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E04646: Latin inscription recording the purchase of a tomb (locus) in a burial complex called after *Cornelius (bishop and martyr of Rome, S00172). Found probably in the 'crypt of Saint Cornelius,' at the Cemetery of Callistus sited between the Via Appia and Via Ardeatina (Rome). Probably 5th c.

online resource
posted on 2018-01-19, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
s emit loc-
m a Quinto
fossore ad
santum Cor-

1-2. read Serpentium || 2-3 read locum

'Serpentius bought this burial place (locus) from Quintus, gravedigger. (In the crypt called) "near Saint Cornelius".'

Text: ICVR, n.s., IV, no. 9441.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Cornelius, bishop and martyr of Rome : S00172

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions


  • 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

Suburban catacombs and cemeteries

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

Suburban catacombs and cemeteries Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - crypt/ crypt with relics

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Other

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Merchants and artisans Other lay individuals/ people


Marble plaque. H. 0.25 m; W. 0.20 m. Letter height 0,02-0.025 m. First recorded by Carlo Fea in the late 18th or early 19th c., who offered a transcription in one of his manuscripts (Vat. lat. 10591 f. 115). Published by Giovanni Battista de Rossi in 1864 from Fea's copy, and by Orazio Marucchi, and Ernst Diehl, after de Rossi's edition. In 1964 republished by Antonio Ferrua. Fea did not describe the findspot. De Rossi ascribed the stone to the crypt of Cornelius. Now in the church of San Rocco in the village of Cesinali in the province of Avellino (Campania).


The inscription marks the tomb as the property of one Serpentius, legally purchased from a licensed gravedigger. The property, and therefore inviolability, of burial places concerned both Christians and pagans. It was often proclaimed by means of inscriptions to prevent the seizure of tombs by other people. The present tomb is named as 'at saint Cornelius / ad sanctum Cornelium’. This is a reference to the tomb of Cornelius, a 3rd c. bishop of Rome (pope), and probably a martyr. He was buried in the Catacombs of Callistus, and became the eponym for an entire burial sector. The editors considered the inscription testimony to a burial ad sanctos, but the formula can also be interpreted as containing a mere name of the place rather than a statement that the tomb’s owner wanted to be buried near Cornelius Dating: Antonio Felle in the EDB dates the inscription to the 5th c.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB19777, see De Rossi, G.B., Ferrua, A. (eds.) Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 4: Coemeteria inter Vias Appiam et Ardeatinam (Vatican: Pont. Institutum Archaeologiae Christianae, 1964), no. 9441. Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925-1927), vol. 1, no. 2131, and vol. 2, comments on no. 3756B. Marucchi, O., Epigrafia cristiana. Trattato elementare con una silloge di antiche iscrizioni cristiane principalmente di Roma (Milan: U. Hoepli, 1910), 169, no. 153. de Rossi, G.B., La Roma sotterranea cristiana, vol. 1 (Rome: Cromo-litografia pontificia, 1864), 304, 327 and Tav. XXVIII 2. Further reading: Bond, S.E., "Mortuary workers, the Church, and the funeral trade in Late Antiquity", Journal of Late Antiquity 6 (2013), 143.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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