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E04744: Fragmentary Latin inscription, possibly recording the purchase of a tomb from a presbyter of the titulus of *Balbina (virgin and martyr of Rome, S01849). Found on the surface, near the Cemetery of Callistus, on the via Appia, Rome. Probably 5th c.

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posted on 29.01.2018, 00:00 by pnowakowski
Ferrua's edition:

[locus Crescen]tionis [quem emit]
[a - - - presb. t̅]t̅ s̅(an)c̅(t)e̅ Ba[lbinae]

2. presb. t̅]t̅ = presb(ytero) t(i)t(uli) Ferrua following de Rossi

'[Tomb (locus) of] Crescentio [which he bought from - - -, presbyter] of the titulus of saint Balbina.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., IV, no. 11502.

Pierno's edition:

[locus Crescen]tionis [quem emit]
[a --- presbi]t̅(eris) s̅(an)c̅(t)e̅ Ba[lbinae]

'[Tomb (locus) of] Crescentio [which he bought from - - -], the presbyters of saint Balbina.'

Text: EDB40216.

History

Evidence ID

E04744

Saint Name

Balbina, virgin and martyr of Rome : S01849

Saint Name in Source

Balbina

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

400

Evidence not after

500

Activity not before

400

Activity not after

500

Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Suburban catacombs and cemeteries

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Suburban catacombs and cemeteries Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Other

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Other lay individuals/ people

Source

Fragment of a marble plaque. There is no published description. Found by Giovanni Battista de Rossi in 1844, in a vineyard near the Cemetery of Callistus. In 1877 de Rossi published line 2. The entire text was published by Antonio Ferrua in 1964, from de Rossi's papers, as he did not revisit the stone. Now probably lost. The text is also presented in the Epigraphic Database Bari by Marida Pierno. Her readings of the preserved letters are essentially the same (presumably based on the earlier editions), but she offers a different completion of line 2.

Discussion

The text, as published by Ferrua is interpreted as a record of the purchase of a tomb. This is based solely on the presence of a damaged name in line 1, and a reference to an institution named after a saint in line 2. As this configuration fits the structure of epitaphs recording purchases of tombs from grave diggers (fossores, see E04646), one can argue for such an interpretation of the text. Other restorations, however, are even more plausible. For example, this could be an ordinary epitaph with an extensive ecclesiastical titulature of the deceased (an acolyte?), perhaps similar to that which we present in E04799 (titulus of Saint Anastasia); cf. also E04745. It was Giovanni Battista de Rossi who briefly suggested that line 2 might contain a reference to a priest of the titulus of saint Balbina, and this was happily accepted by Antonio Ferrua. Marida Pierno, however, suggests that we may have here mention of (a body?) of 'presbyters of saint Balbina', who sold the tomb, with no reference to the term titulus. Nonetheless, in our opinion the presumed reference to the titulus of saint Balbina is an attractive restoration. Epitaphs with references to tituli of different saints are well attested in the Cemetery of Callistus (EXXXXX), and it may be that the same designation was also used in the present epitaph. Dating: Marida Pierno (in EDB) dates the inscription to the 5th c.

Bibliography

Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB40216, see http://www.edb.uniba.it/epigraph/40216 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. 11502. de Rossi, G.B., La Roma sotterranea cristiana, vol. 3 (Rome: Cromo-litografia pontificia, 1877), 515.

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