University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E05279: Latin epitaph encouraging *Marcellinus and Petrus (martyrs of Rome, S00577) to receive the deceased as their 'adopted son' (alumnus). Found near the intramural church of Santa Prassede, but probably originally erected in the cemetery Ad Sanctos Marcellinum et Petrum /inter duas lauros, via Labicana, Rome. Probably late 4th - early 5th c.

online resource
posted on 2018-03-29, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[fi]nitos annos vitae recessisti in pace securus
legem quam benerasti ipsa tibi rependat honorem
agricola et cultor prudens pauperorum amicus
4 vir laudabilis nimis usque ad finem dierum
latenter amasti tuos ut decet virum honestum
filiis tuis demisisti dolum uxori dolorem
raptus es nobis subito sicut agnus a matre
8 infelix filius retinens genitoris amore
vitae annos egisti sexaginta plus minus
nec titulus nec tabula capuit referre benigna
sancte Petri Marcelline suscipite vestrum alumnum

1. VITOS Davanzati || 4. VIS Davanzati || 5. latenter read patenter Ferrua || ET DECET Davanzati, VT Ferrua || 6. demisisti dolum read relinquisti dolorem: Ferrua || 9. FECISTI Davanzati, EGISTI Ferrua || 10. capuit read cepit or potuit: Ferrua || 11. sancte Petri Marcelline read: sancti Petre Marcelline Ferrua

'Having completed the years of (your) life you withdrew safe in peace,
The same law which you venerated (now) returns you the honour,
Farmer and prudent tiller, friend of the poor,
Man commendable beyond measure to the end of (your) days.
You deeply loved your (family members), as is proper in a honest man;
To your sons you left sorrow, pain to your wife.
You were suddenly taken from us, as a lamb from (its) mother,
The unhappy son remaining through the love of the parent.
You lived approximately sixty years,
Neither an inscription nor a plaque could narrate (your) good deeds,
O Saint Petrus and Marcellinus, take up your adopted son (vester alumnus)'

Text: ICVR, n.s., I, no. 947 = ICVR VI, no. 17192 = EDB14265 and EDB35307. Translation: P. Nowakowski


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Petrus and Marcellinus, priest and exorcist, martyrs of Rome : S00577

Saint Name in Source

Petrus, Marcellinus

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions Literary - Poems 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 - cemetery/catacomb

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Children Other lay individuals/ people


Marble plaque. Now lost. There is no published description. First recorded at the beginning of the 18th c. in a hypogeum near the intramural church of Santa Prassede by Benigno Davanzati, and published by him in 1725, in his account of a pilgrimage to this church. Later mentioned by Benigno Aloisi in his report on the church Santa Prassede in 1729, as located in the bell tower. Giovanni Battista de Rossi mentioned the final line in 1875, and argued that the inscription came from the cemetery Ad Sanctos Marcellinum et Petrum /inter duas lauros on the via Labicana, as they are the saints invoked in the text on the behalf of the deceased. This suggestion has been accepted by subsequent scholars. In the reference series Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae, the inscription is published twice, first in volume 1 by Angelo Silvagni (1922), according to its find-spot, and in volume 6 by Antonio Ferrua (1975), according to its presumed original location, the cemetery Ad Sanctos Marcellinum et Petrum.


The inscription contains a customary eulogy of the deceased. Giovanni Battista de Rossi probably rightly pointed out that the text must have continued in a second column on an adjacent plaque, as the meaning of some lines seems unclear. This presumed column is, however, lost. The inscription is interesting to us because of the invocation of Saints Marcellinus and Petrus, eponyms of the cemetery where the deceased was probably buried. A request to receive the deceased, addressed directly to a saint is not often seen in epitaphs, even in cemeteries named after saints or in proximity of saints' tombs. It, however, need not mark a peculiar devotion to the two saints in the lifetime of the deceased or of his family, but in this case may be caused simply by the location of the tomb in the cemetery named after them. Dating: The editors of the EDB date the inscription to the late 4th – early 5th c.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB14265 and EDB35307. 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. 17192. Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 2138B. Silvagni, A. (ed.), Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 1, (Rome: , 1922), no. 947. Davanzati, B., Notizie al pellegrino della basilica di Santa Prassede (Rome: Stamperia di Antonio de Rossi, 1725), 211. Further reading: Cocco, C., "ICVR 17192: un acrostico in versi ritmici?", in: A.M. Corda (ed.), Cultus splendore: Studi in onore di Giovanna Sotgiu (Senorb̀ı (Cagliari): Nuove grafiche Puddu, 2003), XX-XX. ??Coda, C.G., Duemilatrecento corpi di martiri: La relazione di Benigno Aloisi (1729) e il ritrovamento delle reliquie nella Basilica di Santa Prassede in Roma (Rome: Società romana di storia patria, 2004), XX. de Rossi, G.B., "Insigni scoperte nel cimitero di Domitilla", Bullettino di archeologia cristiana 2 Ser. 6 (1875), 30. Mazzoleni, D., "The rise of Christianity", in: C. Bruun, J.C. Edmondson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Roman Epigraphy (Oxford - New York: OUP, 2015), 446 (English translation of line 11).

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager