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E06998: The De Locis Sanctis, a guide to the graves of the martyrs around Rome, lists those on the via Salaria nova, north-east 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 Salaria nova

Iuxta uiam Salariam ecclesia est sanctae Felicitatis ubi ipsa iacet corpore; ibi et Sillanus filius eius unus de VII est sepultus; et Bonifacius cum multis sanctis ibi dormit.

Iuxta eandem uiam sanctus Saturninus cum multis martyribus dormit.

Propeque ibi sanctus Alexander et sanctus Vitalis sanctusque Martialis, qui sunt III de VII filiis Felicitatis, cum multis martyribus iacent <; ibi in interiore spelunca sanctus Theodolus et Euentus.> Ibi et VII uirgines, id est sancta Saturnina et sancta Hilaria, sancta Dominanda, sancta Serotina, sancta Paulina, sancta Donata, sancta Rogatina requiescunt.

Iuxta eandem uiam Salariam sanctus Siluester requiescit <; ad pedes eius sanctus Siricius papa>, et alii quamplurimi, id est sanctus Caelestinus , sancta Potentiana, sancta Praxidis, sanctus Marcellus , sanctus Crescentianus, sanctus Maurus, sanctus Marcellinus, sancta Prisca , sanctus Paulus, sanctus Felicis unus de VII, sanctus Philippus unus de VII, sanctus Semetrius, et in una sepultura CCCLXV.
Per eandem quoque uenitur uiam ad ecclesiam sancti Michaelis VII miliario ab urbe.

'Next to the via Salaria is the church of saint Felicitas where she lies in the body; there is also buried Sillanus, her son, one of the seven; and Bonifacius sleeps there with many saints.

Next to the same road sleeps Saturninus with many martyrs.

Close by sleeps saint Alexander and saint Vitalis and saint Martialis, who are three of the seven sons of Felicitas, with many martyrs. There also Seven Virgins repose, that is saint Saturnina and saint Hilaria, saint Dominanda, saint Serotina, saint Paulina, saint Donata, saint Rogatina.

Next to the same via Salaria rests saint Silvester; and many others, that is saint Caelestinus , saint Potentiana [i.e. Pudentiana], saint Praxedis, saint Marcellus , saint Crescentianus, saint Maurus, saint Marcellinus, saint Prisca, saint Paulus, saint Felix, one of the seven, saint Philippus, one of the seven, saint Semetrius, and in one grave 365 [saints].

By the same road one arrives at the church of saint Michael, at the seventh milestone from the city.'

Text: Valentini and Zucchetti 1942, 106-118. 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. In this case, the source of almost all the information is certainly the Notitia Ecclesiarum (E00637).

First paragraph: [*Felicitas, martyr of Rome, with Silanus, one of her seven sons, S00525; in this passage six of them, buried in three different cemeteries of the Salaria, are named: Silanus, Alexander, Vitalis, Martialis, Felix, Philippus; *Boniface I, bishop of Rome, ob. 422, S00472]

Second paragraph: [*Saturninus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00422; *Chrysanthus and Daria, chaste couple and martyrs of Rome, S00306]

Third paragraph: [Alexander, Vitalis and Martialis, three of the sons of *Felicitas, martyr of Rome with her seven sons, S00525; *Eventius, priest, and Theodolus, deacon, martyrs of Rome, S00127; *Seven virgins of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S02719]

Fourth paragraph: [*Silvester, bishop of Rome, ob. 336, S00397; Siricius, bishop of Rome, ob. 399, S00527; *Pudentiana, virgin and martyr of Rome, S00591; *Praxedes, virgin and martyr of Rome, S00142; *Marcellus, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00529; *Crescencius, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00530; perhaps *Maurus, son of Hilaria, martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00526; *Marcellinus, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00660; *Prisca, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00531; *Paulus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S02864; *Simetrius, priest, and 22 others, martyrs of Rome : S01439; *Michael, the Archangel : S00181]


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Felicitas, martyr of Rome with her seven sons : S00525 Boniface I, bishop of Rome, ob. 422 : S00472 Saturninus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria : S00422 Chrysanthus and Daria, chaste couple and martyrs of Rome, and companion martyrs : S0

Saint Name in Source

Felicitas, Silanus, Alexander, Vitalis, Martialis, Felicis, Philippus Bonifacius Saturninus Chrisantus, Daria Theodolus, Eventus Silvester Siricius Caelestinus Praxidis Potentiana Marcellus Crescentianus Marcellinus Prisca Semetrius Mi

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)


A number of cemeteries along the via Salaria nova are here listed, including (in the fourth paragraph) an entry for the cemetery of Priscilla, with a number of papal burials (some of whom were martyrs, some not). Most of the saints are readily identifiable, with their graves along the Salaria also documented in other sources, in particular the other two seventh-century itineraries, the Notitia Ecclesiarum (E00637) and the Itinerarium Malmesburiense (E07887). It should, however, be noted that several of the martyrs listed here were added to our text by an early interpolator, using information from the Notitia Ecclesiarum (so these passages do not constitute independent testimony to these graves). The seven virgin martyrs mentioned and named here are very obscure, though their graves on the Salaria, again with all their names, also feature in the Itinerarium Malmesburiense, as does a feast for them (again with each of them named) on the 31 December in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum (E05070). At the end of the eighth century (and so outside the period covered by our database) they are also mentioned (but not named) in the account in the Liber Pontificalis of repairs to cemeteries on the via Salaria executed by Pope Hadrian I (772-795) (Duchesne 1886, 509, lxxx). The Maurus listed as buried in the cemetery of Priscilla is just possibly Maurus, the son of Hilaria and Claudius and brother of Iason; their graves on the Salaria nova are also mentioned in other sources. However, there is no obvious reason why Maurus should be named alone from this family group (amongst whom the most prominent saint was probably Hilaria), and the other texts clearly place their graves in a different cemetery to that of Priscilla. Paulus, who is also mentioned in the Itinerarium Malmesburiense, is otherwise wholly 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: Duchesne, L., Le Liber pontificalis, vol. 1 (Paris: E. Thorin, 1886).

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