Saint NameFelicitas, martyr of Rome with her seven sons : S00525
Saint Name in SourceFelicitas
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Funerary inscriptions
Evidence not before325
Evidence not after375
Activity not before325
Activity not after375
Place of Evidence - RegionRome and region
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcSuburban catacombs and cemeteries
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Suburban catacombs and cemeteries
Cult activities - PlacesBurial site of a saint - crypt/ crypt with relics
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesOther lay individuals/ people
SourceFragmentary marble plaque, broken and lost at both ends. H. 0.295 m; W. 0.40 m. Letter height 0.035 m. Found in 1856 in an unspecified crypt under the basilica of the Cemetery of Felicitas/Cemetery of Maximus. After the discovery it was reportedly displaced (seen by Tongiorgi in a vineyard in 1862), and eventually lost, but later recovered. Orazio Marucchi placed it back in the basilica.
First published by Giovanni Battista de Rossi in 1863.
DiscussionIt would be interesting to see the names of the owners of the tomb, apparently given in line 1, as Ianuarius and Sil(v)anus, i.e. identical with those of two of the seven sons of Felicitas (and likewise martyrs venerated in this cemetery). This would point out that the owners were driven by the desire to be buried close to their holy namesakes.
The other face of the plaque bears an earlier Greek inscription (ICVR, n.s., VIII, no. 23744: [- - -] Τειμόλαος [- - -] | Σαβεινια[νῇ? - - -]/’[- - -] Timolaos [- - -] to Sabiniana [- - -]’).
Dating: The editors of the Epigraphic Database Bari date the inscription to the mid-4th c.
Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB21738.
De Rossi, G.B., Ferrua, A. (eds.) Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 8: Coemeteria viarum Nomentanae et Salariae (Vatican: Pont. Institutum Archaeologiae Christianae, 1983), no. 23546 (with further bibliography).