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E01272: The Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome in the 530s, and re-edited before 546, in its account of Felix II (bishop and, supposedly, martyr of Rome, ob. 365, S00493), tells how he condemned the emperor Constantius as a heretic, and suffered martyrdom; his body was secretly buried in the basilica which he (Felix) had built on the via Aurelia outside Rome, on 15 November [AD 365].

online resource
posted on 13.04.2016, 00:00 by robert
Liber Pontificalis 38

First edition (as reconstructed by Duchesne)

Felix, natione Romanus, ex patre Anastasio, sedit ann. I m. III d. II. Hic declaravit Constantium hereticum et rebaptizatum secundum. Hic martyrio coronatur. Hic fecit basilicam via Aurelia, miliario ab Urbe II, ubi et requievit ... Qui etiam capite truncatur cum multis clericis et fidelibus occulte iuxta murus urbis ad latus forma Traiani III id. nov. Et exinde rapuerunt corpus eius nocte christiani cum Damaso presbitero et sepelierunt in basilica supra dicta eius via Aurelia XVII kal. decemb.

'Felix [II], born in Rome, son of Anastasius, held the see 1 year 3 months 2 days. He proclaimed Constantius to be a heretic and to have undergone a second re-baptism. He was crowned with martyrdom. He built a basilica on the via Aurelia, at the second mile from the city, where he also rests ... He was beheaded with many of the clerics and faithful in secret close to the city wall, alongside the aqueduct of Trajan, on 11 November. Straightaway the Christians with the priest Damasus got hold of his body at night and buried it in that same basilica of his on the Via Aurelia, on 15 November.'


Second edition
Felix, natione Romanus, ex patre Anastasio, sedit ann. I m. III d. II. Hic declaravit Constantium filium Constantini hereticum et rebaptizatum secundo ab Eusebio Nicomediense iuxta Nicomedia in villa qui appellatur Aquilone. Et pro hoc declaratum ab eodem Constantii praecepto Augusti, filii Constantini Augusti, martyrio coronatur et capite truncatur. Hic fecit basilicam via Aurelia cum presbiterii honore funeretur... Qui etiam capite truncatur cum multis clericis et fidelibus occulte iuxta muros Urbis, ad latus forma Traiana, III id. novemb. Et exinde rapuerunt corpus eius christiani cum Damaso presbitero et sapelierunt in basilica supradicta eius, via Aurelia, XVII kal. decemb. in pace.

'Felix [II], born in Rome, son of Anastasius, held the see 1 year 3 months 2 days. He proclaimed Constantius son of Constantine to be a heretic and to have undergone a second baptism by Eusebius bishop of Nicomedia near Nicomedia at the villa called Aquilone. For making this proclamation he was crowned with martyrdom by beheading on the instruction of the emperor Constantius son of the emperor Constantine. He built a basilica on the via Aurelia while he still discharged the office of the priesthood... He was beheaded with many of the clerics and faithful in secret close to the city walls, alongside the aqueduct of Trajan, on 11 November. Straightaway the Christians with the priest Damasus got hold of his body and buried it in peace in that same basilica of
his on the Via Aurelia, on 15 November.'


Text: Duchesne 1886, 85 and 211. Translation: Davis 2010, 28.
Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

History

Evidence ID

E01272

Saint Name

Felix, martyr and bishop of Rome, ob. in 365 : S00493 Anonymous martyrs : S00060

Saint Name in Source

Felix

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

530

Evidence not after

546

Activity not before

364

Activity not after

367

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

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body

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 the story of Felix II in an extremely confused way. Most importantly, Felix II was certainly not a martyr.

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

Keywords

Licence

Exports