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E00683: The Notitia ecclesiarum urbis Romae, a guide to saints' graves around Rome, lists those on the via Appia, south of the city. Written in Latin in Rome, 625/649.

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posted on 03.09.2015, 00:00 by Philip
Catalogue of the Churches of the City of Rome (Notitia ecclesiarum urbis Romae) 21-23

Et eadem uia ad aquilonem ad sanctos martires Tiburtium et Valerianum et Maximum; ibi intrabis in speluncam magnam et ibi inuenies sanctum Urbanum episcopum et confessorem, et in altero loco Felicissimum et Agapitum martires et diaconos Syxti, et in tercio loco Cyrinum martirem, et in quarto Ianuarium martirem. Et in tertia ecclesia sursum sanctus Synon martir quiescit.

Eadem uia ad sanctam Caeciliam; ibi innumerabilis multitudo martirum: primus Syxtus papa et martir, Dionisius papa et martir, Iulianus papa et martir, Flauianus martir, sancta Caecilia uirgo et martir, LXXX martires ibi requiescunt deorsum; Zeferinus papa et confessor sursum quiescit; Eusebius papa et martir longe in antro requiescit; Cornelius papa et martir longe in antro altero requiescit.

Postea peruenies ad sanctam uirginem Soterem et martirem, cuius corpus iacet ad aquilonem.


'[From San Sebastiano] by the same road to the north, to the holy martyrs Tiburtius and Valerianus, and Maximus. There you will enter a large catacomb and there find saint Urbanus, bishop and confessor, and in another place Felicissimus and Agapitus, martyrs and deacons of Syxtus, and in a third place the martyr Cyrinus, and in a fourth Ianuarius, martyr. And in a third church above, saint Synon the martyr rests.

On the same road, to saint Caecilia; there a countless multitude of martyrs: first, Syxtus, pope and martyr, Dionysius, pope and martyr, Julianus, pope and martyr, Flavianus martyr, saint Caecilia, virgin and martyr, and 80 martyrs rest there below. Zephyrinus, pope and confessor, rests above. Eusebius, pope and martyr, rests deep in a cavern. Cornelius, pope and martyr, rests deep in another cavern.

Then you come to saint Soteris, virgin and martyr, whose body lies to the north.'

Text: Glorie 1965, 308. Translation: R. Wiśniewski, P. Polcar

The bracketed <> passage is an interpolation added, in a more-or-less contemporary hand, to the late-8th-century Vienna manuscript of the text. The information it contains probably derived from another written source (of uncertain date), rather than from new direct observation.

First paragraph: [*Tiburtius, Valerianus, and Maximus, martyrs of Rome associated with Caecilia, S00537; *Urbanus, bishop and confessor/martyr of Rome, S00538; *Felicissimus and Agapitus, deacons of Xystus II, martyrs of Rome, S00202; *Cyrinus, martyr/confessor of Rome buried in the cemetery of Praetextatus, S01225; *Ianuarius, perhaps one of the seven sons of *Felicitas, S00525; *Zenon, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Appia, S00541]

Second paragraph: [*Caecilia, virgin and martyr of Rome, S00146; *Xystus/Sixtus II, bishop and martyr of Rome; S00201; *Dionysius, bishop of Rome, ob. c. 267, S00542; *Julianus, martyr of Rome, S00082; *Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome, ob. c. 217, S00546; *Eusebius, bishop of Rome, ob. c. 308, S00545; *Cornelius, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00172]

Third paragraph: [*Soteris, virgin and martyr of Rome, buried on the via Appia, S00548]

History

Evidence ID

E00683

Saint Name

Cornelius, martyr and bishop of Rome, ob. c. 253 : S00172 Cecilia, virgin and martyr of Rome : S00146 Tiburtius, Valerian, and Maximus, martyrs in Rome, buried at Via Appia, ob. ??? : S00537 Urban, bishop of Rome, ob. c. 230 : S00538 Felicissimus

Saint Name in Source

Cornelius Caecilia Tiburtius, Valerianus et Maximinus Urbanus Felicissimus Cyrinus Ianuarius Synon Syxtus Dionisius Iulianus Iulianus Flauianus Eusebius LXXX martires Soteris

Related Saint Records

Type of Evidence

Literary - Pilgrim accounts and itineraries

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

625

Evidence not after

642

Activity not before

625

Activity not after

649

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

Lists of Shrines in Rome

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Pilgrimage

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body

Source

The graves of the martyrs of Rome are quite exceptional in two respects: for the overwhelming number of saints whose names are recorded; and for the level of detail we have on where their bodies were venerated - in the many Martyrdoms surviving from Rome (incomparably more than from any other city), in uniquely rich epigraphic evidence, and in a narrative history, the Liber Pontificalis, that records in loving detail papal improvements to the saintly graves and churches of the city. From the century between circa 590 and 690, we even have four long lists of venerated graves, which were compiled entirely independently of each other: one (the Monza papyrus, $E06788) is a catalogue of holy oil collected at these graves, but the other three, the Notitia Ecclesiarum ($E07900), the De Locis Sanctis ($E07901) and the Itinerarium Malmesburiense ($E07883), are 'itineraries' - in other words texts that introduce their readers to the graves by taking them on a journey through the burial churches and cemeteries that ringed the city. They are often described as pilgrim-guides, which was certainly one of their functions, though they could also serve to introduced the saints of Rome to distant readers. The Notitia ecclesiarum urbis Romae is the earliest of these three itineraries. Though it bears the deceptive title 'A catalogue of the churches of the city of Rome', in reality it is an itinerary through the cemeteries outside the city. The itinerary is arranged by the major roads leaving the city, starting in the north, with the via Flaminia, and working round clockwise, to end on the via Cornelia; this arrangement was certainly intentional, in order to close the list with Rome's greatest shrine, the church and grave of Peter on the Vatican hill. Of the three itineraries we have, the Notitia is the closest we have in style to a modern guidebook and the text that it is easiest to imagine in a pilgrim's hands, rather than being pored over in a distant monastic library. In particular, it is the richest in topographical detail, and the only one that directly addresses its reader - 'Then you leave the via Appia ...', 'You descend into the catacomb and find there ...', etc. - whereas the other two itineraries are expressed in the impersonal third person - 'By the via Salaria is the church of ...', etc. The Notitia was certainly composed during, or shortly after, the pontificate of Pope Honorius I (625-638), because several of his constructions or works of repair are noted, and it is equally certain that it was written before the end of the pontificate of Theodore I (642-649), since, when it describes the church of Valentinus on the Via Flaminia ($E00633), it mentions a repair by Honorius but fails to mention a major rebuilding by Theodore (for which, see $E01629). A description of the basilica of St Peter (primarily a list of its altars) was subsequently appended to the original text, around the middle of the 8th century. Although this addition falls outside the chronological limits of our database (which we set at AD 700), we have included it for completeness' sake (and because it is an interesting text!) - see $E00690. The author of the Notitia had a thorough knowledge of the extramural shrines of Rome; but inevitably, with so many Roman martyrs (many with similar or identical names) and with the accretion of different traditions over the centuries, many of the names of martyrs given in the text are of uncertain identification, and it also contains some statements that we can confidently identify as 'errors' (for instance, several popes who are known to have died a peaceful death are here described as martyrs). It is, however, impossible to tell which of these uncertainties and errors were already firmly established at the shrines and which were introduced by our author. The Notitia survives in a single manuscript, written in Salzburg in the late 790s (Vienna, National Library Ms 795). For a useful discussion of the text: Valentini and Zucchetti 1942, 67-71. (Philip Polcar and Bryan Ward-Perkins)

Discussion

These passages, on the cemeteries of the via Appia, for the most part record saints who are readily identifiable, and whose graves along the Appia are also recorded in other sources, in particular in the other two seventh-century itineraries, the De Locis Sanctis (E06992) and the Itinerarium Malmesburiense (E07892). The first paragraph relates to the cemetery of Praetextatus: Tiburtius, Valerianus, Maximus and Urbanus all feature prominently in the Martyrdom of Caecila (E02519). Felicissimus and Agapitus, as stated here, were venerated as martyred deacons of Xystus II. The martyrdom of Cyrinus/Quirinus, and his burial in the cemetery of Praetextatus, is recounted in the Martryrdom of Hermes and Quirinus (E02481). Ianuarius was venerated as one of the seven martyred sons of Felicitas; his burial in the cemetery of Praetextatus is already mentioned (though with no reference to Felicitas) in the earliest list we have of Roman burials, the Depositio Martirum of 354 (E01052, 10 July). The one shadowy figure is 'Synon', whose burial in this cemetery is also listed in the Notitia Ecclesiarum (where he is called 'Zenon', and said to have been a brother of saint Valentinus), and in the Itinerarium Malmesburiense (where he is called 'Xenon'). The second paragraph relates to a church of Caecilia (the saint whose body was translated in the ninth century to the church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere) and the cemetery of Callixtus, listing the burials of a number of popes, starting with the papal martyr Xystus/Syxtus II. The mention of Julianus as a pope and martyr is, however, confusing: there was a pope Julius (not Julianus), but he is not known to have been martyred, and according to the Liber Pontificalis he was buried on the via Aurelia, and not on the via Appia (see E00689). Furthermore, neither Pope Eusebius nor Pope Dionysius are known to have been martyrs.

Bibliography

Edition: Glorie, F. (ed.), Notitia ecclesiarum urbis Romae, in Itineraria et alia geographica (Corpus Christianorum, series Latina 175; Turnhout: Brepols, 1965), 305-311. [Reproduces Valentini and Zucchetti, with a few emendations.] Valentini, R. and Zucchetti, G. (ed.), Codice topografico della città di Roma (Istituto storico italiano - Fonti per la storia d'Italia; Roma 1942), vol. 2, 72-94. (Partial) Translation: Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford Early Christian Studies; Oxford: Oxford University Press 2018), 660-662. [Translates most of the text, but omits parts less relevant to those martyrdom accounts that he includes in his collection.]

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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