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E07862: Epitaph of Dinamius of Marseille and his wife Eucheria, buried in a church or chapel dedicated to *Hippolytus (martyr of Rome, S00509). Written in Latin in southern Gaul, c. 605.

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posted on 11.03.2020, 00:00 by dlambert
Epitaph of Dinamius and Eucheria

The opening verses of the epitaph:

Coniugii dulcis hoc est commune sepulchrum,
   Quod nec post fatum liquit amicus amor.
Quos pietate pares etiam post funera iunctos
   Vnus et affectus et locus unus habet.
Dinamius hic nam, pariter Eucheria coniunx                   5
   Martyris Yppoliti limina sancta tenent.

This is the common tomb of a sweet marriage,
   Which kind love did not leave even after death.
The ones joined equally in love even after death
   Are held by both one affection and one place.
For this man Dinamius, and likewise his wife Eucheria,
   Possess the sacred threshold of the martyr Yppolitus.

6. Hippolyti Peiper

The epitaph has 22 lines in total. The remainder praises the nobility and piety of Dinamius and his wife, and lists the offices Dinamius held. It is stated that Dinamius died at the age of fifty and that his wife outlived him by ten years (ll. 13-16), and that the epitaph was composed by his grandson, also called Dinamius (l. 22).

Text: Peiper 1883, 194, modified. Translation: David Lambert.

History

Evidence ID

E07862

Saint Name

Hippolytus, martyr of Rome : S00509

Saint Name in Source

Yppolitus

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions Literary - Poems

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

600

Evidence not after

610

Activity not before

590

Activity not after

610

Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

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

Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Aristocrats

Source

No trace of the tomb of Dinamius and Eucheria survives. The epitaph is preserved in a single manuscript, Paris BNF Lat. 2832, 119v-120r, which was copied in southern Gaul, probably at Lyon, between 848 and 859 (Handley 2000, 48-9). Among numerous other texts, it contains a collection of verse epitaphs, mostly from southern Gaul. All but one of the Gallic epitaphs survive only in this collection. For a full study of the collection, see Handley 2000. R. Peiper provided an edition of the Gallic epitaphs in an appendix to his MGH edition of the works of Avitus of Vienne (note that this is not an edition of the manuscript collection – it omits some items from it and includes items from other sources). They also appear in epigraphic collections such as that of Le Blant. For a digitised image, see: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b85722439/f241.image

Discussion

Dinamius or Dynamius (PLRE IIIA, 'Dynamius 1'; PCBE 4, 'Dynamius 3') – the spelling varies between different sources, but both forms would have had the same pronunciation – was a major political figure in Gaul in the late 6th century, notably as governor (patricius or rector) of Provence in the 580s and 590s (for entries in which he appears in this capacity, see E02185 and E06343). He was also a literary figure, active in various genres including hagiography: he was the author of a Life of Maximus, the 5th century abbot of Lérins and bishop of Riez (E00852), and possibly also of the monk Marius of Bodanum (E06686). Dinamius died in about 595. Since his wife Eucheria outlived him by ten years according to the epitaph itself, their joint epitaph must have been composed about 605. The author was Dinamius' grandson, also called Dinamius. The location of their tomb is now unknown. The city most associated with Dinamius in his lifetime is Marseille, but this is not necessarily where his tomb was located (though it must have been somewhere in south-eastern Gaul). From the point of view of the cult of saints, the most striking aspect of the epitaph is the statement that the tomb of Dinamius and Eucheria was in a church dedicated to Hippolytus, a martyr associated with the city of Rome whose cult seems otherwise to be completely unknown in Gaul. No church dedicated to Hippolytus is recorded in the relevant volumes of the Topographie chrétienne des cités de la Gaule. It was suggested by Dumézil 2009, 182, that the burial place might not have been a church but a private funerary chapel (though since the epitaph survives through being copied into a manuscript collection, it must have been located somewhere accessible).

Bibliography

Editions and translations: Peiper, R., Alcimii Ecdicii Aviti Viennensis episcopi opera quae supersunt (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Auctores antiquissimi 6.2; Berlin, 1883), 194. Le Blant, E., Inscriptions chrétiennes de la Gaule antérieures au VIIIe siècle, vol. 2 (Paris, 1865), no. 641. French translation in Dumézil 2009 (below), 192-3. Further reading: Dumézil, B., "Le patrice Dynamius et son réseau: culture aristocratique et transmformations de pouvoirs autour de Lérins dans la seconde moitié du VIe siècle," in: Y. Codou and M. Lauwers (eds.), Lérins, une île sainte de l'Antiquité au Moyen Âge (Turnhout, 2009), 167-194. Handley, M., "Epitaphs, Models, and Texts: A Carolingian Collection of Late Antique Inscriptions from Burgundy," in: A. Cooley (ed.), The Afterlife of Inscriptions (Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, Supplement 75, 2000), 47-56.

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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