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E05088: Latin inscription recording the fulfillment of a vow to *Sebastianus, martyr of Rome (S00400). Found in the church of S. Sebastiano/Basilica Apostolorum at the Cemetery ad Catacumbas, via Appia, Rome. Probably 401/417 or slightly later.

online resource
posted on 2018-02-16, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
temporibus sancti
Innocenti episcopi
Proclinus et Ursus praesbb(yteres)
titui Byzanti (ivy leaf)
sancto martyri
Sebastiano ex voto fecernt

4. TITVI stone || 6. FECERNT stone

'Proclinus and Ursus, presbyters of the titulus Byzantis made it as en ex voto offering to the holy martyr Sebastian. In the times of the the holy Innocentius, bishop.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., V, no. 13122 = EDB1476.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Sebastianus, martyr of Rome : S00400 Innocentius, bishop of Rome, ob. 417 : S00575

Saint Name in Source

Sebastianus Innocentius

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, 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

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy


Marble plaque broken into two conjoining pieces. H. 0.63 m; W. 1.30 m. Letter height 0.07 m. The earliest records (14th c.) say that the plaque was displayed in the left sector of the church of San Sebastiano, at the Cemetery ad Catacumbas, on the Via Appia. Antonio Bosio (early 17th c.) says that it was reportedly brought there from the staircase leading to the crypt of San Sebastiano Pope Pius VII had it relocated to the Vatican Museums. On the suggestion of Giovanni Battista de Rossi it was added to the epigraphic collection of the Lateran. Now in the Vatican Museums, Lapidario Cristiano ex Lateranense. Beginning in the 14th c., the inscription appears in manuscript sylloges of Latin inscriptions. It was known to a number of early modern scholars including, for example, Cyriacus of Ancona and Konrad Peutinger. It first appeared in print in 1570, in Onofrio Panvinio's De septem urbis ecclesiis. For a list of manuscripts, and printed editions up to 1971, see the lemma in Antonio Ferrua's ICVR, n.s., V, no. 13122. A high-quality photograph is published in the Epigraphic Database Bari.


The inscription commemorates the completion of an unspecified vow to the martyr Sebastianus by two presbyters of the titulus Byzantis, that is the Roman church of *Iohannes and Paulus (SS. Giovanni e Paolo) on the Caelian Hill. Antonio Ferrua notes that presbyters of this church were in charge of the church of Sebastianus/Basilica Apostolorum and its cemetery. It is not clear what the object of the vow made by the two presbyters was. Ferrua suspends judgement. Earlier scholars speculated that it could have been the entire church, the crypt of the saint, or just the marble revetment of the altar. Therefore, the inscription is sometimes unjustly presented as the building inscription for the church of Sebastianus. See also the comments by Anna Maria Nieddu (2006, 369, note 1695) on a theory by Orazio Marucchi who, based on the present and other inscriptions marking the presence of the clergy of Iohannes and Paulus in the Church of Sebastianus/Basilica Apostolorum, implausibly argued that it was not built by the emperor Constantine, but rather by the presumed founders of the church of Iohannes and Paulus: a certain Byzantius and his son Pammachius. Dating: the dating formula says that the vow was fulfilled during the episcopacy of Innocentius I (401-417). However, as the pope is termed sanctus / 'holy', or possibly 'saint', Antonio Zaccaria (1781), and Giovanni Battista de Rossi supposed that the inscription was carved after Innocentius' death. Antonio Ferrua was not convinced by their reasoning, and placed the inscription within the pontificate of Innocentius.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB1476, see Lega, C., Le iscrizioni cristiane di Roma conservate nei Musei Vaticani. Indice dei vocaboli (Città del Vaticano: , 2000), XY. Di Stefano Manzella, I., Le iscrizioni dei cristiani in Vaticano (Città del Vaticano: Monumenti, Musei e gallerie pontificie; Rome: Distribuzione esclusiva, Edizioni Quasar, 1997), 289-291, no. 3.7.1. De Rossi, G.B., Ferrua, A. (eds.) Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 5: Coemeteria reliqua Viae Appiae (Vatican: Pont. Institutum Archaeologiae Christianae, 1971), no. 13122. Hendrichs, F., La voce delle chiese antichissime di Roma (Rome: Desclée & C. Editori Pontifici, 1933), Tav. 34, fig. 138. Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 1776. Marucchi, O., "Marucchi, Orazio: Di una iscrizione storica che puň attribuirsi alla basilica Apostolorum sulla via Appia", Nuovo Bulletino di Archeologia Cristiana (1921), 65. Marucchi, O., Epigrafia cristiana. Trattato elementare con una silloge di antiche iscrizioni cristiane principalmente di Roma (Milan: U. Hoepli, 1910), no. 177. Duchesne, L., Le Liber pontificalis, vol. 1 (Paris: E. Thorin, 1886), 236. De Rossi, G.B., Inscriptiones christianae urbis Romae septimo saeculo antiquiores, part 1, vol. 2 (Rome: Ex Officina Libraria Pontificia, Officina libraria Philippi Cuggiani, 1888), 322. Panvinio, O., De septem urbis ecclesiis (Rome, 1570), 93. Further reading: Ferrua, A., 'I lavor di Proclinus e Ursus a S. Sebastiano', La civiltà cattolica 40 (1964), 287-293. Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford: OUP, 2018), 93, no. 12. Nieddu, A.M., La Basilica Apostolorum sulla via Appia e l'area cimiteriale circostante (Città del Vaticano: Pontificio istituto di archeologia cristiana, 2009), 369 note 1695. Pesci, B., 'Il culto di S. Sebastiano a Roma nell’antichità e nel medioevo', Antonianum 20 (1945), 187-188.

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