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E05218: Latin inscription with a poem giving thanks for protection to *Castulus (martyr of Rome, buried on the via Labicana, S01405), and probably commemorating an offering. Now lost and known only through the manuscript tradition. Probably originally displayed at the cemetery of Castulus on the via Labicana, Rome. Probably late 4th c.

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posted on 2018-03-19, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Te duce Venerius rabidas compescuit iras
atque vesana nimis inimici iurgia vicit,
Castule, tu digns prestas cultoribus ista.
[sic] tibi servatus [nunc] offert munera supplex

1. rapidas commiscuit: codices, de Rossi, corrected to rabidas compescuit by Ihm || 2. iuria: cod. Clostern., varia: cod. Goettw., cooorected to iurgia by Ihm || 3. praestas Ihm || dignius cod. Clostern., dignus corrected to dignis: Ihm, Ferrua || 4. [haec], [nunc] de Rossi, Ihm, [sic], [nunc] Ferrua

'Under your lead, Venerius restrained rabid rage,
and triumphed over the frenzied strife of the enemy,
O Castulus, you ensure these (things) to (your) worthy worshippers.
(Your) saved supplicant now offers you this service.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., VI, no. 15894 = EDB6068.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Castulus, martyr of Rome : S01405

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

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


  • 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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Damasan and pseudo-Damasan poems

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous protection - of people and their property

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


The inscription is known only through the manuscript tradition. The text is preserved in two slightly different versions in two codices of the Sylloge Turonensis. The version from the codex Closterneoburgensis 723 first appeared in print in 1831, in Scriptorum veterum nova collectio by Angelo Mai, based on the transcription of Giuseppe Garampi, transmitted by Luigi Gaetano Marini. An edition using both codices (Closterneoburgensis 723 and Goettweihensis 64) was first published by Giovanni Battista de Rossi in 1888, in the old series of the Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae. Further comments and corrections to the text as preserved by the manuscripts were offered by Maximilian Ihm (1895) and Antonio Ferrua (1975). The manuscripts do not give the location of the inscription. It is, however, widely accepted that it was displayed in the cemetery of Castulus on the via Labicana, Rome. This is because line 3 contains a clear invocation of the martyr Castulus, and the inscription is presented in the manuscripts between the texts from the cemetery inter duas lauros on the Via Labicana, and the texts from the via Latina. Marini wondered if the poem could have been a work of Pope Damasus. This was questioned by later editors. Ihm included the inscription among pseudo-Damasan poems, while Ferrua dropped it entirely from his edition of the Damasan epigrams.


The inscription, composed in four hexameters, commemorates an offering to the martyr Castulus, by a certain Venerius who personally experienced the protection of the saint in his life. Sadly, we know no details of the circumstances that led Venerius to set up this inscription, and he is not known from other sources; but from the wording, he was perhaps a military man, granted success in battle by Castulus (unless 'the enemy' is a metaphor for the Devil). Castulus is a supporting figure in the Martyrdom of Sebastianus and Companions (see E02512 and Lapidge 2018, ch. III), after whom a cemetery on the via Labicana was named. According to the Martyrdom, Castulus was a house-steward of the imperial palace (zetarius palatii) in Rome, martyred under the emperor Diocletian. In the Martyrologium Hieronymianum his feast (natale) is recorded as celebrated in the cemetery named after him on the via Labicana on 26 March (E04750). Dating: The inscription is difficult to date. Carlo Carletti dates it to the late 4th c., probably as a work inspired by the Damasan programme of monumental dedications to the Roman saints.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB6068, see De Rossi, G.B., Ferrua, A. (eds.), Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 6: Coemeteria viis Latina, Labicana et Praenestina (Vatican: Pont. Institutum Archaeologiae Christianae, 1975), no. 15894. Ihm, M., Damasi Epigrammata: accedunt Pseudodamasiana aliaque ad Damasiana inlustranda idonea (Lipsiae: in aedibus B. G. Teubneri, 1895), no. 81. De Rossi, G. B., Inscriptiones christianae Urbis Romae septimo saeculo antiquiores, vol. 2.1 (Rome: Ex Officina Libraria Pontificia, 1888), 64, no. 14 (from the codex Closterneoburgensis 723, and the codex Goettweihensis 64). Luigi Gaetano Marini through a copy by Giuseppe Garampi in: Angelo Mai, Scriptorum veterum nova collectio e Vaticanis codicibus edita, vol. 5 (Rome: Typis Vaticanis, 1831), 195, no. 4 (from the codex Closterneoburgensis 723). Further reading: Amore, A., I martiri di Roma (Ricerche di archeologia e antichità cristiane 4, Todi: Antonianum, 2013, 2nd ed. revised by A. Bonfiglio), 113–114. Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs: Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford: OUP, 2018), chapter III (St Sebastian and Companions). Pergola, P., Barbini, P.M., Le catacombe romane. Storia e topografia (Rome: Carocci, 1997), 160–161.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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