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E07504: Latin dedicatory inscription in single pentameter verse, probably to *Felicitas (martyr of Rome, S00525). Now lost, but probably displayed at the Cemetery of Felicitas/the Cemetery of Maximus on the via Salaria, Rome. Probably 5th c. or later [provisional entry]

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posted on 30.03.2019, 00:00 by pnowakowski
Babilla votum debitum reddo tibi.

'To thee, I, Babilla, discharge a due vow.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., VIII, no. 23396 = EDB19974.

History

Evidence ID

E07504

Saint Name

Felicitas, martyr of Rome with her seven sons : S00525

Type of Evidence

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

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

418

Evidence not after

500

Activity not before

418

Activity not after

500

Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Suburban catacombs and cemeteries

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

Suburban catacombs and cemeteries Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - crypt/ crypt with relics

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Ex-votos

Source

The text is preserved by the codex Vaticanus Palatinus 833 f. 60 of the Sylloge Laureshamensis. First edition was offered by Jan Gruter in 1602. The sylloge does not ascribe this text to any precise location, but places it among the inscriptions of the Cemetery of Felicitas/Cemetery of Maximus on the via Nomentana. Hence the attribution usually given in modern works. The poem is composed as a single pentameter verse, which is unusual, and in the manuscript immediately follows the last hexameter of E07504 (a praise of a female martyr, certainly Felicitas). Gruter and de Rossi, however, separated it from the former work, and considered as a separate piece of poetry probably because they believed that the other poem was authored by Pope Damasus, and this one credits an otherwise unknown woman as the benefactress. It may be in fact part of yet another larger poem, now lost.

Discussion

Given the fact that Felicitas was the primary saint venerated in this cemetery, and the inscription is addressed to an individual, we can assume that she was the recipient of the donation. The fact that the dedication is made by woman to a female saint is remarkable. It is possible that the inscription was set up in the surface basilica where the body of Felicitas lay in a tomb adorned by Pope Boniface I (418-422). Hence, the inscription could date to the 5th c. or later. The date is not discussed by Ferrua or de Rossi.

Bibliography

Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB19974. see http://www.edb.uniba.it/epigraph/19974 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. 23396 (with further bibliography). De Rossi, G. B., Inscriptiones christianae Urbis Romae septimo saeculo antiquiores 2.1 (Rome: Ex Officina Libraria Pontificia, 1857-1888), 102, no. 25.

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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