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E07520: Greek epitaph for a woman 'laid in the holy martyrion'. Found in the Cemetery of the Jordani (Catacomba dei Giordani) on the via Salaria, Rome. Probably late 3rd/early 4th c. [provisional entry]

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posted on 2019-04-06, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Αὐρήλιος Εἱμέρις μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ μου Ζήθου
ἐπειδὴ συνέζησεν μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς
hστρατονείκη νεόφυτα ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου
ἑαυτῆς καλῶς καὶ σωφρόνως ἔτη τριάκοντα
καὶ κατεθαίμhν ἰς τὸ ἁγείον μαρτύριν εὖ κῦτε μετὰ εἰρήνης
καὶ ἐμνημόνευσα αὐτhς τhς ἰς ἐμὲ σωφροσύνης καὶ
                            ἐτῶν πεντhκοντα
ἐποίησα καλῶς μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ μου καὶ ἐκυμήθη

'Aurelios Himerios with my son Zethos. Stratonike, newly baptized (neophyta), left this world. As she lived jointly with me, her husband, excellently and modestly for thirty years, I laid her in the holy martyrion. She rests well, with peace, and I remembered her modesty towards me, and I fitted this tomb well with my son, and she fell asleep at the age of fifty-five.'

Note: The editors rightly observed that the order of lines is corrupted. Here we accept a suggestion by Antonio Ferrua that the lines should be read as follows: 1, 3, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 8, 7. Formerly, Adolf Kirchhoff (in CIG IV 9704) argued for a different order: 1, 2, 4, 3, 6, 9, 8, 7, 5.

Text: ICVR, n.s., IX, no. 24609 = EDB6852.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions


  • Greek

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

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Children


On a marble plaque. H. 0.235 m; W. 0.82 m; Th. 0.045 m. Letter height 0.014-0.027 m. Found in November of 1733 by Lupi in the Cemetery of Saint Saturninus on the via Salaria. The next year it was transferred to the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere. Giovanni Battista de Rossi deposited it in the Lateran Museums. Now in the Pio Christiano Museum, Vatican. The plaque is decorated with carvings of a palm and a wreath, placed in the right-hand margin.


It is interesting to see a Greek inscription in the Roman suburban catacombs, claiming a burial at a martyrion. The term, characteristic of martyr shrines in the East, especially in Syria and Palestine, is very unusual in the environs of the city Rome. In the Western provinces it was sometimes translated as ‘memoria’. However, rather than a suggesting that a burial in a proper martyr shrine is implied here, Antonio Ferrua prefers to consider this puzzling phrase as a denotation of the entire complex of the catacombs on the via Salaria. The author of the epitaph probably meant that the deceased was buried in the cemetery where the bodies of martyrs also had been deposited. He probably used the term as he, being a Greek-speaker or more generally a Greek-user, was probably more familiar with it than with Latin nomenclature. Dating: The editors of the Epigraphic Database Bari date the inscription to the late 3rd/early 4th c. This is probably right, and supported by the occurrence of the nomen Aurelius without the praenomen, which is characteristic of this period.


Edition: Epigraphic Database Bari, no. EDB6852. see De Rossi, G.B., Ferrua, A., Mazzoleni, D. (eds.), Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores, n.s., vol. 9: Viae Salariae coemeteria reliqua (Vatican: Pont. Institutum Archaeologiae Christianae, 1985), no. 24609 (with further bibliography). Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum IV, no. 9704.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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