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E01779: Augustine of Hippo preaches a sermon, probably at Hippo Regius (North Africa) on the eve of a feast of martyrs, in which he mentions the memorial shrine (memoria) at Rome of *Peter (the Apostle, S00036), visited by emperors. Exposition on Psalm 140, written in Latin in North Africa, 397/405.

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posted on 2016-08-03, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Exposition on Psalm 140.21

The preacher tells about martyrs whose bodies lay unburied and despised, but who at the end became dung which enriched and fertilised the soil upon which the Church grew. Now, the tombs of martyrs are not despised any more.

Imperator venit Romam. Quo festinat? ad templum imperatoris, an ad memoriam piscatoris?

'The emperor comes to Rome. Where does he hasten to? To the temple of the emperor, or to the memorial shrine (memoria) of the fisherman?'

Text: Dekkers and Fraipont 1956. Translation: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Latin North Africa

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hippo Regius

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

Hippo Regius Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Major author/Major anonymous work

Augustine of Hippo

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Monarchs and their family


The Expositions on the Psalms are based on Augustine's homilies preached either in Hippo or other places in North Africa in the period from 392 to 417. According to la Bonnardière, 93-95, Sermons 140 and 141 (see E01782) were preached in Hippo between 397 and 405, that is between Augustine's episcopal ordination and the beginning of the violent confrontation with the Donatists to which Augustine does not make any allusion. Sermon 140 does not mention any feast directly, but we know that it was preached on the eve of a feast of martyrs, because in Sermon 141, delivered the day after, Augustine mentions explicitly the feast.


Augustine juxtaposed the 'temple of the emperor' and the 'memorial shrine of the fisherman' also in the Expositions on the Psalms 86.8 and Sermon 22D (=341).4.


Edition: Dekkers, E., and Fraipont, J., Enarrationes in psalmos (Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina 38; Turnhout: Brepols, 1956). Further reading: La Bonnardière, M.A., "Les Enarrationes in Psalmos prêchées par saint Augustin à l'occasion de fêtes des martyrs," Recherches Augustiniennes 7 (1971), 73-104.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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