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E05141: Fragmentary Latin inscription possibly recording the purchase of a tomb and a burial near a martyr whose name is partly lost, possibly *Quirinus (martyr/confessor of Rome, S01225) or *Urbanus (pope and confessor/martyr of Rome, S00538). Found in the Cemetery of Praetextatus, via Appia, Rome. Probably late 4th c.

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posted on 2018-02-28, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Enrico Josi and Antonio Ferrua suggested that the name of the saint could be restored as Quirinus/Cyrinus. Josi, however, noted that the restoration Urbanus was also possible. Ferrua dropped this remark, but Paola de Santis re-raises the issue.

Fl(avius) Crescen[s emit se vivo]
locum quadr[isomum in cimi]-
tero Praetextat[i ad santum Quiri]-
nu martore parte[- - - cum Berna]-
clu SVOSTEV Primu, Qui[- - -]
Iovin[us - - -]
d(epositus) V[- - -]

2. possibly a presby]tero Praetextat[: Josi | 3-4. Quiri]|num Josi, Ferrua, Urba]|num Josi, De Santis || 4-5. possibly parte [dextra cum Berna]|clu, Su[[ccessu(?)]], Primu, Qui[: Ferrua

'Flavius Crescens, [while he was still alive, bought] (this) burial place for four corpses, [in the Cemetery] of Praetextatus [near Saint - - - ]nus martyr, on the [- - -] side, with Vernaclus (?) ... Primus, Qui[- - -]. Iovinus [- - -] was buried on the [- - -].'

Text: ICVR, n.s., V, no. 14270 = EDB4129


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Quirinus, martyr of Rome : S01225 Urbanus, bishop and confessor/martyr of Rome : S00538

Saint Name in Source

Quirinus Urbanus

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions 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

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


Left-hand fragment of a marble plaque. H. 0.42 m; W. 0.56 m; Th. 0.03 m. Letter height 0.037 m. Decorated with a carving of a bird with a branch. First recorded by Enrico Josi in 1936, in the Cemetery of Praetextatus, but sadly outside its original context. Now in area B6. First published by Josi in 1936. A new edition with a slightly different restoration was offered by Antonio Ferrua in 1971. A high quality photograph is offered in the Epigraphic Database Bari.


The inscription records the purchase of a tomb, and probably the burial of a certain Iovinus. Already the first editor, Josi, identified it as a text marking a burial ad sanctos. He hypothetically restored the name of the saint as either Quirinus or, less probably, Urbanus. This restoration is based not only on the preserved text, but also on information derived from literary sources and other inscriptions from the Cemetery of Praetextatus, saying that at least one saint Quirinus and pope Urbanus were buried there. Quirinus is normally considered to be Cyrinus, the martyr, listed as buried in the cemetery of Praetextatus in a passage of the Notitia Ecclesiarum Urbis Romae (E00683), who is equated with a Cyrinus in the Martyrdom of Alexander, Eventius, and Theodulus (E02481, and Lapidge 2018, chapter XVI), which also records his burial in the Cemetery of Praetextatus. However, based on another inscription from the Cemetery of Praetextatus, it has been suggested that the Notitia and the Martyrdom wrongly refer to him as a martyr, and that he was just a confessor (see E05129). Furthermore, the Martyrologium Hiernoymianum records the burial of a bishop Quirinus/Cyrinus in the Cemetery of Praetextatus on 30 April (E04794; Lapidge 2018, 559). Whether these are three or two different Quirini, or just one person, a bishop and confessor later venerated as a martyr, is unknown. Pope Urbanus (S00538) was a confessor later venerated as a martyr. He was long believed to have been buried in the large cubiculum Ax in the Cemetery of Pratextatus, but more recent researchers question this siting (see Borg 2013, 83). Dating: Carlo Carletti in EDB dates our inscription to the late 4th c.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB4129, see Epigraphic Database Heidelberg, no. HD023427, see 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. 14270. Josi, E., " Cimitero di Pretestato. Scavo 1935-36", Rivista di archeologia cristiana 13 (1936), 215 and fig. 7. Further reading: Amore, A., I martiri di Roma (Ricerche di archeologia e antichità cristiane 4, Todi: , 2013, 2nd ed. revised by A. Bonfiglio), 182-183. Borg, B., Crisis and Ambition: Tombs and Burial Customs in third-century CE Rome (Oxford: OUP, 2013), 83. De Santis, P., Sanctorum Monumenta: "Aree sacre" del suburbio di Roma nella documentazione epigrafica (IV-VII secolo) (Bari: Edipuglia, 2010), 78, 81. Spera, L., "Un nuovo centro di culto martiriale lungo la 'Spelunca Magna' della catacomba di Pretestato", in: Domum Tuam Dilexi: Miscellanea in Onore di Aldo Nestori (Città del Vaticano: Pontificio Istitituto di Archaeologia Cristiana, 1998), 828. S.iii. 29y Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford: OUP, 2018), 544 note 56, 569 note 26 (discussion of the present inscription). Reference works: L'Année épigraphique (1937), 163.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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