File(s) not publicly available

E04770: Three scarcely preserved Latin graffiti, possibly recording the names of *Neon and Marcellus belonging to the group of the *Greek Martyrs of Rome (SXXXX), and the name of a reader of the titulus of *Sabina (martyr of Rome, S01546). Found at a cemetery on the via Appia, Rome. One of the texts was arguably dated to the mid-4th c.

online resource
posted on 2018-01-30, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Graffito A:

[- - -]onis Marcelli [- - -]

perhaps Ne]onis, Marcelli: Marucchi, Ferrua

'[Of Ne]on (?) (and) Marcellus [- - -].'

Graffito B:

[- - -] domini en Chr(isto) sancti [- - -]

sanct Grisanzio in EDB

'[- - -] of the master, in Christ, saint [- - -]'

Graffito C:

lector de Savi[ne]
[Dom]nio qui vixit
[an]nis XVI[---]

1. Savi[nae] Grisanzio in EDB, Savi[ne] Ferrua, de Savi[nio = de titulo Sabinae Marucchi || 2. ]IIO Marucchi

'Reader (of the titulus?) of Sabina (?) to Domnios who lived 16 (?) years [- - -].'

Text: ICVR, n.s., IV, no. 11746 = EDB3476, 3406, 2571.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Sabina, saint of Rome : S01546 Greek martyrs of Rome (Hippolytus, Hadrias, Paulina, Neon, Maria, and their companions Eusebius, Marcellus, Maximus, Martana and Valeria) : S01873

Saint Name in Source

Savi[na] Neon, Marcellus

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti



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


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Children Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy


Three probably separate graffiti scratched on a piece of plaster measuring 0.13 m x 0.28 m. Letter height: Graffito A 1 cm; Graffito B 1.5 cm; Graffito C 3 cm, fine lettering. The piece was first recorded by Orazio Marucchi in a cemetery near the Cemetery of Callistus, Via Appia (one of the cemeteries 'cis Callisti'). The graffiti were gradually published by Marucchi between 1910 and 1925 (see Bibliography). A transcription of graffito B was, however, only offered by Antonio Ferrua in 1964, who had revisited the site. A good photograph is offered in the Epigraphic Database Bari. Now in cubliculum Bg΄, close to the find-spot of the inscription which we discuss in E04761.


We have here probably three graffiti written by three different people. To us the most interesting is Graffito A. Already Orazio Marucchi suggested that this fragmentary text may have recorded the names of saints Neon and Marcellus, belonging to the so-called group of the Greek Martyrs of Rome: Hippolytus, Hadrias, Paulina, Neon, Maria, and their companions Eusebius, Marcellus, Maximus, Martina, and Valeria (see E03254 for their Martyrdom and Lapidge 2018, Chapter XXVIII). According to this account Hadrias and Paulina were parents of Neon. They settled in Rome and met there a number of people, including our Marcellus. The Martyrdom says that some of these martyrs, among them Neon and Marcellus, were buried in the cemeteries of the Via Appia, so in proximity of the find-spot of our inscription. Marucchi used this inscription to argue for a possible location of the sanctuary of the Greek Martyrs. In his comments, Antonio Ferrua is, however, less sure whether Neon and Marcellus are really mentioned here, but he does not entirely reject this possibility. For a summary of recent works on the place of burial of the Greek Martyrs, see Lapidge 2018, 504. To the above discussion we can add that a fragment of a high-quality Latin inscription with two poems commemorating the Greek Martyrs, considered pseudo-Damasan (probably 6th c.), was found near the intramural churches of San Pietro in Vincoli and Santa Maria ai Monti. The complete text is only known from sylloges (manuscripts with medieval and modern collections of ancient epigrams), and gives us 20 May and 9 November as the dates of the feasts of the Greek martyrs. That inscription was probably originally set up elsewhere, in one of the extramural cemeteries of the city: the sylloges present it between texts from the Crypt of the Popes (in the catacomb of Callistus) and the eulogy for the martyrs *Nereus and Achilleus (see EXXXXX = ICVR, n.s., IV, no. 12520). Neon is mentioned by name in the second text, containing the date of 9 November. Marcellus may be the saint commemorated by the Martyrologium Hieronymianum on 19 June (EXXXX), together with Hippolytus, and Valeria. Graffito C: Orazio Marucchi suggested that this text mentions a reader/lector of the titulus of Santa Sabina. Dating: Maria Cristina Grisanzio (EDB) dates Graffito B to the mid-4th c., and does not discuss the dates of the other graffiti.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB2571, EDB3406, EDB3476, 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. 11746a-c (with further bibliography). Marucchi, O., "Riassunto di un recente studio topografico sulla ubicazione del santuario dei Martiri Greci nel Cimetero di Callisto", Rivista di Archeologia Christiana 2 (1925), 26 (transcription of fragment a with a photograph of the entire piece of plaster). Marucchi, O., "L'ipogeo sepolcrale dei Martiti Greci nel Cimetero di Callisto", Atti della Pontificia Accademia romana di archeologia. Memorie. vol. 1, part 2 (1923), 95 (trascription of fragments a and c with a photograph of the entire piece of plaster) Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), commentary to no. 1274. Marucchi, O., Epigrafia cristiana. Trattato elementare con una silloge di antiche iscrizioni cristiane principalmente di Roma (Milan: U. Hoepli, 1910), 207, no. 281 (only inscription c). Further reading: Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford: OUP, 2018), Chapter XXVIII (The Greek Martyrs).

Usage metrics