Saint NameAgnes, virgin and martyr of Rome : S00097
Saint Name in SourceAgnes
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Archaeological and architectural - Internal cult fixtures (crypts, ciboria, etc.)
Archaeological and architectural - Extant reliquaries and related fixtures
Literary - Poems
Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)
Evidence not before625
Evidence not after638
Activity not before625
Activity not after638
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 CustomsVow
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - bishops
Ecclesiastics - Popes
Cult Activities - RelicsBodily relic - entire body
Construction of cult building to contain relics
SourceThe inscription is now lost. The text is known only through the manuscript tradition, it features in the Sylloge Turonensis (codex Closterneoburgensis 723 f. 265v and Goettweihensis 64). The Sylloges do not give the precise location of the inscription, but the Sylloge Turonensis presents it after texts from the via Salaria and before those from the via Nomentana, where the cemetery and basilica of Agnes (Sant'Agnese fuori le mura) are located. Modern scholars follow the opinion of Giovanni Battista de Rossi who attributed the text to the cemetery of Agnes on the via Nomentana.
The text first appeared in print in 1831, published by Luigi Gaetano Marini, based on the codex Closterneoburgensis. Later de Rossi offered an edition based on both available codices. The present-day reference edition is that by Antonio Ferrua in the seventh volume of the new series of the Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae. The inscription is now lost.
DiscussionThe inscription, composed in three elegiac couplets, commemorates the embellishment of the tomb of Agnes with silver by Pope Honorius (625-638). This generous donation is described by the Liber Pontificalis, in the paragraph describing the construction of the basilica of Agnes by Honorius: 'Then he built from the ground up the church of St Agnes the martyr at the 3rd mile from Rome on the via Nomentana, where the body rests. He decorated it to perfection on every side, and there he put many gifts. He also decorated her tomb with silver weighing 252 lb; over it he placed a bronze-gilt canopy of marvellous size, and he provided 3 gold bowls each weighing 1 lb; the apse of the same basilica he made of mosaic, and there too he presented many gifts.' (see E01443). Honorius' work is, on the other hand, presented as a major restoration by the Notitia ecclesiarium urbis Romae: 'Then [you go] by the via Nomentana to the church of St Agnes, which is beautiful and in which she rests alone. This [church] was also wonderfully repaired by bishop Honorius.' (see E00676)
For a dedicatory inscription from the triumphal arch of the apse of the same church, see E05764.
Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB12054, see http://www.edb.uniba.it/epigraph/12054
De Santis, P., Sanctorum Monumenta: "Aree sacre" del suburbio di Roma nella documentazione epigrafica (IV-VII secolo) (Bari: Edipuglia, 2010), no. 99.
De Rossi, G.B., Ferrua, A. (eds.) Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 8: Coemeteria viarum Nomentanae et Salariae (Vatican: Pont. Institutum Archaeologiae Christianae, 1983), no. 20755.
Duchesne, L., Le Liber pontificalis, vol. 1 (Paris: E. Thorin, 1886), 325, note 3.
Armellini, M., Il cimitero di s. Agnese sulla via Nomentana (Rome: Tipografia Poliglotta della S.C. di Propoganda Fide, 1880), 374.
de Rossi, G.B., Mosaici Cristiani e Saggi dei pavimenti delle chiese di Roma anteriori al secolo XV (Roma: Libreria Spithöver di G. Haas, 1872), XVIII f. 2.
De Rossi, G. B., Inscriptiones christianae Urbis Romae septimo saeculo antiquiores 2.1 (Rome: Ex Officina Libraria Pontificia, 1857-1888), 62, no. 5 (from both codices).
Luigi Gaetano Marini through a copy by Giuseppe Garampi in: Angelo Mai, Scriptorum veterum nova collectio e Vaticanis codicibus edita, vol. 5 (Rome: Typis Vaticanis, 1831), 418, no. 3 (from the codex Closterneoburgensis 723).
Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford, 2018), chapter XVII.