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E07501: Fragmentary Latin inscription recording the purchase of a tomb situated near a male saint whose name is lost, arguably *Sil(v)anus (martyr of Rome, one of the seven sons of Felicitas, S00525), probably a burial ad sanctos. Found in the cemetery of Feilicitas/Cemetery of Maximus on the via Salaria, Rome. Probably mid-5th c. [provisional entry]

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posted on 2019-03-30, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[- - -]. sanctum
[- - -]nalem
[- - - in b]astlica nova

1. ]D or ]O Ferrua || 2. ]nalem or ]valem Ferrua

'[- - -] saint [- - -] in the new basilica [- - -]'

Note: Antonio Ferrua suggested the following restoration: [ille emit sibi a]d sanctum | [Silanum domum aeter]nalem | [in b]astlica nova/'[So-and-so purchased for him-/herself] an eternal [dwelling] near saint [Silanus], in the new basilica.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., VIII, no. 23657 = EDB21901.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Felicitas, martyr of Rome with her seven sons : S00525

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions


  • 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

Suburban catacombs and cemeteries

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

Suburban catacombs and cemeteries Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - crypt/ crypt with relics

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs



Right-hand fragment of a marble plaque. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.49 m; W. 0.53 m; Th. 0.03 m. Letter height 0.07-0.09 m. First recorded in 1715 by Franceso Bianchini in a vineyard near Porta Salaria. Bianchini offered it to the collection of cardinal Albani, from where it was passed in 1733 to the Capitoline Museums under pope Clemens XII. Now in the Capitoline Museums. First published by Francesco Eugenio Guasco in 1775, from his own copy made in the Capitoline Museums.


The inscription is considered to have recorded the purchase of a tomb in proximity of the relics of Saint Sil(v)anus, one of the seven sons of Saint Felicitas, venerated in this cemetery. His name was tentatively restored in line 2 by Antonio Ferrua. But in fact it is true that we can substitute here the name of virtually any male martyr. Ferrua’s reconstruction probably rests on very vague evidence of the Martyrologium Hieronymianum (10 July: E04877) that only one of Felicitas’s sons, Sil(v)anus, was venerated with her in this cemetery. But we also have contradictory reports of the Notitia ecclesiarum urbis Romae (E00637), ascribing all the brothers to this site, and a painting from the cemetery’s basilica, originally showing there all of them, accompanied by their mother (E07502). The reference to the basilica nova/’the new basilica’ may be a reminiscence of the restoration of the church by pope Boniface I (418-422), see E01285. Hence, the inscription is likely to date from the mid-5th c.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB21901. see 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. 23657 (with further bibliography). Guasco, Fr., Musei Capitolini antiquae inscriptiones a Francisco Eugenio Guasco eiusdem musei curatore P. nunc primum conjunctim editae notisque illustrate, vol. 3 (Rome, 1775), 100, no. 976.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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