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E04771: Latin epitaph for a reader (lector) saying that he will rest in peace with unnamed saints ‘as he merited', just possibly *Marcus and Marcellianus (twin brothers, deacons and martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Ardeatina, S01401), or the *Greek Martyrs of Rome (S01873). Found in a cemetery on the via Appia, Rome. Probably second half of the 5th c.

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posted on 30.01.2018, 00:00 by Bryan
dilectissimo marito anime dulcissime Alexio lectori
de Fullonices, qui vixit mecum ann(is) VX iunctus mihi ann(orum) XVI
virgo ad virgine(m), cuius numquam amaritudinem h(a)bui.
cesque in pace cum sanctis cum quos mereris.
dep(ositus) VIIIX kal(endas) ianu(arias).

'To the most dear husband, the sweetest soul, Alexius, reader (of the titulus) of Fullonices, who lived with me 15 years, was married to me at the age of 16, virgin to a virgin, whose harshness I have never experienced. May you rest in peace with the saints, as you merit (literally, with whom you merit). Deposited on the 18th (day) before the calends of January.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., IV, no. 11798 = EDB1000.

History

Evidence ID

E04771

Saint Name

Saints, unnamed : S00518 Marcus and Marcellianus, twin brothers, martyrs of Rome : S01401 Greek martyrs of Rome (Hippolytus, Hadrias, Paulina, Neon, Maria, and their companions Eusebius, Marcellus, Maximus, Martana and Valeria) : S01873

Saint Name in Source

sancti sancti sancti

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions Archaeological and architectural - Internal cult fixtures (crypts, ciboria, etc.)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

450

Evidence not after

500

Activity not before

450

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

Burial site of a saint - crypt/ crypt with relics

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Other

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Source

Large white marble plaque, broken into two conjoining parts. H. 0.95 m; W. 1.96 m; Th. 0.05 m. Letter height 0.05 m. The inscription, found between 1903 and 1908 comes from an arcosolium tomb in a crypt in the cemetery where inscriptions referring to *Marcus and Marcellianus (E04761), and possibly *Neon and Marcellus (E04770) were also found, in area S2. The first proper edition was offered by Josef Wilpert in 1908. Later reedited by a number of scholars (see Bibliography), notably by Antonio Ferrua in 1964, in the ICVR series. Now in area S2, fixed on a wall.

Discussion

The inscription commemorates the burial of a reader, Alexius, by his unnamed wife. He is said to have been buried on 15 December ‘with saints, as you merit.’ This is presented by the editors as an interesting and unusually long description of a burial ad sanctos, to be completed as follows ‘with whom he merits (to be buried.)’ Although not entirely implausible, the part ‘to be buried’ is here understood and added by the editors. Alternatively, and in our opinion more plausibly, the phrase could be completed ‘May he rest in peace with saints, with whom he is worthy (to dwell in heaven),’ as similar requests are common in epitaphs. The assumption that the inscription refers to a burial close to the graves of saints (i.e. a burial ad sanctos) has generated much speculation as to who these saints were, which we summarise below. Wilpert, convinced that the epitaph commemorates a burial ad sanctos, attempted to throw some light on these obscure unnamed saints. He suggested that they were *Marcus and Marcellianus, whose names were found in the same cemetery (E04761). He also suggested that the crypt located next to the tomb of Alexius was in fact their grave. Another aspect which intrigued Wilpert was that Alexius was introduced as a person de Fullonices, that is probably a cleric associated with a titulus Fullonices (or titulus Fullonica as the name is sometimes rendered in secondary literature). Wilpert believed that this was a reference to a titulus church 'of Fullonica', presumably sited near the Latern, in the via Merulana, as he came across a document from a 12th c. Ordo Romanus placing there a ‘laundry’ (= Latin: fullonica; precisely a palatium iuxta fullonicam). This he identified with the church of the martyrs Peter and Marcellinus (S00577). Orazio Marrucchi noted, however, that this medieval fullonica was sited close to the lacus pastoris (= a fountain? See Lapidge 2018, 513, note 40) and petra scelerata (= ‘accursed stone’; for possible explanations, see Lapidge 2018, note 39), two toponyms which appear in the Acts of the Greek Martyrs (E03254) as the place of execution of several of them. Based on this coincidence, Marucchi identified the titulus Fullonica as a church dedicated to the Greek Martyrs. As an inscription just possibly referring to *Neon and Marcellus, two members of that group, was found in the cemetery where Alexius was buried (E04770), Marucchi believed this confirmed his supposition: Alexius ‘of the titulus of Fullonica’ served in a church dedicated to the Greek Martyrs, and was later buried near their tomb, in accordance with his ecclesiastical affiliation. Antonio Ferrua, sensibly, just noted the disagreement between the two scholars and suspended judgement on these very speculative theories. Dating: Maria Cristina Grisanzio in XXXXX places our inscription in the second half of the 5th c., while Orazio Marucchi describes it as probably later than the 4th c.

Bibliography

Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB1000, see http://www.edb.uniba.it/epigraph/1000 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. 11798 (with further bibliography). Hendrichs, F., La voce delle chiese antichissime di Roma (Rome: Desclée & C. Editori Pontifici, 1933), 151, fig. 266. Marucchi, O., "L'ipogeo sepolcrale dei Martiti Greci nel Cimetero di Callisto", Atti della Pontificia Accademia romana di archeologia. Memorie. vol. 1, part 2 (1923), 87. Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 2159. Marucchi, O., Epigrafia cristiana. Trattato elementare con una silloge di antiche iscrizioni cristiane principalmente di Roma (Milan: U. Hoepli, 1910), 161, no. 137, and 208, no. 233. Wilpert, J., "Beiträge zur christlichen Archäologie", Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und Kirchengeschichte 22 (1908), 162 and Tab. 2. ?Giornale degli scavi XVIII, p. 15, n. 12. Further reading: Cecchelli, M., " Dati da scavi recenti di monumenti cristiani. Sintesi relativa a diverse indagini in corso", Mélanges de l'école française de Rome 111 (1999), 237-238. Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford: OUP, 2018), Chapter XXVIII (The Greek Martyrs).

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