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E04682: Latin graffiti with an invocation of unnamed holy spirits, probably the souls of popes and martyrs buried in the cemetery of Callistus, and perhaps an invocation of *Xystus/Sixtus II (bishop and martyr of Rome, S00201). Found in the lower part of that cemetery. Via Appia, Rome. Proably late 4th-early 5th c.

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posted on 2018-01-25, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Acileu[s] kui peto

(image of a male face)

him mente
abete Corn[---]
spirita vestra sancta

'Acilius, on whose behalf I ask ... your holy spirits, have in mind Corn[elius (?) - - -]!'

Antonio Ferrua notes that Giovanni Battista de Rossi recorded one more invocation written on the same wall, which, he thinks, could be restored as follows:

Floren[t]ius [et] sanct[e Xyste in mente] habe[- - -]

Text: ICVR, n.s., IV, no. 9532.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Xystus/Sixtus II, bishop and martyr of Rome : S00201 Saints, unnamed : S00518

Saint Name in Source

spirita sancta

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti Archaeological and architectural - Internal cult fixtures (crypts, ciboria, etc.)


  • 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 - cemetery/catacomb

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


Graffiti in slender, cursive script. Letter height 4-5 cm. Scratched in the plaster, on the eastern wall in Area A4 in the lower part of the cemetery of Callistus. First published by Giovanni Battista de Rossi in 1867. Revisited, and published again by Antontio Ferrua in 1964.


The inscriptions seem to invoke the souls of the popes and martyrs buried in the cemetery of Callistus. The name Cornelius in line 3 probably refers to a supplicant rather than pope Cornelius, martyr of Rome, buried in the same cemetery. Dating: Antonio Felle (in EDB) dates the graffiti to the late 4th-early 5th c.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB17808, 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. 9532. Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 2326d-e. de Rossi, G.B., La Roma sotterranea cristiana, vol. 2 (Rome: Cromo-litografia pontificia, 1867), 386, and Tav. XXXIII.

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