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E00169: The Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome in the 530s, and re-edited before 546, in its account of *Alexander (bishop and martyr of Rome, S00127), tells how he was martyred with his priest Eventius and deacon Theodulus, and buried on the via Nomentana outside Rome, close to where he was beheaded, on 3 May [AD 116].

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posted on 11.11.2014, 00:00 by Bryan
Liber Pontificalis 7

First edition (as reconstructed by Duchesne)

Alexander, natione Romanus, ex patre Alexandro, de regione Caput tauri, sedit ann. X m. VII d. II. Fuit autem temporibus Traiani, usque Heliano et Vetere ... Martyrio coronatur et cum eo Eventius presbiter et Theodolus diaconus ... Qui et sepultus est via Nomentana, ubi decollatus est, ab urbe Roma miliario VII, V non. mai.

'Alexander, born in Rome, son of Alexander, from the region of Caput Tauri, held the see 10 years 7 months 2 days. He was bishop in the time of Trajan to the consulship of Aelianus and Vetus [AD 116] ... He was crowned with martyrdom; with him were the priest Eventius and the deacon Theodulus. He decreed that water should be blessed with salt for sprinkling in the dwellings of the people. ... He was buried on the via Nomentana where he was beheaded, at the 7th mile from Rome, on the fifth day before the Nones of May [3 May].'


Second edition

Alexander, natione Romanus, ex patre Alexandro, de regione Caput tauri, sedit ann. X m. VII s. II. Fuit autem temporibus Traiani, usque Heliano et Vetere ... Martyrio coronatur et cum eo Eventius presbiter et Theodolus diaconus ... Qui etiam sepultus est via Numentana, ubi decollatus est, ab urbe Roma non longe, miliario VII, V nonas mai.

'Alexander, born in Rome, son of Alexander, from the region of Caput Tauri, held the see 10 years 7 months 2 days. He was bishop in the time of Trajan to the consulship of Aelianus and Vetus [AD 116] ... He was crowned with martyrdom; with him were the priest Eventius and the deacon Theodulus. ... He was buried on the Via Nomentana where he was beheaded, not far from Rome, at the 7th mile, on the fifth day before the Nones of May [3 May].'


Text: Duchesne 1886, 55 and 127. Translation: Davis 2010, 3-4, lightly modified.

History

Evidence ID

E00169

Saint Name

Alexander, Eventius and Theodolus, bishop, priest and deacon, martyrs of Rome : S00127

Saint Name in Source

Alexander, Eventius, Theodolus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

530

Evidence not after

546

Activity not before

100

Activity not after

546

Place of Evidence - Region

Rome

Major author/Major anonymous work

Liber Pontificalis

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body

Source

The Liber Pontificalis consists of a series of short lives of popes. The preface attributes it to pope Damasus (366-384), but this attribution is obviously false. According to Louis Duchesne, the first modern editor of the Liber Pontificalis, the original series of lives was written in Rome by an anonymous author, probably a member of the lesser clergy, in the 530s, and contained the lives from *Peter the Apostle to Felix IV (ob. 530). Shortly after, before 546, the text was re-edited by another anonymous author and only this edition survives. The first edition, however, can be reconstituted on the basis of its two epitomes (and the second edition). The second edition started to be continued systematically from the time of pope Honorius (625–638). It should be noted that Theodor Mommsen dated both editions of the Liber Pontificalis to the 7th century, but his opinion is widely rejected and the commonly accepted dating is that of Duchesne. For the pre-Constantinian period (before 312), the credibility of the Liber Pontificalis is very low. The chronology is confused, and details concerning the personal lives, decisions, and ordinations of the bishops of Rome at best reflect what people in the 6th century trusted to be true, at worst are a pure invention of the author. The situation changes with the later lives. Already the information of 4th century papal foundations and offerings are generally trustworthy. The early 6th century evidence, based on the author's first hand knowledge is even better, though still imperfect.

Discussion

This entry, with its reference to Eventius and Theodolus and to Alexander's beheading and burial on via Nomentana, shows that by the time of the writing of the Liber Pontificalis, the association of Alexander, bishop of Rome, and a martyred Alexander, buried on the via Nomentana (with other martyrs) was firmly in place. The evidence that the two Alexanders were originally separate person is clearly and concisely presented by Duchesne (1886, xci-xcii). For the Martyrdom of Alexander, Eventius and Theodulus, see E02481; and, for their graves on the via Nomentana, see the sixth/seventh-century lists and guides to the suburban cemeteries: E06912, E00637, E06998.

Bibliography

Edition: Duchesne, L., Le Liber pontificalis. 2 vols (Paris: E. Thorin, 1886-1892). (With substantial introduction and commentary.) Translation: Davis, R., The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis) (Translated Texts for Historians 6; 3rd ed.; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010).

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