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E05110: Very fragmentary Latin epitaph recording the donation of a tomb sited probably near a 'blessed saint' who has tentatively been identified as *Sebastianus (martyr of Rome, S00400). Found near the church of S. Sebastiano/Basilica Apostolorum at the cemetery ‘ad Catacumbas,’ via Appia, Rome. Date unknown.

online resource
posted on 2018-02-20, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[- - -]
̣ịṣṭạe [sepulchrum (?)]
donạv[it - - -]
ad be[atum Sebastianum (?)]

1. probably the name of the donor, Setphanus or Stercorius: Ferrua || 2. just the end of the left-hand stroke of V is preserved || 3. B was corrected by the stonecutter to D || E is scarcely visible

'[- - -] donated [(this) tomb to - - -] (sited) near the blessed [Sebastianus (?)].'

Text: ICVR, n.s., V, no. 13640 = EDB5982.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Sebastianus, martyr of Rome : S00400 Saints, name lost or very partially preserved : S01744

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)



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 - Places Named after Saint

  • Other

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


Fragment of a marble plaque. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.32 m; W. 0.32 m; Th. 0.06 m. Letter height 0.05 m. When examined by Antonio Ferrua, the fragment was housed in the museum of the church of San Sebastiano. There is no published description of the precise find-spot. First published by Ferrua in 1971. Republished by De Santis in 2010. A high-quality digital photograph is offered in the Epigraphic Database Bari.


Antonio Ferrua supposed that the inscription recorded a donation of a tomb. Its last line, he said, may have described its location. The line, as it is now preserved, shows, however, just several letters. It is possible that ADBE (where E is very doubtful) meant ad beatum/'near the blessed', but we can not be certain of this. Ferrua tentatively suggested that this blessed character was Saint Sebastianus. This is not entirely implausible as his relics were kept in the church near which the inscription was found, and an inscription with a dedication to Sebastianus by pope Innocentius (E05088) shows that his cult was present there already in the early 5th c. On the other hand, the church was also famous for the cult of the Apostles Peter and Paul (in the 4th c. it was formally called the Basilica Apostolorum). Therefore, the restoration ad be[atos apostolos]/'near the blessed [apostles]' is possible too. Finally, as many similar epitaphs mention burials next to unnamed martyrs, one should also consider the restoration ad be[atos martyres]/'near the blessed [martyrs].' Paola De Santis holds Ferrua’s interpretation as valid (a burial close to a holy martyr or his or her shrine), but removes the name of Sebastianus from the text she presents. Even so, the inscription is still too short to show that it records an intentional burial ad sanctos, not a mere topographical description of the tomb. Dating: Carlo Carletti in the EDB suspends judgement on the date of this inscription.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB5982, see De Santis, P., Sanctorum Monumenta: "Aree sacre" del suburbio di Roma nella documentazione epigrafica (IV-VII secolo) (Bari: Edipuglia, 2010), no. 71. 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. 13640.

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