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E01313: The Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome in the 530s, and re-edited before 546, in its account of *Simplicius (bishop of Rome, ob. 483, S00729) tells how he dedicated churches in and around Rome to *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030), *Andrew (the Apostle, S00288), and *Bibiana (martyr of Rome under the emperor Julian, S00728); made arrangements concerning clergy in the churches of *Peter (the Apostle, S00036), *Paul (the Apostle, S00008), and *Laurence (deacon and martyr of Rome, S00037); and made gifts to St Peter's basilica; it closes with a record of his burial in St Peter's basilica on 2 March [AD 483].

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posted on 2016-04-26, 00:00 authored by robert
Liber Pontificalis 49

First edition (as reconstructed by Duchesne)

Simplicius, natione Tyburtinus, ex patre Castorio sedit ann. XV m. I d. VII. Hic constituit ad sanctum Petrum et ad sanctum Paulum et ad sanctum Laurentium ebdomadas, ut presbyteri manerent propter baptismum et penitentiam penitentibus: de regione tertia ad sanctum Laurentium, de regione prima ad sanctum Paulum, de regione VII ad sanctum Petrum.

'Simplicus, born in Tibur, son of Castinus, held the see 15 years 1 month 7 days. He fixed the weekly turns at St Peter’s, St Paul’s, and St Laurence’s, so that priests should remain there for baptism and penitence of the penitents —from region III at St Laurence’s, region I at St Paul’s, regions VII at St Peter’s.'


Sepultus est ad beatum Petrum VI non. mart.

'He was buried at the blessed Peter's on 2 March.'

Second edition

Simplicius, natione Tiburtinus, ex patre Castorio sedit ann. XV m. I d. VII. Hic dedicavit basilicam sancti Stephani in Celio monte in urbe Roma, et basilicam beati apostoli Andreae iuxta basilicam sancte Mariae, et aliam basilicam sancti Stephani, iuxta basilicam sancti Laurenti, et aliam basilicam intra urbe Roma, iuxta palatium Licinianum, beate martyris Bibianae, ubi corpus eius requiescit. Hic constituit ad sanctum Petrum apostolum et ad sanctum Paulum apostolum et ad sanctum Laurentium martyrem ebdomadas, ut presbyteri manerent propter penitentes et baptismum regionem III ad sanctum Laurentium, regionem primam ad sanctum Paulum, regionem VI vel septima ad sanctum Petrum.

'Simplicus, born in Tibur, son of Castinus, held the see 15 years 1 month 7 days. He dedicated the basilica of saint Stephen on the Caelian Hill in Rome; and the basilica of saint Andrew the apostle close to the basilica of saint Mary; and another basilica of saint Stephen close to the basilica of saint Laurence; and within limits of Rome close to the Licinian palace another basilica, of saint Bibiana the martyr, where her body rests. He fixed the weekly turns at saint Peter the Apostle’s, saint Paul the Apostle’s, and saint Laurence the martyr’s, so that priests should remain there for penitents and for baptism—from region III at saint Laurence’s, region I at saint Paul’s, regions VI and VII at saint Peter’s.'


Hic fecit in ecclesia Romana scyphum aureum, pens. lib. V; canthara argentea ad beatum Petrum XVI, pens. sing. lib. XII.

'In the Roman church he provided a gold scyphus weighing 5 lb; 16 silver chandeliers at the blessed Peter’s each weighing 12 lb.'


Hic sepultus est in basilica beati Petri apostoli. VI non. martias.

'He was buried in the basilica of the blessed Peter on 2 March.'

Text: Duchesne 1886, 93 and 249. Translation: Davis 2010, 40, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030 Andrew, the Apostle : S00288 Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033 Lawrence, martyr of Rome, ob. 258 : S00037 Peter the Apostle : S00036 Paul, the Apostle : S00008 Bibiana, martyr in Rome, ob. ??? : S00728 Simplici

Saint Name in Source

Stephanus Andreas Maria Laurentius Petrus Paulus Bibiana Simplicius

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

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body

Cult Activities - Cult Related 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 church of St Stephen, or Santo Stefano Rotondo on the Caelian Hill, as well as that of St Bibiana on the Esquiline are still extant. The church of St Andrew is San Adrea in Catabarbara on the Esquiline Hill, close to Santa Matia Maggiore and that of St Stephen close to St Lawrence's do not exist anymore.


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). Further reading: Krautheimer, R., Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romae: The early Christian Basilicas of Rome (IV–IX Centuries), Vatican City 1937–1977 Brandenburg, H., Ancient churches of Rome from the fourth to the seventh century : the dawn of Christian architecture in the West, Turnhout 2005.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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