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E04761: Latin graffito recording the names of *Marcus and Marcellianus (twin brothers, deacons and martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Ardeatina, S01401). Found at a small cemetery on the via Appia, near that of Callixtus, Rome. Probably late 5th/early 6th c.

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posted on 2018-01-30, 00:00 authored by Bryan
S(an)c̅(tu)s Marcus et M[a]rcel[lianus]

S(an)c̅(tu)[s] Wilpert, S(an)c̅(tu)s Ferrua || Marcell[ianus] Wilpert, M[a]rcel[lianus] Ferrua

'Saint Marcus and Marcellianus.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., IV, no. 11745 = EDB1489.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Marcus and Marcellianus, twin brothers, martyrs of Rome : S01401

Saint Name in Source

Marcus et Marcel[lianus]

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 - crypt/ crypt with relics

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs



Graffito scratched on a piece of plaster measuring 0.13 m x 0.23 m. Letter height 0.08 m. First recorded by Josef Wilpert in 1930, in crypt Bg of a cemetery on the via Appia (one of the cemeteries 'cis Callisti'), close to the find-spot of the inscription discussed in E04770. Now in crypt Bg' of the same cemetery. First published by Wilpert in 1930. Revisited and republished in 1964 by Antonio Ferrua. A good photograph is offered in the Epigraphic Database Bari.


The graffito has been identified as a visitors' inscription, invoking saints Marcus and Marcellianus. The two saints were twins and young senators of the city of Rome. Later they were ordained as deacons. Their history is recounted in the Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian (E02512), placing them in the reign of the emperor Diocletian. We have 7th c. records of a tomb/cemetery of saint *Damasus near a church with the graves of Marcus and Marcellianus, and of a cemetery of St *Balbina ad SS. Marcum et Marcellianum (E00684; E00632). Wilpert argued that, based on the find-spot of the present inscription, we can presume the approximate location of all these sites (in particular that the tomb/cemetery of Damasus was located in cubiculum Bg and Ae). We also have mentions of Balbina in the nearby Cemetery of Callistus, see: E04661, E04744. For a discussion of possible locations of Damasus' tomb, see Trout 2015, 102-103. Yet another, but rather tentative supposition, is that this inscription refers to the enigmatic couple *Marcus and Marcellus venerated in a church on the via Ardeatina, so very close to the via Appia. This couple is mentioned by the Itinerarium Salisburgense (E06991), and Marcus is usually identified as Pope *Marcus (S00420) whereas the identity of *Marcellinus is disputed (see also Lapidge 2018, 663). Dating: Maria Cristina Grisanzio (in EDB) dates the inscription to the late 5th or early 6th c.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB1489, 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. 11745. Wilpert, J., "Ein wichtiger Fund von der Krypta der Heiligen Marcus und Marcellianus," Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und Kirchengeschichte 38 (1930), 4 and Tab. 1. Further reading: De Santis, P., Sanctorum monumenta. 'Aree sacre' del suburbio di Roma nella documentazione epigrafica (IV-VII secolo) (Bari: Edipuglia, 2010), . Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford: OUP, 2018), Chapter III (St Sebastian and Companions also recounting the story of Marcus and Marcellinus). Trout, D., Damasus of Rome: The Epigraphic Poetry: Introduction, Texts, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 102-103.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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