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E00360: The Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome in the 530s, and re-edited before 546, in its account of *Lucius (bishop and martyr of Rome, S00208), tells of his martyrdom, and of his burial in the cemetery of Callixtus on the via Appia outside Rome, on 25 August.

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posted on 02.04.2015, 00:00 authored by robert
Liber Pontificalis 23

First edition (as reconstructed by Duchesne)

Lucius, natione Romanus, ex patre Purfirio, sedit ann. III m. III d. III. Martyrio coronatur. Fuit autem temporibus Galli et Volusiani usque ad Valeriano III et Gallicano ... Qui etiam a Valeriano capite truncatus est IIII non. mart. ... Qui etiam sepultus est in cimiterio Calisti, via Appia, VIII k. sept.

'Lucius, born in Rome, son of Porphyrius, held the see 3 years 3 months 3 days. He was crowned with martyrdom. He was bishop in the time of Gallus and Volusian [AD 252] to the 3rd [consulship] of Valerian and that of Gallicanus [Gallienus, AD 255] ... He was beheaded by Valerian on the 3rd day before the Nones of March [5 March]. ... He was buried in the cemetery of Callixtus on the via Appia on the 8th day before the Kalends of September [25 August].'


Second edition

Lucius, natione Romanus, ex patre Purfirio, sedit ann. III m. III d. III. Martyrio coronatur. Fuit autem temporibus Galli et Volusiani usque ad Valeriano III et Gallicano ... Qui etiam a Valeriano capite truncatus est III non. mart. ... Qui etiam sepultus est in cymiterio Calisti, via Appia, VIII kl. sept.

'Lucius, born in Rome, son of Porphyrius, held the see 3 years 3 months 3 days. He was crowned with martyrdom. He was bishop in the time of Gallus and Volusian [AD 252] to the 3rd [consulship] of Valerian and that of Gallicanus [Gallienus, 255 AD] ... He was beheaded by Valerian on the third day before the Nones of March. ... He was buried in the cemetery of Callixtus on the via Appia on the 8th day before the Kalends of September [25 August].'


Text: Duchesne 1886, 67/69 and 153. Translation: Davis 2010, 9, lightly modified.

History

Evidence ID

E00360

Saint Name

Lucius, bishop of Rome, ob. c. 258 : S00208

Saint Name in Source

Lucius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

530

Evidence not after

546

Activity not before

250

Activity not after

260

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

Liber Pontificalis

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body

Source

The Liber Pontificalis consists of a series of short lives of popes. The preface attributes it to pope Damasus (366-384), but this attribution is obviously false. According to Louis Duchesne, the first modern editor of the Liber Pontificalis, the original series of lives was written in Rome by an anonymous author, probably a member of the lesser clergy, in the 530s, and contained the lives from *Peter the Apostle to Felix IV (ob. 530). Shortly after, before 546, the text was re-edited by another anonymous author and only this edition survives. The first edition, however, can be reconstituted on the basis of its two epitomes (and the second edition). The second edition started to be continued systematically from the time of pope Honorius (625–638). It should be noted that Theodor Mommsen dated both editions of the Liber Pontificalis to the 7th century, but his opinion is widely rejected and the commonly accepted dating is that of Duchesne. For the pre-Constantinian period (before 312), the credibility of the Liber Pontificalis is very low. The chronology is confused, and details concerning the personal lives, decisions, and ordinations of the bishops of Rome at best reflect what people in the 6th century trusted to be true, at worst are a pure invention of the author. The situation changes with the later lives. Already the information of 4th century papal foundations and offerings are generally trustworthy. The early 6th century evidence, based on the author's first hand knowledge is even better, though still imperfect.

Discussion

Lucius is one of a number of early popes listed as martyrs by the Liber Pontificalis, for whom there is no other evidence of their martyrdom; indeed in the Chronography of 354 his burial is listed amongst those of bishops of Rome (E01051), not amongst those of martyrs (E01052). His burial in the cemetery of Callixtus is confirmed by the discovery there, in the 'crypt of the popes', of a fragment of his original epitaph (E05083). Despite being accounted here as a martyr, there is no evidence of Lucius attracting significant cult.

Bibliography

Edition: Duchesne, L., Le Liber pontificalis. 2 vols (Paris: E. Thorin, 1886-1892). (With substantial introduction and commentary.) Translation: Davis, R., The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis) (Translated Texts for Historians 6; 3rd ed.; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010).

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