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E07519: Latin dedicatory inscription with a poem imitating Damasan verse, on a plaque set up as a vow to *Alexander (martyr of Rome, one of the seven sons of St Felicitas, S00525) for miraculous healing. Found in the Cemetery of the Jordani (Catacomba dei Giordani) on the via Salaria, Rome. Probably late 4th c. [provisional entry]

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posted on 2019-04-06, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Munus Alex[a]ndro septem de fratribus uni
   Marcel[lin]us ovans hunc abacum pos[ui]t.
Qui [gravibus m]orbis iactatus tempore [longo]
   redd[i]tus est v[itae mar]tyiris auxil[io].
Inde memor v[oti, m]eritis pro talibu[s imp]ar,
   quae potuit pauper munera parva d[e]dit.

'To Alexander, one of the seven brothers, Marcellinus set up this plaque, filled with great joy, giving him his due. Struck by [grave] afflictions, and for a long time, he was brought back [to life] through the martyr's succour. Thence, mindful of his vow, albeit helpless towards such merits, this poor man bequeathed his humble gifts doing his best.'

Text: ICVR, n.s., IX, no. 24312 = EDB14411. Translation: P. Nowakowski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Felicitas, martyr of Rome with her seven sons : S00525

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Literary - Poems



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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Damasan and pseudo-Damasan poems

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - crypt/ crypt with relics

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Ex-votos Other


Fragmentary marble plaque. Broken into several fragments, many of which are now lost. Presumed original dimensions: H. 0.70 m; W. 1.50 m; Th. 0.022 m. Letter height 0.055 m. Fine lettering imitating the Philocalian script. Found near the staircase of cubiculum Ca in 1873 and published the same year by Giovanni Battista de Rossi (just a fragment of verses 1-3). Further fragments emerged between 1966 and 1971 in regions F and C of the same cemetery, and restorations of the complete text were offered by subsequent editors, in particular Styger, Fasola, and Ferrua, whose edition from the Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae we follow here. All the extant fragments are now assembled and displayed in cubiculum Fd, though two previously known small fragments are lost.


Ferrua notes that line 1 is very close to another poem in honour of the seven son of Felicitas, authored by Pope Damasus (see our E07192). Similarly, he gives parallels for inscriptions containing dedicatory formulae with the phrases 'ovans' and 'posuit', and refers to a sentence from a letter by Paulinus of Nola (Ep. 32.5) illustrating the same terminology. As for the object of the vow, Ferrua supposes that the abacus could be the plaque of a table (mensa quadrata) for storing offerings to the martyr or for placing candles. Dating: As the inscription imitates the works of Pope Damasus, it cannot be earlier than the late 4th c.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB14411. see De Rossi, G.B., Ferrua, A., Mazzoleni, D. (eds.), Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 9: Coemeteria viae Salariae reliqua (Vatican: Pont. Institutum Archaeologiae Christianae, 1985), no. 24312 (with further bibliography). Diehl, E., Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres (Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1925-1927), vol. 1, no. 1990 adn. Ihm, M., Damasi Epigrammata: accedunt Pseudodamasiana aliaque ad Damasiana inlustranda idonea (Lipsiae: in aedibus B. G. Teubneri, 1895), no. 90.

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