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E00268: The Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome in the 530s, and re-edited before 546, in its account of *Clemens (bishop of Rome, martyr of the Crimea, S00111), tells how he made church notaries record the acts of the martyrs of Rome, himself died a martyr in Greece, and was buried there on 24 November [AD 100].

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posted on 02.02.2015, 00:00 by robert
Liber Pontificalis 4

First edition (as reconstructed by Duchesne)

Clemens, natione Romanus, de regione Celiomonte, ex patre Faustino, sedit ann. VIIII m. II d. X. Fuit autem temporibus Galbae et Vespasiani, a consulatu Tragali et Italici, usque ad Vespasiano VIIII et Tito. Martyrio coronatur. Hic fecit VII regiones et dividit notariis fidelibus ecclesiae, qui gestas martyrum sollicite et curiose, unusquisque per regionem suam, diligenter perquireret ... Obiit martyr III Traiani. Qui sepultus est in Grecias VIIII kal. decemb.

'Clemens, born in Rome, from the region of the Caelian Hill, son of Faustinus, held the see 9 years, 2 months, 10 days. He was bishop in the time of Galba and Vespasian from the consulship of Tragalus and Italicus [AD 68] to the ninth consulship of Vespasian and the first consulship of Titus [AD 79]. He was crowned with martyrdom. He created the seven regions, dividing them among notaries faithful to the church so that each of them in his own region could concern himself with careful and diligent investigation into the acts of the martyrs (gestae martyrum) … He died a martyr in the third [year] of Trajan [AD 100]. He was buried in Greece on the ninth day before the Kalends of December [23 November].'


Second edition

Clemens, natione Romanus, de regione Celiomonte, ex patre Faustino, sedit ann. VIIII mens. II dies X. Fuit autem temporibus Galbe et Vespasiani, a consulatu Tragali et Italici usque ad Vespasiano VIIII et Tito ... Martyrio coronatur. Hic fecit VII regiones, dividit notariis fidelibus ecclesiae, qui gestas martyrum sollicite et curiose, unusquisque per regionem suam, diligenter perquireret ... Obiit martyr Traiano III. Qui etiam sepultus est in Grecias VIII kl. decemb.

'Clemens, born in Rome, from the region of the Caelian Hill, son of Faustinus, held the see 9 years, 2 months, 10 days. He was bishop in the time of Galba and Vespasian from the consulship of Trachalus and Italicus [AD 68] … He was crowned with martyrdom. He created the seven regions, dividing them among notaries faithful to the church so that each of them in his own region could concern himself with careful and diligent investigation into the acts of the martyrs … He died a martyr in the third [year] of Trajan [100]. He was buried in Greece on the eighth day before the Kalends of December [24 November].'


Text: Duchesne 1886, 53 and 123. Translation: Davis 2010, 2-3, lightly modified.

History

Evidence ID

E00268

Saint Name

Clement, bishop of Rome and martyr, ob. c. 100 : S00111

Saint Name in Source

Clemens

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

530

Evidence not after

546

Activity not before

90

Activity not after

100

Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Rome

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Liber Pontificalis

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

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

Although the wording is somewhat imprecise, in its statement that Clemens died a martyr in Greece, the Liber Pontificalis seems to be echoing the hagiographical tradition that Clemens was exiled to the Crimea and martyred there - see the Martyrdom of Clemens (E02488); and, for a discussion of how this tradition might have emerged, Duchesne (1886, xci). The care taken by the bishops of Rome, through the centuries of persecution, to record and preserve the acts of the Roman martyrs, is a recurrent theme in the Liber Pontificalis, presumably in order to bolster the authenticity of the many Martyrdoms that were circulating at the time: see also E00342, E00343.

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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