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E05354: Latin epitaph of unknown provenance recording a burial near the tomb of a certain *Hippolytus (probably the 3rd c. martyr of Rome, S00509, or perhaps one of the *Greek Martyrs of Rome, S01873), presumably from the cemetery of Hippolytus on the via Tiburtina, or from a small cemetery with the tomb of the Greek Martyrs on the via Appia, Rome. Probably late 4th - early 5th c.

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posted on 2018-04-20, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Dracontius Pelagius et Iulia et Elia
Antonina paraverunt sibi locu ⳩
at Ippolitu super arcosoliu propter una filia

'Dracontius Pelagius and Iulia, and Aelia Antonina prepared themselves a tomb near Hippolytus, over the arcosolium, for one daughter.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., VII, no. 20059 = EDB21761.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Hippolytus, martyr of Rome : S00509 Greek martyrs of Rome (Hippolytus, Hadrias, Paulina, Neon, Maria, and their companions Eusebius, Marcellus, Maximus, Martana and Valeria) : S01873

Saint Name in Source

Ippolitus Ippolitus

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

Burial site of a saint - crypt/ crypt with relics

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Children Other lay individuals/ people


Marble plaque broken into five conjoining parts. H. 0.35 m; W. 1.75 m; Th. 0.03 m. Letter height 0.045-0.05 m. The inscription was found in obscure circumstances at the end of the 18th c., and was passed to the Vatican Museums. There it was examined by Gaetano Marini who includes the text in one of his manuscripts at the turn of the 18th and 19th c. The first edition in print was offered by Giuseppe Marchi in 1844, from a transcription he obtained from Giovanni Battista de Rossi. Other editions followed, including the one of 1882 by de Rossi, also based on examination of the stone, and the one of 1910 by Orazio Marucchi with an image. De Rossi moved the stone to the Lateran Museum. According to the Epigraphic Database Bari, the stone is now in the Vatican Museums, Lapidario Cristiano ex Lateranense. Orazio Marucchi made a gypsum copy and displayed it in a small cemetery on the via Appia housing the tomb a certain Hippolytus, one of the Greek Martyrs, sited close to the Cemetery of Callistus.


The inscription lacks a detailed record of its provenance. Therefore, Giovanni Battista de Rossi hesitated whether he should ascribe it to the cemetery of Hippolytus on the via Tiburtina, often identified as the resting place of the famous 3rd c. martyr Hippolytus who died in exile together with Pope Pontanius (S00509), or to a small cemetery on the via Appia housing the tomb of the Greek Martyrs (S01873), one of them called Hippolytus. At first glance the second possibility seems much less probable, given the fact that Hippolytus, one of the Greek Martyrs, never became an object of widespread devotion as an individual. However, in spite of this, a very similar inscription recording a burial ad Epolitu / 'near Hippolytus' was found in one of the cemeteries on the via Appia, probably that of the Greek Martyrs (see the discussion in E05125), which puzzled de Rossi. Eventually, he associated our inscription with the cemetery on the via Tiburtina, as the stone was found in the late 18th c. whilst the cemetery of the Greek martyrs was looted and damaged in 1646, and inaccessible to explorers until the mid-19th c. Orazio Marucchi had a different opinion; he argued that the Hippolytus mentioned in the present inscription was one of the Greek Martyrs, and that the inscription belonged to the crypt with their tomb on the via Appia. Antonio Ferrua was not convinced by this reasoning, and held the cemetery of Hippolytus on the via Tiburtina as the presumed find-spot of our inscription. Paola de Santis and other more recent scholars follow Ferrua's judgement. Dating: Domenico Schiraldi (in EDB) dates the inscription to the late 4th - early 5th c.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB20767, see De Santis, P., Sanctorum Monumenta: "Aree sacre" del suburbio di Roma nella documentazione epigrafica (IV-VII secolo) (Bari: Edipuglia, 2010), no. 94. 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. 20059 (with further bibliography). Hendrichs, F., La voce delle chiese antichissime di Roma (Rome: Desclée & C. Editori Pontifici, 1933), 124, fig. 172 (image). Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 2135. Marucchi, O., "Nuove osservazioni sulla iscrizione greca di Euprósdectos al I miglio dell'Appia ed altri indizi per il sepolcro dei Martiri Greci", Rivista di archeologia cristiana 5 (1928), 130. Marucchi, O., I monumenti del Museo cristiano Pio-Lateranense riprodotti in atlante di xcvi tavole, con testo illustrativo (Milan: Ulrico Hoepli, 1910), Tav. LI no. 24 (image). Marucchi, O., Epigrafia cristiana. Trattato elementare con una silloge di antiche iscrizioni cristiane principalmente di Roma (Milan: U. Hoepli, 1910), 170, no. 156. Marucchi, O., Le catacombe romane (Rome: Desclée, Lefebvre E.C., 1905, 2nd ed.), 336. de Rossi, G.B., "Il cimitero di S. Ippolito: presso la via Tiburtina e la sua principale cripta storica ora dissepolta", Bullettino di archeologia cristiana 4 Ser. 1 (1882), 49. Perret, L., Catacombes de Rome, vol. 5 (Paris:, 1851), Tab. 37, no. 118. Marchi, G., Monumenti delle arti cristiane primitive nella metropoli del cristianesimo (Rome: , 1844), 150. Further reading: Bertonière, G., The Cult Center of the Martyr Hippolitus on the via Tiburtina (Oxford: B.A.R., 1985), 74. Carletti, C., Epigrafia dei cristiani in Occidente dal III al VII secolo. Ideologia e prassi (Bari: Edipuglia, 2008), 279 (mentioned). Nuzzo, D., "La denominazione della tomba nelle iscrizioni cristiane di Roma. Possibili elementi per la ricostruzione di una identità collettiva", Vetera Christianorum 42 (2005), 128, note 140. Nuzzo, D., "Hyppoliti coemeterium", in LexiconTopographicum Urbis Romae. Suburbium, vol. 3, 69, 73. Saint-Roch, P., Le cimetière de Basileus ou coemeterium Sanctorum Marci et Marcelliani Damasique (Città del Vaticano: , 1999), 43. For the cemetery cemetery of Hippolytus, the subterranean basilica with his tomb, and a lost basilica on the surface, see the works listed in: Bertonière, G., The Cult Center of the Martyr Hippolitus on the via Tiburtina (Oxford: B.A.R., 1985). Löx, M., Monumenta Sanctorum: Rom und Mailand als Zentren des frühen Christentums. Märtyrerkult und Kirchenbau unter den Bischöfen Damasus und Ambrosius (Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2013), 64, 211. Nuzzo, D., "Hyppoliti coemeterium", in LexiconTopographicum Urbis Romae. Suburbium, vol. 3, 68-75. Trout, D., Damasus of Rome: The Epigraphic Poetry. Introduction, Texts, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford: OUP, 2015), 146-147.

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