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E07887: The Itinerarium Malmesburiense, a guide to saints' graves around and within Rome, lists those outside porta Salaria (now called saint Silvester's gate) on the via Salaria, north-east of the city. Written in Latin in Rome, 642/683.

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posted on 2020-05-12, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Quarta porta et uia Salaria, quae modo sancti Siluestri dicitur. Ibi iuxta uiam sanctus Hermes requiescit, et sancta Vasella et Protus et Iacinctus, Maxilianus Herculanus Crispus, et in altero loco prope requiescunt sancti martires Pamphilus Quirinus septuaginta gradibus in imo terrae.

Deinde basilica sanctae Felicitatis, ubi requiescit illa et Silanus filius eius, et non longe Bonefatius martir. Ibidem in altera aecclesia sunt Crisantus et Daria et Saturninus et Maurus et Iason et mater eorum Hilaria et alii innumerabiles.

Et in altera basilica sanctus Alexander Vitalis Martialis, filii sanctae Felicitatis, et sanctae septem uirgines Saturnina Hilarina Dominanda Rogantina Serotina Paulina Donata.

Deinde basilica sancti Siluestri, ubi iacet marmoreo tumulo coopertus, et martires Celestinus Philippus et Felix; et ibidem martires trecenti sexaginta quinque in uno sepulchro requiescunt, et prope Paulus et Crescentianus, Prisca Semetrius Praxedis Potentiana pausant.

'The fourth gate and road, the Salaria, which is now called saint Silvester's. There by the road rests saint Hermes, and saint Vasilla and Protus and Hyacinthus, Maximilianus, Herculanus, Crispus; and in another place nearby rest the holy martyrs Pamphilus [and] Quirinus seventy steps deep in the ground.

Then the basilica of saint Felicitas, where she rests and Silanus her son, and not far away the martyr Bonifacius. There too in another church are Chrysanthus and Daria, and Saturninus, and Maurus and Jason and their mother Hilaria, and others past counting.

And in another basilica saint Alexander, Vitalis [and] Martialis, sons of saint Felicitas, and seven holy virgins, Saturnina, Hilarina, Dominanda, Rogantina, Serotina, Paulina, and Donata.

Then the basilica of saint Silvester, where he lies, covered by a marble tomb, and the martyrs Caelestinus, Philippus, and Felix; and there too rest three hundred and sixty-five martyrs in one sepulchre, and near them sleep Paulus and Crescentianus, Prisca, Semetrius, Praxedes, and Pudentiana.'

Text and translation: Mynors, Thomson, and Winterbottom 1998, 616-617, lightly modified.

First paragraph: [*Silvester, bishop of Rome, ob. 336, S00397; *Hermes, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00404; *Basilissa/Basilla, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, *S00684; *Maximus/Maximilianus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S02501; *Herculanus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaris vetus, S02820; *Crispus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S02855; *Pamphilus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00477; Quirinus/Cyrinus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S02854]

Second paragraph: [*Felicitas and Silanus, one of her martyred sons, martyrs of Rome, S00525; Bonifacius I, bishop of Rome, ob. 422, S00472; Chrysanthus and Daria, chaste couple and martyrs of Rome, S00306; *Saturninus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00422; *Hilaria, Maurus and Iason, mother and two sons, martyrs of Rome, S00526]

Third paragraph: [Alexander, Vitalis and Martialis, three of the sons of *Felicitas, martyr of Rome, with her sons, S00525; *Seven virgin martyrs of Rome, S02719: Saturnina, Hilarina, Dominanda, Rogantina, Serotina, Paulina, Donata]

Fourth paragraph: [*Silvester, bishop of Rome, ob. 336, S00397; Caelestinus, bishop of Rome, ob. 432, buried on the via Salaria, S00528; Philippus and Felix, two of the sons of *Felicitas martyr of Rome, with her sons, S00525; *Paulus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S02864; *Crescentius, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00530; *Prisca, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00531; *Semetrius, priest and martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S01439; *Praxedes, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00142; *Pudentiana/Potentiana, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria, S00591]


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Hermes, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus : S00404 Basilla/Basilissa, virgin and martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus : S00684 Protus and Hyacinthus, eunuchs and martyrs of Rome : S00464 Herculanus, martyr of Rome, buried

Saint Name in Source

Hermes Vasella Protus, Iacinthus Herculanus Crispus Pamphilus Silvester Quirinus Felicitas, Silanus Bonefatius martir Crisantus, Daria Saturninus Hilaria, Maurus, Iason Saturnina, Hilarina, Dominanda, Rogantina, Serotina, Paulina, Donata

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 - Places Named after Saint

  • Gates, bridges and roads

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


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. William of Malmesbury, a monk of Malmesbury abbey in Wiltshire (England), included one of these itineraries in his massive work of history, the Gesta Regum Anglorum ('Deeds of the English Kings'), which he completed in 1125: hence the modern title given to this itinerary, the Itinerarium Malmesburiense (the 'Malmesbury Itinerary'). William introduces the text as an excursus on the gates and saints of Rome, as if it were his own composition: '... that it [Rome] may lack none of its due honour, I will append the number of the gates and its long list of the remains of saints'. But in reality he is quoting a much earlier text, that he had found somewhere in an English library, dating from before the massive translation of saintly bodies into the city in the late eighth and ninth centuries; indeed, as we will see below, the text can be dated with confidence to the mid or later seventh century. There is of course a possibility that William edited what he had found; but there are no obvious anachronisms in what he recorded, and when he wrote, in introducing the itinerary, that he 'will use the casual words of everyday speech', he may well be excusing the verbatim transcription of a text so simple that it rather offended his educated sensibilities. Like the other two itineraries, the Itinerarium Malmesburiense, takes one round the suburban cemeteries of Rome, major road by major road, listing the churches and principal graves that lay along them, starting with the via Cornelia and the church and grave of Peter, then proceeding clockwise round the city to the via Aurelia, and closing with a short list of those saints whose bodies already rested within the walls. Uniquely, our itinerary names not only the roads, but also the relevant gates in the Aurelianic walls, revealing that these were increasingly being called after the saints whose shrines lay near them. Unlike the Notitia Ecclesiarum, which directly addresses the reader in the second person singular ('Then you go ...' etc.), the Itinerarium (in common with the De Locis), uses the impersonal 'By this road is ...' etc. The Itinerarium can be dated with confidence to the years between 642 and 683, from information given in its list of intramural saintly burials (E07897). There we learn that the bodies of Primus and Felicianus were already in the church of Santo Stefano Rotondo, the result of a translation from a cemetery on the via Nomentana effected by Pope Theodore I (642-649; E01629). On the other hand, the translation of the bodies of Simplicianus, Faustinus and Beatrix from the via Nomentana to the church of Santa Bibiana, carried out by Pope Leo II (682-683; E01678), is not mentioned, and, since our author seems to have done a very thorough job of recording intramural burials, this must mean that it had not yet occurred.


Because the text of the Malmesburiense is organised according to the gates of the city (as well as the roads out of Rome), we learn here that by the later seventh century the porta Salaria had become the porta sancti Silvestri, after the grave and church of Pope Silvester I (a name it has not kept to the present). Although many of the saints listed here are today very shadowy figures (such as the 'seven holy virgins'), all of them also appear, buried on the via Salaria, in one or other (or both) of the other two seventh-century itineraries, the Notitia Ecclesiarum (E00636 and E00637) and the De Locis Sanctis (E06998 and E06999). Our text is, however, the only one to name Maurus and Iason, the sons of Hilaria (three martyrs who feature within the Martrdom of Chrysanthus and Daria, E02487). In the cemeteries of Felicitas and Silvester, Popes Boniface and Caelestinus (who both died peacefully, in 422 and 432, respectively) are both described as martyrs, perhaps because they were being venerated as such in local cemetery tradition.


Edition: Mynors, R.A.B., Thomson, R.M., and Winterbottom, M. (ed. and trans.), William of Malmesbury. Gesta Regum Anglorum (Oxford Medieval Texts; Oxford 1998), vol. 1, 614-621. Glorie, F. (ed.), Itinerarium Malmesburiense, in Itineraria et alia geographica aetatis patrum, saec. VI - VIII (Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina 175; Turnhout: Brepols, 1965), 325-328. [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, 141-153. (Partial) Translation: Lapidge, M., The Roman Martyrs. Introduction, Translations, and Commentary (Oxford Early Christian Studies; Oxford: Oxford University Press 2018), 664-666. [Translates most of the text, but omits parts less relevant to the martyrdom accounts that he includes in his collection.]

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