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E00637: The Notitia ecclesiarum urbis Romae, a guide to saints' graves around Rome, lists those on the via Salaria nova, north-east 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) 6-10

Deinde uenies ad sanctam Felicitatem altera uia quae similiter Salaria dicitur; ibi illa pausat in ecclesia sursum, et Bonifacius papa et martir in altero loco, et filii eius sub terra deorsum. Deinde eadem uia peruenies ad ecclesiam sancti Saturnini papae et martiris. In altera ecclesia Daria uirgo et martir pausat, et Crisantus martir. Postea perueniens eadem uia ad speluncam ubi sancta Hilaria martir. Deinde eadem uia ad sanctum Alexandrum martirem; ibi pausant Theodolus et Euentus, et longe in interiore spelunca Alexander martir requiescit.

Postea ascende[n]s eadem uia ad sancti Siluestri ecclesiam; ibi multitudo sanctorum pausat: primum Siluester sanctus papa et confessor, et ad pedes eius sanctus Syricus papa, et in dextera parte Caelestinus papa et Narcellus episcopus, Philippus et Felix martires et multitudo sanctorum sub altare maiore; et in spelunca Crescencius martir, et in altera sancta Prisca martir; et Fimitis pausat in cubiculo quando exeas, et in altera sancta Potenciana martir et Praxidis.

'From there [the church of St Iohannes on the via Salaria vetus] you come to saint Felicitas on another road which is also called Salaria; there she rests above ground, in a church, and also Bonifacius, pope and martyr, in another place, and her children rest below, underground. From there, by the same road, you arrive at the church of saint Saturninus, pope and martyr. In another church, Daria, virgin and martyr, rests, and Chrysanthus the martyr. Then, along the same road you arrive at the crypt where saint Hilaria, the martyr [lies]. Then, along the same road to saint Alexander the martyr; there rest Theodolus and Eventus, and deep in an inner crypt reposes the martyr Alexander.

Then, ascending by the same road, to the church of saint Silvester. There many saints rest: above all saint Silvester, pope and confessor, and at his feet pope Siricius, and on the right side pope Caelestinus and bishop Narcellus, the martyrs Philippus and Felix, and a multitude of saints under the main altar, and the martyr Crescentius in a crypt, and saint Prisca, the martyr, in another. And Fimitis reposes in a chamber when you exit, and in another [crypt] saint Potenciana, the martyr, and Praxedis.'

Text: Glorie 1965, 306. Translation: R. Wiśniewski

First paragraph: [*Felicitas, martyr of Rome with her sons, buried on the via Salaria, S00525; *Bonifacius, bishop of Rome, ob. 422, buried on the via Salaria, S00472; *Saturninus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00422; *Chrysanthus and Daria, chaste couple and martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00306; *Hilaria, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00526; *Alexander, Eventius and Theodolus, bishop, priest and deacon, martyrs of Rome, S00127]

Second paragraph: [*Silvester, bishop of Rome, ob. 336, S00397; *Siricius, bishop of Rome, ob. 399, S00527; *Caelestinus, bishop of Rome, ob. 432, S00528; *Marcellus, bishop of Rome, ob. 309, S00529; *Philippus and Felix, two of the sons of Felicitas, S00525; *Crescentius, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00530; *Prisca, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00531; 'Fimitis', possibly an error for 'Simetrius', martyr associated with Praxedes and buried on the Salaria, S01439; *Pudentiana/Potentiana, virgin and martyr of Rome, S00591; *Praxedes, virgin and martyr of Rome, *S00142]


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Praxedes, 2nd-century martyr in Rome : S00142 Alexander, Eventius and Theodolus, bishop, priest and deacon, martyrs of Rome : S00127 Chrysanthus and Daria, chaste couple and martyrs of Rome, and companion martyrs : S00306 Boniface, bishop of Rome,

Saint Name in Source

Praxidis Alexander, Eventius, Theodolus Daria et Chrysantius Bonifacius Silvester Saturninus Felicitas Hilaria Siricius Caelestinus Narcellus Prisca Crescencius Potenciana Fimitis

Related Saint Records

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


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


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)


A number of different cemeteries are listed here (including those of Traso/Thraso and of the Iordani/Jordani), the most important of which, the cemetery of Priscilla (with a number of papal burials), is covered by the second paragraph. Most of the saints listed are readily identifiable, or at least appear in other lists of martyrs buried on the via Salaria nova (see, for instance those listed in the De Locis Sanctis; E06998). There are, however, some obvious errors and confusions: Bonifacius, described here as 'pope and martyr' is certainly Pope Boniface I (418-422) who was buried close to saint Felicitas (see E01285), but was never a martyr; whereas Saturninus, also designated 'pope and martyr', was never a pope. 'Fimitis' appears in no other source; it has been suggested (Valentini and Zucchetti 1942, 77, note 6) that this is an error for 'Simetrius', a martyr associated with Praxedis, who is listed amongst the saints buried in the cemetery of Priscilla in both the De Locis Sanctis (E06998) and in the Itinerarium Malmesburgense (E07887).


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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