Saint NameCornelius, bishop and martyr of Rome : S00172
Saint Name in SourceCornelius
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Funerary inscriptions
Evidence not before400
Evidence not after500
Activity not before400
Activity not after500
Place of Evidence - RegionRome and region
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcSuburban catacombs and cemeteries
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Suburban catacombs and cemeteries
Cult activities - PlacesBurial site of a saint - crypt/ crypt with relics
Cult activities - Places Named after Saint
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsBurial ad sanctos
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesMerchants and artisans
Other lay individuals/ people
SourceMarble 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).
DiscussionThe 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.
Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB19777, see http://www.edb.uniba.it/epigraph/19777
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.
Bond, S.E., "Mortuary workers, the Church, and the funeral trade in Late Antiquity", Journal of Late Antiquity 6 (2013), 143.