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E06912: The Cymiteria totius Romanae urbis lists 17 cemeteries around the city of Rome, giving their original names and the name of a prominent saint (or saints) buried there. Presumably written in Rome, possibly in the 6th c.

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posted on 2018-10-17, 00:00 authored by Bryan
The cemeteries of the whole city of Rome (Cymiteria totius Romanae urbis)

[1.] Cymiterium Priscillae ad sanctum Silvestrum via Salaria
'The cemetery of Priscilla at saint Silvester on the via Salaria.'
[*Silvester, bishop of Rome, ob. 336, S00397]

[2.] Cymiterium Iordanorum ad sanctum Alexandrum via Salaria.
'The cemetery of the Jordani at saint Alexander on the via Salaria.'
[*Alexander, Eventius, and Theodolus, bishop, priest and deacon, martyrs of Rome, S00127]

[3.] Cymiterium ad Septem Palumbas ad caput sancti Iohannis in clivum Cucumeris.
'The cemetery ad Septem Palumbas [literally 'at the Seven Doves'], at the head of saint Iohannes on the clivus Cucumeris (literally, 'on the slope of the Cucumber').'
[*Iohannes, martyr of Rome under the emperor Julian, buried on the via Salaria, S00514]

[4.] Cymiterium Trasonis ad sanctum Saturninum via Salaria.
'The cemetery of Traso at saint Saturninus on the via Salaria.'
[*Saturninus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00422]

[5.] Cymiterium Basillae ad sanctum Hermen via Salaria vetere.
'The cemetery of Basilla at saint Hermes on the via Salaria vetus.'
[*Hermes, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00404]

[6.] Cymiterium inter Duas Lauros ad sanctum Marcellinum et Petrum via Lavicana.
'The cemetery inter Duas Lauros [literally, 'between the Two Laurels'] at saint Marcellinus and Petrus on the via Labicana.'
[*Marcellinus and Petrus, priest and exorcist, martyrs of Rome, S00577]

[7.] Cymiterium Praetextati ad sanctum Ianuarium via Appia.
'The cemetery of Praetextatus at saint Ianuarius on the via Appia.'
[*Ianuarius, eldest son of Felicitas and martyr of Rome, S02863]

[8.] Cymiterium Calixti ad sanctum Xixtum via Appia.
'The cemetery of Callixtus at saint Xystus on the via Appia.'
[*Xystus/Sixtus II, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00201]

[9.] Cymiterium Catacumbas ad sanctum Sebastianum via Appia.
'The Catacumbas cemetery at saint Sebastianus on the via Appia.'
[*Sebastianus, martyr of Rome, S00400]

[10.] Cymiterium Dimitillae, Nerei et Achillei ad sanctam Petronillam via Ardeatina.
'The cemetery of Domitilla, Nereus and Achilleus at saint Petronilla on the via Ardeatina.'
[*Nereus and Achilleus, eunuchs and martyrs of Rome, S00403; *Petronilla, daughter of saint Peter and martyr of Rome, S00402]

[11.] Cymiterium Balbinae ad sanctum Marcum et Marcellianum via Ardeatina.
'The cemetery of Balbina at saint Marcus and Marcellianus on the via Ardeatina.'
[*Marcus and Marcellianus, twin brothers, deacons and martyrs of Rome, S01401]

[12.] Cymiterium Basilei ad sanctum Marcum via Ardeatina.
'The cemetery of Basileus at saint Marcus on the via Ardeatina.'
[*Marcus, bishop of Rome, ob. 336, S00420]

[13.] Cymiterium Commodillae ad sanctum Felicem et Audactum via Ostiensi.
'The cemetery of Commodilla at saint Felix and Audactus [sic] on the via Ostiensis.'
[*Felix and Adauctus, martyrs of Rome, S00421]

[14.] Cymiterium Aproniani ad sanctam Eugeniam via Latina.
'The cemetery of Apronianus at saint Eugenia on the via Latina.'
[*Eugenia, virgin and martyr of Rome, S00401]

[15.] Cymiterium Calepodii ad sanctum Calixtum via Aurelia.
'The cemetery of Calepodius at saint Calixtus on the via Aurelia.'
[*Callixtus, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00145]

[16.] Cymiterium ad Insalatos ad sanctum Felicem via Portuensi.
'The cemetery ad Insalatos [the term is obscure] at saint Felix on the via Portuensis.'
[*Felix, martyr of Rome buried on the via Portuensis, S02672]

17. Cymiterium Pontiani ad Ursum Pileatum Abdon et Sennen via Portuensi.
'The cemetery of Pontianus ad Ursum Pileatum [literally, 'at the Bear in a Cap'], Abdon and Sennen on the via Portuensis.'
[*Abdos and Semnes, Persian martyrs in Rome, S00573]

Text: Valentini and Zucchetti 1942, 60-66. Translation: P. Polcar.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Silvester, bishop of Rome, ob. 336 : S00397 Marcellinus and Petrus, priest and exorcist, martyrs of Rome : S00577 Nereus and Achilleus, eunuchs and martyrs of Rome, and companions : S00403 Marcus, bishop of Rome, ob. 336 : S00420 Callixtus, bisho

Type of Evidence

Literary - List


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Lists of Shrines in Rome

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - cemetery/catacomb

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Cemetery

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - head


The Cymiteria totius Romanae urbis ('Cemeteries of the whole city of Rome') is a somewhat enigmatic document. The title that is often used for it, including by us, is almost certainly not original, since it occurs in only one manuscript. Nor is it accurate, since only seventeen cemeteries are listed: there is, for instance, no reference to the cemeteries of the Flaminia, Nomentana, Tiburtina and Cornelia. What characterises the document is the listing of an old name for each each cemetery (in almost all cases without any Christian significance), followed by a statement that it is 'at' the most prominent martyr(s) buried there, and ending with the name of the road out of the city, on which it lies. So, for instance, we are told that the cemetery inter Duas Lauros ('between the Two Laurels') is 'at Sts Marcellinus and Petrus' and on the via Labicana (see no. 6). The text is certainly not a conventional guidebook to the cemeteries of Rome, partly because its list of burial sites is incomplete, but mainly because it names only one martyr (or pair of martyrs) at each cemetery, while all the guidebooks list many more. One possible explanation of the purpose of the document, which we find attractive, is that it was produced as a concordance between the old (secular) names of the cemeteries it lists and their new names (those of their most prominent martyr, or martyrs), at a time when the old names were disappearing from use, or had already gone (but were still remembered). If this interpretation is correct, it is, for instance, telling the reader that the cemetery now better known as that 'at Sts. Marcellinus and Petrus', is the same cemetery as that once named 'inter Duas Lauros'. If this was the purpose of the text, it must date from a time when the old names were disappearing or had already gone, but were still remembered. The guidebooks we have from the seventh century, the Notitia Ecclesiarum, the De Locis Sanctis and the Itinerarium Malmesburiense, consistently refer to the cemeteries by their new (saints') names, suggesting that their older names had already fallen out of use; so, unless our text was the product of erudite research, it is unlikely to be much later in date than the early seventh century. It is also unlikely to be very early, since it refers to the church outside the porta Appia, which was originally dedicated to the Apostles, as the church of Sebastianus (the name it still carries, San Sebastiano), a titulature first documented in the Notitia Ecclesiarum and the De Locis Sanctis. Though impossible to prove, a date for our document sometime in the sixth century seems plausible. All the 'old' names for the cemeteries listed here are attested elsewhere, except that for no. 16 on the via Portuensis, 'ad Insalatos' (a name that has never been satisfactorily explained). Of these old names, only those for the cemeteries 'of Callixtus', 'of Domitilla, Nereus and Achilleus', and 'of Calepodius' (nos. 8, 10 and 15) had any Christian significance - the cemetery 'of Callixtus' being named after the bishop of Rome who developed it as a Christian burial site, that 'of Domitilla' apparently having already added the names of two of its prominent martyrs (Nereus and Achilleus) to its title, and that 'of Calepodius' perhaps already becoming conflated with the name of an eponymous martyr who was supposedly buried there (S01411). But even in these cases the cemeteries were apparently losing their older names, and becoming better known solely by the names of prominent martyrs buried within them: Xystus/Sixtus II in the case of the cemetery of Callixtus; Petronilla in the case of that of Domitilla; and the very same Callixtus in the cemetery of Calepodius (where, confusingly, he was buried, rather than in his 'own' cemetery!). The Cymiteria totius Romanae urbis, although of very limited use as a record of saintly burials, is evocative of a process that happened after the fifth century: the transformation of Rome's suburban cemeteries from functioning burial grounds, known by their traditional names, to places of veneration, now no longer used for burials and known by the names of the saints interred within them. For a good discussion of the issues around this text, on which most of the above is based, as well as a presentation of the manuscript evidence, see Valentini and Zucchetti 1942, 54-59. (Bryan Ward-Perkins)


Edition: Glorie, F. (ed.), Cymiteria totius Romanae urbis, in Itineraria et alia geographica (Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina 175; Turnhout: Brepols, 1965), 299-300. [Reproduces Valentini and Zucchetti, without changes.] Valentini, R. and Zucchetti, G. (ed.), Codice topografico della città di Roma (Istituto storico italiano - Fonti per la storia d'Italia; Roma 1942), vol. 2, 60-66.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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