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E06999: The De Locis Sanctis, a guide to the graves of the martyrs around Rome, lists those on the via Salaria vetus, north of the city. Written in Latin in Rome, 642/683.

online resource
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 vetus

Inde haud procul in occidentem iuxta uiam in cryptis sub terra LXXX gradibus sanctus Pamphilus et sanctus Candidus sanctusque Cyrinus cum multis martyribus iacent.

Et inde in occidentem tendentibus apparet basilica sancti Hermes ubi ipse martyr iacet ; ibi sunt sanctus Crispus et sanctus Herculanus et sanctus Maximilianus et sancta Basilessa et sanctus Iacintus et sanctus Protus et sanctus Leopardus cum multis martyribus sepulti.

Inde non longe est in occidente ecclesia sancti Iohannis martyris, ubi caput eius in alio loco sub altare ponitur, in alio corpus; ibi sanctus Diogenis et sanctus Fistus et sanctus Liberatus et sanctus Blastus et sanctus Maurus et sancta Longina, mater Iohannis, sunt sepulti .

'Not far from there [the church of St Michael on the via Salaria nova] to the west, close by road, lies saint Pamphilus and saint Candidus, 80 steps below the earth, and saint Cyrinus with many martyrs.

And from there, moving west, appears the basilica of saint Hermes, where he, the martyr, lies ; there, are buried saint Crispus and saint Herculanus and saint Maximilianus and saint Basilessa and saint Iacintus and saint Protus, and saint Leopardus, with many martyrs.'

From there, not far to the west, is the church of saint Iohannes, the martyr, where his head is placed in one place under the altar, his body in another. There, are also buried saint Diogenis, saint Festus, saint Liberatus, saint Blastus, saint Maurus and saint Longina, John's mother. '

Text: Valentini and Zucchetti 1942, 117-118. 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 (E00636).

First paragraph: [*Pamphilus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00477; *Candidus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S02851; *Cyrinus/Quirinus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S02854]

Second paragraph: [*Hermes, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00404; *Crispus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S02855; *Herculanus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S02820; *Maximus/Maximilianus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00173; *Basilla/Basilissa, virgin and martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus,S00684; *Protus and *Hyacinthus, eunuchs and martyrs of Rome, S00464; *Leopardus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S02857]

Third paragraph: [*Iohannes, martyr of Rome under the emperor Julian, buried on the via Salaria vetus, *S00514; *Diogenes, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00475; *Festus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00515; Liberatus/Liberalis, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S02703; *Blastus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00476; *Maurus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, E02856; *Longinus/Longina, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00486]


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Pamphilus, martyr of Rome : S00477 Hermes, martyr of Rome : S00404 Basilla, virgin and martyr of Rome : S00684 Protus and Hyacinthus, eunuchs and martyrs of Rome : S00464 Candidus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus : S02851 Victor,

Saint Name in Source

Pamphilus Hermes Basilessa Iacintus, Protus Candidus Victor Maximilianus Iohannes Diogenis Fistus Liberatus Blastus Cyrinus Crispus Maurus Longina Leopardus Herculanus

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 Bodily relic - head


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)


The majority of these saints, buried in the cemeteries along the via Salaria vetus, are now very shadowy figures, but almost all of them feature in at least one of the other lists and itineraries that offer a general guide to the martyrs of Rome (the Monza papyrus, E06788; the Notitia Ecclesiarum, E00636; and the Itinerarium Malmesburiense, E07886 and E07887). The exceptions, in other words martyrs who are only known from this passage in the De Locis Sanctis, are (as far as we are aware) the following: Candidus, Leopardus and Maurus (who is very unlikely to be the same Maurus as the Maurus, son of the prefect Claudius, who features in the Martyrdom of Chrysanthus and Daria (E02487), since he is recorded as buried on the Salaria nova with the other martyred members of his family, not the Salaria vetus). The note that the head of Iohannes was buried in a different place to his body is interesting - in the Martyrdom that tells the story of this supposed martyr under Julian, he was decapitated (E02503), perhaps an echo of the decapitation of the most important saint John, John the Baptist. The very last saint mentioned by the Itinerarium, Longina, is said to have been the mother of Iohannes; it should, however, be noted that there is no mention of Iohannes' mother in his surviving martyrdom account (E02503), and, confusingly, in the Notitia Ecclesiarum, instead of a Longina, a male Longuinus is listed as buried in this cemetery.


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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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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