The underlined letters come from a fragment which is now lost, but was documented by the 19th c. explorers.
'Tomb of Romulus, presbyter of the titulus of Pudentiana.'
Text: ICVR, n.s., VII, no. 20157 = EDB20115.
Saint NamePudentiana, virgin and martyr of Rome : S00591
Saint Name in SourcePudentiana
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Funerary inscriptions
Evidence not before400
Evidence not after500
Activity not before400
Activity not after500
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 - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - lesser clergy
SourceFive conjoining fragments of a marble plaque. Dimensions: H. 0.71 m; W. 0.59 m; Th. 0.02 m. Letter height 0.05 m. Parts of the left-hand and upper margins are preserved. The fragment containing the right-hand end of lines 3 and 4 is now lost.
Found in the 19th c. during the exploration of the subterranean basilica in the cemetery of Hippolytus on the via Tiburtina. Revisited and reexamined by a number of editors, including Antonio Ferrua, author of the present reference edition in the Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae (1980). A good photograph is offered in the Epigraphic Database Bari.
DiscussionThe inscription is the epitaph for Romulus, a presbyter of the titulus-church of Pudentiana. This is the predecessor of the modern church of Santa Pudenziana on the Viminal Hill (on the vicus Patricius).
According to the legendary account of her martyrdom (E02507), Pudentiana was a sister of *Praxedis and a daughter of Pudens, a Roman senator who received the Apostle *Peter during his stay in Rome. The story is clearly fictional and the name of the church, the titulus Pudentianae may be a corrupted/misinterpreted original form of titulus Pudentis / 'titulus of Pudens', deriving from the owner of the house and the plot of land, where the church is now located, later turned into the fictional figure.
For an inscription with a reference to the titulus-church of Praxedis, found in this same cemetery, see E05353. For the epitaph of a lector of the titulus Pudentis, dated 528, also from the cemetery of Hippolytus, see E05734.
Dating: Sadly, the inscription does not give us a precise date for this occurrence of the term titulus Pudentianae. Domenico Schiraldi in EDB dates the inscription to the 5th c.
Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB20767, see http://www.edb.uniba.it/epigraph/20115
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. 20157 (with further bibliography).
Bovini, G., Sant'Ippolito (Città del Vaticano: Pontificio istituto di archeologia cristiana, 1943), 144, fig. 18.
Hendrichs, F., La voce delle chiese antichissime di Roma (Rome: Desclée & C. Editori Pontifici, 1933), Tav. 57, no. 217 (image).
Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 1142.
Marucchi, O., Epigrafia cristiana. Trattato elementare con una silloge di antiche iscrizioni cristiane principalmente di Roma (Milan: U. Hoepli, 1910), 198, no. 210.
Marucchi, O., Le catacombe romane (Rome: Desclée, Lefebvre E.C., 1905, 2nd ed.), 334.
Giornale degli scavi VI, 148 no. 338.
de Rossi, G.B., "Escavazioni nel cimitero dei SS. Pietro e Marcellino sulla via Labicana", Bullettino di archeologia cristiana 4 Ser. 1 (1882), 113, note 1 (mentioned).
For the 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.