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E07488: Latin inscription from Dougga (Africa Proconsularis, North Africa), invoking anonymous martyrs, to whom four "cubicula" have been offered. Probably 4th/5th century.

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posted on 26.03.2019, 00:00 by sadamiak
Sancti ac beatissimi martures,
petimus in mente habeatis ut do-
nentur vobis [...] Simposium
Mammari Graniu(m) Elpidefo-
rum qui haec cub(icula) IIII a[.] C P M
suis sum(p)tibus et suis operibus
perfecerunt

'Holy and most blessed martyrs, we ask you that you have in mind, and so they will offer to you...
Symposius, Mammarius, Granius, Elpideforus, who completed these four "cubicula" on their cost and by their efforts'.

Text: Y. Duval 1982, no. 16, following Merlin-Poinssot. Translation: Stanisław Adamiak.

History

Evidence ID

E07488

Saint Name

Anonymous martyrs from Dougga (North Africa) : S02807

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

350

Evidence not after

500

Activity not before

350

Activity not after

500

Place of Evidence - Region

Latin North Africa

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Dougga

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

Dougga Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - dependent (chapel, baptistery, etc.)

Cult activities - Activities Accompanying Cult

  • Feasting (eating, drinking, dancing, singing, bathing)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Vow

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Inscription

Source

The stone block of 74 x 43 cm was found near the ruins of the church in Dougga. The inscription on it is in seven lines, letter of about 3-4 cm of height. It is currently placed in the theatre of Dougga, on the right of the scene. The inscription was probably made at the time of the construction of the church, which is dated at the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 5th century. It is also hardly possible that the custom of the banquets at the tombs of he martyrs survived longer than the 5th century.

Discussion

The general sense of the inscription is clear. It is an invocation of the anonymous saints, to whom four "cubicula" (funeral chambers or small rooms for ritual banquets) have been offered. We do not know their name becasue probably the whole church was dedicated to them. The meaning of the abbreviation A. CPM is very unclear. The explanations proposed were: "ad pedes C plus minus", "ad convivia pro martyribus", "ad centum pedes martyrum", "apud corpora martyrum". It is also unclear whether "symposium" is a name of one of the donors, or is it a common noun describing a banquet and thus precising the nature of the "cubicula" in question. This is the only epigraphical evidence for the practice of "refrigerium", i.e. banquets at the tombs of martyrs in Africa.

Bibliography

Duval, Y., Loca sanctorum Africae: Le culte des martyrs en Afrique du IVe au VIIe siècle (Rome: École Française de Rome, 1982), vol. 1, 34–39, no. 16.

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