
Basti et alii LXIL Marcelliani Marci Festi et alii 
duo Tertullini Fausti Bonosi Mauri Calumniosi 
lohannis Exsuperantii Casti Cyrilli et septem Ger- 
manos Honor ati Theodori Basilii Crescentii Largi 
Smaragdi Crescentionis lasonis Mauri Yppoliti 
Pontiani Chrysanti et alii LX VI. simul que et alii 
mille centum et vigintiquatuor quorum nomina sunt 
in libro vitae Mauri Arthemii Polionis et alii sexa- 
ginta duo martyres. Nomina quoque virginum sci- 
licet et viduarum Praxedis Pudentianae lulianae 
$ynphorosae Feliculae Marinae Candidae Paulinae 
Dariae Basillae Paulinae Memmiae Marthae Eme- 
rentianae Zoe et Tiburtiadis. Quodrca et in ipso 
ingressu Basilicae manu dextra ubi utique beni- 
gnissimae suae genitrids scilicet Domnae Theodorae 
Episcopae corpus quiesdt condidit iam dictus prae- 
sul corpora venerabilium haec Zenonis presbyteri 
et aliorum quorum. Pariterque et in oratorio beati 
lohannis Baptist ae manu leva praenominatae Ba- 
silicae qui et secretarium esse dinosdtur condidit 
corpora scilicet Mauri et aliorum quadraginta mar- 
tyrum. Simili modo et in oratorio beatae Christi 
virginis Agnetis quod sursum in monasterio situm 
est ipse Pastor eximius posuit corpora piorum 
martyrum videlicet Alexandri Papae atque Eventii 
et Theoduli presbyteri. Hos omnes Dei electos 
frequentius deprecans quatenus per eorum valeat 
preces suae post funera carnis ad caeli conscendere 
culmen amen. Fiunt etiam insimul omnes sancti 
duo milia CCC. 






Appendix 459 

This long inscription may be looked upon as the 
most complete of those of the class recording the 
translation of relics taken from the catacombs. 

The next records the well-known translation of 
the martyr S. Caecilia and her companions : 

491 



HAEC DOMVS AMPLA MICAT VARIIS DECORATA 

[METALLJS 

OLIM QVAE FVERAT CONFRACTA SVB TEMPORE 

[FRISCO 

CONDIDIT IN MELIVS PASCHALIS PRAESVL OPIMVS 
HANCAVLAM DOMINI FIRMANS FVNDAMINE CLARO 
AVREA GEMMATIS RESONANT HAEC DINDVMA 

[TEMPLI 

LAETVS AMORE DEI HIC CONIVNXIT CORPORA 

[SANCTA 

CAECILIAE ET SOCI1S RVTILAT HIC FLORE IVVENTVS 
QVAE PRIVS IN CRYPTIS PAVSABANT MEMBRA 

[BE AT A 

ROMA RESVLTAT OVANS SEMPER ORNATA PER 

[AEYYM 



In the basilica of S. Cecilia in Trastevere. 

In this basilica, below the Byzantine mosaic, on 
which the portrait of Pope Pascal I. once again 
appears, the above inscription in verse may be read, 
referring to the restoration of the church : it states 
that the bodies that Pascal placed therein were I 
those of martyrs taken from the catacombs, quae > 
prius in cryptis pausabant membra beata, and that 
the whole city made joyful festival over these 
solemn translations, Roma resultat ovans, semper* 
ornata per aevum. 

In the vaults of the same basilica may be seen 



460 Christian Epigraphy 

another and later inscription, placed there in 
\ memory of the translation of the bodies of S. 
Caecilia and Valerianus, Tiburtius and Maximus, on 
whom the Romans bestowed much affection and 
veneration : Hos colit egregios devote Roma patronos. 
This translation of the remains of Caecilia from 
the catacombs of the Appian Way to the Trans- 
tiberine basilica is one of the most moving episodes 
in the life of Pascal : the story of it was told to the 
Roman people by the Pope himself in a charming 
letter, in which he relates how he had searched for 
the sarcophagus of the martyr in vain among the 
ruins of the cemetery of Callisto, and had concluded 
that it had been carried off by the Lombards during 
their siege of Rome in 755 under Astolphus; how 
I the noble descendant of the Caecilii appeared to 
him in a vision and pointed out to him the 
exact place of her tomb ; and how he returned to 
the crypt and discovered her body near the 
sepulchral chamber of the Popes. 

And with this we may conclude this Appendix on 
the Christian inscriptions of early mediaeval times. 
We have reached the date at which the ancient 
cemeteries of the suburbs were abandoned, and 
the great works on the urban churches had begun ; 
at that point ancient Christian Epigraphy, the sub- 
ject of this manual, ends, and Mediaeval Epigraphy, 
properly so-called, begins. It is to be hoped that 
it may be dealt with in another work of the same 
description. 



Printed by R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, Edinburgh. 



PLATE I 



Ancient Chr\ 




FIG. i. Gallery in the cemetery of Priscilla. 




FIG. 3. Wall-grave (loci 




FIG. 2. Chamber (culiculum) in the cemetery of Callisto. 




Ifa the cemetery of Callisto. 



PLATE II. 






4. Lateran Museum. 



>vfeic, 



6. Lateran Museum. 




7. Cemetery of Cyr 



N.B, Where the name of the original site is omitted, it may he take 



Inscriptions 




TMA 



3. Cemetery of Calepodius. 
Lateran Museum. 



1 



5. Cemetery of Callisto. 




I 



Lateran Museum. 



8. Lateran Museum. 



l/LATE 111. 



FAWTiNlAWVK 



i. Cemetery of Callisto. 




3. Cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. 



4. Cemetery of S. Hermes. Lateran Museum. 



inscriptions 



3OTFTV5; 



M 



fcSfo-^Eaf 

2. From the Via Appia. Lateran Museum. 




5. Cemetery of Gordianus. Lateran Museum. 



PLATE V. 



Emblems ch 






.CToai 

V FT- 




I. Cemetery of Callisto. Lateran Museum. 



3. From the Via Salaria Nova. Lateran Museum. 






5.- Cemetery of Priscilla. 



scnptions 




2. Lateran Museum. 




4. Cemetery of Callisto. 



JTLATE v i. very early inscriptions pauitea on me jroi 




:*^ 




*n 



01ZOTCTII1NO 



uj 



uj 





PLATE VII. 



Doctnna 





II-SPIRIIVAA. 



i. Cemetery of Callisto. Lateran Museum. 




From the Via Salaria Nova. Lateran Museum. 




2. From the Via Salaria Nova. Lateran Museum. 



K A 



4. Cemetery of Priscilla. 



r L.AL & v in. 



j. its crip nuns 




i. Fragment of the inscription of Abercius, 
Lateran Museum. 



..-"I :: ';..-s>- 
. - '^. 






2. Museum of Aquileia. 




i. Pope Anteros (A.D. 236). 
Cemetery of Callisto. 




3. Pope Cornelius (A.D. 253). 
Cemetery cf Callisto, 



Nooeir: 






2. Pope Fabianus (A. D. 250). 
Cemetery of Callisto. 




4. Pope Eutychianus (A. D. 283). 
Cemetery of Callisto. 



PLATE X. 



Sepulchral Inscriptions 0, 




i. Pope Po 
Cemete 




2. Pope I 
Cemete 



ipes of tlie Third Century 




^& 

i ms& 



J (A.D. 255). 

Callisto. 



PLATE XI. 



Inscnpm 




IVOSlRICiO 



KIlOLfOimL 



i. From the church of S. 



V3 PRESBTTE] 



2. -Museum of Inscripti 




3. Basilica of S. Agr 



CLESlAESA 



NLl/ 
iAXIMOjPRBBBfr 




:ntiana. Lateran Museum. 



t S. Paolo fuori le Mura. 



riNIPRAESBo 




n the Via Xomentana. 



PLATE XII. 



Inscript 




i. Basilica of S. 






2. Cerr 




foe v s : 

DEPOSIT' 



3. Basilica of S. Agnese 



if Priests 



sxxinhi 



IE the Via Nomentana. 




iCallisto. 



ICHIAV1TH 



Via Nomentana (A.D. 456). 



I^LATE Alii. 




^ < 



Inscription of Severus the deacon, dating fr 

Cemete: 



a ueacon 




he Pontificate of Marcellinus (A.D. 296-304). 
Callisto. 



PLATE XIV. 



Inscriptions of Lectors, 




i. From the cemetery of Callisto. 
Lateran Museum. (A.D. 461 or 482.) 




3. Lateran Museum. 



4.- Latci 




I 



6. Lateran Museum. 




2. Lateran Museum. 





5. From the cemetery of Cyriaca. 
Lateran Museum. 






7. Lateran Museum. 



PLATE XV. 



Inscriptions of Bret/ire-. 




XVI 



i. Lat 




2. From the cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. 



4. From the cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. 



Neophytes, and Foreigners 





3. From the cemetery of S. Sebastian. 
Lateran Museum. 



rr 




. From the cemetery of Cyriaca. 
Lateran Museum, 



PLATE XVI. Inscriptions with Titles and Embl 




i. Cemetery of Praetextatus. Lateran Museum. 




3 . Cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museum. 




5. Cemetery of Domitilla. Lateran Museum. 



connected with Trades and Professions 




2. Lateran Museum. 



ZiWIUA 1 
MwwtSB^fflUJttWPACfij 




4. From the Via Salaria Nova. Lateran Museum. 



O- 




6. Lateran Museum. 






i. Late 




NEOOTVST IN PACE 
PA^EHTE B ' FECERVNT 

D BPllH- NONAS-AVq. 




EXIVIT V1RQO 



2. Cemetery of Callisto. Lateran Museum. 




4. Lateran Museum. 



connected witli 1 rades and Professions 





3. ^From the Via Salaria Nova. Lateran Museum. 




5. Lateran Museum. 



PLATE XVIII. Inscriptions with Titles and E 




i. Cemetery of Cyriaca. 
Lateran Museum. 




m 



4. Lateran Museum. 



5. Lateran Mu: 



connected with Trades and Professions 



n % 




tery of Cyriaca. 
in Museum. 



3. Laterau Museum. 




6. Lateran Museum. 



PLATE XIX. 



Specimens of 




i. Lateran Museum. (A.D. 71.) 




3. Lateran Museum. (A.D. 290.) 



inscriptions 




2. Capitoline Museum. (A.D. 279.) 




^ From the cemetery of SS. Peter and Marcellinus 

Lateran Museum. (A.D. 307. ) 



PLATE XX. 



Specimens oj 




i. Lateran Museum. (A.D. 336.) 



NP 



,, FlllAPORFoKIPfUMlCERIMONETA 



k fovis 

v H CO LO/ANAWCON^ ft H E PsCVlANJVC 

H a 



2. In the monastery of S. Paul. (A.D. 452.) 




4. From the basilica of S. 



\ed Inscriptions 



From the cemetery of SS. Peter and Marcellinus. 
La teran Museum. (A.D. 461. 




Lateran Museum. (A.D. 557.) 



EJVTAV7X T ^ : ' r - ' ^ ' " - ' - V S i 

fSTASF. 



ANNISPARVEQVibhM 

j H ON LVX v x s T?K i C 



n^M> i vDt^-"'-'--;iLjOCrJLOQ.VA\r VflDN 

pgtiiite wTisoRNAT 

VootiiciNic^r-" '-** 






NVNCCOAVAVNNOBi. 
Q 

H 

H1IV' 



i. -Inscription of Eugenius the notary. 






2. Enlargement of the last four lines of the abc 




D 578. ) Church of S. Angelo in Borgo. 




ascription, exhibiting the consular date A.D. 578. 



PLATE XXII. 



^>pec2inens of 




i . From the cemetery of Callisto. Lateran Museum. 

The words SVB LIBERIO PAPA have been ascertained 
the discovery of the fragment containing the left-hand port 
of the inscription ; and they fix the date as A.D. 362-366. 



SALBOPAPAN-i 
OMrRCVRDEXS 
RISORDINATOEX1 




3. Church of S. Pietro in Vincoli. (A.I 



tea Inscriptions 




2. Lateran Museum. 

In the last line : SVB DAMASO EPISCO(/0) 
(A.D. 366-384.) 




:\\(. 




ROMOTOBE/lToPtl 



V I 



CVHBit 



It contains the name of Pope John II. 



D 




. 
ISPSVNTVfrE N I ROSVS 



i. From the cemetery of Callisto. 
Lateran Museum. 




3. From the cemetery of Cyriaca. Lateran Museur 



emarkable Expressions 




SPfl 



, From the Via Salaria Nova. Lateran Museum. 



FLORENTIYS 
I AGN1GLVS v 

^^"""^1 - ^."-^J^S^ 8 *^*"' . 



FELIX 
BBI 



4. Lateran Museum. 



j. uzLr ipuui 




i. From the cemetery of Cyriaca. 
Laterau Museum. 




3. From the cemetery of Cyriaca. 
Lateran Museum. 



inarKaote izxpressions 



f'1 
C 



u ^ F 



1-Tc o IB I v S 



2. From the Via Salaria Nova. 
Lateran Museum. 




4. Lateran Museum. 



PLATE XXV. 



Inscriptions on Tombs conti 




i. Lateran Museum. 



CANDIDAS 



, 
CVMSIHEMI' 



3. Lateran Museum. 



g Remarkable Expressions 




utery of Priscilla (v. page 178, No. 164). 



F JU APORFo R| M'iA^ 'CERfMONfc FA RlOJ 
KVMaVEVIX/r Pi M<A N xxoio VW Cf SSin 
DIEMFWVW i SORA^JIE r f.EPo sf f/ D< f 
lOVis 



emetery 



5. Monastery of S. Paolo fuori le 
Mura. 



PLATE XXVI. 



Damasian Insert 




A/I j 

1 1 m 









i. Specimen of Damasian lettering. 
Cemetery of S. Valentinus on the Via Flaminia. 




2. Fragment of a Daraasian inscriptioa 

Lateran Museum. 



PLATE XXVII. Damasian Inscriptions 



u MI v M s v nn "oti Q v i s s i; p v I- i, 

AlCASSi:MfNASJiABn MQ- r VR 
M M J S VOL-VJ S S IiT N O B f 1. F. CC 

v N M KN SVMPA nvi s s Y-P E R A s s i- ;TTMI 

VJB P R OF ^S V M C111N/E M PERM 1- M B R AD 
' N ! T { M P f v M F A Ctf S PFR T XV 1Y7CV 1 T 

R A N I) A M I H ISA NC IF V M I ) FiC VSA LM AF 
CIB^FAV I-ASFU JF^CO H { N C I ,Y1 A M > 



. Inscription of S. Agnese. 
Basilica of S. Agnese. 




3. Inscription by Pope Vigilius commemorating 

his restoration of certain Damasian inscriptions 

(6th century). Lateran Museum. 



Restorations, Damasus 




EPISCOPVSFEC1T 

PECCAlADOttRE 



IDOBCtLVV DtSCOR DI A tlTfS 
ft WTtCR AC VM RKflbRSERVA R ETFOC0ER AMCIS 

yjSKOF.PISCOPOETM A RTVI 

2. Original fragments of the inscription 

of S. Eusebius with modern additions. 

Cemetery of Callisto. 



SCOPVSFECIT 
VinABSPCC."iTAiX5 1 .ER 
| f VS3ViHli/WSDWCyrSV KRIMtVAPU 8 t 

1 



?SD(TtOCAilJtM 1 S VWUOCOHUI^W l*> 
' .LXfMPIOfASiTtFilVtifnRITKTtTvrvANUi | 
i /IMTfGSACVV.RfC-ORSeaVARFTRJfOeaAPACIS 






4. Copy of the above inscription of 
S. Eusebius made in the 6th century. 
Cemetery of Callisto. 



^ rtscf iv i tuns 




Existing graffiti on the entrance wall of tl: 



m v isitors to trie Latacouws 




ypt of the Popes in the cemetery of Callisto. 



PLATE XXIX. 



Inscriptions scratched by R 



Existing graffiti on the wall of a chamber in the 



r y Visitors to the Catacombs 




eterv 



of Priscilla under the basilica of S. Silvestro. 



PLATE XXX. 



Later Inscriptions. Tra 



ii ; !T: )''[: 
At 
QV 

QI; 

F-fl 



-M;. 
OFFEROC 



if; 



. Church of S. Clemente. Donations 



S^ Bi 



!TE 



2 . Church of S. Prassede. Transfer of reli< 



?r of Relics and Donations 



AQ\ 



LICERi 



V M 



time of Pope Zacharias (A.D. 741-752). 




BN BRAND A5CORVM(3R 

^r : R 

DS 



xANASTASl! ETSELg 




the tune of Pope Pasqualis I. (A.D. 817-824). 



750 Christian epigraphy 

M323 



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