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E06989: The De Locis Sanctis, a guide to the graves of the martyrs around Rome, lists those on the via Ostiensis, south-west of the city. Written in Latin in Rome, 642/683.

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posted on 2018-10-26, 00:00 authored by Bryan
On the Holy Places of the Martyrs which are outside the City of Rome (De locis sanctis martyrum quae sunt foris civitatis Romae), via Ostiensis

In parte autem australi ciuitatis iuxta uiam Ostensem Paulus apostolus corpore pausat, et Timotheus episcopus et martyr, de quo meminit liber Siluestri, ibidem dormit. Et ante frontem eiusdem basilicae oratorium est Stephani martyris; lapis ibi, quo lapidatus est Stephanus, super altare est positus.

Inde haud procul in meridiem monasterium est aquae Saluiae, ubi caput sancti Anastasi est et locus ubi decollatus est Paulus.

Prope quoque basilicae Pauli ecclesia sanctae Teclae est ubi ipsa corpore iacet.

Et non longe inde ecclesia sancti Felicis est ubi ipse dormit, cum quo quando ad caelum migrauit, pariter properabat Adauctus; et ambo requiescunt in uno loco. Ibi quoque et Nemeseus martyr cum plurimis iacet.

'In the southern part of the city, however, close by the via Ostiensis, the apostle Paul rests in the body, and there too sleeps Timotheus, bishop and martyr, about whom the book of Silvester bears record. And in front of the same basilica is the oratory of Stephen the martyr; there a stone, with which Stephen was stoned, is placed on the altar.

Not far from there to the south is the monastery ad Aquas Salvias, where the head of saint Anastasius is and the place where Paul was beheaded.

Also, close by the basilica of Paul, is the church of saint Thecla where she herself lies in the body.

And not far away is the church of saint Felix where he sleeps; by his side, when he went to the heavens, hurried Adauctus; and both rest in one place. There too lies the martyr Nemeseus with many more.'

Text: Valentini and Zucchetti 1942, 109-110. Translation: P. Polcar.

[*Paul, the Apostle, S00008; *Timotheus, martyr of Rome, S00330; *Stephen, the First Martyr, S00030; *Anastasios, monk and martyr of Persia, ob. 628, S02052; *Thecla, follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092; Felix and Adauctus, martyrs of Rome, S00421; Nemesius, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Ostiensis, S01078]


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030 Thekla, follower of the Apostle Paul : S00092 Paul, the Apostle : S00008 Timotheus, martyr of Rome : S00330 Anastasios, monk and martyr of Persia, ob. 628 : S02052 Felix and Adauctus, martyrs of Rome : S00421

Saint Name in Source

Stephanus Tecla Paulus Timotheus Anastasius Felix, Adauctus Nemeseus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Pilgrim accounts and itineraries


  • 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


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

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Lists of Shrines in Rome

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - head Contact relic - instrument of saint’s martyrdom Bodily relic - entire body


The graves of the martyrs of Rome are quite exceptional in two respects: for the overwhelming number of saints whose names are recorded; and for the level of detail we have on where their bodies were venerated - in the many Martyrdoms surviving from Rome (incomparably more than from any other city), in uniquely rich epigraphic evidence, and in a narrative history, the Liber Pontificalis, that records in loving detail papal improvements to the saintly graves and churches of the city. From the century between circa 590 and 690, we even have four long lists of venerated graves, which were compiled entirely independently of each other: one (the Monza papyrus, E06788) is a catalogue of holy oil collected at these graves, but the other three, the Notitia Ecclesiarum (E07900), the De Locis Sanctis (E07901) and the Itinerarium Malmesburiense (E07883), are 'itineraries' - in other words texts that introduce their readers to the graves by taking them on a journey through the burial churches and cemeteries that ringed the city. They are often described as pilgrim-guides, which was certainly one of their functions, though they could also serve to introduced the saints of Rome to distant readers. The De locis sanctis martyrum quae sunt foris civitatis Romae ('On the holy places of the martyrs which are outside the city of Rome'), is exactly what its title claims: it is a guide to the suburban cemeteries of the city, listing the various saints who could be visited there (the vast majority of whom were martyrs). Like all the itineraries, it proceeds road by road, beginning with the via Cornelia and St Peter's, continuing anticlockwise round the city, and closing with the via Flaminia. Unlike the Notitia Ecclesiarum, which directly addresses the reader in the second person singular ('Then you go ...' etc.), the De Locis (in common with the Itinerarium), uses the impersonal 'By this road is ...' etc. In all the manuscripts of the De Locis, the journey around the city is immediately followed by a short text (E07001) entitled Istae vero ecclesiae intus Romae habentur ('These churches, however, are within Rome'), which lists 21 churches within the Aurelianic walls. This text may or may not have been by the same author as the De Locis. In terms of its dating, the De Locis must have been written before 683, because it lists the graves of Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrix on the via Portuensis (E06988), and these martyrs were removed from there and translated into the city by Pope Leo II in 682/683 (E01678). The date after which it must have been written is slightly less certain: unquestionably it was after Honorius I (625-638) built his church of Sant'Agnese fuori le mura, since this must be the church 'of wondrous beauty' that is described on the via Nomentana (E06997); and it is very likely that it also post-dates the rebuilding by Pope Theodore I (642-649) of the church of Saint Valentinus on the via Flaminia (E01629), described in our text as 'wondrously decorated' (E07000). The earliest manuscript of this text (Vienna National Library Ms 795), datable to the last years of the eighth century, includes some brief interpolated passages (some of which derive from the Notitia Ecclesiarum). These are included, but clearly marked as interpolations, in all the editions of the De Locis, and in the text which we offer. (Bryan Ward-Perkins)


This entry records shrines and burials around and near the great church of St Paul, San Paolo fuori le mura. Timotheus is a martyr known only from the Acts of Silvester (E03229), the source which the De Locis cites here. This is the first reference to the head of Anastasius the Persian being in Rome; its presence was to lead to the monastery at Aqua Salvia (later, 'alle Tre Fontane') being dedicated to him. The mention here of a church of Thecla, in which her body rested, reflects a Roman tradition that she had miraculously travelled from Seleucia (in Asia Minor) to Rome, a tradition which, unsurprisingly, was not upheld at her great shrine outside Seleucia. The claim that her body rested here, near that of Paul, is repeated in the roughly contemporary Notitia Ecclesiarum (E00687). Felix and Adauctus are well recorded, and, interestingly, the De Locis quotes here (silently) from the Damasan inscription in their church, which in exactly in the same words says, that when Felix reached heaven, so too 'did Adauctus hurry there (pariter properavit Adauctus)' (E07152). Nemesius, buried in the same cemetery is an obscure figure, though he is also recorded on the via Ostiensis in the Itinerarium Malmesburiense (E07894). There are two reasonably well known martyrs of Rome with the name of 'Nemesius': one of the seven martyred sons of Symphorosa; and a tribune converted by Stephanus in the Martyrdom of Stephanos (E02514). But neither are obviously our martyr of the via Ostiensis, since they are said to have been buried on the via Tiburtina and via Latina respectively.


Edition: Glorie, F. (ed.), De locis sanctis martyrum quae sunt foris civitatis Romae, in Itineraria et alia geographica (Corpus Christianorum, series Latina 175; Turnhout: Brepols, 1965), 315-321. [Reproduces Valentini and Zucchetti's text.] 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, 106-118. (Partial) Translation: Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford Early Christian Studies; Oxford: Oxford University Press 2018), 662-664. [Translates most of the text, but omits parts that are not relevant to the martyrdom accounts that he includes in his collection.]

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