University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E01276: The Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome in the 530s, and re-edited before 546, in its account of *Innocentius (bishop of Rome, ob. 417, S00575), tells of the dedication and endowment of the basilica of *Gervasius and Protasius (martyrs of Milan, S00313) inside the city, built from the bequest of a certain Vestina; of the roofing and decoration of the basilica of *Agnes (virgin and martyr of Rome, S00097) on the via Nomentana; and of Innocentius' burial in the cemetery ad Ursum Pileatum on the via Portuensis outside Rome, on 28 July [AD 417].

online resource
posted on 2016-04-16, 00:00 authored by robert
Liber Pontificalis 42

First edition (as reconstructed by Duchesne)

Innocentius, natione Albanensis, ex patre Innocentio, sedit an. XV m. II d. XXI...
Qui etiam sepultus est ad Urso pilato V kal. iul.

'Innocentius, born in Albanum, son of Innocentius, held the see 15 years 2 months 21 days...
He was buried in the cemetery Ad Ursum Pileatum on 28 July.'

Second edition

Innocentius, natione Albanense, ex patre Innocentio, sedit ann. XV m. II d. XXI...
Eodem tempore dedicavit basilicam sanctorum Gervasi et Protasi ex devotione cuiusdam inlustris femine Vestinae laborantibus presbiteris Ursicino et Leopardo et diacono Liviano...
Quae femina supra scripta testamenti paginam sic ordinavit, ut basilica sanctorum martyrum ex ornamentis et margaritis construeretur, vinditis iustis extimationibus, et constructam usque ad perfectum basilicam in quo loco beatissimus Innocentius ex delegatione inlustris feminae Vestinae titulum Romanum constituit et in eodem dominico optulit...

'Innocentius, born in Albanum, son of Innocentius, held the see 15 years 2 months 21 days...
Then he dedicated the basilica of saints Gervasius and Protasius, from the bequest of a certain illustrious woman Vestina, through the activity of the priests Ursicinus and Leopardus and the deacon Livianus. This woman had directed in the text of her will that a basilica of the holy martyrs should be constructed from her ornaments and pearls by selling what was reckoned to be enough. When the basilica was completely finished the most blessed Innocentius established in it a Roman titulus, from the assignment of the illustrious woman Vestina...

There follows a list of the liturgical vessels and properties with which the titulus Vestinae, was endowed.

Hic constituit, ut basilicam beatae Agnae martyris a presbiteris Leopardo et Paulino sollicitudini gubernari et tegi et ornari eorum dispositione tituli supra scripti Vestinae presbiteris concessa potestas...
Qui etiam sepultus est in cymiterio ad Ursum pileatum V kal. Aug.

He decreed that the basilica of the blessed martyr Agnes should be run by the care of the priests Leopardus and Paulinus, and be roofed and decorated; on their assignment the authority was yielded to the priests of the above titulus of Vestina...
He was buried in the cemetery ad Ursum Pileatum on 28 July.'

Text: Duchesne 1886, 87 and 220-222. Translation: Davis 2010, 30 and 32, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Agnes, martyr in Rome (ob. c. 304) : S00097 Gervasius and Protasius, martyrs of Milan (Italy), ob. 1st/4th c. : S00313 Innocentius, bishop of Rome, ob. 417 : S00575

Saint Name in Source

Agna Gervasius, Protasius Innocentius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • 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

Liber Pontificalis

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Anniversary of church/altar dedication

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Aristocrats Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Precious material objects Chalices, censers and other liturgical vessels


The Liber Pontificalis consists of a series of very 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.


The fifth-century basilica of Sts Gervasius and Protasius, or Titulus Vestinae, largely survives (on the via Nazionale) and is today known as San Vitale. The church of St Agnes mentioned here is the Constantinian basilica, now in ruins next to the seventh-century Sant'Agnese fuori le mura.


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). For the churches named in this record see: Brandenburg, H., Ancient churches of Rome from the fourth to the seventh century : the dawn of Christian architecture in the West, Turnhout 2005

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager