Saint NameIohannes and Paulus, brothers and eunuchs, martyrs of Rome under Julian, A.D. 361/363 : S00384
Sebastianus, martyr of Rome : S00400
Saint Name in SourceIohannes et Paulus
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Funerary inscriptions
Literary - Poems
Archaeological and architectural - Internal cult fixtures (crypts, ciboria, etc.)
Evidence not before535
Evidence not after535
Activity not before535
Activity not after535
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 - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - lesser clergy
SourceLarge marble plaque. The left-hand part is broken and lost. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.81 m; W. 1.20 m; Th. 0.07 m. Letter height 0.032 m. Large margins.
The plaque was found in the pavement in the crypt of the church of San Sebastiano at the site of the Cemetery 'ad Catacumbas,' near the altar. It was clearly the lid of a tomb. Now displayed on a wall in the same crypt. First published by Mariano Colagrossi in 1909. Later republished by a number of scholars; for a list of editions up to 1971, see the lemma by Antonio Ferrua in ICVR, n.s., V, no. 13123. A high-quality photograph is offered in the Epigraphic Database Bari.
DiscussionThe inscription is an epitaph, probably for a cleric of the titulus-church of Iohannes and Paulus (SS. Giovanni e Paolo) buried in the crypt of the church of San Sebastiano. The church of Iohannes and Paulus was sited on the Caelian Hill, but Antonio Ferrua notes that its presbyters were normally in charge of the Church of San Sebastiano and its cemetery. They were also probably buried there.
Although the inscription does not say so, the location of the tomb may suggest that the cleric was buried ad sanctos, close to relics of Sebastianus.
Lines 1 and 2 probably contained a hexameter verse composed in honour of the church.
Dating: The inscription is dated by a consular year. As Paulinus the younger held the office of consul in 534, the inscription dates to 535. The fourth day before the calends of April corresponds to 29 March. Mariano Colagrossi stressed that at the moment of the first publication of the inscription it was the earliest testimony to the dedication of the church on the Caelian Hill to Iohannes and Paulus. Prior to 535 the church was mentioned as the titulus Byzantis (E05088) in 401/417, and as the titulus Pammachii in 499 (EXXXX). It is again mentioned as the titulus Iohannis et Pauli in 566/578 (EXXXX).
Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB1477, see http://www.edb.uniba.it/epigraph/1477
De Rossi, G.B., Ferrua, A. (eds.) Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 5: Coemeteria reliqua Viae Appiae (Vatican: Pont. Institutum Archaeologiae Christianae, 1971), no. 13123.
Marucchi, O., Josi, E., Le catacombe romane. Opera postuma (Rome: Libreria dello Stato, 1933), 271.
Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 1139.
Marucchi, O., "Marucchi, Orazio: Di una iscrizione storica che può attribuirsi alla basilica Apostolorum sulla via Appia", Nuovo Bulletino di Archeologia Cristiana 27 (1921), 66.
Colagrossi, M., "Di un monumento recentemente scoperto presso il Sepolcro Apostolico dell' Appia", Nuovo Bulletino di Archeologia Cristiana 15 (1909), 58.
Nieddu, A.M., La Basilica Apostolorum sulla via Appia e l'area cimiteriale circostante (Città del Vaticano: Pontificio istituto di archeologia cristiana, 2009), 369 note 1695.