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E04743: Greek epitaph for *Fabianus (bishop and martyr of Rome, S00147), naming him a bishop and martyr (with the second epithet probably added by a different hand). Found in the lower part of the cemetery of Callixtus, on the via Appia, outside Rome. Probably 250.

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posted on 2018-01-29, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Φαβιανὸς ἐπί(σκοπος) μ(ά)ρτ(υς)

'Fabianos, bishop, martyr.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., IV, no. 10694 = EDB1781.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Fabianus, bishop and martyr of Rome : S00147

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Archaeological and architectural - Internal cult fixtures (crypts, ciboria, etc.)


  • Greek

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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Ceremonies at burial of a saint

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects



Five conjoining fragments of a marble plaque. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.58 m; W. 0.82 m. Letter height 0.05 m. Four fragments were recorded by Giovanni Battista de Rossi in cubiculum Aa, in the area of the Crypt of the Popes, in 1854. The fifth fragment was found in 1922 by Enrico Josi. Now in cubiculum Aa. The fragments have been reedited and discussed by many scholars, notably Antonio Ferrua in 1964. High quality photographs are published in the Epigraphic Database Bari.


The epitaph was composed for pope Fabianus (236-250). His numerous deeds, including his peculiar interest in the monumentalisation of papal tombs in the catacombs, are recounted by the Liber pontificalis (E00343), a work from the 530s. Fabianus was, notably, also known to the eastern Greek-speaking church historian, Eusebius (E00343). The Liber pontificalis says that Fabianus died a martyr's death, and 'was buried in the cemetery of Callistus on the Via Appia on 20 January.' The same day is attested by the Martyrologium Hieronymianum (E04616). The epitaph does not record the year of the deposition. Epitaphs for 3rd c. popes, however, rarely record those dates. For a remarkable exception, see the epitaph for pope *Gaius (E04739). Importantly, it has been suggested that the term martyr, clearly visible in the epitaph of Fabianus, was added later, by a different hand. Having carefully examined the stone, Antonio Ferrua confirmed the different lettering, and shallower carving of this word. Dating: The inscription, if this is the original epitaph for the pope, erected during or shortly after this burial, must date to 250.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB1781, 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. 10694 (with further bibliography). Josi, E., Il Cimitero di Callisto (Roma: Pontificio Istituto di archeologia cristiana, 1933), 23. Josi, E., "Conferenze di Archeologia Cristiana", Nuovo bullettino di archeologia cristiana (1922), 97 (communication of the discovery of the fifth fragment). Marucchi, O., Epigrafia cristiana. Trattato elementare con una silloge di antiche iscrizioni cristiane principalmente di Roma (Milan: U. Hoepli, 1910), 190, no. 192. Wilpert, J., La Cripta dei Papi e la cappella di Sainta Cecilia ne cimetero di Callisto (Rome: Desclée & C., 1910), 19, 28, and Fig. 12. de Rossi, G.B., La Roma sotterranea cristiana, vol. 2 (Rome: Cromo-litografia pontificia, 1867), 58-62, and Tav. III. Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum IV, no. 9674. Civiltà cattolica, vol. 3 (1854), 127 (four fragments). Further reading: Carletti, C., Epigrafia dei cristiani in Occidente dal III al VII secolo. Ideologia e prassi (Bari: Edipuglia, 2008), 36.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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