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E07892: The Itinerarium Malmesburiense, a guide to saints' graves around and within Rome, lists those outside the porta Appia on the via Appia, south of the city. Written in Latin in Rome, 642/683.

online resource
posted on 2020-05-12, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Vndecima porta et uia dicitur Appia. Ibi requiescunt sanctus Sebastianus et Quirinus, et olim ibi requieuerunt apostolorum corpora.

Et paulo propius Romam sunt martires Ianuarius Vrbanus Xenon Quirinus Agapitus Felicissimus. Et in altera aecclesia Tiburtius Valerianus Maximus.

Nec longe aecclesia Ceciliae martiris, et ibi reconditi sunt Stephanus Sixtus Zepherinus Eusebius Melchiades Marcellus Euticianus Dionisius Anteros Pontianus Lucius papae, Optatius Iulianus Calocerus Parthenius Tarsitius Policamus martires. Ibidem aecclesia sancti Cornelii et corpus.

Et in altera sancta Sotheris, et non longe pausant martires Ipolitus Adrianus Eusebius Maria Martha Paulina Valeria Marcellus; et prope Marcus papa in sua aecclesia.

'The eleventh gate and road is called the Appia. There rest saint Sebastianus and Quirinus, and there once rested the bodies of the Apostles.

And a little nearer Rome are the martyrs Ianuarius, Urbanus, Zeno, Quirinus, Agapitus, Felicissimus; and in another church Tiburtius, Valerianus, Maximus.

Not far off the church of the martyr Caecilia, and there are buried Popes Stephanus, Sixtus, Zephyrinus, Eusebius, Miltiades, Marcellus, Eutychianus, Dionysius, Anterus, Pontianus, and Lucius, and the martyrs Optatius, Iulianus, Calocerus, Parthenius, Tarsicius, Policamus. There too is the church of saint Cornelius and his body.

And in another [church] saint Soteris; and not far off rest the martyrs Hippolytus, Hadrianus, Eusebius, Maria, Martha, Paulina, Valeria, Marcellus; and nearby, Pope Marcus in his own church.'

Text and translation: Mynors, Thomson, and Winterbottom 1998, 618-619, lightly modified.

First paragraph: [*Sebastianus, martyr of Rome, S00400; Quirinus/Cyrinus, martyr of Rome, buried under S. Sebastiano, S00539; the Apostles *Peter and *Paul (S00036 and S00008)]

Second paragraph: [*ianuarius, one of the sons of Felicitas, S00525; Urbanus, Tiburtius, Valerianus and Maximus, martyrs associated with the martyrdom of Caecilia (S00538 and S00537); *Xenon/Zenon, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Appia, £S00541; *Agapitus and Felicissimus, martyrs and deacons of Xystus II, S00202]

Third paragraph: [*Caecilia, virgin and martyr of Rome, S00146; *Stephanus, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00205; *Sixtus/Xystus II, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00201; *Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome, S00546; *Eusebius, bishop of Rome, S00545; *Melchiades/Miltiades, bishop of Rome, S00659; presumably *Marcellus, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00529; *Eutychianus, bishop of Rome, S00662; *Dionysius, bishop of Rome, S00542; *Anteros, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00170; *Pontianus, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00169; *Lucius, bishop of Rome, S00208; *Optatus/Optatius, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Appia, S02858; *Iulianus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Appia, S00082; *Calocerus and Parthenius, martyrs of Rome, S00679; *Tarsitius/Tarsicius, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Appia, S02859; *Policamus, martyr of Rome, buried on the via Appia, S02860; *Cornelius, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00172]

Fourth paragraph: [*Soteris, virgin and martyr of Rome, buried on the via Appia, S00548; eight of the *Greek martyrs of Rome, S01873; *Marcus, bishop of Rome, ob. 336, S00420]


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Sebastianus, martyr of Rome : S00400 Cyrinus, martyr of Rome, buried under S. Sebastiano : S00539 Peter, the Apostle : S00036 Paul, the Apostle : S00008 Urbanus, bishop and confessor/martyr of Rome : S00538 Tiburtius, Valerianus, and Maximus, ma

Saint Name in Source

Sebastianvs Quirinus Urbanus Tiburtius, Valerianus and Maximus Xenon Agapitus, Felicissimus Caecilia Stephanus Sixtus Zepherinus Eusebius Melchiades Marcellus Euticianus Dionisius Anteros Pontianus Lucius Optatius Iulianus Calocer

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 - 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.


These passages cover the several churches and cemeteries of the via Appia, for the most part listing saints who are readily identifiable, and whose graves here are also documented in other sources, in particular in the other two seventh-century itineraries, the Notitia Ecclesiarum (E00682, E00683) and the De Locis Sanctis (E06992). Interestingly, unless this is an omission by our author, it seems from that porta Appia had not yet acquired the name 'porta San Sebastiano' which it carries today, although the porta Tiburtina, the porta Ostiensis, and several others had already been named after the saints who lay outside them. The first paragraph relates to burials under San Sebastiano, and includes a reference to the belief, documented widely across our texts, that the bodies of Peter and Paul had for a time rested here. The second paragraph lists martyrs buried in the cemetery of Praetextatus. Most are very familiar: Ianuarius, the eldest son of Felicitas; Urbanus, Tiburtius, Valerianus and Maximus, who all feature in the Martyrdom of Caecila (E02519); Quirinus/Cyrinus, from the Martryrdom of Hermes and Quirinus (E02481); Agapitus and Felicissimus, deacons of Xystus II. The one shadowy figure is Xenon, whose burial here is also listed in the Notitia Ecclesiarum (where he is called 'Synon'), and in the De Locis Sanctis (where he is called 'Zenon', and said to have been a brother of saint Valentinus). The third paragraph lists burials in the church of Caecilia (the saint whose body was later translated to the church of S. Cecilia in Trastevere), and, although this is not explicitly stated, burials in the nearby cemetery of Callixtus. The text first lists popes/bishops of Rome, for all of whom there is other evidence that they were buried here, except for Marcellus, who is reliably recorded as buried on the via Salaria - his inclusion here is presumably a mistake (there being only one late antique bishop of Rome named Marcellus, and the name being here clearly listed with the popes). There follow the names of five martyrs: Calocerus and Parthenius are a well documented pair; Tarsitius, who also appears in the De Locis Sanctis, is a secondary martyr who features in the Martyrdom of Stephanus and his Companions (E02514), where it is stated that he was buried in the cemetery of Callixtus; Iulianus is a shadowy figure, but he is also listed in the Notitia Ecclesiarum (where he is wrongly said to have been a pope); Optatius is also shadowy, though there is good evidence of an Optatus being venerated in the cemetery of Callixtus (see our E04721; and a fresco from the period around AD 800:; Policamus is otherwise only recorded in another fresco from around 800: Cornelius, the saint who closes the paragraph, was a pope and martyr - here he is said to rest in his own church, whereas in the Notitia and the De Locis Sanctis he is described as resting underground. The church of Soteris, in the fourth paragraph, also appears in the Notitia Ecclesiarum and the De Locis Sanctis, but our text is the only one of the itineraries to also mention the graves of eight martyrs from Greece: Hippolytus, Adrianus/Hadrias, Eusebius, Maria, Martha/Martana, Paulina, Valeria and Marcellus (for some reason, omitting the young Neon), whose Martyrdom (E03254) tells us that they were all buried in a quarry at the first milestone of the Appia. The church and grave of Pope Marcus, which closes this section of the itinerary, is well documented, though it is normally considered to have been on the via Ardeatina, rather than the Appia (see, for instance, E01060) - these two roads are, however, very close to each other as they leave Rome.


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.]