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E05263: Latin graffito invoking the intercession of a certain Asclepias, by some scholars identified as an obscure Roman saint. Found in the cemetery Ad Sanctos Marcellinum et Petrum /inter duas lauras, via Labicana, Rome. Probably 4th c.

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posted on 2018-03-26, 00:00 authored by CSLA Admin
(image of a face) Asclepias in mente
(image of a face) habe Celestium peccatori
in pace

'O Asclepias, keep in mind Celestius, the sinner! Of Niconus in peace.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., VI, no. 16073.


Evidence ID


Image Caption 1

From: ICVR, n.s., VI, p. 109.

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti 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 - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


Graffito executed with a stylus on the plaster of a wall in area X 14. Letter height 2.2 - 5 cm. First published by Mariano Armellini in 1878. Later reedited by Orazio Marucchi (1898) and Ernst Diehl (after Marucchi's edition). The present reference edition was offered by Antonio Ferrua in 1975.


The graffito records an invocation to a certain Asclepias, using a formula (in mente habe) regularly used to address saints and martyrs in the Roman suburban cemeteries. The identity of this Asclepias is not clear. She is not termed 'saint' or 'martyr' by the supplicant. In spite of this, Ernst Diehl listed her as an obscure Roman female saint in his corpus of Latin Christian inscriptions. Antonio Ferrua in the sixth volume of the ICVR suggests that this Asclepias is also mentioned in two more inscriptions found in proximity of the present text, neither of which appear to address her as a saint: ICVR, n.s., VI, no. 16071: Asclepias | Desiderius | Marc... (a graffito); and ICVR, n.s., VI, no. 16072: Asclepia (sic) | in pace (ivy leaf)/'Asclepia (buried) in peace (graffito). On balance, Ascelpia seems most likely to have been an ordinary woman, asked for intercession by her relatives, rather than a 'proper saint'. Dating: Carlo Carletti (in EDB) dates the graffito to the 4th c.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB4828. 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. 16073. Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1: Religionsgeschichtle und epigraphische Untersuchungen (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 2327. Marucchi, O., "La cripta storica dei SS. Pietro e Marcellino recentemente scoperta sulla via labicana", Nuovo bullettino di archeologia cristiana 4 (1898), 168. Armellini, M., Gli antichi cimeteri cristiani di Roma e d'Italia (Rome: Tipografia poliglotta, 1893), 338. Armellini, M., "", Cronachetta mensuale di scienze naturali e d'archeologia (1878), 75.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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