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E07901: The De Locis Sanctis, a guide to the graves of the martyrs around Rome, is written in Latin in Rome, in 642/683. Overview entry

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posted on 22.05.2020, 00:00 by CSLA Admin
On the Holy Places of the Martyrs which are outside the City of Rome (De locis sanctis martyrum quae sunt foris civitatis Romae)

This text is an itinerary through the cemeteries surrounding Rome, listing the graves that lay along the major roads out of the city, one road after another. The itinerary starts with the via Cornelia and the grave of St Peter, and then proceeds anticlockwise round the city, ending with the via Flaminia.

At the end of the itinerary is appended a list of 21 churches within the walls of Rome, which is certainly later than 625 and earlier than the 790s, and may have been written at the same time as the itinerary (642/683).

Listed here below are our entries in the database for each road:

The graves of the via Cornelia - E06981

The graves of the via Aurelia - E06982

The graves of the via Portuensis - E06988

The graves of the via Ostiensis - E06989

The graves of the via Ardeatina - E06991

The graves of the via Appia - E06992

The graves of the via Latina - E06993

The graves of the via Labicana - E06994

The graves of the via Tiburtina - E06996

The graves of the via Nomentana - E06997

The graves of the via Salaria nova - E06998

The graves of the via Salaria vetus - E06999

The graves of the via Flaminia - E07000

List of 21 churches inside the city - E07001

History

Evidence ID

E07901

Type of Evidence

Literary - Pilgrim accounts and itineraries

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

642

Evidence not after

683

Activity not before

642

Activity not after

683

Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Rome

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

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Lists of Shrines in Rome

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Pilgrimage

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body

Source

The graves of the martyrs of Rome are quite exceptional in two respects: for the overwhelming number of saints whose names are recorded; and for the level of detail we have on where their bodies were venerated - in the many Martyrdoms surviving from Rome (incomparably more than from any other city), in uniquely rich epigraphic evidence, and in a narrative history, the Liber Pontificalis, that records in loving detail papal improvements to the saintly graves and churches of the city. From the century between circa 590 and 690, we even have four long lists of venerated graves, which were compiled entirely independently of each other: one (the Monza papyrus, E06788) is a catalogue of holy oil collected at these graves, but the other three, the Notitia Ecclesiarum (E07900), the De Locis Sanctis (E07901) and the Itinerarium Malmesburiense (E07883), are 'itineraries' - in other words texts that introduce their readers to the graves by taking them on a journey through the burial churches and cemeteries that ringed the city. They are often described as pilgrim-guides, which was certainly one of their functions, though they could also serve to introduced the saints of Rome to distant readers. The De locis sanctis martyrum quae sunt foris civitatis Romae ('On the holy places of the martyrs which are outside the city of Rome'), is exactly what its title claims: it is a guide to the suburban cemeteries of the city, listing the various saints who could be visited there (the vast majority of whom were martyrs). Like all the itineraries, it proceeds road by road, beginning with the via Cornelia and St Peter's, continuing anticlockwise round the city, and closing with the via Flaminia. Unlike the Notitia Ecclesiarum, which directly addresses the reader in the second person singular ('Then you go ...' etc.), the De Locis (in common with the Itinerarium), uses the impersonal 'By this road is ...' etc. In all the manuscripts of the De Locis, the journey around the city is immediately followed by a short text (E07001) entitled Istae vero ecclesiae intus Romae habentur ('These churches, however, are within Rome'), which lists 21 churches within the Aurelianic walls. This text may or may not have been by the same author as the De Locis. In terms of its dating, the De Locis must have been written before 683, because it lists the graves of Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrix on the via Portuensis (E06988), and these martyrs were removed from there and translated into the city by Pope Leo II in 682/683 (E01678). The date after which it must have been written is slightly less certain: unquestionably it was after Honorius I (625-638) built his church of Sant'Agnese fuori le mura, since this must be the church 'of wondrous beauty' that is described on the via Nomentana (E06997); and it is very likely that it also post-dates the rebuilding by Pope Theodore I (642-649) of the church of Saint Valentinus on the via Flaminia (E01629), described in our text as 'wondrously decorated' (E07000). The earliest manuscript of this text (Vienna National Library Ms 795), datable to the last years of the eighth century, includes some brief interpolated passages (some of which derive from the Notitia Ecclesiarum). These are included, but clearly marked as interpolations, in all the editions of the De Locis, and in the text which we offer. (Bryan Ward-Perkins)

Bibliography

Edition: Glorie, F. (ed.), De locis sanctis martyrum quae sunt foris civitatis Romae, in Itineraria et alia geographica (Corpus Christianorum, series Latina 175; Turnhout: Brepols, 1965), 315-321. [Reproduces Valentini and Zucchetti's text.] Valentini, R. and Zucchetti, G. (ed.), Codice topografico della città di Roma (Istituto storico italiano - Fonti per la storia d'Italia; Roma 1942), vol. 2, 106-118. (Partial) Translation: Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford Early Christian Studies; Oxford: Oxford University Press 2018), 662-664. [Translates most of the text, but omits parts that are not relevant to the martyrdom accounts that he includes in his collection.]

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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