Saint NameAgnes, virgin and martyr of Rome : S00097
Saint Name in Sourcesancta martura
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Funerary inscriptions
Archaeological and architectural - Internal cult fixtures (crypts, ciboria, etc.)
Evidence not before375
Evidence not after400
Activity not before375
Activity not after400
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 - PlacesBurial site of a saint - crypt/ crypt with relics
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsBurial ad sanctos
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesWomen
Other lay individuals/ people
SourceMarble plaque broken into three conjoining fragments. The left-hand end is lost. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.30 m; W. 1.45 m; Th. 0.04 m. Letter height 0.045 m.
The two left-hand fragments were known to Francesco Scipione Maffei who published them in 1749. The existing fragments were first assembled by Luigi Gaetano Marini in an unpublished manuscript. They were later presented in print by Mariano Armellini in 1880. The edition by Ernst Diehl in the Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres presents an incomplete text. The present-day reference edition is by Antonio Ferrua in the eighth volume of the Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae.
Maffei noted that the inscription came from the church or cemetery of Agnes on the via Nomentana. The stone is now exhibited on a staircase leading to the cemetery (catacombs) of Agnes. Ferrua notes that a gypsum copy is kept at the Lateran Museum, see Marucchi, O., I Monumenti del Museo Cristiano Pio-Lateranense riprodotti in Atlante di XCVI tavole (Milan: Ulrico Hoepli, 1910), Tav. LI no. 26.
DiscussionThe inscription records the burial of a married couple by their daughter next to a saintly figure. Hence, probably an intentional burial ad sanctos (i.e. a burial meant to aid the deceased by its proximity a martyr).
Ferrua probably understood the final formula, ad sancta martura, as neuter genitive plural ('near holy martyrs'), here used to denote a burial next to the martyr Agnes, the principal saint venerated in this cemetery (Ferrua: 'dictum collectiue, sed certe sancta Agnes intellegetur'). It is, however, possible that we have here a reference to a single female martyr, ad sancta(m) martura(m), with dropped final nasal consonants 'm', which sometimes happens in vernacular Latin.
Dating: The editors of the Epigraphic Database Bari date the inscription to the late 4th c.
Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB10944, see http://www.edb.uniba.it/epigraph/10944
De Santis, P., Sanctorum Monumenta: "Aree sacre" del suburbio di Roma nella documentazione epigrafica (IV-VII secolo) (Bari: Edipuglia, 2010), no. 97.
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. 21017 (with further bibliography).
Armellini, M., Gli antichi cimeteri cristiani di Roma e d'Italia (Rome: Tipografia poliglotta, 1893), 263.
Armellini, M., Il cimitero di s. Agnese sulla via Nomentana (Rome: Tipografia Poliglotta della S.C. di Propoganda Fide, 1880), 67.
Two left-hand fragments:
Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 2136A.
Maffei, F.S., Museum Veronense, hoc est antiquarum inscriptionum et anaglyphorum collectio, cui Taurinensis adjungitur et Vindobonensis (Veronæ: Typis Seminarii, 1749), 279, no. 7.
Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford: OUP, 2018), chapter XVII.