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E00689: The Notitia ecclesiarum urbis Romae, a guide to saints' graves around Rome, lists those on the via Aurelia, west of the city. Written in Latin in Rome, 625/649.

online resource
posted on 2015-09-03, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Catalogue of the Churches of the City of Rome (Notitia Ecclesiarum urbis Romae) 31-34

Deinde ambulas ad sanctum Pancratium cuius corpus quiescit in formosa ecclesia uia Aurelia, quam sanctus Honorius papa magna ex parte reaedificauit; et in illa ecclesia intrabis longe sub terra et inuenies Ardhimium martirem, et in altero loco sanctum Paulinum martirem, et in altero antro sanctam Sobiam martirem et duae filiae eius Agapite et Pistis martires. Et ascendis sursum et peruenies ad ecclesiam; ibi quiescunt sanctus Processus et Martianus sub terra, et sancta Lucina uirgo et martir in superiori.

Deinde peruenies eadem uia ad sanctos pontifices et martires duos Felices. Postea eadem uia peruenies ad ecclesiam; ibi inuenies sanctum Calistum papam et martirem. Et in altero in superiori domo sanctus Iulius papa et martir.

'Then you walk to saint Pancratius whose body rests in a beautiful church on the via Aurelia, which the holy pope Honorius in large part rebuilt. And in this church you will descend deep underground and find the martyr Arthimius, and in another place saint Paulinus the martyr, and in another cavern saint Sophia, the martyr, and her two daughters, the martyrs Agapite and Pistis. From there you ascend above and enter the church. There rest the saints Processus and Martinianus under the earth, and saint Lucina, virgin and martyr, above.

Then, by the same road, you come to the saint pontiffs and martyrs, the two Felixes. Then, by the same road, you come to [another] church. There you will find saint Callixtus, pope and martyr, and saint Julius, pope and martyr, in another place, above.'

Text: Glorie 1965, 309-310. Translation: R. Wiśniewski

First paragraph: [*Pancratius, martyr of Rome, S00307; *Arthemius and Paulina, martyrs of Rome, martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Aurelia, S00552; *Sophia and her daughters, martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Aurelia; S00554; *Processus and Martinianus, martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Aurelia, S00556; *Lucina, virgin and martyr of Rome, buried on the via Aurelia, S00557]

Second paragraph: [*Felix I, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00200; *Felix II, bishop of Rome, ob. 365, buried on the via Aurelia, S00493; *Callixtus, bishop and martyr of Rome, buried on the via Aurelia, S00145; *Julius, bishop of Rome, ob. 352, buried on the via Aurelia, S00543]


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Callixtus, martyr and bishop in Rome, ob. c. 222 : S00145 Pancratius, martyr of Rome, ob. 303/312 : S00307 Arthimius (?), martyr in Rome, ob.??? : S00552 Sophia and her three daughters, martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Aurelia : S00554 Processu

Saint Name in Source

Calixtus Pancratius Ardimius, Paulinus Sobia, Agapite, Pistis Processus, Martianus Lucina Felix Iulius Felix

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)


The group of martyrs, named here as buried at the church of Pancratius (present-day S. Pancrazio), are also recorded in the Monza papyrus of 590/604 (E06788), our 'Paulinus' being almost certainly an error for the Monza list's 'Paulina', a martyr closely associated with Arthemius. Only two of the daughters of Sophia (Greek for 'Wisdom') are named in our text, Pistis ('Faith'), and Agape ('Charity'); her third daughter, Elpis ('Hope'), is not named. As often in the Notitia, there is some confusion in the listing of papal burials. Both Felix I and Felix II were, according to Roman tradition, martyrs, and Felix II (ob. 365) was certainly buried on the via Aurelia; but Felix I was buried on the via Appia, in the cemetery of Callixtus (see E01051). This error, however, dates back to the 6th c., since already in the Liber Pontificalis Felix I is said to have been buried on the Aurelia (E00363). Pope Iulius (ob. 352) was buried on the Aurelia, but was not a martyr.


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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