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E05251: Visitor graffiti from the cemetery Ad Sanctos Marcellinum et Petrum /inter duas lauros, via Labicana, Rome, invoking the eponyms of the cemetery, *Marcellinus and Petrus (martyrs of Rome, S00577). Executed on a wall in a passage close to the crypt/chapel where the two saints were probably venerated. Probably late 4th – 5th c.

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posted on 23.03.2018, 00:00 by pnowakowski
1) A group of graffiti executed by different hands with a stylus on a plastered wall in area X 14, next to the entrance of a crypt converted to a chapel where the two saints were probably venerated. Letter height 1.2 - 4 cm.

Priscianu[- - -
[Marcelline et] Petre in [mente habete (?) - - -
Comius
- - -]a tua[- - -
pater fecimus
- - - N]abor[e - - -

'Priscian[- - - O Marcellinus and] Petrus [keep (?)] in [mind - - -] father, we made [- - -] O Nabor (?) [- - -]'

Text: ICVR, n.s., VI, no. 15961 = EDB10904-10905, EDB7165-7167.

2) Graffito executed with a stylus on the same plastered wall in area X 14. Letter height 3.3 cm. Regular, careful script.

Marcelline,
Petre, petite
[p]ro Gallicanu
cristianu

3. ROGALL... Marucchi || 4. cristianu Carletti, [c]hristiano Ferrua

'O Marcelinus and Petrus, intercede on behalf of Gallicanus, the Christian!'

Text: EDB7171 = Carletti 2002, fig. 4 (an improved reading by C. Carletti); cf. ICVR, n.s., VI, no. 15963.

3) A group of graffiti executed by different hands with a stylus on the same plastered wall in area X 14, below the graffito from point 2 and above the group of graffiti we describe in point 1. Some of the texts overlap. Letter height 1.2 - 5.5 cm. The following texts were read by Carlo Carletti (in EDB) from a drawing by Antonio Ferrua:

A: [- - -] | [- - -] | [- - - Vi]ctor [- - -]

B: Maxim|e

C: ⳩ [a]eternae ⳩ aucann

D: Liberali

E: [B]onifatius Maxi[mus] | in nomene Chr(isti) / 'Bonifatius Maximus, in the name of Christ'

F: [- - -] ve[stru] alumnu | Priscianu / '[- - -] your alumnus Priscianus!

G: [Primiti(?)]va ⳩ in ome[ne] Chr(isti) / 'Primitiva, in the name of Christ'

[vi]va in bo(no) Marucchi

H: [V]ernaclus

Text: ICVR, n.s., VI, no. 15964 (drawing) = EDB7172, EDB7460-7465, EDB5451.

History

Evidence ID

E05251

Saint Name

Peter and Marcellinus, martyrs of Rome : S00577

Saint Name in Source

Petrus, Marcellinus

Image Caption 1

Graffiti from the wall. Graffito 2 is visible in the middle right-hand part of the photograph. From: Marucchi 1898, Tav. XIII.

Image Caption 2

A new drawing of Graffito 2. From: Carletti 2008, 281.

Image Caption 3

Graffiti from point 3. From: Marucchi 1898, 162.

Image Caption 4

Plan of this sector of the catacombs with the location of our graffiti marked by number 1. From: Marucchi 1905, 268.

Type of Evidence

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

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

390

Evidence not after

450

Activity not before

390

Activity not after

450

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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Other lay individuals/ people

Source

We present here a selection of texts. More visitor graffiti, in Latin, Greek and runic script, from this and nearby sectors of the catacombs, are published in subsequent entries of the ICVR, but they contain no explicit references to saints. The graffiti from point 1 were first published by Antonio Ferrua in 1975. The graffiti from point 2 and 3 were first published by Orazio Marucchi in 1898. They were later reexamined and reedited by Antonio Ferrua in 1975. A slightly different reading, and a drawing of the graffito from point 2, are now offered by Carlo Carletti (2002, 2008 and EDB).

Discussion

The graffiti invoke Marcellinus and Petrus, two martyrs of Rome, probably under the Tetrarchs. Marcellinus was a presbyter (priest) and Petrus an exorcist. Their Martyrdom (see E02500 and Lapidge 2018, chapter XXIII) places their burial on the via Labicana, in the cemetery inter duas lauros which was later renamed after the two saints. Region/sector X of the cemetery, where our graffiti were found, also houses a crypt (G5) identified as their tomb. The cemetery was marked by Constantine with the construction of a large 'circus-shaped' basilica, later named after Marcellinus and Petrus. He also interred his mother, Helena, in a mausoleum annexed to the basilica. In the mid-4th c. the crypt of Marcellinus and Petrus was remodelled by Pope Damasus, as commemorated by a verse inscription, now lost and preserved only through manuscript copies (in chapter 13 of the Martyrdom, see EXXXX). Further significant building works were commissioned by Pope Honorius I (625-638) and Pope Hadrian I (772-795). This burial complex is extensively described by the Liber Pontificalis (E00405), the 6th c. Notitia Ecclesiarum Urbis Romae (E00680), the 7th c. Itinerarium Salisburgense (EXXXX), and the Itinerarium Malmesburiense (EXXXXX), which also enumerate other martyrs from this cemetery venerated together with Marcellinus and Petrus. A feast of Marcellinus and Petrus is recorded in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum on 2 June (E04833). For a painting showing the two saints, found in our cemetery, see E05246. Although a small fraction of all the graffiti scratched on this wall mention the names of Petrus and Marcellinus, we can presume that all the visitors whose name we find there, were actually interested in ensuring that the two martyrs would intercede on their behalf. A graffito from the group we discuss in point 1 very likely preserves a habitual request for remembrance addressed to Marcellinus and Petrus (in mente habete). An explicit request for their intercession (petite pro...) is clearly legible in the graffito in point 2. Finally, a graffito from point 3 may contain a reference to a person linked to an institution dedicated to the two martyrs, just possibly their titulus-church in Rome (see EXXXXX), as it mentions 'your alumnus'/vester alumnus. Dating: Carlo Carletti (in EDB) dates these graffiti to the late 4th or early 5th c. The site was, however, frequented by pilgrims up to the medieval period, and many of the texts published by Ferrua are much later in date.

Bibliography

1) Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB10904-10905, EDB7165-7167. 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. 15961. 2) Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB7171. Carletti, C., Epigrafia dei cristiani in Occidente dal III al VII secolo. Ideologia e prassi (Bari: Edipuglia, 2008), no. 181. Carletti, C., "Scrivere i santi: epigrafia del pellegrinaggio a Roma nei secoli VIII-IX", in: Roma fra oriente e occidente, in Roma fra Oriente e Occidente. XLIX Settimana del Centro Internazionale di Studio sull'Alto Medioevo (Spoleto: , 2002), 323-360, fig. 4. 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. 15963 (with further bibliography). Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1: Religionsgeschichtle und epigraphische Untersuchungen (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 2334. Marucchi, O., Le catacombe romane (Rome: Desclée, Lefebvre E.C., 1905, 2nd ed.), 267. Marucchi, O., Epigrafia cristiana. Trattato elementare con una silloge di antiche iscrizioni cristiane principalmente di Roma (Milan: U. Hoepli, 1910), 433, no. 462. Marucchi, O., "La cripta storica dei SS. Pietro e Marcellino recentemente scoperta sulla via labicana", Nuovo bullettino di archeologia cristiana 4 (1898), 162, Tav. XIII. 3) Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB7172, EDB7460-7465, EDB5451 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. 15964. Marucchi, O., "La cripta storica dei SS. Pietro e Marcellino recentemente scoperta sulla via labicana", Nuovo bullettino di archeologia cristiana 4 (1898), 162, Tav. XIII. Further reading: For the Martyrdom of Marcellinus and Petrus, see Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford: OUP, 2018), chapter XXIII.

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