We present the text with plausible, moderate restorations, as published by Antonio Ferrua. For three versions of a fully restored continuous text, which are, however, largely invented by the editors, see the editions by Giovanni Battista de Rossi, Franz Bücheler, and Ernst Diehl.
martyris invicti Stepha]ni requiescis in aula
Redditur haec meritis] iure corona tuis
] sudore parasti
] mors inica tulit
cae]lestia munera carpis
] vita nefanda premit
gratias agamus omnes be]ato martyri qui nos uscepit
hic requiescit in pace] Maurianus vir spect(abilis) quem tellus ge-
nuit italica n]atus picens qui vixit ann(is) LVIII m(enses) XI d(ies) VI
Lampadi] et Orestes vv(iris) cc(larissimis) consulis dep(ositus) in p(ace) M[auri-
anus vir spe]ctabilis sub die VII idus septembris
4. inica = inica: de Rossi, Bücheler || 7. uscepit = uscepit: Bücheler, de Rossi || 8-9. Ge[tula nutriuit, n]atus Picens or Ge[tula fudit educ]atus Picens: de Rossi, ge[nuit Itala, ager Firma]nus Picens: Mommsen
'You repose in the church (aula) [of the invincible martyr] Stephen,
This prize is lawfully [given] to your [merits].
[- - -] with sweat you prepared
[- - -] hostile (?) death carried away
[- - - for the (?)] heavenly service, you gather
[- - -] abominable life pressed.
[May we all give thanks] to the blessed martyr who received us. [Here rests in peace] Maurianus, of spectabilis rank, whom [the Italian] soil bore, of Picenum by birth, who lived 58 years, 11 months, 6 days. [Maurianus], of spectabilis rank, was buried in peace on the 7th day before the ides of September, under Lampadius and Orestes, consuls, of clarissimus rank.’
Text: ICVR, n.s., VI, no. 15785 = EDB3306.
Saint NameStephen, the First Martyr : S00030
Saint Name in SourceStephanus
Image Caption 1Drawing with de Rossi's completions. From: ICVR, old series, I, 473.
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions
Literary - Poems
Evidence not before530
Evidence not after533
Activity not before530
Activity not after533
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 NarrativesAristocrats
SourceRight-hand fragment of a marble plaque. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.55 m; W. 0.88 m; Th. 0.025-0.033 m. Letter height 0.03 m.
The stone was found by Lorenzo Fortunati in 1857, in the church of Santo Stefano/the basilica of Stephen the First Martyr on the via Latina, a sanctuary constructed as a vow by Amnia Demetrias of the Anicii family between 440 and 461 (see E05194). Later housed in the Museum Kircherianum, and the Museo Nazionale in the Baths of Diocletian. In 1975 Antonio Ferrua noted that the stone had been stored in the Museo Nazionale dell'Alto Medioveo since 1966.
The text was first published by Fortunati twice, in 1858 and 1859, as preserved on the stone, with no restorations. Extensive completions for the lost left-hand side were, however, suggested by Giovanni Battista de Rossi in the old series of the Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae, by Franz Bücheler in the Carmina epigraphica, and by Franz Diehl in the Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres. Antonio Ferrua rightly deemed them entirely hypothetical and dropped most of the restored text in lines 1-6 in his edition in the new series of the Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae (vol. 6) in 1975. The text has been reprinted and/or reedited by a number of other scholars (see our Bibliography). From among newer editions, we point to that in the Epigraphic Database Bari by Carlo Carletti, which follows the text of Ferrua, as we do here, and by Paola De Santis (2010) which drops all the restorations.
DiscussionThe inscription is an epitaph for a certain Maurianus of spectabilis rank, thus a senator, albeit inferior to clarissimi. The first six lines, very poorly preserved, accommodate a poem composed in six elegiac couplets, which praises the life of Maurianus and presents his burial in the basilica of Stephen as a lawful prize for his earthly merits. This suggests an intentional burial ad sanctos, meant to aid the deceased in the afterlife or on the day of the resurrection.
The poem is followed by a sequence in prose which addresses the readers of the epitaph and probably first advises them to thank or praise Stephen as the receiver of Christians (possibly another reference to burials conducted in this church). From this section we also learn more details of the life of Maurianus: his origin (probably Picenum, although de Rossi speculated that Maurianus could have originally come from the 'land of the Gaetuli', i.e. Mauretania) and his lifespan (almost 59 years). The dating formula which follows allows us to date the inscription precisely to the period 530/533. Flavius Lampadius and Rufius Gennadius Probus Orestes were created consuls in 530, but then there followed three years (531-533) when no new consuls were designated in the West, so the dating formula may also refer to one of their postconsular years. This date falls just before the Justinianic invasion of Italy.
Based on the date, the inscription is often quoted as evidence of the successful planting of the cult of Stephen on the via Latina by Amnia Demetrias (ob. 440), and the continuing devotion of the Roman elite to this saint, as well as of their adoption of the custom of burial ad sanctos.
Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB3306, see http://www.edb.uniba.it/epigraph/3306
Krautheimer, R., Corbett, S., Frankl, W., Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romae. Le basiliche paleochristianae di Roma (sec. IV-IX), vol. 4 (Città del Vaticano: Pontificio istituto di archeologia cristiana, 1970), 231.
De Santis, P., Sanctorum Monumenta: "Aree sacre" del suburbio di Roma nella documentazione epigrafica (IV-VII secolo) (Bari: Edipuglia, 2010), no. 79 (Latin text without restorations).
De Rossi, G.B., Ferrua, A. (eds.), Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 6: Coemeteria viis Latina, Labicana et Praenestina (Vatican: Pont. Institutum Archaeologiae Christianae, 1975), no. 15785 (with further bibliography).
Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 2139.
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum VI, no. 32014.
Bücheler, F., Anthologia Latina sive poesis Latinae supplementum, pars posterior: Carmina epigraphica, vol. 2 (Leipzig: In aedibus B.G. Tebneri, 1897), no. 1373.
De Rossi, G. B., Inscriptiones christianae Urbis Romae septimo saeculo antiquiores, vol. 1 (Rome: Ex Officina Libraria Pontificia, 1857 [ ]), 473, no. 1044.
Fortunati, L., Relazione generale degli scavi e scoperte fatte lungo la via Latina (Rome: Tipografia tiberina, 1859), 15.
Fortunati, L., Brevi cenni intorno allo scoprimento della basilica del Primo Martire della Chiesa S. Stefano ed altri monumenti sacri e profani lungo la via Latina a 3 miglia da Roma (Rome: Tipografia Tiberina, 1858), 12.
Machado, C., "Roman aristocrats and the Christianisation of Rome", in: P. Brown, R. Lizzi Testa, Pagans and Christians in the Roman Empire: The Breaking of a Dialogue, (IVth-VIth Century A.D.): Proceedings of the International Conference at the Monastery of Bose (October 2008) (Berlin: Lit, 2011), 505.
Paribeni, R., Le terme di Diocleziano e il Museo nazionale romano (Rome: E. Cuggiani, Editore, 1920), 132, no. 404.
PLRE II, s.v. Maurianus.