University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E05848: Latin epitaph, recording the day of death of an acolyte of the titulus-church of Vestina (later San Vitale) by referring to the feast (dies natalis) of *Marcus (bishop of Rome, ob. 336, S00420), held in October. Found in the basilica of Sant'Agnese fuori le mura on the via Nomentana, Rome. Probably 6th c.

online resource
posted on 2018-06-22, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[hic requiescit in p]ace Abundantius a̅c̅o̅l̅(ytus)
reg(ionis) quarte t̅(i)t̅(uli) Vestine qui vixit ann(os) XXX
d̅e̅p̅(ositus) i̅n̅ p̅(ace) d(ie) n̅a̅t̅(ali) s̅(an)c̅(t)i̅ Marci mense{se} o̅c̅t̅(obri) i̅n̅d̅(ictione) XII

'[Here rests in] peace Abundantius, acolyte of the fourth regio of the titulus-church of Vestina, who lived 30 years. Buried in peace on the day of the feast (dies natalis) of Saint Marcus, in the month of October, the 12th indiction.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., VIII, no. 20861 = EDB1726.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Marcus, bishop of Rome, ob. 336 : S00420

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions


  • 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 - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy


Marble plaque. Dimensions not specified. When recorded, the plaque was reused in the pavement of the church of Sant'Agnese fuori le mura on the via Nomentana. Probably brought there from the cemetery (catacombs) of Agnes. Now lost. Antonio Ferrua notes that a modern copy was displayed in the 1980s in the Roman church of San Marco (on the piazza Venezia). For a photograph of the copy (?), see the Epigraphic Database Bari. The inscription was first recorded by Philippe De Winghe, a 16th c. Flemish traveller, and a transcription is preserved in his notes. In 1632 Antonio Bossio offered the first edition in print. Later reprinted with minor alterations by many scholars. The present-day reference edition is that by Antonio Ferrua in the eighth volume of the Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae. For a complete list of editions and altered readings, see the lemma by Ferrua.


It is widely accepted that the Saint Marcus whose feast in October is used here in the dating formula, is Marcus, bishop of Rome (ob. 336), whose day of burial is recorded as 7 October in the list of burials of the bishops of Rome in the Chronography of 354 (E01051), where it is said to have been in the cemetery of Balbina. A feast of bishop Marcus on the via Appia, where the cemetery of Balbina was located (actually between the via Ardeatina and the via Appia), is also recorded on the same day by the Martyrologium Hieronymianum (E04979). The tomb of Marcus is further mentioned by the Notitia ecclesiarum Urbis Romae (E00684), by the 7th c. list of the cemeteries of Rome (E00632), and in the Itinerarium Malmesburgiense (EXXXXX); see also Lapidge 2018, 504. In our inscription the feast is termed his dies natalis, a term normally reserved for the commemoration of martyrdoms. The deceased acolyte served in the titulus-church of Vestina (now San Vitale) which was founded by an aristocratic Vestina under Pope Innocent I in 400. This gives a terminus post quem for our inscriptions. Based on the style and the shape of letters, Ferrua and de Rossi, probably rightly, preferred to date it to the 6th c. Early modern travellers to Rome, stylistically or just arbitrarily, ascribed the inscription to the 5th or even 4th c.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, nos. EDB1726, see De Rossi, G.B., Ferrua, A. (eds.) Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 8: Coemeteria viarum Nomentanae et Salariae (Vatican: Pont. Institutum Archaeologiae Christianae, 1983), no. 20861 (with further bibliography). Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 1249. Marucchi, O., Epigrafia cristiana. Trattato elementare con una silloge di antiche iscrizioni cristiane principalmente di Roma (Milan: U. Hoepli, 1910), 206, no. 229. De Rossi, G.B. (ed.) Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, vol. 1 (Rome: Ex Officina Libraria Pontifica, 1857-1861), 536, no. 1185. Bosio, A., Roma sotteranea (Rome: Appresso Guglielmo Facciotti, 1632), 419. Further reading: Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford, 2018), 504. Spera, L., "Regiones divisit diaconibus. Il ruolo dei diaconi negli apparati amministrativo della Chiesa di Roma e la questione della regioni ecclesiastiche", in: Diakonia, diaconiæ, diaconato : semantica e storia nei Padri della Chiesa : XXXVIII Incontro di studiosi dell'antichità cristiana, Roma, 7-9 maggio 2009 (Rome: Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, 2010), 545, note 7.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager