Saint NameCornelius, bishop and martyr of Rome : S00172
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Archaeological and architectural - Internal cult fixtures (crypts, ciboria, etc.)
Literary - Poems
Evidence not before384
Evidence not after399
Activity not before384
Activity not after399
Place of Evidence - RegionRome and region
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcSuburban catacombs and cemeteries
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Suburban catacombs and cemeteries
Cult activities - PlacesBurial site of a saint - crypt/ crypt with relics
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsBequests, donations, gifts and offerings
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - bishops
Merchants and artisans
Ecclesiastics - Popes
Cult Activities - Cult Related ObjectsInscription
SourceFragments of a marble plaque preserving a handful of letters. High quality lettering, Philocalian script. Found by de Rossi in 1852 in the crypt of Cornelius.
DiscussionThe fragments are believed to have once belonged to a commemorative plaque with a Damasan poem, or a work imitating Damasan poetry. Both the physical appearance of the letters, and the last verse, plausibly restored, which resembles classic Damasan phrases, support this identification.
Giovanni Battista de Rossi, the finder and first editor of the fragments, hesitated between several entirely hypothetical restorations. Eventually, he favoured the version which we present here. Although it is no more plausible that the others, some scholars do not entirely reject it (see Trout 2015, 120). According to this interpretation, the poem, composed in two hexameter verses, may have commemorated a refurbishment of the crypt of Cornelius by pope Siricius (384-399), successor of pope Damasus credited with a major rebuilding of the crypt (see E04648). We find this extremely doubtful.
Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB20439, see http://www.edb.uniba.it/epigraph/20439
De Rossi, G.B., Ferrua, A. (eds.) Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 4: Coemeteria inter Vias Appiam et Ardeatinam (Vatican: Pont. Institutum Archaeologiae Christianae, 1964), no. 9369.
???Ferrua, A., Epigramata damasiana (Rome: Pontificio Istituto di archeologia cristiana, 1942), 136-137, no. 19.
Ihm, M., Damasi epigrammata (Anthologiae Latinae Supplementa 1, Leipzig: Teubner, 1895), comments to no. 19 (p. 27).
de Rossi, G.B., La Roma sotterranea cristiana, vol. 1 (Rome: Cromo-litografia pontificia, 1864), 293.
Reekmans, L., La tombe du pape Cornelie et sa région cémétériale (Roma sotterranea cristiana 4, Città del Vaticano: , 1964).
de Rossi, G.B., La Roma sotterranea cristiana, vol. 1 (Rome: Cromo-litografia pontificia, 1864), 291-293, Tav. II and IV.
Trout, D., Damasus of Rome: The Epigraphic Poetry. Introduction, Texts, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford: OUP, 2015), 120.