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E05792: Agnellus of Ravenna, in his Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis, written in Latin, refers to a basilica dedicated to *Probus (bishop of Ravenna, ob. c. 175, S02147) in Classe (near Ravenna, northern Italy), in which he claims bishops of Ravenna were buried between the 1st c. and the 6th. Agnellus describes its location in relation to the nearby churches dedicated to *Apollinaris (bishop and martyr of Ravenna, S00331) and *Euphemia (martyr of Chalcedon, S00017). Account written in Ravenna in 830/846.

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posted on 19.06.2018, 00:00 by frances
Agnellus of Ravenna, Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis 3

In basilica beati Probi sepultus est, non longe ab ecclesia beati Apolenaris quasi stadio uno.

‘He [Aderitus, the second bishop of Ravenna] is buried in the basilica of blessed Probus, not far from the church of blessed Apollinaris, about one stade.’

Agnellus of Ravenna, Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis 97

Mortuus est autem in senectute bona die .xvi. Kalendas Septembris, et sepultus est, ut asserunt quidam, in ardica beati Probi confessoris in ciuitate dudum Classis. In arca magna saxea ibidem positus fuit, iuxta ecclesiam beatae Euphemiae quae uocatur Ad mare, quam Maximianus pontifex tessellis uariis mire ornauit, quae nunc demolita est.

‘However he [Peter III Bishop of Ravenna, ob. 578] died in good old age on the sixteenth kalends of September [August 17] and was buried, as some say, in the narthex of St Probus the confessor in the former city of Classe. There he was placed in a great stone sarcophagus next to the church of St Euphemia which is called 'By the Sea' [$E05843], which Bishop Maximian decorated wonderfully with various mosaics, which is now demolished.’

Text: Deliyannis 2006. Translation: Deliyannis 2004.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Apollinaris, bishop and martyr of Ravenna : S00331 Euphemia, martyr of Chalcedon : S00017 Probus, Bishop of Ravenna, ob. c. 175 : S02147

Saint Name in Source

Apollinaris Euphemia Probus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Ravenna Sardinia Sardinia Sardegna Sardinia

Major author/Major anonymous work

Agnellus of Ravenna

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Renovation and embellishment of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Agnellus of Ravenna (ob. c. 846) was a deacon of the cathedral in Ravenna and – by hereditary right – abbot of two monasteries in Ravenna. He wrote his Liber Pontificalis Ecclessiae Ravennatis between 830 and 846, following the model of the Roman Liber Pontificalis. This work provides biographies of all the bishops of Ravenna from the legendary founder bishop Apollinaris to those active in Agnellus’ own day, and was originally composed to be delivered orally, most likely to clerics of Ravenna. This text is preserved in two manuscripts: one from the 15th c. (Bibliotec Estense Cod. Lat. 371 X.P.4.9.) and a fragmentary manuscript from the 16th c. (MS Vat. Lat. 5834). Agnellus bases his account of the lives of late antique bishops on documents preserved in Ravenna, stories which had been transmitted orally, and his own experience of the architectural landscape of 9th c. Ravenna. Agnellus' work contains invaluable architectural and art historical information about Ravenna: Agnellus refers to several religious buildings in Ravenna and the neighbouring settlements of Caeserea and Classe. He describes their decoration and preserves several inscriptions, many of which are now lost to us. It must be remembered this is a 9th c. work. Agnellus’ descriptions of buildings and their fixtures is based on his 9th c. experience, and not late antique reality. Indeed, his accounts of the events of earlier years are often riddled with inaccuracies. Yet it is likely that his descriptions of the churches of Ravenna are more trustworthy. As Deborah Mauskopf Deliyannis argues, a comparison of surviving late antique mosaics with Agnellus’ account suggests that his descriptions were largely accurate. This is limited to what he does tell us – for example Arian foundations are often ignored whilst orthodox foundations are emphasised. Yet, overall, this text provides invaluable information about the cult of saints in late antique Ravenna.


It is probable that Agnellus learned about Aderitus' burial from his epitaph. His information about the destroyed church dedicated to Euphemia possibly came from a textual source, which is now lost to us. A map showing the likely locations of the foundations in Classe and Ravenna is attached to this record.


Text: Deliyannis, Deborah Mauskopf, Agnelli Ravennatis Liber pontificalis ecclesiae Ravennatis (Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis 199; Turnhout, 2006). Translation: Deliyannis, Deborah Mauskopf, The Book of Pontiffs of the Church of Ravenna (Washington D.C., 2004). Further Reading: Deichmann, Friedrich Wilhelm, Ravenna, Hauptstadt des spätantiken Abendlandes, vol. 1-3, (Wiesbaden, 1958-89). Deliyannis, Deborah Mauskopf, Ravenna in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, 2010). Mackie, Gillian, Early Christian Chapels in the West: Decoration, Function and Patronage (Toronto, 2003). Moffat, Ann, "Sixth Century Ravenna from the Perspective of Abbot Agnellus," in: P. Allen and E.M. Jeffreys (eds,), The Sixth Century – End or Beginning? (Brisbane, 1996), 236-246. Morini, E., "Le strutture monastische a Ravenna," in: Storia di Ravenna, 2.2, Dall’età bizantia all’ età ottania, ed. A. Carile (Ravenna, 1992), 305-312. Schoolman, Edward, Rediscovering Sainthood in Italy: Hagiography and the Late Antique Past in Medieval Ravenna (Basingstoke, 2016). Stansterre, J. M., "Monaci e monastery greci a Ravenna," in: Storia di Ravenna, 2.1, Dall’età bizantia all’ età ottania, ed. A. Carile (Ravenna, 1992), 323-329. Verhoeven, Mariëtte, The Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna: Transformations and Memory (Turnhout, 2011).

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