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E01099: The Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome in the 530s, and re-edited before 546, in its account of *Dionysius (bishop of Rome, S00542), states that he was buried in the cemetery of Callixtus on the via Appia outside Rome, on 27 December [AD 269].

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posted on 31.01.2016, 00:00 by robert
Liber Pontificalis 26

First edition (as reconstructed by Duchesne)

Dionisius, ex monacho cuius generationem non potuimus repperire, sedit ann. VI m. II d. IIII. Fuit autem temporibus Gallieni, ex die XI kal. aug., Emiliano et Basso consulibus [259] usque in die VII kal. ianuar., a consulatu Claudii et Paterini [269]... [Qui etiam sepultus est] in cimiterio Calisti, via Appia, VI kal. ianuar.

'Dionysius, a former monk, whose ancestry we have been unable to trace, held the see 6 years 2 months 4 days. He was bishop in the time of Gallienus from the 11th day before the Kalends of August [22 July] in the consulship of Aemilianus and Bassus [AD 259] to the 7th day before the Kalends of January [26 December] in the consulship of Claudius and Paternus [AD 269]... he was buried in the cemetery of Callixtus on the via Appia on the 6th day before the Kalends of January [27 December].'


Second edition

Dionisius, ex monacho cuius generationem non potuimus repperire, sedit ann. VI m. II d. IIII. Fuit autem temporibus Gallieni, ex die XI kal. aug., Emiliano et Basso consulibus [259] usque in die VII kal. ianuar., a consulatu Claudii et Paterini [269]... Qui etiam sepultus est in cymiterio Calisti, via Appia, VI kal. ianuar.

'Dionysius, a former monk, whose ancestry we have been unable to trace, held the see 6 years 2 months 4 days. He was bishop in the time of Gallienus from the 11th day before the Kalends of August [22 July] in the consulship of Aemilianus and Bassus [AD 259] to the 7th day before the Kalends of January [26 December] in the consulship of Claudius and Paternus [AD 269]... he was buried in the cemetery of Callixtus on the via Appia on the 6th day before the Kalends of January [27 December].'


Text: Duchesne 1886, 71 and 157. Translation: Davis 2010, 10-11.

History

Evidence ID

E01099

Saint Name

Dionysius, bishop of Rome, ob. c. 267 : S00542

Saint Name in Source

Dionisius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

530

Evidence not after

546

Activity not before

262

Activity not after

272

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 - cemetery/catacomb

Source

The Liber Pontificalis consists of a series of very 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

Dionysius' life is interesting, because, unlike other lives, it gives not only the date of his burial, but also those of his consecration and death. It is difficult to say whether any of those is reliable, but it shows that the burial quickly followed the death.

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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