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E05864: Latin epitaph to a married couple buried by their daughter near an unnamed female martyr, ad sancta(m) martura(m), probably *Agnes (virgin and martyr of Rome, S00097). Found at the cemetery of Agnes, via Nomentana, Rome. Probably late 4th c.

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posted on 2018-06-22, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[- - -]is Eufrosini et Decensies que cesquet
[- - - i]dus octob(res) que vixit ann(os) XXX et VIIII et mense(s) I
[- - - f]ilia {pa}parentibus suis tabulam posuit ben[e]-
[merenti]bus in p(ace) ad sancta martura

1. possibly [locus quiet]is Ferrua || 4. possibly ad sancta(m) martyra(m)

'[- - -] of Eufrosinus, and Decensies who died [- - -] ides of October, who lived 30 years and 9, and months 1[- - -] daughter set this plaque up to her parents, well merited, in peace, near the holy martyr.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., VIII, no. 21017 = EDB10944.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Agnes, virgin and martyr of Rome : S00097

Saint Name in Source

sancta martura

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 three conjoining fragments. The left-hand end is lost. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.30 m; W. 1.45 m; Th. 0.04 m. Letter height 0.045 m. The two left-hand fragments were known to Francesco Scipione Maffei who published them in 1749. The existing fragments were first assembled by Luigi Gaetano Marini in an unpublished manuscript. They were later presented in print by Mariano Armellini in 1880. The edition by Ernst Diehl in the Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres presents an incomplete text. The present-day reference edition is by Antonio Ferrua in the eighth volume of the Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae. Maffei noted that the inscription came from the church or cemetery of Agnes on the via Nomentana. The stone is now exhibited on a staircase leading to the cemetery (catacombs) of Agnes. Ferrua notes that a gypsum copy is kept at the Lateran Museum, see Marucchi, O., I Monumenti del Museo Cristiano Pio-Lateranense riprodotti in Atlante di XCVI tavole (Milan: Ulrico Hoepli, 1910), Tav. LI no. 26.


The inscription records the burial of a married couple by their daughter next to a saintly figure. Hence, probably an intentional burial ad sanctos (i.e. a burial meant to aid the deceased by its proximity a martyr). Ferrua probably understood the final formula, ad sancta martura, as neuter genitive plural ('near holy martyrs'), here used to denote a burial next to the martyr Agnes, the principal saint venerated in this cemetery (Ferrua: 'dictum collectiue, sed certe sancta Agnes intellegetur'). It is, however, possible that we have here a reference to a single female martyr, ad sancta(m) martura(m), with dropped final nasal consonants 'm', which sometimes happens in vernacular Latin. Dating: The editors of the Epigraphic Database Bari date the inscription to the late 4th c.


Edition: Complete text: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB10944, see De Santis, P., Sanctorum Monumenta: "Aree sacre" del suburbio di Roma nella documentazione epigrafica (IV-VII secolo) (Bari: Edipuglia, 2010), no. 97. 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. 21017 (with further bibliography). Armellini, M., Gli antichi cimeteri cristiani di Roma e d'Italia (Rome: Tipografia poliglotta, 1893), 263. Armellini, M., Il cimitero di s. Agnese sulla via Nomentana (Rome: Tipografia Poliglotta della S.C. di Propoganda Fide, 1880), 67. Two left-hand fragments: Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, vol. 1 (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925), no. 2136A. Maffei, F.S., Museum Veronense, hoc est antiquarum inscriptionum et anaglyphorum collectio, cui Taurinensis adjungitur et Vindobonensis (Veronæ: Typis Seminarii, 1749), 279, no. 7. Further reading: Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford: OUP, 2018), chapter XVII.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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