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E05331: Latin epitaph with a poem mentioning *Laurence/Laurentius (deacon and martyr of Rome, S00037). Found in the ager Veranus, via Tiburtina, Rome. Probably 4th c.

online resource
posted on 2018-04-12, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -]
[- - - mi]serrima se[mper - - ]
[- - - Lau]renti martu[ris - - ]
[- - -]ta per ann[os - - - - - -]
[- - -]re relict[a - - - - - - - - -]
[- - - funere] mersi(t) a[cerbo]
[- - -] m(ensibus) XI et d(iebus) III[- - -]

'[- - -] always the most wretched [- - -] of the martyr Laurentius [- - -] years [- - -] deserted/having left [- - -] overwhelmed by the violent (?) [death - - -] 11 months and 3 (?) days [- - -]'

Text: ICVR, n.s., VII, no. 19743 = EDB31440.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Laurence/Laurentius, deacon and martyr of Rome : S00037

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

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

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Other lay individuals/ people


Fragment of a marble plaque. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.295 m; W. 0.195 m; Th. 0.015-0.02 m. Letter height 0.02-0.035 m. Found in the ager Veranus on the via Tiburtina. First published by Giovanni Battista de Rossi in 1877. Originally stored in the Lateran Museum, now in the Vatican Museums, Lapidario Cristiano ex Lateranense. The present-day reference edition was offered by Antonio Ferrua in 1980.


The ager Veranus was the site where Laurentius, deacon and martyr of Rome, was reportedly buried, and later venerated. His role in this text is not clear, but as the inscription is certainly an epitaph, the saint may be invoked to intercede on behalf of the deceased, or his name is used to mark the location of the tomb (for example: near the tomb of the martyr Laurentius, or near the church of Laurentius). Ferrua notes that line 5 contains a verse almost certainly quoted from Vergil: abstulit altera dies et funere mersit acerbo (Aen. VI 429, XI 29). Dating: The editors of the Epigraphic Database Bari date the inscription to the 4th c. If so, the reference to Laurentius can refer neither to the early 5th c. basilica built by Pope Sixtus III (E01295), nor the 6th c. Pelagian church (see E05292 and E05305), but rather to the Constantinian basilica (see E00404), or else to the martyr's tomb.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB31440, see Lega, C., Le iscrizioni cristiane di Roma conservate nei Musei Vaticani. Indice dei vocaboli (Città del Vaticano: , 2000), XY. 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. 19743. Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 2 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1927), no. 4791. Marucchi, O., I Monumenti del Museo Cristiano Pio-Lateranense riprodotti in Atlante di XCVI tavole (Milan: Ulrico Hoepli, 1910), Tav. LXVI no. 9. de Rossi, G.B., in: Triplice Omaggio alla Santità di Papa Pio IX nel suo giubileo episcopale (Rome: , 1877), Tav. XXIII.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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