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E06107: Hymn in honour of *Hippolytus (martyr of Rome, S00509) composed in Latin in Spain possibly by Eugenius II, bishop of Toledo (647-657).

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posted on 10.08.2018, 00:00 by mszada
Hymnodia Hispanica, Hymn 127


'In honour of saint Hippolytus'

The first two strophes encourage people to give praise to God and declare that the present day is the anniversary of Hippolytus' death. In the next strophes it is said that Hippolytus was an officer in the imperial army and received the emperor's order to guard a martyr (Laurence, not named in the hymn). The martyr makes a miracle of healing a blind person. Hippolytus witnesses it and converts (strophes 3–4). The emperor (called Caesar in the hymn) orders that Hippolytus' face be beaten with stones (strophe 5). Then he is tortured with a sharp-pointed instrument of torture which harms his intestines (strophe 6). Eventually he is dragged by wild horses and dies (strophe 7).

(8) Ob hoc suppliciter, rex Deus omnium,
30 rogantes petimus, ut martir inclitus
adsistat miseris fauctor et impetret
confessis ueniam corde piaculis.

(9) Sit uita locuplex, frugibus affluis,
rerum prosperitas congrua polleat,
35 bellum dispereat, pax bona profluat,
uirtutes uigeant, crimina transeant.

'(8) For this reason we suppliantly ask you Lord, God of all, let the great martyr help us in our miseries and obtain for us forgiveness for the sins confessed in heart.

(9) Let us have a wealthy life, abundant in fruits, let harmonious prosperity of things thrive, let wars be undone and good peace flow, let virtues flourish and crimes go away.'

Here follows a strophe with the doxology.

Text: Sánchez 2010, 471-73. Translation and summary M. Szada.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Hippolytus, martyr of Rome : S00509 Laurence/Laurentius, deacon and martyr of Rome : S00037

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Liturgical texts - Hymns Literary - Poems



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

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

Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Healing diseases and disabilities


The hymn, written in rhythmic and quantitative Asclepiadean verses (Norberg 2004, 93), was tentatively dated on a stylistic basis to the 7th century. Pérez de Urbel (1926, 220) supposed that its author might have been Eugenius II, bishop of Toledo (647–657). The 7th century dating has been accepted by Díaz 1958, no. 339, and Szöverffy 1998, 35. It is preserved in one manuscript: Psalmi, Cantica et Hymni, London, British Library, ms. 30851 (11th c.). Pérez de Urbel's method of dating hymns: Josef Pérez de Urbel's method is based on two preliminary assumptions: a) that the bulk of the Hispanic liturgy was composed in the 7th century, the 'golden age' of the Hispanic Church, and that important intellectual figures of this period (Braulio of Saragossa, Isidore of Seville, Eugenius of Toledo, et al.) participated in its creation; b) that the liturgy was, nevertheless, still developing and changing in the period after the Arab invasion, and therefore, many texts which we find in 9th, 10th, and 11th century liturgical manuscripts might be of more recent date. Some hymns can be dated to the period after 711, for instance if they mention 'hagaric oppression' or if they are in honour of saints whose cult was imported later to Spain (they do not feature in earlier literary and epigraphic evidence, nor are attested in the oldest liturgical book from Hispania, the Orationale Visigothicum). It is more difficult to identify the hymns which are certainly from before 711. To this group Pérez de Urbell usually attributed hymns with a probable attribution to an author from the 7th century (like Braulio of Saragossa or Quiricius of Barcelona), and those which were stylistically close to the poetry of Eugenius of Toledo from the 7th century. Pérez de Urbell then compared two groups of the hymns and noticed the following: a) late hymns contain 'barbarisms' and solecisms, while early ones are written in correct classical Latin; b) late hymns are composed in rhythmic metres, early ones are frequently in the correct classical metres; that, up until the end of the 7th century, people still could compose in e.g. hexameters is confirmed by epigraphical evidence; these metric inscriptions disappear from the 8th century onwards; the 8th and 9th century authors who make attempts at writing in classical (quantitative) metres, always make mistakes; c) some rhythmical poetry could nevertheless be early; d) although both early and late hymns sometimes have rhymes, perfect rhymes occur only in late hymns. In the absence of any certain indications for dating, Pérez de Urbell assumed that a hymn is early if at least two requirements were met: the Latin is 'correct' and there are no perfect rhymes. He also considered early every hymn composed in a quantitative metre.


The hymn gives account of the martyrdom of Hippolytus in accord with the Martyrdom of Sixtus/Xystus, Laurence and Hippolytus (E02513; the recension known from Spanish manuscripts is BHL 7812) and is unrelated to Hippolytus's story as told in Poem 10 by Prudentius (E04190). It is uncertain when the Martyrdom arrived in the Iberian Peninsula – its earliest Spanish manuscript is from the 10th century (the Spanish Passionary: Fábrega Grau 1953, 181–82). Moreover, in the 9th century sacramentary of Toledo, Sixtus/Xystus, Laurence and Hippolytus are celebrated on the same day, 10 August, the development probably provoked by the Martyrdom. In the earlier Spanish liturgy, as witnessed by the Orationale Visigothicum from the 7th century, Laurence and Hippolytus are venerated on different days – 10 and 11 August (E05652). The hymn here is offered only to Hippolytus which suggests that it is closer to the liturgy of the 7th century than to that of the 9th century. Also the wording of prayers in the Orationale corresponds to some extent with the hymn (e.g. v. 18: os sanctum lapide scindere precipit; cf. Orationale Visigothicum, prayer 1155: qui os Ippoliti tui cesum lapide; v. 25–26: Hinc ad cornipedum terga ferocium innexum religant Orationale Visigothicum, prayer 1156: more cornipedum per noxarum aculeos distrahendo dilacerat etc.).


Edition: Castro Sánchez, J., Hymnodia hispanica (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 167; Turnhout: Brepols, 2010). Castro Sánchez, J., Hymnodia hispánica (Corpus Christianorum in Translation 19; Turnhout: Brepols, 2014). Spanish translation. Further reading: Blume, C., Die Mozarabischen Hymnen des alt-spanischen Ritus (Leipzig, 1897). Diaz y Diaz, M.C., Códices visigóticos en la monarquía leonesa (León: Centro de Estudios e Investigación "San Isidoro", 1983). Fábrega Grau, Á., Pasionario hispánico (Madrid, Barcelona: Atenas A.G., 1953). Férotin, M., Le Liber Mozarabicus sacramentorum et les manuscrits mozarabes (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1912). Norberg, D., An Introduction to the Study of Medieval Latin Versification (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2004). Pérez de Urbel, J., "Origen de los himnos mozárabes," Bulletin Hispanique 28 (1926), 5-21, 113-139, 209-245, 305-320. Pinell, J. M., "Fragmentos de códices del antiguo Rito hispánico," Hispania Sacra 17 (1964), 195-229. Szövérffy, J., Iberian Latin Hymnody: Survey and Problems (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998).

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