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Full text of "Christian inscriptions"

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GIFT OF 
JANE KoSATHER 



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TEXTS FOR STUDENTS, No. 11 

CHRISTIAN 
INSCRIPTIONS 



H. P. V. NUNN, M.A. 



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TEXTS FOR STUDENTS. No. 11 

GENERAL EDITORS: Caroline A. J. Skeel, D.Lit. ; 
H. J. White, D.D. ; J. P. Whitney, D.D., D.C.L. 



CHRISTIAN 
INSCRIPTIONS 



BY 

H. p. V. NUNN, M.A. 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS ,^^^ 



LONDON 

SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING 
CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE 

NEW YORK : THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 
1920 



y^^ 

^•'A 



v. ' ' 



PATRIS MEMORIAE 

QVI PRIMVS 

CVM DIVINA SCIENTIA TVM BONIS ARTIBVS 

ANIMVM IMBVIT 

INGENTI DESIDEIIIO ATQVE AMORE PERCVSSVS 

HOC OPVSCVLVM 

DEDICO. 



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PREFACE 

Nearly all the early Christian inscriptions that have 
come down to us are sepulchral. In many cases the 
originals exist, and may be seen in the cemeteries of Rome 
and of other ancient cities in Italy, Gaul, Africa, and 
Asia Minor : many are preserved in museums, especially 
in the Lateran Museum at Rome. Another source from 
which some of the most interesting of the inscriptions are 
derived is to be found in the Si/llogies, or collections of 
inscriptions made by pilgrims to Italy in the seventh, 
eighth, and ninth centuries, before the originals were 
destroyed. The most important of these collections are 
printed in the second volume of de Rossi's Inscriptimies 
Christianae. Few of the earliest inscriptions are dated, but 
an approximate date may be arrived at from various indi- 
cations. The earliest inscriptions are very brief, often 
consisting only of the name of the deceased, with the 
words "in peace" or some such simple formula. A 
number of these may be seen in situ in the oldest galleries 
of the cemetery of Priscilla at Rome. Many are in 
Greek, some in Latin written in Greek characters. Greek 
was the official language of the Roman Church for about 
a hundred years after its foundation, as is shown by the 
language of the Epistle of Clement and of the Shepherd of 
Hermas. 

As will be seen from this collection, all the epitaphs 
iii 



435353 



iv PKEFAUE 



of the Bishops of Rome were written in Greek until 
nearly the end of the third century, with the exception of 
that of Cornelius, who was probably a Roman of noble 
family. Latin first took shape as a vehicle for Christian 
thought in North Africa. 

The interest of the inscriptions set up by private 
Christians lies in the fact that they give us the aspect of 
Christianity which appealed to the average man of the 
time. 

On the main points of Christian doctrine their evidence 
is clear, and, when supplemented by a study of the mural 
paintings which still exist in the catacombs, they give us 
a very complete idea of the faith of the first four centuries. 
They breathe a spirit of hope and peace : there is nothing 
gloomy or morbid about them, and little trace has been 
left upon them by the trials through which the Church 
was passing. 

Most of the inscriptions here given, with the exception 
of those of Damasus, are anterior to the Edict of Toleration 
of 312. 

The illustrations are from photographs taken by the 
author in the Lateran Museum, through the kind per- 
mission of Professor Commandatore Marucchi. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

De Rossi : Inscriptimies Ohristiancte Urhis Romae. 

Marucchi : E'pigraphia Christiana. Milan : Hoepli. This is the 
most accessible book for English readers, as it has been trans- 
lated and published by the Cambridge University Press. It 
is very interesting and well arranged. The references here 
given are to the English edition. 

De Rossi : Eoma kiotteraiiea. An elaborately illustrated account of 
the discoveries of the great archaeologist ; it is being continued 
by liis pupils. 

Marucchi: Elements d' Archeologie Chretienne ; Catacumbes Momaines ; 
Eglises et Basiliques de Rome. The best introduction to the 
subject for those who read French. Paris : Published by 
Desclee, Lefebvre et Cie. 

Syxtus : Notiones Archaeologiae Christianae. Rome : Forzani. 
Manuale di Archeologia Christiana. Rome : Ferrari. 

WiLPEKT : Le Pitture delle Catacomhe. Paris : Desclee. 

NoKTHCOTE and Browxlow : RoTiia Sotteranea. A summary ot 
de Rossi's book in English. Out of print. 

Allard : Histoire des Persecutions. Paris : Victor Lecotire. 

Urisar : Roma alia fine del Monde Antico. Desclee. English 
translation published by Kegan Paul. 

A. S. Barnes : St. Peter in Rome. Swan Sonuenschein. 

Duchesne : Church Histoi-y. Translation published by Murray. 

The uboce are icrittenjrow. the RMiian Catholic stayidyoiut. 



vi BIBLIOGRAPHY 



R. Lanciani : Pagan and Christian Rome. Macmillan. The work 
of one of the greatest archjeologists of the day, but quite 
popular in style. 

G. Edmoni)!>on : The Church in Rome in the First Century. Long- 
mans. The only serious attempt to introduce the results of 
recent discoveries to Englii-h readers from the Anglican stand 
point. A most valuable and stimulating book. 

The Church Histories of Gwatkin and Foakes-.lackson. The latter 
has an appendix on the catacombs. 



CONTENTS 

PAQE 

Preface - - - - - - - iii 

Bibliography - - - - • v 

1-4. Inscriptions relating to the Apostles - 9 

6-15. Very Early Epitaphs - - - - 11 

16-23. Epitaphs of Bishops and Martyrs - ■ 13 

24-41. Various Epitaphs - - - - - 15 

42. Epitaph of Pectorius - - - - 21 

43. Epitaph of Abercius, Bishop of Hieropolis - 23 

44. Epitaph of Severa - - - - - 27 

45. Epitaph of Zosime - - - - - 29 

EPITAPHS OF DAMASUS 

46. Epitaph of Damasus - - - - 31 

47. Inscription in St. Lorenzo in Damaso - - 31 

48. Inscription from the Platonia - - - 32 

49. Epitaph on SS. Nbreus and Acuilleus - - 33 

50. Epitaph on St. Felicitas - - - - 35 

51. Epitaph on SS. Felix and Philippus - - 35 

52. Epitaph on St. Hippolytus - ■ - 36 

53. Epitaph on St. Cornelius PP. - - - 38 

54. Epitaph on St. Sixtus PP. II. - - - 39 

55. Inscriptiun in the Papal Crypt - - - 40 

vii 



viii CONTKNTS 



56. Epitaph on St. Laurence - - - 41 

57. Epitaph on St. Tarsacius - - - - 42 

58. Epitaph on SS. Peter and Marcellinus - - 43 

59. Epitaph on St. Marceli.us PP. I. - - -44 

60. Epitaph on St. Eusebius PP. I. - - -45 

61. Epitaph on St. Gregory the Great - - 47 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Christ as the Good Shepherd - - facmg page viii 

An early Christian statue, in the Lateian 
Museum. 



The Gravestone of Abercius - - - ,, ,, 24 

f Sir W. M. Ranisa}' 
le Lateran Museum. 



Found by Sir W. M. Ramsay in Hieropolis 
In the " 




CHRIST AS THE GOOD SHEPHERD 



facing p. viii 



Christia n Inscriptions 



INSCRIPTIONS RELATING TO THE APOSTLES 9 



INSCRIPTIONS RELATING TO THE APOSTLES * 

Inscription of Constantine from the Apse of the Ancient 
Basilica of St. Peter on the Vatican. 

1 QVOD DVCE TE MVNDVS SVRREXIT IN ASTRA TRIVM- 

PHANS 
HaNC CONSTANTINVS victor TIBI CONDIDIT AVLAM. 

From the Sylloge of Einsiedehi. 

Because under thy leadership the world rose in triumph 
to the stars, Constantine, the victor, built this hall to thee. 

Inscription placed by Constantine and Helena on the 
Cross of Gold laid on the Sarcophagus of St. Peter. 

2 constantinvs avg. et helena avg. hanc domvm 
regalem avro decorant qvam simili fvlgore 

CORVSCANS AVLA CIRCVMDAT. 

Liber Pontificalia. 

Constantine Augustus and Helena Augusta decorate 
this royal house with gold which the hall surrounds shining 
with like brightness. 

Epitaph of St. Paul which still exists in the Place 
where he was buried. 

3 Pavlo apostolo mart. 



* Edmondson, Church in Home, pp. 258-272 ; Barnes, St. Peter in 
Pome, chaps, vi. -xiii. ; iUustration, p. 222. See also Lanciani, 
Pagan and Christian Rome, chap. iii. 



10 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 

hiscri'ption of Honorius in the Basilica of St. Paid 
without the Walls. 

4 Thkodosivs cepit perfecit Honorivs avlam 

DOCTORIS MVNDI SACRATAM CORPORE PaVLI. 

Theodosius began and Honorius finished the hall conse- 
crated by the body of Paul, the teacher of the world. 



VERY EARLY EPITAPHS 11 



EXAMPLES OF VERY EARLY EPITAPHS, MOSTLY 

FROM THE CEMETERY OF PRISOILLA 

(FIRST TO THIRD CENTURY). 

6 MODESTINA A 12. 

6 ZOSIME PAX TECVM. 

7 APAnHTOC EX EIPHNH. 

8 Sabinae beatae. 

9 Avreli Varro dvlcissime et desideratissime 
coivx pax tibi benedicte. 

10 Hiperchivs hic dormit. 

11 dormitioni isidorae. 

12 StAFILI pax TECVM IN DEO HAVE VALE.* 

13 Favstina dvlcis bibas in Deo. 

14 TEPTI AAEA^E EY^YXI OYAIC A0ANATOC. 

Tertius, my brother, be of good courage ; no one is im- 
mortal. 



* Compare. Catullus, ci. 10: " Atque in perpetuum, frater, ave 
atque vale :" also Vergil, ^n. xi. 97. 



12 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 



15 O nATHP T12N HANTftN 0Y2^ EnOIHCEC K 
nAPALABHC EIPHNHN ZOHN K MAPKEAAON 
COI AOSA EN ^. 

O Father of all, Thou who hast made them, do Thou 
receive Eirene, Zoe, and Marcellus ; Thine is the glory in 
Christ. 



EPITAPHS OF BISHOPS AND MARTYRS 13 



EPITAPHS OF BISHOPS AND MARTYRS.* 

Inscriptions of Bishops of Rome buried in the Papal 
Crypt in the Cemetery of Callixtus. 

16 OYPBAXOC 

Bishop from 224-231. 

17 nONTIAXOC EHICK MP 
Bishop from 231-236 ; died in exile in Sardinia. 

18 ANTEPfiC EH 

Bishop in 236 ; put to death same year. 

19 <i>ABIANOC • EIII MP 
Bishop from 236-250. 

20 AOYKIC 
Bishop from 253-255. 

21 EYTYXIANOC • EHIC 
Bishop from 275-283. 

Froyn the Cemetery of St. Rermes. Now in the 
Church of the Propaganda, 

22 Dp. Ill iDvs SEPTEBR. Yacinthvs martyr, t 

■" Mii-ucchi, [ascriptions, pp. 182, 192; Allard, Pers. III., 102 sqq. 
t Allard, Pers. III., 102 sqq. 



U CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 

Memorial Stone to the Celebrated Martyrs of Carthage, 
whose Story is told in the Acts of St. Perpetua. 
In the Museum at Carthage. 

23 HiC SVNT MARTYRES SATVRVS SATVRNINVS REBOCATVS 
SECVNDVLVS FELICIT . PERPKT . PAS . . MAIVLVS. 



VARIOUS EPITAPHS 15 



VARIOUS EPITAPHS (THIRD AND FOURTH 
CENTURIES). 

24 EPiMAICKE *12C ZHC EN eE12 KYPIEIft XPEICTfl 
ANNI2P0YM X MHCI^POYM SEHTE. ' 

Latekan. 

Ermaiscus, light, may est thou live in God the Lord 
Christ ; (he lived) ten years seven months. 

An illiterate inscription, partly Latin in Greek letters. 
The word <i>OC probably refers to the fact that the child 
was baptized, (^narLcrOds. 



25 SOZON BENF.DICTVS REDIDIT AN. NOBE BEKVS "^ 
ISPIRVM IN PACE ET PET. PRO NOBIS. 

GOKDIANI. 

Blessed Sozon gave back (his soul) aged nine years ; 
may the true Christ (receive) thy spirit in peace and pray 
for us. 



26 Car. Kyriako fil. dvlcissimo vibas in spirito 

SAN . . . 

Callixtus. 

To dear Cyriacus our most sweet son ; mayest thou 
live in the Holy Spirit. 



16 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 



27 TYCHK DVLCIS VIXIT anno VNO MKNSIBVS X DIEB. 

XXV accepitVIII Kal . . . reddidit die S.S. 

Pkiscilla. 

Sweet Tyche lived one year ten months twenty-tive 
days, received (grace) on the eighth day before the 
Kalends, gave up her soul on the same day. 

28 POSTVMIVS EVTENION FIDELJS QUI GRATlAiM SANCTAM 

consecvtvs est PKIDIE NATALI SVO. 

BuoNAKOTTi, Vitri CimiterialL 

Postumius Eutenion. a believer who gained holy grace 
the day before his birthday. 

Natalis means the day of birth to a better life, or the 
day of death. 

29 GeNTIANVS FIDELIS IN PACE QVI VIXIT ANNIS XXI 
MENS. VIII DIES XVI ET IN ORATIONIS TVIS ROGES 

PRO NOBIS QVI A SCIMVS TE IN '^. 

Latekan. 

Gentianus, a believer, in peace, who lived twenty-one 
years eight months sixteen days, and in thy prayers ask 
for us, because we know that thou art in Christ. 

30 SOMNO AETERNALI. AVRELIVS GeMELLVS QVI VIXIT 
AN. . . . ET MES. VIII DIES XVIII MATER FILIO 
CARISSIMO BENEMERENTI FECIT IN PACE COMMANDO 
Basilla INNOCENTIA Gemelli. 

Lateran. 

To eternal sleep. Aurelius Gemellus, who lived . . . 
years eight months eighteen days. His mother to her 



VARIOUS EPITAPHS 17 

most dear and welWeserving son made (this) in peace. 
I commend to Basilla the innocence of Gemellus. 

31 RVTA OMNIBVS SVBDITA ET ATFABILIS BIBET IN 

NOMINE Petri in pace )^. 

Priscilla. 

Ruta, submissive and kind to all, shall live in the name 
of Peter. In the peace of Christ. 

32 Refrigeret tibi Devs et Christvs et domini 

NOSTRI ADEODATVS ET FeLIX. 

A graffito in the cemetery of Coitimoililhi.* 
May God and Christ and our lords Adeodatus and Felix 
grant thee refreshment. 

33 EVSEBIVS INFANS PER AETATEM SENE PECCATO ACCE- 
DENS AD SANCTORVM LOCVM IN PACE QVIESCIT. 

Commodilla.* 
Eusebius, an infant going to the place of the saints, 
being without sin through his age rests in peace. 

34 EVCHARIS EST MATER PiVS ET PATER EST MIHI . . . 
VOS PRECOR FRATRES ORARE HVC QVANDO VENITIS 
ET PRECIBVS TOTIS PaTREM NATVMQVE ROCATIS 

SIT VESTRAE MENTIS AgAPES CARAE MEMINISSE 

VT Devs omnipotens Agapen in saecvla servet. 

Priscilla {secmid centiiri/). 
My mother is Eucharis and my father is Pius. 
I pray you, brethren, to pray when you come here, 

* The cemetery of Commodilla is late in date, and the inscriptions 
mostly belong to the fourth century. 



18 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 



aud to ask in your common prayers the P'ather and the 
Son. May it be in your minds to remember dear Aga[>e 
that the omnipotent God may keep Agape safe for ever. 

35 DvLcissiMo Antistheni conivoi s^•o rkfrigerivim. 

PltlFCILLA. 

To most sweet Antisthenes her husband refreshment. 

36 Pete pro parentes tvos Matron ata Matron a 

t^VE VIXIT AX. I D. LI I. 

LATEr.AN. 

Pray for thy parents Matronata Matrona, who livod 
one year fifty- two days. 

37 ArncE dormi in pace de t\'a incolvmitate 8ECVR^^s 
et pro nostris peccatis pete sollicitvs. 

Atticus, sleep in peace secure in thy safety, and pray 
anxioush^ for our sins. 

This is probably rather late, as it was found near 
St. Sabina; but it repeats a phrase of Cyprian: "Magnus 
illic carorum Humerus expectat: parentum, fratrum filiorum 
frequens nos et copiosa turba desiderat de sua ineolumitate 
sccura et adhuc de nostra sollicita " {De morfaliftifc ix.). 

38 MAPITIMA CKMXK PAYKEPOX cI>aOC OY KATM- 
AKIIIAC ECXEC PAP META :^OY.-fish, anchor, fish. 
IIANAGAXATOX KATA IIAXTA. 

Pi:iscn,LA (second or third ceniury). 

Maritima Semnc, thou hast not left the sweet light, for 
thou hast with thee the Fish immortal through all things. 



YAEIOUS EPITAPHS 1 



39 CEnTIMOO nPAlTE^ETTATOC KAIKIAIANOC O 
dOYAOC TOY GEOY AHI.QC BmCAC OY ]\IETE- 
NOACA KAN .QAE COI YHEPETHCA KAI EYXA- 
PICT12 T12 OXOMATl COY nAPEA12KE THX 
^YXHN 0Ei2 TPIAXTA TPIi>X ET12X E^ iMHXOX, 

Callixtus. 

Septimus Praetextatus Caecilianus, the slave of God, 
ha^^ng lived worthily. I do not repent that I have served 
Thee thus, and I give thanks to Thy name. He gave up 
his soul to God aged thirty -three years and six months. 

From the part of the cemetery of Callixtus where 
St. Cecilia is buried. Erected to a person connected with 
her family. 

. 40 FlORENTIVS FILIO SVO ApPrvONIANO 

FECIT TITVLA'M BENEMERENTI QVI VIXIT 

ANNVM ET MKNSES NOVEM DIES QVINQVE 

QVI CVM SOLIDE AMATVS ESSEX 

A MAIORE S\ A ET VIDIT 

HVNC MORTI CONSTITVTVM ESSE PETIVIT 

DE ECCLESIA VT FIDELIS 

DE SAECVLO RECESSISSP:T. 

LATiiHAN. 

Florentius erected this monument to his well-deserving 
son Appronianus, who lived one year nine months and five 
days. Since he was dearly loved by his grandmother, and 
she saw that he was going to die, she asked of the Church 
that he should depart from the world a believer. 

Interesting as bearing on infant baptism, in the earljr 
Church. 



20 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 

41 Lemtae comvnx petronia forma rvj^ORis 
llic mea deponens sedibvs ossa loco. 

PaRCITE VaS LACRIMAS, DVLCES CVM OONIVGE NATI, 
V'lVENTEMQVE DeO CREDITE FLEI!E NEFAS. 

Source unknown. 

I, Petronia, the wife of a deacon, of modest countenance, 
lay down my bones in this place. Cease from weeping, 
my husl>and and my sweet children, and believe that it is 
not right to mourn for one that lives in God. 



EPITAPH OF PECTOKIUS 21 



EPITAPHIVM PECTORII IN AGNO AVGVSTODV- 
NENSI REPERTVM. 

42 IXBYOC ()[YPANIOY eE]IOX PENOC HTOPI 

CEMX12 
XPHCE* AABqN nHFHJX AMBPOTON EX BPO- 

TEOJC. 
(3ECnECH2X YAAT[12]X THX CHX, 4>1AE, OAAHEO 

^YX[HXJ 
YAACIX AEXAOIC nAOYTOAOTOY CO^IXC. 
CfiTHPOC [AJAPrnX MEAIHAEA AAMBAX[E 

BP12C1X] 
ECeiE nEIX[A12]X IXBYX EXftX IIAAAMAIC. 
IXeYI XO[PTAZ'] APA AIAAIll, AECnOTA C12TEP. 
EY EYAOI M[H]THP, CE AITAZOME,t 4>12C TO 

UAXOXTi^X 
ACXAXAIE [HAJTEP, T.QIVIDl KE[XA]PICMEXE 

eYM12I, 
CYX ]\IH[TPI TAYKEPHl KAI AAEA4>]0ICIN 

EMOICIX, 
I[XeYOC EIPHXHI COY] MXHCEO HEKTOPIOIO. 

Divine offspring of the heavenly Fish, preserve a reverent 
mind when thou drinkesb of the immortal fountain that 
springs up among mortals. Let thy soul be comforted, 
friend, with the ever-flowing fountains of wealth-giving 
wisdom. Take the honey -sweet food of the Saviour of 
saints and eat it hungrily, holding the Fish in thy hands. 



22 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 



Feed me with the Fish, 1 pray thee, my Lord and 
Saviour ; may my mother sleep in peace, I beseech thee. 
Light of the dead. Aschaiidius, my father, beloved of 
my heart, with my sweet mother and my brethren be 
mindful of thy Pectorius, abiding in the peace of the Fish. 

Fragments of this inscription were found in the cemetery 
of St. Pierre I'Estrier, at Autun, in 1839. They are pre- 
served in the museum of that town. The letters enclosed 
in square brackets are conjectural restorations. The 
inscription probably belongs to the third century. The 
application of the name *'The Fish " to our Lord is very 
common in early Christian writings and inscriptions. The 
word IxOvSj which means " fish " in Greek, is formed of 
the initial letters of ^lija-ovs Xpta-Tos vlo<s Oeov (Tuni]p : 
^' Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Saviour." 

Notice that the initial letters of the first five lines of 
the epitaph make the word I'x^vs.* 



See Marucchi, Christian Inscriptions, p. 125. 



EPITAPH OF ABERCIUS 



EPITAPHIVM ABERCII EPISCOPI HIEROPOLITANI. 

43 EKAEKTHC IIOAEOC nOAEITHC TOYT' 

KriOIHCA 
ZQX LV EXO KAIP-Ql C-QMATOC EXBA OECIX. 
OYXO.Al' ABEPKIOC -QX, MAOHTHC HOl- 

MEXOC AEXOV, 
OC BOCKEI nPOBAT12X APEAAC OPECIX HE- 

AIOIC IE, 
()'l>eAAM()VC OC EXEI MErAAOVC, IIAXTH 

KABOP-QXTAC. 
o\TOC TAP M' eaiaas:e TA Z1>HC FPAMMATA 

niCTA. 
EIC POMHX OC EIIEM^EX EMEX BACIAEIAN 

A0PHCAI, 
KAI BACIAICCAX lAEIX XPYCOCTOAOX, XPYCO- 

HEAIAOX, 
AAOX A' EIAOX EKEl AAMHPAX C4>PArEIA' 

AXEXOXTA, 
KAI CYPIHC HEAOX EIAA, KAI ACTEA HAXi A, 

XICIBIX 
EY<I>PATHX AIABAC HAXTH A' ECXOX CYXO- 

MIAOYC. 
IIAYAOX EP.QX EnOMHX. HICTIC HAXTH AE 

nPOCHFE 
KAI HAPEGHKE TPO<l>HX HAXTH, IXOYX AHO 

nHFHC, 
nAXMEFEGH, KAGAPOX, OX EAPASiATO IIAP- 

GEXOC AFXH, 



24 CHKISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 



KAI TOVTOX EHEAftKE 4>IA0IC ECOIEIX AIA 

iiAxroc, 

OIXON XPHCTOX EXOYCA, KEPACMA AUOYCA 

MET' APTOY. 
TAYTA HAPECTilC EinOX ABEPKIOC 12AE 

rPA^HXAI 
EBAOMHKOCTOX ETOC KAI AEYTEPOX HTOX 

AAHei^C. 
TAYO' X012X EY37AITO YHEP ABEPKIOY HAG 

O CYX12IA0C. 
OY MEXTOI TYMBfil TI^ EM12I ETEPOX TIXA 

eHCEI, 
EI A' OYX PfiMAIfiX TAMEI121 BHCEI AiCXIAlA 

XPYCA, 
KAI XPHCTHl nATPlAI lEPOnOAEI XiAlA 

XPYCA. 

1, the citizen of a chosen city, erected this in my life- 
time that I may ha^e in time to come a place wherein to 
lay my body. My name is Abercius, the disciple of the 
Holy Shepherd, who feeds the flocks of His sheep on the 
hills and plains, and who has great eyes that look into 
every place. For lie taught me the faithful letters of 
life, and He sent me to Kome to behold a kingdom, and to 
see a queen with golden raiment and golden sandals ; and 
I saw a people there having a splendid seal, and I saw the 
plain of Syria and many cities, and Nisibis, and, having 
crossed the Euphrates, everywhere I found companions. 
I followed Paul, and Faith led me everywhere, and she 
ga\e me food in every place — a Fish from the fountain, a 
mii;hty Fjsh and pure, which a holy maiden took in her 
hands, and this she gave to her friends to eat for ever, 










THE OR AVE STONE O?^ Al'.EKClUS 



facing p. 24 



EPITAPH OF ABERCIUS 25 

having goodly wine, and giving it mixed with water, 
together with bread. 

These things I, Abercius, commanded thus to be written 
when I was on earth ; and truly I was seventy and two 
years old. Let him who understands this, and everyone 
who agrees therewith, pray for Abercius. Let not, how- 
ever, anyone place another in my tomb ; and, if he does 
so, he shall pay two thousand gold pieces to the treasury 
of the Romans, and to my goodly fatherland Hieropolis a 
thousand gold pieces. 

Abercius was Bishop of Hieropolis (not Hierapolis), in 
Phrygia, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. 

Something of his life is known from his Acta, which are 
found in the collection of Metaphrastes, a Byzantine writer 
of the ninth century. He was a great traveller, and visited 
Rome and the East, and he composed this inscription 
to be placed on his tomb in memory of his travels. It 
was preserved in his Acta, but its unusual character, and 
the fabulous nature of much of the Acta, led to its being 
rejected as spurious. In 1882 Sir AV. Ramsay found in 
Phrygia a gravestone of a certain Alexander w^ho died in 
A.D. 216, the inscription on which was obviously imitated 
from that of Abercius. During a later journey Ramsay 
found fragments of the actual tombstone of Abercius, which 
confirmed the accuracy of the copy of the inscription 
handed down by Metaphrastes. The stone is now in the 
Lateran Museum. It is the earliest inscription to a 
Christian Bishop which can be certainly dated. Its 
mystical language corresponds with the terms used by 
TertuUian and by Clement of Alexandria, and with the 
symbolical paintings in the catacombs of the second 



26 CHRISTIAN IXSCKIPTIONS 



century. As the inscription was carved on a column which 
stood in a public place, this language was probably used to 
disguise its Christian meaning. The date of the inscription 
is about 170. When compared with that from Autun 
(Inscription 42), it bears valuable evidence to the unity 
of the Christian faith both in the East and West, in the 
divinity of Christ, and in the doctrine of the Eucharist.* 



Marucchi, Iiisrripf.io/ts, p. 126. 



EPITAPH OF SEVERA 



27 



EPITAPHIVM SEVERAE VIRaiNIS. 

44 CVBICVLVM DVPLEX OVM ARCISOLIS ET LVMINARE, 

ivssv PP svi Marcellini, DIACONVS ISTE 
Severvs fecit mansionem in pace qvietam, 
sibi svisqve mkmor, qvo membra dvlcia somno 

per LONGVM TEMPVS FaCTORI ET IVDICI 8ERVET. 
8EVERA DVLCIS PARENTIBVS ET FAMVLISQVE 
REDDIDIT OCTAVO FEBRVARIAS VIRGO CALENDAS. 
QVAM DOMINVS NASCI MIRA SAPIENTIA ET ARTE 
IVSSERAT IN CARNEM ; QVOD CORPVS PACE QVIETVM 
HIC EST SEPVLTVM DONEC RES\'RGAT AB IPSO ; ' 
QVIQVE ANIMAM RAP\ IT 8PIRITV SANCTO SVO, 
CASTAM, PVDICAM ET INVIOLABILE(m) SEMPER, 
«^VAMQVE ITERVM DoMIXVS SPIRITALI GLORIA KEDDET. 
QvAE VIXIT ANNOS Villi ET XI MENSES : 
XV QVOQVE DIES : SIC EST TRANSLATA DE SAECVLO. 
Callixtus {early fourth century). 

A double burial-chamber, with an altar tomb and a 
skylight, at the command of his Pope, Marcellinus, his 
Deacon, Severus, made, a quiet mansion in peace, mindful 
of himself and of his people, where he may preserve their 
dear limbs through a long time for their Maker and Judge 
in the sleep of death. Severa, dear to her parents and 
her servants, gave up her virgin soul on the 8th day before 
the Kalends of February, whom the Lord had bidden to 
be born into the flesh with wonderful wisdom and skill. 



28 CHiaSTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 



Her body is buried here at rest in peace until she rise 
again from this same spot. 

He who took away her soul by His Holy Spirit, ever 
pure and modest and unsullied, He, the Lord, will give her 
back again with spiritual glory. She lived nine years and 
eleven months and fifteen days, and so she was translated 
from this life."*^ 



* Marucchi, Inscriptions, p. 207. 



EPITAPH OF ZOSIME 29 



EPITAPHIVM ZOSIMAE MARTYRIS. 

45 "ACCIPE ME," DIXIT, ''DOMINE IN TVA LIMINA 
Christe ;" 
EXAVDITA CITO FRVITVR MODO LVMINE CAELI 
ZOSIME SANCTA SOROR, MAGNO DEFVNGTA PERICLO. 
IaM VIDET ET 8ANCT0S SANCXr CERTAMINIS OMNES 
LAETATVRQVE VIDENS MIR ANTES SISTERE CIRCVM, 
MIRANTVRQVE PATRES TANTA VIRTVTE PVELLAM, 
QVAM SVO DE N\MERO CVPIENTES ESSE VICISSIM 
CERTATIMQVE TENENT ATQVE AMPLECTVNTVR OVANTES. 
IAM VIDET ET SENTIT MAGNI SPECATACVLA REGNI 
ET BENE PRO ISIERITIS GAVDET SIBI PRAEMTA REDDI, 
TECVM, PaA'LE, TENENS CALCATA MORTE CORONAM, 
NAM FIDE SERA ATA CVRSVM CVM PACE PEREGIT. 

Found in fragments at Porto, and restored by de Eossi. 
" Receive me," she said, " into thy threshold, Lord 
Christ." Straightway she was heard, and in an instant 
Zosime, our sainted sister, enjoyed the light of heaven, 
having passed through grievous peril. Already she sees 
all the holy ones that have been victorious in the holy 
war, and rejoices when she sees them stand wondering 
round her : the fathers wonder also at a maiden so valiant ; 
they eagerly cling to her, and embrace her by turns in 
triumph, longing to have her among their number. Already 
she sees and grasps the sights of the glorious kingdom, 
and exults that rewards have been worthily granted to her 
in proportion to her merits. Now that she has trodden 
death under foot, she possesses the crown with thee, 
Paul, for she finished her course 'with peace, having 
kept the faith.* 

* Inscription of a martyr in the persecution of Aurelian about 
375 (AUard, Pers. III. 273). 



30 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 



THE EPITAPHS OF DAMASUS. 

Damasiis was Bishop of Rome from 366-;)84. He is 
chiefly remarkable for the care he took to make the graves 
of the martyrs accessible, and for the inscriptions which 
he composed in their honour and had engraved in marble 
and placed near their tombs. His father was registrar of 
the Church of Rome, and subsequently a Deacon and a 
Bishop (see Inscription 47). In spite of the fact that he 
was the official guardian of the archives of the Church 
relating amongst other things to the acts of the martyrs, 
his son Damasus was often compelled to rely on tradition 
and hearsay evidence in compiling his poems in honour of 
the martyrs (see Inscription 58). This seems to have been 
due to the complete destruction of the records of the 
Roman Church during the persecution of Diocletian, and is 
important in relation to Church history, because it explains 
why we know so little of the Church in Rome before the 
time of Constantine, and why the existing acts of the 
martyrs are often so fabulous and unrelia])le. They were 
composed from tradition at a late date. 

The epitaph of Damasus himself is given first, and then' 
one that he set up in the church which he built on the site 
of the old registry of the Roman church where his father 
had lived — the church now called St. Lorenzo in Damaso. 
They are followed by a selection of the epitaphs of 
1 )amasus on the martyrs, generally in chronological order. 

It should also be mentioned that Damasus induced 
Jerome, who was at one time his secretary, to undertake 



THE EPITAPHS OF DAMA8US 31 

the improved Latin translation of the Bible which we call 
the Vulgate.'*^ 

Epitaphium Damo.fii PP. 1. 

46 QVI GRADIENS PELAGI FLVCTVS COMPRESSIT AM ARCS, 
VIVERE QVI PRAESTAT MORIENTIA SEMINA TERRAE, 
SOLVERE QVI POTVIT LaZARO SVA VINCVLA MORTIS, 
POST TENEBRAS FRATREM, POST TERTIA LVMINA SOLIS 
AD SVPEROS ITERVM MARTHAE DON ARE SORORI, 
POST CINERKS DaMASVM FACIET QVIA SVRGERE CREDO. 

Froifi the SyUocfie!<. 

He who stilled the raging waves of the sea by walking 
thereon, He who makes the dying seeds of the earth to 
live, He who could loose for Lazarus the chains of death, 
and give back again to the world above her brother to his 
sister Martha after three days and nights. He, I believe, 
will make me, Damasus, arise from my ashes. 

This epitaph was composed b\' Damasus to be placed on 
his own tomb in a basilica that he built on the Via 
Ardeatina. It was a place of pilgrimage until the eighth 
century, when his body was removed to the church of 
St. Lorenzo in Damaso within the walls to protect it 
from the Lombards. 

Carmen Damasi in Ecclesia St. Laurentii in 
Damaso olim scriptum. 

47 HiNC PATER EXCEPTOR, LECTOR, LEVITA, SACERDOS, 
CREVERAT HINC MERITIS QVONIAM MELIORIBVS ACTIS. 
HiNC MIHI PROVECTO ChRISTVS, CVI SVMMA POTESTAS, 
SEDIS APOSTOLICAE VOLVIT CONCEDERE HONOREBL 

* Marucehi, Inscriptions, chap. viii. 



32 CllUISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 

Archivis fateor volvi nova condere tecta, 

ADDERE PRAETEREA DEXTRA LAEVAQVE COLVMNAS, 
QVAE DaMASI TENEANT PROPRIVM PER SAECVLA 

nomen. 

From Codex. Palatinus. 

Hence my father advanced from keeper of the records to 
reader, and from reader to deacon and bishop, since he 
was advanced by his ever-increasing merits. AVhen I was 
preferred hence, Christ, who possesses the supreme power, 
wished to grant me the honours of the Apostolic Throne. 

I confess that I wished to build a new hall for the 
archives, and to add columns thereto on the right and on 
the left, which might keep the name of Damasus as their 
own throughout the ages. 

Epitaphium Damasi in Platonia siue in cuhicido uhi 
corpora heati Petri et Panli ad Catacitmbas deposita 
aliquando erant. 

48 HiC HABITASSE PRIVS SANCTOS COGNOSCERE DEBES, 
NOMINA QVISQVE PETRI PARITER PaVLIQVE REQVIRIS. 
DiSCIPVLOS ORIENS MISIT, QVOD SPONTE FATEMVR ; 
SANGVINIS OB MERITVM — ChRISTVMQVE PER ASTRA 
SECVTI, 

aeterios petiere sinvs regnaqve piorvm — 
Roma svos potivs mervit defender e gives. 

IIaEC DAMASVS VESTRAS REFERAT nova SIDERA 

l.AVDES. 

From the Syllogies, 

Here you must know the saints dwelt aforetime ; their 

names, if you ask, were Petei- and Paul. The East sent 

the disciples, as we gladly admit ; on account of the merit 

of their blood — and having followed Christ through the 



THE EPITAPHS OF DAMASUS 33 

stars, they sought the etherial havens and the realms of 
the just — Rome rather deserved to defend her citizens. 
Let Damasus thus recall your praises, ye new constellations. 

This inscription was set up in the crypt behind the 
present Church of St. Sebastian, formerly called the 
Basilica of the Apostles, on the Appian Way, to which 
the bodies of SS. Peter and Paul were removed from their 
tombs on the Vatican and the Ostian Way in 258, to 
preserve them from desecration during the persecution of 
Valerian. 

The allusion in the last line but one seems to refer to a 
story mentioned in the Acta Petri et Pauli, and referred to 
by Gregory the Great, that certain men came from the 
East and endeavoured to remove the bodies of the Apostles 
from Rome on the ground that they were citizens of the 
East. Damasus says that they had become citizens of 
Rome by their death in that city, and that Rome, therefore, 
deserved to retain their bodies.* 

Ejyitaphium Damasi in Nereum et Achilleum, 
Martyres. 

49 MlLlTIAK NOMEX DEDERANT, SAEVVMQVE GEREBANT 
UFFICIVM PARITER SPECTANTES IVSSA TYRANNI, 
PRAECEPTLS, PVLSANTE METV, SERVIRE PARATI. 
MiRA FIDES RERVM ; SVBITO POSVERE FVROREM, 
CONVERSI FVGIVNT, DVCIS IMPIA CASTRA RELINQVVNT, 
PROICIVNT CLYPEOS PHALERAS TELAQVE CRVENTA, 
CONFESSI GAVDENT ChRISTI PORTARE TRIVMPHOS. 

Credi'ie per Damasvm possit qvid gloria Christi. 

From the Syllogies. 
* See Edmondson, Church in Rome, Appendix E. 



34 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 

They had given their names for military service, and 
together fulfilled their cruel office, paying heed to the 
commands of the tyrant, ready to obey his orders at the 
prompting of fear. Strange, but true, is the tale ; sud- 
denly they laid aside their fury, they turn and fly, they 
abandon the impious camp of their leader, they throw 
away their shields, their decorations, and their blood- 
stained weapons, and, having witnessed a good confession, 
they rejoice to carry the trophies of Christ. Believe on 
the word of Damasus what the glory oi Christ can bring 
to pass. 

The only trustworthy tradition that has come down to 
us about these mart37rs is contained in this epitaph. 
They seem to have ^been members of the Praetorian Guard 
under Nero, and to have carried out his cruel orders 
against the Christians. They were suddenly converted, 
probably, as was often the case, .by the fortitude of 
their A^ictims. Their Acts, which are late in date, relate 
that they were chamberlains of Flavia Domitilla, the 
Christian niece of Vespasian. They followed her to exile 
in Pontia, and were put to death with her in Terracina, 
perhaps under Trajan. Their bodies were brought to 
Rome and buried in the cemetery of Domitilla, where a 
church was built over their tomb after the time of Con- 
stantine. De Rossi discovered the ruins of this church in 
1873, together with a bas-relief on a column, representing 
the execution of Achilleus by decapitation, and also 
fragments of this inscription.^ For the name Nereus, 
compare Rom. xvi. 15. 

* JSoc A Hard, Hist. l'eri<. 1. 170-1 SI. 



THE EPITAPHS OF DAM ASUS 35 

• . Epitaphium Damasi in Felicitatem Martyrem. 

50 DisciTE QViD mp:riti praestet pro rege feriri : 

l-EMINA NON TIMVIT GLADIVM, CVM NATIS OBIVIT, 
CONFESSA ChKISTVM MERVIT PER SAECVLA NOMEN. 

From the SyHogv of Verdun. 

Learn what merit to be smitten, for a king affords : a 
woman feared not the sword, she perished with her sons ; 
having confessed Christ, she deserved a name throughout 
all ages.* 

Epitaph of Felicitas, who was put to death with her 
seven sons, probably in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. 

Epitaphium Damasi in Felicem et Philippum 
Martyr es. 

51 QVI NATVM PASSVMQVE DeVM REPETISSE PATEHNAS 
SEDES ATQVE ITERVM VEXTVKVM EX AETHER iJ CREDIT, 
IVDICET VT VIVOS REDIENS PARITERQVE SEPVLTOS 
MARTYRIBVS SANCTIS PATE AT QVOD REGIA CAELI 
RESPICIT INTERIOR SSQVITVR SI PRAEMIA ChRISTI. 

CvLTORES Domini Felix pariterqve Philippvs 

HINC VIRTVTE pares, CONTEMPTO PRINCIPE xMVNDI, 

aeteknam petiere domvm regnaqve piorvm. 
Sangvine qvod proprio Christi mervere coronas 
HIS Damasvs svpplex volvit sva reddere vota. 

Fro'oi the Syllogies. 

He who believes that Grod was born and suffered and 

sought again His Father's throne, and that He will come 

again from the skies, that, on His return, He may judge 

the living and also the dead, sees, if. he follows the rewards 



Allard, Hist. Pers. I. 361 sqq. 



36 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 



of Christ, that the inner court of heaven* lies open to the 
holy martyrs. 

Felix and Philippus, the worshippers of the Lord, equal 
in valour, sought hence their eternal home and the kingdom 
of the righteous, despising the prince of the world. Because 
they merited the crowns of Christ with their own blood, 
Damasus, a suppliant, wished to render them his vows in 
these lines. 

Epitaph of the second and third sons of Felicitas, wlio 
were buried in the cemetery of Priscilla, Via Salaria, 
where the Basilica of St. S^dvester was afterwards Inxilt. 



Epitaphium Damasi in Hippolytum Martyrem. 

52 hippolytvs fertvr, premettent cvm ivssa tyranni, 
presbyter in scisma semper mansisse novati. 
Tempore qvo gladivs secvit pia viscera matris, 

DEVOTVS ChrISTO PETERET CVM REONA PIQRVM, 
QVAESISSET POPVLVS VBINAM PROCEDERE POSSET, 
CATHOLICAM DIXISSE FIDEM SEQVERENTVR VT OMNES. 

Sic noster .^JERV1T confessvs martyr vt esset. 

HAEC AVDITA REFERT DAMASVS : PROBAT OMNIA 

Christvs. 

SylJogc Corhe. i<: u .s is. 

Hippolytus is said, while the commands of the tyrant 
pressed hard upon us, to have ever remained as a presbyter 
in the schism of Novatus. At the time when the sword 
severed the holy bowels of our mother, when, de\oted to 
Christ, he was seeking the kingdoms of the just, and 

* Or possibly " sees inwardly . . . that tlie couit of heaven." 



THE EPITAPHS OF DAMASUS 37 

when the people had asked him where they could proceed, 
he is said to have replied that all should follow the 
Catholic faith. Thus, having made his confession, he 
deserved to be our martyr. Damasus reports these things 
that he has heard ; Christ proves all things. 

This is probably the epitaph of the celebrated Hippolytus 
whose writings against heretics have come down to us. 
He was buried in a splendid shrine on the Via Tiburtina, 
which is descril)ed in Prudentius, Peri Stepkanon, XI. 
Nothing better illustrates the confusion and obscurity 
which enveloped the history of the Ivoman Church owing 
to the destruction of records in the persecution of Dio- 
cletian than the fact that Damasus had to depend on 
uncertain oral tradition in writing the epitaph of this 
celebrated person. He was certainly a schismatic, and in 
open conflict with the Bishops of Rome, especially with 
Zephyrinus and Callixtus. Some think that he was the 
first anti-Pope. Damasus records that he was reconciled 
to the Church just before his death, and therefore deserves 
to be treated as a martyr. When or how he was put to 
death is not known. 

Prudentius saw a picture in his tomb representing him 
being torn to pieces by wild horses. This story may have 
been suggested by the story of Hippolytus, the son of 
Theseus. A Hard accepts it as true, and places his death 
in the persecution of Valerian. Duchesne thinks that he 
died in exile in the reign of Maximus Thrax, and that 
Damasus made a mistake in calling his heresy Novatianism. 
It was a similar kind of rigorism to that of Tertullian.* 



* Allard, Pers. III. 350-391 ; Duchesne, Church History, 226-233. 



38 CHRISTIAN INSCHIPTIONS 



Epitaphium Damasi in Cortielium PP. 

53 ASPICE, DESCENSV EXTRVOIO, TENEBRISQVE FVGATIS, 
CORNELI MONVMENTA VIDES TVMVLVMQVE SACRATVM. 
Hoc OPVS AEGROTI DaMASI PRAESTANTIA FECIT 
ESSE! VT ACCESSVS MELIOR, POPVLISQVE PARATVM 
AVXILIVM SANCTI, ET, VALEAS SI FVNDERE PVRO 
CORDE PRECES, DaMASVS MELIOR CONSVRGERE POSSET, 
QVExAI N0\ LVCIS AMOR TENVIT MAGE CVRA LABORIS. 
Iiedored hy de Hossi from fragments of the 
original inscription. 

Behold, now that a way of descent has been made and 
the darkness put to flight, you see the monument of 
Cornelius and his consecrated mound. 

The power of Damasus in his sickness has completed 
this work that there might be a better mode of access, 
and that the help of the saint might be prepared for the 
people, and that, if you prevail to pour forth prayers from 
a pure heart, Damasus may rise up stronger, though it is 
not love of the light that possesses him, but rather care 
for liis work. 

Epitaph of Cornelius, Bishop of Rome, 251-253; a friend 
of Cyprian. Exiled to Civita Vecchia by Gallus, where he 
died. He was regarded as a martyr. It was the discovery 
of a fragment of his gravestone that led de Rossi to 
discover the catticomb of Callixtus and the Papal crypt 
in 1849-1852. 

The inscription on the actual grave is — 

Corn ELI vs martyr 

EP. 

Both may be seen in dtu/'- 



* Maiiicclii, Oatacombc Jioniaiie, 197 ; AUard, I'crsecutions IIL 
329 sqq. 



THE EPITAPHS OF DAMASUS 39 



Epitaphium Damas^i in Sixtiim PP. 11. 

54 iKMrORE QVO GLADIVS SECVIT PIA VISCERA MATRIS 
HIC POSITS^S RECTOR CAELESTIA IVSSA DUCEBAM; 
ADVENIVNT SVBITO RAPIVM QVI FORTE SEDENTEM. 
MlLITIBVS MISSIS POPVLI TVNC COLLA DEDERE ; 
MOX VBI COGNOVIT SENIOR QVIS TOLLERE VELLET 
PAf,MAM, SEQVE SVVMQVE CAPVT PRIOR OBlVLIT JPSE, 
IMPATIhNS FERITAS POSSET NE LAEDERE QVEMQVAM. 
OSTENDIT ChRISTVS, REDDIT QVI PRAEMIA ViTAE, 
PASTuRIS MERITVM, NVMERVM GRKGIS IPSK TVETVR. 
Complete in Cod. Palatinus {a few fragments exlant). 

At the time when the sword severed the holy bowels of 
our mother, I^ the ruler, was seated here teaching the 
Divine laws : those come suddenly who are to seize me on 
my throne. Then the people gave their necks to the 
soldiers who were sent; but when the elder knew who 
wished to bear away the palm, he oft'ered himself and his 
life of his own accord first of all, lest their impatient frenzy 
should injure anyone. Christ, who awards the prizes of 
life, shows the merit of the Shepherd ; He Himself keeps 
the number of the flock. 

Epitaph of Sixtus H., Bishop of Kome, 257-258. He 
was captured while preaching to the people in the cemetery 
of Pretextatus, which was situated in private property on 
. the other side of the Appian Way from that of Callixtus, 
and he was put to death in accordance with the second 
edict of Valerian, which condemned all Christian clergy 
without trial. He was afterwards buried with four 
deacons, who were executed with him, in the Papal crypt 



40 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 



in the catacomb of Callixtiis. This inscription and the 
next one were placed in the crypt by Daniasus.* 

Epitaphmm Damasi in crypta ubi Episcopi Rowaiii 
paiosant in CalUsto. 

55 HiC CONGESTA lACET, QVAERIS SI, TVRBA PIORVM, 

CORPORA SANCTORVM RETINENT VENERANDA SEPVLCRA, 
SVBLIMES ANIMAS RAPVIT SIBI REGIA CAELl ; 
HIC COMIXES XySTI, PORTANT QVI EX HOSTE TR(^PAEA; 
HIC NVMERVS PROCERVM, SERVAT QVI ALTARIA 

Christi ; 

HIC POSITVS, LONGA VIXIT QVI IN PACE SACERDOS ; 
HIC CONFESSORES SANCTI, QVOS GrAECIA MISI I' ; 
HIC IWENES PVERIQ, SENES, CASTIQVE NEPOTES, 
QVIS MAGE VIRGINEVM PLACVIT RETINERE PVDOREM. 
HiC FATEOR DAMASVS VOLVI MEA CONDERE MEMBRA 
SED CINERES TIMVI SANCTOS VEXARE PIORVM. 

Extant in the Papal crypt. 

Here, should you ask, lies a vast company of the 
righteous gathered together ; the venerable tombs pre- 
serve the bodies of the saints, but the kingdom of heaven 
has cauL'ht to itself their glorious souls. 

Here are the companions of Xystus, who bear away the 
trophies from the enemy ; here many of the leaders who 
serve the altars of Christ; here is laid the bishop who 
lived in the long peace ; here the holy confessors whom 
Greece sent ; here young men and boys, old men and their 
chaste grandsons, who preferred rather to keep intact 



* Allard. Pcrs. III. 80-92 ; Cyprian, Episi. 80. 



THE EPITAPHS OF DAMASUS 41 

their virgin modesty. Here I, Damasiis, wished, I confess 
it, to lay ray limbs, but I feared to vex the holy ashes of 
the righteous. 

Inscription from the Papal crypt, where nearly all the 
Bishops of Rome who lived in the third century were 
buried. The companions of Xystus are the deacons 
referred to above (Inscription 54). The priest who lived 
in the long peace is Melchiades, Bishop of Rome when the 
edict of Milan was published, which made Christianity a 
lawful religion. He is buried in another crypt close to the 
Papal crypt. 



Epitaphiu7n Damasi in Laurentium Martyrem. 

56 YeRBERA CARNIFICIS, FLAMMAS, TORMENTA, CATENAS 
VINCERE LaVKEIsTI SOLA FIDES PUTVIT. 
HaEC DAaiASVS CVMVLAT SVPPLEX ALTARIA DONIS 
MARTYRIS EGREGIVM SVSPICIENS MKRHYM. 

The faith of Laurence alone could vanquish the butcher's 
stripes, flames, torm.ents, and chains. 

Damasus, a suppliant, piles these altars with gifts, 
having regard to the exceeding merit of the martyr. 

Epitaph of Laurence, Archdeacon of Rome under 
Sixtus ir. He was put to death three days after his 
Bishop by being roasted on a gridiron, and was buried 
in the cemetery of St Cyriaca, where the church of 
St. Lorenzo fuori le mura now stands.* 



* AUard, Pers. III. 93-98. 



42 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 



Epitaphium Damasi in Tarsacium Martyrem. 
57 Par meritvm, qvicvmqve legis, cognosce dvokvm, 

QVIS DAMASVS rector TITVLOS post PRAEMIA REDDIT. 

IvDAicvs POPVLVs Stephanvm meliora MONENTEM 
percvlerat saxis, tvlerat qvi ex hoste tropaevm : 
martyrivm primvs rapvit levita fidelis. 
Tarsicivm sanctvm Christi sacramenta gerl:ntem, 

CVM MALE SANA MANVS PETERET VVLGARE PROFANIS, 
ipse ANIMAM potivs VOLVIT DIMITTERE CAESVS, 

prodere qvam canibvs rabidis caelestia membra. 

From Cod. Pcdatinus. 

Whosoever thou art that readest, recogTii/xC the equal 
merit of these two to whom Damasus the ruler sets up 
memorials after they have attained their reward. 

The people of the Jews had smitten down Stephen with 
stones while he Avas calling them to higher things, Stephen 
who had borne away the trophy from the enemy : the 
faithful Levite first snatched the crown of martyrdom. 

When a frenzied hand sought to do dishonour to holy 
Tarsacius, as he was carrying the Sacrament of Christ, he 
preferred to be slain and to lose his life, rather than to 
betray the Divine limbs to mad dogs. 

Epitaph of Tarsachius, an acolyte, who was killed in the 
persecution of Valerian while carrying the sacramental 
elements to the cemetery of Callixtus, then confiscated 
and guarded by the police. He was buried with the 
Bishop, St. Zephyrinus, in a chapel erected above the 
Papal crypt.* 

* Allard, rersccutions III. 76. 



THE EPITAPHS OF DAMASUS 43 



Epitaphmm Damasi in Petrum et Marcellinum 
Marty res. 

58 MaRCELLINE, TVOS, PARITER PeTRE, NOSSE TRIVMPHOS 
PERCVSSOR RETVLIT DaMASO MIHI CVM PVER ESS EM. 

Haec sibi carnificem rabidvm mandata dedisse 
sentibvs in mediis vestra vt tvnc colla secaret, 
ne tvmnlvm vestrvxm qvisqvam cognoscere posset; 
vos alacrks vestris manibvs mvndasse sepvlchra. 

CaNDIDVLO OCCVLTE POSTQVAM lACVISTIS IN ANTRO, 
POSTKA COMMON ITAM VESTRA PIETATE LVCILLAM 
HIC PLACVISSE MAGIS SANCTISSIMA CONDERE MEMBRA. 

Fro)n the Sylloaies. 

When I was a boy your executioner made known to me 
thy triumphs, Marcellinus, and thine also, Peter. 
The mad butcher gave him this commandment — that he 
should sever your necks in the midst of the thickets, in 
order that no one should be able to recognize your grave, 
and he told how you prepared your sepulchre with eager 
hands. Afterwards you lay hid in a white cave, and then 
Lucilla was caused to know by your goodness that it 
pleased you rather to lay your sacred limbs here. 

Epitaph of Peter, a priest, and Marcellinus, an exorcist, 
who were put to death in 304 in the persecution of 
Diocletian. It was placed in the cemetery called after 
them on the Via Labicana. Their names are still men- 
tioned in the Canon of the Mass. This inscription is 
interesting as showing the care taken by the Roman 
Government during the later persecutions to prevent 
honour being done to the bodies of the martyrs. Even 
the stories of their deaths were suppressed : Damasus had 
to go to the executioner for details. It also illustrates 



44 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 

the interest that Damasus took in the martyrs from an 
early age."**" 

Ejyitaphmifi Damasi in Marcellum PP. 

59 Veridicvs rector lapsos qvia crimina flerk 
praedixit, miseris fvit omnibvs hostis awarvs : 
hinc fvror, hinc odivm seqvitvr, discordia, 

LITES, 
SEDITIO, CAEUES, SOLVVNIVR FOEDERA PACiS : 
CRIMEN OB ALTERIVS, ChKISTVM QVI IN PACE NEGAVIT, 

finibvs expvlsvs patriae est feritate tyranni. 
Haec breviter Damasvs volvit comperta refer he 

MaKCELLI VT POPVLVS MERITVM COGNOSCEUE POSSET. 

From the Si/Uogies. 

The truth-telling ruler, because he bade the lapsed weep 
for their crimes, became a bitter enemy to all these unhappy 
men ; hence followed rage and hate, and discord and strife, 
sedition and slaughter; the bonds of peace are loosed. 
On account of the crimes of another, who denied Christ 
in time of peace, he was driven from the borders of his 
fatherland by the savagery of the tyrant. 

Damasus wishes briefly to tell these things which he 
had found out, that the people might know the merit 
of Marcellus. 

Kpitaph of Marcellus, Bishop of Rome, who was elected 
in 308, after the long vacancy of the Roman See caused 
by the persecution of Diocletian. He established twenty- 
five parishes in Rome, and opened a new cemetery near 
the cemetery of Priscilla, where he is buried. His firm 
handling of those who had denied the faith during the 

♦ AUard, Fers. IV. 381-383. 



THE EPITAPHS OF DAMASUS 45 

persecution led to a revolt against his authoritj^ and he 
was banished by Maxentius, and died in exile.* 

Epitaphium Damasi in Eusehium PP. F 

^ 60 DaMASVS EP18C0PVS FECIT ^ 

M Heraclivs vetvit lapsos peccata dolere, I 
^ EVSEBIVS miseros docvit sva crimina flere; ^ 

J SCIxNDITVR IN partes POPVLVS, GLISCENTK 

FVROKE, ^ 

P SEDITIO, CAEDES, BELLVM, DISCORD 1 A, LITES. 

A EXTEMPLO PARITKR PVLSI FERITATE TYRANNI, -^ 

^ INTEGRA CVM RECTOR SERVAUET FOEDERA PACIS, Y 

J. PERTVLIT EXILIVM DOMINO SVB IVDICE LAE'IVS, S 

JJTORE TrINACRIO MVNDVM VITAMQVE RELIQVIT. I 
C EVSEBIO EPISCOPO ET MARTYRI. C 

y '^ 

1-i A Copy extant in Callixtus. F 

T I 

Q Damasus the Bishop erected this. x 

R Heraclius forbade the lapsed to mourn for their Q 
sins ; Eusebius taught the unhappy men to weep C 
rp for their crimes ; the people is divided into parties ^ 
Q as the madness grew — sedition, slaughter, war, dis- y 
\ cord, strife. Suddenly both were driven out by the 3 
E cruelty of the tyrant, and since the ruler had kept 

the bonds of peace inviolate, he gladly endured exile ^, 
yr under the judgment of the Lord, and left the world ^ 
j^ and his life on the Trinacrian shore. I 

T To Eusebius Bishop and Martyr. P 

S 

j^ Along the sides : Furius Dionysius Filocalus wrote I 

this, the admirer and lover of Pope Damasus. T 

* Mamcchi, Catacombs, 514 ; Allard, Pers. V. 131-134. 



46 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 

Eusebius was elected Bishop of Rome after the banish- 
ment of Marcellus, and dealt as firmly as he had done 
with the lapsed. Heraclius was the leader of the party 
opposed to him, who wished the lapsed to be readmitted 
to the Church on easy terms. Maxentius banished both 
of them, and Eusebius died in exile in Sicily. He was 
buried in a special crypt in the cemetery of Callixtu?^ 
where an early copy of this inscription may still be seen. 
These last two inscriptions make known to us a chapter in 
Church history which is otherwise unrecorded. 

The inscription of Eu>ebius also gives us the name of a 
secretary of Damasus, Furius Dionysius Filocalus, who 
invented the beautiful characters in which the inscriptions 
of Damasus are written. ''^ 

* Marucchi, Catacomha, 182 ; Allard, Pers. V. 135. 



THE EPITAPH OF POPE GREGORY 



THE EPITAPH OF POPE GREGORY THE GREAT. 
Epitaphium Gregorii FF. I. 

61 SVSCIPE, TKRRA, TVO CORPVS DE CORPOUE SVMPTVM, 
ReDDERE QVOD VALKA8 VIVIFICANTE DeO. 
SpIRITVS ASTRA PETIT, LETI NIL IVRA NOCEBVNT, 
CVI VITAE ALTERIVS MORS MAGIS IPSA VIA EST. 
PONTIFICIS SVMMI HOC CLAVDVNTVR MEMBRA SEPVL- 

CHRO, 
(^VI INNVMERIS SEMPER VIVIT VBIQVE BONIS. 
ESVRIEM DAPIBVS SVPERAVIT, FRIGORA VESTE, 
ATQVK ANIxMAS MONITIS TEXIT AB HOSTE SACRIS. 
Implebat ACTV, QVIDQVID SERMONE DOCEBAT, 

esset vt extmplvm, mystica verba loqvens. 
Ad Christvm Anglos convertit pietate magistra, 
Adqvirens fidei agmina gente nova. 

illC LABOR, HOC STVDIVM, HAEC TIBL CVRA, HOC 

pastor agebas, 
Yt Domino offeres plvrima lvcra gregis. 
HiSQVE Dei consvl factvs laetare trivmphis : 
Nam mercsdem opervm iam sine fine tenes. 

Preserved by Bede. Fragments of the original inscription 
still exist in St. Peter s at Rome. 

Receive,. earth, a body taken from thy body, that 
thou may est have power to give it back again when God 
quickeneth it. The spirit seeks the stars, the laws of 
death shall not harm it, for death itself is to it the way to 
another life. The limbs of the Chief Pontiff are enclosed 



48 CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS 



in this tomb, who ever lives in every place by his uncounted 
deeds of love. He conquered hunger by his feasts, cold 
by his raiment, and he shielded souls from the enemy l);^ 
his holy counsels. He practised in his life whatever he\ 
taught in his speech, that he might be an example when 
he spoke mystic words. At the bidding of his kindly 
nature he converted the Angles to Christ, increasing the 
ranks of faith by a new race. This was thy labour, this 
thine aim, this all thy care as shepherd, that thou mightest 
offer to the Lord the greatest gain from the flock. Consul 
of God, thou wast made to rejoice in these triumphs ; for^ 
now, without end, thou hast the reward of thy work. 1 

The connection between Gregory the Great and England 
seems to warrant the inclusion of this inscription. 



BIMJNO ANT) SONS, LTD., PRINTERS, Onri.DFORD ENGLAND 



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