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E00636: The Notitia ecclesiarum urbis Romae, a guide to saints' graves around Rome, lists those on the via Salaria vetus, north of the city. Written in Latin in Rome, 625/649.

online resource
posted on 2015-08-07, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Catalogue of the Churches of the City of Rome (Notitia ecclesiarum urbis Romae) 3-5
Deinde uadis ad orientem donec uenies ad ecclesia[m] Iohanni[s] martir[is] uia Salinaria; ibi requiescit Diogenus martir, et in altero cubiculo Bonifacianus et Fistus martir sub terra, sub terra Blastus martir, deinde Iohannis martir, postea Longuinus martir.

Deinde uadis ad australem uia Salinaria donec uenies ad sanctum Ermetem; ibi primum pausat Bassilissa uirgo et martir; in altera et martir Maximus, et sanctus Ermes martir longe sub terra; et in altera spelunca Protus martir et Iacintus, deinde Victor martir. Postea eadem uia perueniens ad sanctum Pampulum martirem, XXIII gradibus sub terra.

'From there [the church of St Valentinus on the via Flaminia] you go east until you reach the church of Iohannes, the martyr, on the via Salaria. There the martyr Diogenes rests, and in another chamber Bonifacianus and Festus underground. Underground the martyr Blastus, then the martyr Iohannes, and then the martyr Longinus.'

Then you go south along the via Salaria, until you reach saint Hermes. There, first rests Basilissa, virgin and martyr; in another [place] the martyr Maximus, and saint Hermes the martyr deep beneath the earth. And in another cavern the martyr Protus and Hyacinthus, and then Victor the martyr. Then, by the same road, you come to saint Pamphilus the martyr, 23 steps under the earth.'

Text: Glorie 1965, 305. Translation: R. Wiśniewski

First paragraph: [*Iohannes, martyr of Rome under the emperor Julian, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00514; *Diogenes, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00475; *Bonifacianus/Bonifacius, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00523; *Festus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00515; *Blastus, martyr of Rome, buried on the Via Salaria vetus, S00476; *Longinus/Longina, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00486]

Second paragraph: [*Hermes, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00404; *Basilissa/Basilla, virgin and martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00684; *Maximus/Maximilianus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00173; *Protus and Hyacinthus, martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00464; *Victor, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S02814; *Pamphilus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00477]


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Hermes, martyr in Rome, ob. ? : S00404 Basilla, virgin and martyr of Rome : S00684 Maximus, martyr of Rome : S00173 Protus and Hyacinthus, martyrs in Rome, ob. c. 257 : S00464 Pamphilus, martyr in Rome : S00477 Victor, martyr of Rome, buried on

Saint Name in Source

Ermes Basilissa Maximus Protus et Iacintus Pampulus Victor Iohannes Diogenus Bonifacianus Fistus Blastus Longuinus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Pilgrim accounts and itineraries


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Lists of Shrines in Rome

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - cemetery/catacomb

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Cemetery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


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 Notitia ecclesiarum urbis Romae is the earliest of these three itineraries. Though it bears the deceptive title 'A catalogue of the churches of the city of Rome', in reality it is an itinerary through the cemeteries outside the city. The itinerary is arranged by the major roads leaving the city, starting in the north, with the via Flaminia, and working round clockwise, to end on the via Cornelia; this arrangement was certainly intentional, in order to close the list with Rome's greatest shrine, the church and grave of Peter on the Vatican hill. Of the three itineraries we have, the Notitia is the closest we have in style to a modern guidebook and the text that it is easiest to imagine in a pilgrim's hands, rather than being pored over in a distant monastic library. In particular, it is the richest in topographical detail, and the only one that directly addresses its reader - 'Then you leave the via Appia ...', 'You descend into the catacomb and find there ...', etc. - whereas the other two itineraries are expressed in the impersonal third person - 'By the via Salaria is the church of ...', etc. The Notitia was certainly composed during, or shortly after, the pontificate of Pope Honorius I (625-638), because several of his constructions or works of repair are noted, and it is equally certain that it was written before the end of the pontificate of Theodore I (642-649), since, when it describes the church of Valentinus on the Via Flaminia ($E00633), it mentions a repair by Honorius but fails to mention a major rebuilding by Theodore (for which, see $E01629). A description of the basilica of St Peter (primarily a list of its altars) was subsequently appended to the original text, around the middle of the 8th century. Although this addition falls outside the chronological limits of our database (which we set at AD 700), we have included it for completeness' sake (and because it is an interesting text!) - see $E00690. The author of the Notitia had a thorough knowledge of the extramural shrines of Rome; but inevitably, with so many Roman martyrs (many with similar or identical names) and with the accretion of different traditions over the centuries, many of the names of martyrs given in the text are of uncertain identification, and it also contains some statements that we can confidently identify as 'errors' (for instance, several popes who are known to have died a peaceful death are here described as martyrs). It is, however, impossible to tell which of these uncertainties and errors were already firmly established at the shrines and which were introduced by our author. The Notitia survives in a single manuscript, written in Salzburg in the late 790s (Vienna, National Library Ms 795). For a useful discussion of the text: Valentini and Zucchetti 1942, 67-71. (Philip Polcar and Bryan Ward-Perkins)


Most of these martyrs, though some are quite minor figures, are also recorded as buried on the Salaria vetus in other sources, in particular the other two seventh-century itineraries, the De Locis Sanctis (E06999) and the Itinerarium Malmesburiense (E07886). The church and grave of Iohannes the martyr, and most of the saints listed in the first paragraph, are also listed in the other two itineraries, though in the De Locis Longinus appears as Longina, and is said to have been the mother of Iohannes. Bonifacianus is, however, only recorded here in the Notitia. Victor, in the cemetery of saint Hermes, is not independently recorded elsewhere. He is certainly not the martyred bishop of Rome, Victor (S00144), buried at the Vatican, nor another Victor (S02229) whom the Notitia itself records as being buried in the church of Emerentiana (E00676). Mazzoleni and Carletti (ICVR, n.s., X, p. 65) suggest that he was created by the author of the Notitia, misinterpreting the term victor = 'conqueror, winner' in line 6 of a Damasan poem displayed at the tomb of *Protus and Hyacinthus (see E07203).


Edition: Glorie, F. (ed.), Notitia ecclesiarum urbis Romae, in Itineraria et alia geographica (Corpus Christianorum, series Latina 175; Turnhout: Brepols, 1965), 305-311. [Reproduces Valentini and Zucchetti, with a few emendations.] 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, 72-94. (Partial) Translation: Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford Early Christian Studies; Oxford: Oxford University Press 2018), 660-662. [Translates most of the text, but omits parts less relevant to those martyrdom accounts that he includes in his collection.]

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