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E05159: Fragmentary Latin inscription expressing the hope that Christians will be saved from evil 'through the holy martyrs'. Found in the Cemetery of Praetextatus, via Appia, Rome. Probably late antique.

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posted on 2018-03-06, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
deo aeterno favente a[b omni malo]
fratres et sorores per sa[nctos martyres]

3. possibly eruamur

'God willing, O brethren and sisters, may we be carried away [from all evil] through the holy (?) [martyrs]!'

Text: ICVR, n.s., V, no. 14803 = EDB10219.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Saints, name lost or very partially preserved : S01744 Saints, unnamed : S00518 Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) 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


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous protection - of people and their property Miraculous protection - of communities, towns, armies

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


Left-hand part of a marble plaque, assembled from seven conjoining fragments. H. 0.54 m; W. 1.13 m; Th. 0.06 m. Letter height 0.035-0.045 m. Wide margins. First recorded in 1931 on the surface level of the Cemetery of Praetextatus. Now probably on a wall at the cemetery's museum. First published by Antonio Ferrua in 1971. A high quality photograph is offered in the Epigraphic Database Bari.


The inscription records a prayer, or a kind of acclamation of (probably unnamed) holy martyrs. Ferrua does not comment on the form of the verb used in line 3, which clearly reads ERVAMUR. This is probably the 1st person plural subjunctive of eruo/'to throw out, root up, take'. It is, however, also possible that the author of the inscription intended to write eruamur/'we are saved'. In either case, the inscription expresses a wish that all Christians be saved from evil through the intercession of martyrs. Ferrua pointed out that such an inscription could have been displayed not only at a tomb in the cemetery, but also in a house. Dating: The inscription, as others from the Cemetery of Praetextatus, dates from the late antique period.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB10219, 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. 14803.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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