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E01244: The Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome in the 530s, and re-edited before 546, is critical of *Liberius (bishop of Rome, ob. 366, S00758), but mentions his burial in the cemetery of Priscilla on the via Salaria, on 9 September [AD 366], and his links with the churches of the Apostles *Peter (S00036) and *Paul (S00008), and, particularly that of *Agnes (virgin and martyr of Rome, S00097), which he beautified, all in Rome.

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posted on 06.04.2016, 00:00 by robert
Liber Pontificalis 37

First edition (as reconstructed by Duchesne)

Liberius, natione Romanus, ex patre Augusto, sedit ann. VI m. III d. IIII. Fuit autem temporibus Constantii usque ad Constantio Aug. III. Hic exilio deputatur a Constantio eo quod noluissent heresi arrianae consentire, et fecit ibi annos III...

'Liberius, born in Rome, son of Augustus, held the see 6 years 3 months 4 days. He was bishop in the time of Constantius until the 3rd [consulship] of the emperor Constantius. He was sent into exile by Constantius for refusing to agree to the Arian heresy, and spent 3 years in exile.'


There follows the description of Liberius' exile from Rome by the emperor Constantius.


Tunc revocaverunt Liberium de exilio; habitavit in cimiterio sanctae Agnis apud germanam Constanti Aug., ut quasi per eius rogatu rediret in civitatem... Eodem tempore Constantius una cum Ursacio et Valentem convocaverunt aliquos, qui ex fece arriana erant, et misit et revocaverunt revocaverunt Liberium de cimiterio sanctae Agnae...

'Then Liberius was recalled from exile; he lived at the cemetery of saint Agnes with the emperor Constantius’ sister, in the hope that her intervention or request might gain him admittance to the city... At this time Constantius together with Ursacius and Valens summoned some of those from the Arian dregs, and they sent for Liberius, and recalled him from the cemetery of saint Agnes... '


Liberius then comes to an agreement with the Arian emperor Constantius.


Qui etiam sepultus est in cimiterio Priscillae, via Salaria, V id. sept.

'He was buried on the via Salaria in the cemetery of Priscilla on 9 September.'



Second edition

Liberius, natione Romanus, ex patre Augusto, sedit ann. VI m. III d. IIII. Fuit autem temporibus Constantini filii Constantini usque ad Constantio Aug. III. Hic exilio deportatur a Constantio eo quod noluissent heresi Arrianae consentire, et fecit in exilio annos III...

'Liberius, born in Rome, son of Augustus, held the see 6 years 3 months 4 days. He was bishop in the time of Constantine son of Constantine until the 3rd [consulship] of the emperor Constantius. He was sent into exile by Constantius for refusing to agree to the Arian heresy, and spent 3 years in exile.'


There follows the description of Liberius' exile from Rome by the emperor Constantius.


Rediens autem Liberius de exilio habitabit in cymiterio sanctae Agnes apud germanam Constanti Augusti, ut quasi per eius interventionem aut rogatu rediret Liberius in civitatem... Eodem tempore Constantius una cum Ursacio et Valente convocaverunt aliquos, qui ex fece arriana erant, et quasi facto concilio misit et revocavit Liberium de cymiterio beatae Agnae...

'On his return from exile Liberius lived at the cemetery of saint Agnes with the emperor Constantius’ sister, in the hope that her intervention or request might gain him admittance to the city... Then Constantius along with Ursacius and Valens summoned some of those from the Arian dregs, and just as if a council had been held he sent and recalled Liberius from the cemetery of the blessed Agnes.'


Liberius then comes to an agreement with the Arian emperor Constantius.


Et tenuit basilicas beati Petri et beati Pauli et basilicam Constantinianam annos VI, et persecutio magna fuit in urbe Roma, ita ut clerici et sacerdotes neque in ecclesia neque in balnea haberent introitum...

'For 6 years he held the basilicas of St Peter and St Paul and the Constantinian basilica [= the Lateran basilica]; there was a great persecution in Rome, which meant that the clerics and priests could gain no entry into church or baths...'


Hic Liberius ornavit de platomis marmoreis sepulchrum sanctae Agnaes martyris...

'Liberius decorated the tomb of the martyr saint Agnes with marble tablets (platomis marmoreis)... '


Qui etiam sepultus est via Salaria in cymiterio Priscillae VIII kal. Mai.

'He was buried on the via Salaria in the cemetery of Priscilla on 9 September.'


Text: Duchesne 1886, 83/85 and 207-208. Translation: Davis 2010, 27-28, lightly modified.

History

Evidence ID

E01244

Saint Name

Liberius, bishop of Rome, ob. 366 : S00758 Agnes, martyr in Rome (ob. c. 304) : S00097 Peter the Apostle : S00036 Paul, the Apostle : S00008

Saint Name in Source

Liberius Agnes Petrus Paulus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

530

Evidence not after

546

Activity not before

352

Activity not after

366

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

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Monarchs and their family Women

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Precious material objects

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

This chapter of the Liber Pontificalis presents, in a highly confusing and erroneous way, the story of Pope Liberius whose role in the Arian controversy was ambiguous, the author being critical of his contacts with Arians. However, he mentions the date and place of Liberius' burial in the very same way as in the case of other bishops whose sanctity was beyond any doubt.

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).

Licence

Exports

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Licence

Exports