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E06992: The De Locis Sanctis, a guide to the graves of the martyrs around Rome, lists those on the via Appia, south 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 Appia

Iuxta uiam Appiam in orientali parte ciuitatis ecclesia est sanctae Suteris martyris ubi ipsa cum multis martyribus iacet.

Et iuxta eandem uiam ecclesia est sancti Sixti papae ubi ipse dormit. Ibi quoque et Caecilia uirgo pausat; et ibi sanctus Tarsicius et sanctus Geferinus in uno tumulo iacent. Et ibi sanctus Eusebius; et sanctus Colocerus et sanctus Parthenius per se singuli iacent; et DCCC martyres ibidem requiescunt. Inde haud procul in cimiterio Calis, Cornelius et Cyprianus in ecclesia dormiunt,

Iuxta eandem uiam quoque ecclesia est multorum sanctorum, id est Ianuarii qui fuit de VII filiis Felicitatis maior natu, Urbani, Agapiti, Felicissimi, Cyrini, Zenonis fratris Valentini, Tiburti, Valeriani ; et multi martyres ibi requiescunt.

Et iuxta eandem uiam ecclesia est sancti Sebastiani martyris ubi ipse dormit, ubi sunt et sepulturae apostolorum in quibus XL annis quieuerunt; ibi quoque et Cyrinus martyr est sepultus.

Per eandem uero uiam peruenitur ad Albanam ciuitatem, et per eandem ciuitatem ad ecclesiam sancti Senatoris, ubi et Perpetua iacet corpore et innumeri sancti; et magna mirabilia ibidem geruntur.

'By the via Appia in the eastern part of the city is the church of saint Soteris, the martyr, where she lies with many martyrs.

And by the same road is the church of saint Sixtus, the pope, where he sleeps. There rests also the virgin Caecilia; and there lie saint Tarsicius and saint Geferinus in one grave. And there lies saint Eusebius; and saint Colocerus and saint Parthenius each in their own grave; and 800 martyrs rest in the same place. Not far away, in the cemetery of Callixtus, sleep Cornelius and Cyprianus in a church, .

By the same road there is also a church of many saints, that is of Ianuarius, who the oldest of the seven sons of Felicitas, [the church] of Urbanus, Agapitus, Felicissimus, Cyrinus, Zenon, the brother of Valentinus, Tiburtius, Valerianus, ; and many martyrs rest there.

And by the same road there is the church of saint Sebastianus the martyr, where he sleeps, where there are also the tombs of the apostles, in which they rested for 40 years; there too is the martyr Cyrinus buried.

By the same road one reaches the city of Albano, and through the same city to the church of saint Senator, where also Perpetua lies in the body and countless saints; and great wonders are to be seen there.'

Text: Valentini and Zucchetti 1942, 110-111. Translation: P. Polcar.

The bracketed <> passages are interpolations added, in a more-or-less contemporary hand, to the late-8th-century Vienna manuscript of the text. The information they contain probably derived from another written source (of uncertain date), rather than from new direct observation.

First paragraph: [*Soteris, virgin and martyr of Rome, buried on the via Appia, S00548]

Second paragraph: [*Xystus/Sixtus II, bishop and martyr of Rome; S00201; *Caecilia, virgin and martyr of Rome, S00146; possibly *Tarsitus, companion of Stephanus, bishop of Rome, S00205; *Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome, ob. c. 217, S00546; *Eusebius, bishop of Rome, ob. c. 308, S00545; *Calocerus and Parthenius, martyrs of Rome, S00679; *Cornelius, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00172; *Cyprianus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Appia, $S02853; perhaps *Cyprian, bishop and martyr of Carthage, *S00411; *Calocerus, martyr of Rome, companion of Parthenius, S00679]

Third paragraph: [*Ianuarius, eldest son of Felicitas and martyr of Rome, buried on the via Appia, S02863; *Urbanus, bishop and confessor/martyr of Rome, S00538; *Felicissimus and *Agapitus, and four other deacons of Xystus II, all martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Appia, S00202; *Cyrinus, martyr of Rome buried in the cemetery of Praetextatus, S01225; *Zenon, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Appia, S00541; *Valentinus, priest and martyr of Rome, S00433; *Tiburtius, Valerianus, and Maximus, martyrs of Rome associated with Caecilia, S00537]

Fourth paragraph: [*Sebastianus, martyr of Rome, S00400; *Paul, the Apostle, S00008; *Peter the Apostle, S00036; *Cyrinus, martyr of Rome, buried under S. Sebastiano, S00539]

Fifth paragraph: [*Senator, martyr of Albano, near Rome, S02643; *Perpetua, martyr of Albano, near Rome, S02746]


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Felicitas, martyr of Rome with her seven sons : S00525 Senator, martyred at Albanum near Rome : S02643 Soteris, virgin and martyr of Rome, buried on the via Appia : S00548 Xystus/Sixtus II, bishop and martyr of Rome : S00201 Caecilia, virgin and

Saint Name in Source

Ianuarius Senator Suteris Sixtus Caecilia Tarsicius Geferinus Colocerus/Calocerus, Parthenius Eusebius Tiburtius, Valerianus, Maximus Felicissimus, Agapitus Cyrinus Valentinus Urbanus Sebastianus Cyrinus Zenon Cornelius Cyprianus P

Related Saint Records

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 - 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)


These passages, on the cemeteries of the via Appia, for the most part record saints who are readily identifiable, and whose graves along the Appia are also recorded in other sources, in particular in the other two seventh-century itineraries, the Notitia Ecclesiarum (E00682, E00683) and the Itinerarium Malmesburiense (E07892). A church and the grave of Soteris are well attested on the via Appia. The second paragraph records the martyrs buried in a church, here described as dedicated to Xystus II (though in the Notitia Ecclesiarum and the Itinerarium Malmesburiense its dedication is to Caecilia, the saint whose body was translated to S. Cecilia in Trastevere in the ninth century), and in the nearby cemetery of Callixtus. Most of these martyrs are readily identifiable and repeatedly recorded in other sources: the graves of two martyred bishops of Rome, Xystus himself and Cornelius, of the virgin martyr Caecilia herself, and of Calocerus (and Parthenius); and the graves of two further bishops of Rome, Geferinus (Pope Zephyrinus) and Eusebius. It is, however, wholly unclear why, in our text, Zephyrinus was thought to lie in the same grave as 'Tarsicius', a shadowy figure, but one who also features in the Itinerarium Malmesburiense, and who was perhaps 'Tharsicius', a martyr associated with the martyred Bishop Stephanus (E02514). The reference to the graves of Cornelius and Cyprianus in a church at the cemetery of Callixtus is particularly interesting. Cornelius is unquestionably the mid-third century bishop and martyr of Rome, whose grave in the area of this cemetery is attested in a number of sources. The presence here of a 'Cyprianus' is, however, a unique attestation and much more surprising, since he is likely to be Cyprian, the mid-third century bishop and martyr of Carthage: Cornelius and Cyprian were closely linked, both in their lifetimes (the two corresponded) and in their posthumous cult - the two saints celebrated a common feast-day (attested by Jerome at the end of the fourth-century (E07905), and confirmed by later evidence (E00344)). But how had Cyprian's body (supposedly) left Carthage, to rest in seventh-century Rome? Probably as the result of a convenient confusion. The Depositio Martirum, written in Rome around AD 354 (E01052), records that Cyprian of Carthage, though primarily celebrated in the province of Africa Proconsularis (where he was martyred and buried), was, on 14 September (the date of the later-attested joint feast-day of Cornelius and Cyprian), also celebrated here in the cemetery of Callixtus: '14 September. [The burial] of Cyprian, in Africa. In Rome, celebrated in [the cemetery of] Callixtus'; XVIII kal. Octob. Cypriani, Africae. Romae celebratur in Callisti. It is entirely possible that by the seventh century this celebration of Cyprian in absentia at Rome's cemetery of Callixtus had evolved into a belief that he was actually buried there. If so, this belief must have been local, or indeed particular to the author of the De locis, since even later sources firmly attest that that the body of Cyprian was believed to rest in Carthage. Its supposed translation from Carthage to Carolingian Francia, in 801, is documented by several sources (Conant, 2010, 2-3) The third paragraph lists burials in the cemetery of Praetextatus. Here the saints and their graves are readily identifiable and all also recorded in other sources (for instance, the list given for this cemetery in the roughly contemporary Notitia Eccesiarum is essentially the same: E00683). The only shadowy figure is Zenon, otherwise only known (as 'Synon') from the Notitia, and (as 'Xenon') from the Itinerarium Malmesburiense; here in the De Locis (and nowhere else), he is described as the brother of Valentinus, presumably the priest and martyr buried on the via Flaminia, though no such figure appears in the extant Martyrdom of Valentinus (E02093). The fourth paragraph records burials at San Sebastiano, in the 'Catacumbas' cemetery, which in time was to give its name to all the 'catacombs'. Again the information given here is familiar from other sources, including the story that the bodies of Peter and Paul had rested here for a number of years. Finally, our text records two martyrs venerated at Albano, some 25 kilometres from Rome. Senator is also known from the Martyrologium Hieronymianum (E04967 and E04968), but Perpetua of Albano is otherwise unknown.


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.] Further reading: Conant, J., 'Europe and the African Cult of Saints, circa 350–900: An Essay in Mediterranean Communications', Speculum 85 (2010), 1-46.

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