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E01394: The short Life of Benedict I, bishop of Rome 575-579, in the Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome, probably during the 6th c., mentions his burial at the basilica of *Peter (the Apostle, S00036).

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posted on 24.05.2016, 00:00 authored by robert
Liber Pontificalis 64

Benedictus, natione Romanus, de patre Bonifatio, sedit ann. IIII mens. I dies XXVIII... Qui sepultus est in basilica beati Petri apostoli in secretarium.

'Benedict, born in Rome, son of Bonifatius, held the see 4 years 1 month 28 days... He was buried in the basilica of the blessed Peter the apostle, in the secretarium.'


Text: Duchesne 1886, 308. Translation: Davis 2010, 58-59, modified.

History

Evidence ID

E01394

Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036

Saint Name in Source

Petrus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

579

Evidence not after

625

Activity not before

579

Activity not after

579

Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Rome

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Liber Pontificalis

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Source

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.

Discussion

Although Benedict is presented as a good pope, Liber Pontificalis does not provide the date of his burial, which normally suggests a form of cult and is a standard piece of information in other lives.

Bibliography

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).

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