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E07896: The Itinerarium Malmesburiense, a guide to saints' graves around and within Rome, lists those outside porta Aurelia (now called saint Pancratius' gate) on the via Aurelia, west 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 decima porta et uia Aurelia, quae modo porta sancti Pancratii dicitur, quia iuxta eam requiescit in aecclesia sua, et alii martires Paulinus Arthemius, sancta Sapientia cum tribus filiabus Fide Spe Caritate.

Et in altera basilica Processus et Martinianus, et in tertia Felices duo, et in quarta sanctus Calixtus et Calepodius, et in quinta sanctus Basilides, duodecimo miliario.

'The fourteenth gate and road, the Aurelia, which is now called the gate of saint Pancratius, because he rests near it in his church, and other martyrs, Paulinus, Arthemius, and saint Sapientia with her three daughters Fides, Spes, and Caritas.

And in another basilica are Processus and Martinianus, and in a third two called Felix, and in a fourth saint Calixtus and Calepodius, and in a fifth St Basilides, at the twelfth milestone.'

Text and translation: Mynors, Thomson, and Winterbottom 1998, 620-621, text and translation modified, partly following Valentini and Zucchetti 1942, 152

First paragraph: [*Pancratius, martyr of Rome, S00307; *Arthemius and Paulinus/Paulina, martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Aurelia, S00552; *Sapientia/Sophia and her three daughters, martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Aurelia, S00554]

Second paragraph: [*Processus and Martinianus, martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Aurelia, S00556; *Felix I, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00200; *Felix II, bishop of Rome, ob. 365, buried on the via Aurelia, S00493; *Callixtus, bishop and martyr of Rome, S00145; *Basilides, martyrs of the via Aurelia near Rome, S01227]


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Pancratius, martyr of Rome : S00307 Arthemius, Paulina and Candida, martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Aurelia : S00552 Sophia/Sapientia and her three daughters, martyrs of Rome, buried on the via Aurelia : S00554 Processus and Martinianus, martyr

Saint Name in Source

Pancratius Paulinus, Arthemius Sapientia, Fides, Spes, Caritas Processus, Martinianus Felices duo Felices duo Calixtus Basilides

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 Aurelia had become known as the porta sancti Pancratii, from the presence close-by of the church and grave of Pancratius, a name it has retained (porta San Pancrazio). The saints listed here on the via Aurelia are all also recorded in one or both of the other two seventh-century itineraries, the Notitia Ecclesiarum (E00689) and the De Locis Sanctis (E06982), with the single exception of Basilides, who is here mentioned because our author has travelled further out along the Aurelia than the other two writers. 'Paulinus', listed between Pancratius and Arthemius, is somewhat problematic. The most obvious explanation of who is meant, is to see this as a confusion with Paulina, the daughter of Arthemius, who, according to the Martyrdom of *Marcellinus and Petrus (E02500), was martyred with her father and buried on the via Aurelia,; indeed the Monza papyrus list of Roman saints (E06788) duly includes a Paulina, buried here in the cemetery of Pancratius. However, we should note that all three itineraries agree in listing here, not a female Paulina, but a male Paulinus; so some uncertainty over the identity of this saint must remain. The somewhat implausible Sapientia (Wisdom), with her three daughters Fides (Faith), Spes (Hope), and Caritas (Charity), also features amongst the martyrs of the via Aurelia in the Monza papyrus list, though under the Greek version of her name, Sophia,and in the Notitia Ecclesiarum, where she is again called Sophia and where two (but only two) or her daughters are also named: Agape (Charity) and Pistis (Faith); Elpis (Hope) for some reason being omitted.


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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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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