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E01305: The Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome in the 530s, and re-edited before 546, in its account of *Leo (bishop of Rome, ob. 461, S00423), tells how a certain Demetrias built a basilica of *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030) on the via Latina outside Rome; how Leo himself established a monastery at St Peter's, built a basilica to *Cornelius (bishop and martyr of Rome, S00172) near the cemetery of Callixtus on the via Appia, carried out a number of repairs at the basilicas of the Apostles *Peter (S00036) and *Paul (S00008) and at the Lateran, and replaced the liturgical vessels of the city's tituli, which had been stolen by the Vandals. It also gives an account of the Council held in the basilica of *Euphemia (martyr of Chalcedon, S00017) at Chalcedon, near Constantinople, and records *Leo's burial in Rome at the basilica of St Peter on 11 April [AD 461].

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posted on 23.04.2016, 00:00 by Bryan
Liber Pontificalis 47

First edition (as reconstructed by Duchesne)

Leo, natione Tuscus, ex patre Quintiano, sedit ann. XXI m. I d. XIII...

'Leo, born in Tuscia, son of Quintianus, held the see 21 years 1 month 13 days...'


ex huius preceptum factum est concilium sanctorum episcoporum in Calcidona Orientis, in basilica sanctae martyris Euphemiae...

'following his counsel a council of holy bishops was held in Chalcedon in the East, at the basilica of the saint martyr Euphemia...'


There follows an account of the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451).


Hic renovavit post cladem Wandalicam omnia ministeria sacrata argentea per omnes titulos. Hic renovavit basilicam beati Petri et beati Pauli apostolorum post ignem divinum. Hic propter nomen Romanum ambulavit ad regem Chunnorum Atthilam et liberavit totam Italiam. Hic constituit monasterium aput beatum Petrum apostolum...

'After the Vandal disaster he replaced all the consecrated silver services throughout all the tituli. He renewed St Peter’s and St Paul's basilicas after the divine fire. For the sake of the Roman name he travelled to the king of the Huns, Attila, and he delivered the whole of Italy. He established a monastery at St Peter’s.'


Hic constituit super sepulcra apostolorum custodes qui dicuntur cubicularii. Qui etiam sepultus est in basilica beati Petri III id. april.

'He established the wardens called cubicularii over the tombs of the apostles. He was buried in St Peter’s basilica on 11 April.'



Second edition

Leo, natione Tuscus, ex patre Quintiano, sedit ann. XXI m. I d. XIII. Huius temporibus fecit Demetria ancilla dei basilicam sancto Stephano via Latina, miliario III, in praedio suo...

'Leo, born in Tuscia, son of Quintianus, held the see 21 years 1 month 13 days. In his time God’s handmaid Demetrias built a basilica to saint Stephen on her estate at the 3rd mile of the via Latina...'


Hic ordinavit praecepta sui auctoritate et misit ad Marcianum Augustum, orthodoxum principem, catholicum, et facta conlatione cum eodem principem collecti sunt episcopi et factum est concilium sanctum episcoporum in Calcedona, in martyrio sanctae Eufemiae...

'He listed his instructions in a warrant which he sent to the emperor Marcian, an orthodox catholic prince, and after a discussion with the prince the bishops were brought together and a holy council of bishops was held in Chalcedon at the martyr-shrine of saint Euphemia...'


There follows an account of the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD).


Hic renovavit post cladem Wandalicam omnia ministeria sacrata argentea per omnes titulos, conflatas hydrias VI basilicae Constantiniane, duas basilicae beati Petri apostoli, duas beati Pauli apostoli, quas Constantinus Augustus obtulit, qui pens. sing. lib. centenas; de quas omnia vasa renovavit sacrata. Hic renovavit basilicam Petri apostoli [et cameram] beati Pauli post ignem divinum renovavit. Fecit vero cameram in basilica Constantiniana. Fecit autem basilicam beato Cornelio episcopo et martyris, iuxta cymiterium Callisti, via Appia. Hic propter nomen Romanum suscipiens legationem ambulavit ad regem Unnorum, nomine Atthela et liberavit totam Italiam a periculo hostium. Hic constituit monasterium apud beatum Petrum apostolum...

'After the Vandal disaster he replaced all the consecrated silver services throughout all the tituli, by melting down 6 water-jars, two at the Constantinian basilica, two at the basilica of St Peter, two at St Paul’s, which the emperor Constantine had presented, each weighing 100 lb; from these he replaced all the consecrated vessels. He renewed St Peter’s basilica and the apse-vault of St Paul’s after the divine fire. He also constructed an apse-vault in the Constantinian basilica. He built a basilica to the bishop and martyr saint Cornelius near the cemetery of Callixtus on the via Appia. For the sake of the Roman name he undertook an embassy and travelled to the king of the Huns, Attila by name, and he delivered the whole of Italy from the peril of the enemy. He established a monastery at St Peter’s...'


Hic constituit super sepulchra apostolorum custodes qui dicuntur cubicularii, ex clero Romano.

'He established the wardens called cubicularii from among the Roman clergy, over the tombs of the apostles...'


Qui etiam sepultus aput beatum Petrum apostolum, III id. april.

'He was buried at saint Peter the apostle on 11 April.'


Text: Duchesne 1886, 91/93 and 238-239. Translation: Davis 2010, 36-37, lightly modified.

History

Evidence ID

E01305

Saint Name

Leo, bishop of Rome, ob. 461 : S00423 Paul, the Apostle : S00008 Peter the Apostle : S00036 Cornelius, martyr and bishop of Rome, ob. c. 253 : S00172 Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030 Euphemia, martyr in Chalcedon, ob. 303 : S00017

Saint Name in Source

Leo Paulus Petrus, Marcellinus Cornelius Stephanus Euphemia

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

530

Evidence not after

546

Activity not before

440

Activity not after

461

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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Women Aristocrats Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Monarchs and their family

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Water basins Chalices, censers and other liturgical vessels

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

The Demetria who is named in this passage can be identified as Anicia Demetrias of the aristocratic family of the Anicii Probii. The church of St Stephen, which she built on the via Latina is attested archaeologically. Also the renovation works at St Peter's and at St Paul's undertaken by Leo are attested by inscriptions (see XXXXXXXXXX). Nothing remains of the basilica of saint Cornelius, though it is recorded in the 7th-century itineraries (see E06992 and E07892).

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). Further reading: Krautheimer, R., Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romae: The early Christian Basilicas of Rome (IV–IX Centuries), Vatican City 1937–1977 Brandenburg, H., Ancient churches of Rome from the fourth to the seventh century : the dawn of Christian architecture in the West, Turnhout 2005.

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