Saint NameMartyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060
Saints, unnamed : S00518
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Graffiti
Archaeological and architectural - Internal cult fixtures (crypts, ciboria, etc.)
Evidence not before350
Evidence not after400
Activity not before350
Activity not after400
Place of Evidence - RegionRome and region
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcSuburban catacombs and cemeteries
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Suburban catacombs and cemeteries
Cult activities - PlacesBurial site of a saint - cemetery/catacomb
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesOther lay individuals/ people
SourceThis group of graffiti was executed with a stylus on a plastered pilaster in a cubiculum in the cemetery of Cyriaca. The walls, and the other pilaster in this cubiculum also bear other, similar graffiti (see ICVR, n.s., VII, no. 18839). Letter height 1.5 - 2.6 cm.
The cubiculum, and the present group of graffiti were first recorded by Enrico Stevenson. The texts were first mentioned in an oral report of Stevenson's work in 1876, which appeared in print in 1877. It contains majuscule transcriptions of the texts. Drawings were offered by Stevenson in 1895, and by Antonio Ferrua in 1980 (from an unpublished drawing by Giovanni Battista de Rossi).
DiscussionFerrua supposes that the graffiti were authored by at least two different people, one responsible for lines 1-5, and the other for 6-8. Stevenson and Ferrua also presume that all the invocations are on behalf of people buried in the cubiculum, and that the graffiti were authored by their relatives while visiting their tomb.
To us the most interesting is the invocation of unnamed figures, asking them to have in mind a certain Senius. In Christian graffiti from the suburban catacombs of the city of Rome, this formula was normally referred to martyrs, 'holy spirits', but also specific figures, for example the Apostles *Peter and *Paul, and the deceased popes. Here we can safely assume that unnamed martyrs, or just other deceased buried in the same cemetery are invoked.
The name of the deceased man is given as Senius, a name otherwise unattested. Stevenson supposed that it was a damaged name Arsenius, but Ferrua prefers to consider it as a Latin transliteration of the Greek name Ξένιος or Ξενίας.
Dating: The editors of the Epigraphic Database Bari date the graffiti to the second half of the 4th c.
Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB36976, see http://www.edb.uniba.it/epigraph/36976
De Rossi, G.B., Ferrua, A. (eds.), Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 7: Coemeteria via Tiburtinae (Vatican: Pont. Institutum Archaeologiae Christianae, 1980), no. 19018.
Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), comments to no. 2329.
Armellini, M., Gli antichi cimeteri cristiani di Roma e d'Italia (Rome: Tipografia poliglotta, 1893), 296.
Stevenson, E., "Cubicolo con graffiti storici nel cimitero di Ciriaca" Nuovo bullettino di archeologia cristiana 1 (1895), 80.
Stevenson, E., "[Report, 5 March 1876]" in: O. Marucchi, "Conferenze della società di cultori della cristiana archeologia in Roma ", Bullettino di archeologia cristiana 3 Ser. 2 (1877), 61-62 (mentioned).