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The Church in Rome in the First Century: Appendices

By George Edmundson


      NOTE A.

      CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF EVENTS MENTIONED IN THE LECTURES.

      The Crucifixion Passover, 29 A.D.
      Martyrdom of St. Stephen 33 A.D.
      Accession of Claudius January 24, 41 A.D.
      Imprisonment of St. Peter Passover, 42 A.D.
      St. Peter's 1st visit to Rome Summer, 42 A.D.
      Death of Herod Agrippa Spring, 44 A.D.
      Prophecy of Agabus 44 A.D.
      Famine in Judaea 45-46 A.D.
      Queen Helena in Jerusalem 45 A.D.
      St. Mark's Gospel written at Rome 44-45 A.D.
      St. Peter with St. Mark leaves Rome 45 A.D.
      St. Peter at Jerusalem Spring, 46 A.D.

      Barnabas and Saul bring alms from Antioch to Jerusalem (visit of Gal. ii. 1-10) Pentecost, 46 A.D.

      Barnabas and Saul with Mark sail from Antioch to Cyprus Spring, 47 A.D.

      St. Peter makes Antioch the centre of his missionary work 47-54 A.D.

      Barnabas and Saul return from their missionary journey Autumn, 49 A.D.

      Encounter of St. Peter and St. Paul at Antioch (Gal. ii. 11-14) 49 A.D. Council at Jerusalem late 49 A.D.

      Jews expelled from Rome by Claudius St. Paul starts from Antioch on his
      2nd Missionary Journey with Silas
      after Passover, 50 A.D.
      St. Barnabas and St. Mark go to Cyprus   ? "   ? ? "   ? 50 A.D.
      St. Paul at Corinth

      Summer, 51 A.D.-Spring, 53 A.D.
      Gallio arrives in Achaia April or May, 52 A.D.
      St. Paul at Jerusalem Passover, 53 A.D.
      Accession of Nero October 13, 54 A.D.
      St. Peter and St. Barnabas at Corinth late 54 A.D.
      St. Peter and St. Barnabas in Rome and Italy early 55 A.D.-56 A.D.
      St. Paul at Ephesus Autumn 53 A.D.-Spring A.D.
      1st Epistle to the Corinthians from Ephesus Autumn 55 A.D.
      St. Paul in Greece

      early summer, 56 A.D.-Passover, 57 A.D.
      Epistle to the Romans from Corinth early in 57 A.D.
      St. Paul at Jerusalem Pentecost, 57 A.D.
      St. Paul's imprisonment at Caesarea 57 A.D.-59 A.D.
      St. Luke's Gospel 58 A.D.-59 A.D.
      St. Paul arrives in Rome February, 60 A.D.
      St. Paul's captivity in Rome 60 A.D.-62 A.D.
      The Acts of the Apostles before 62 A.D.
      Death of Festus Summer of 62 A.D.
      St. Peter in Rome (3rd visit) 63 A.D.-65 A.D.
      The Great Fire of Rome July, 64 A.D.
      Persecution of the Christians by Nero Spring, 65 A.D.
      The Vatican fete May, 65 A.D.
      1st Epistle of St. Peter June, 65 A.D.
      Martyrdom of St. Peter Summer, 65 A.D.
      Apollonius of Tyana in Rome 66 A.D.
      Epistle to the Hebrews late in 66 A.D.
      Martyrdom of St. Paul 67 A.D.
      Death of Nero June 9, 68 A.D.
      Burning of the Capitol and storming of Rome Dec. 19-21, 69 A.D.
      Domitian in power at Rome January-June, 70 A.D.
      Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians February, 70 A.D.
      St. John exiled by Domitian to Patmos, where he writes the Apocalypse
      Spring, 70 A.D.
      Destruction of the Temple by Titus September 7, 70 A.D.
      Nerva consul January to April, 71 A.D.
      St. John released from Patmos Spring, 71 A.D.
      Anencletus succeeds Linus as 2nd bishop of Rome 80 A.D.
      Domitian becomes emperor                                    September 13, 81 A.D..
      "The Shepherd" of Hermas                                    about 90 A.D.
      Clement becomes 3rd bishop of Rome                     92 A.D.-101 A.D.
      M' Acilius Glabrio consul                                    91 A.D.
      M. Arrecinus Clemens consul suffect                   94 A.D.
      T. Flavius Clemens consul                                    95 A.D.
      Domitianic persecution                                       94 A.D.-96 A.D.
      Assassination of Domitian                                    September 18, 96 A.D.

      NOTE B

      AQUILA AND PRISCA OR PRISCILLA

      In 1888 G. B. de Rossi discovered in the Coemeterium Priscillae a crypt belonging to the Acilian gens dating from the first century, but in a very ruinous condition. Among the broken inscriptions of many members of this noble family one finds the names of Acilius Glabrio and of Priscilla. Both Priscus and Priscilla or Prisca are cognomina used by this family, as may be seen by a reference to Pauly's Real-Encyclopaedie' under Acilius. The existence of this elaborately decorated burial-place containing a large number of sarcophagi seems to point to M' Acilius Glabrio, the Consul of 91 A.D. who was accused of atheism and Jewish manners' and put to death by Domitian, having been a Christian. It has been conjectured therefore that the Priscilla after whom the cemetery is named, and who must have been the owner of the property beneath which the excavations were made (property which was part of the extensive possessions of the Acilii Glabriones) was a near relative--aunt or sister--of the victim of Domitian. In this cemetery, according to the witness of the Liberian Calendar,' of the Itineraries' and of the Liber Pontificalis,' reposed the bodies of Aquila and Prisca (Marucchi, Elements d'Archeol. Chret.' ii. p. 385) with many other saints and martyrs. The biographical notice of Leo IV (847-55 A.D.) in the Liber Pontificalis' states that that Pope removed many bodies within the walls to save them from possible desecration by the Saracens (Duchesne, ii. p. 115), among these the bodies of Aquila and Prisca.

      The supposition that these two companions of St. Paul were freedmen of the family of the Acilii Glabriones or connected with them by ties of clientship is highly probable. Prisca or Priscilla appears to have been a Roman and by the precedence of her name over that of her husband, as already stated, it has been assumed that she was of higher position and that the house at Rome was her property. This suggests that she may have been a daughter of a freedman of the Acilian Priscilla who was the founder of the cemetery. The Priscilla of the Acts was so named after her. Aquila was a Jew and a native of Pontus. Of his Jewish name we are ignorant. He may have been taken to Rome as a slave and been a freedman of one of the Acilii. Quite possibly, however, he may have settled in Rome, like so many others, as a craftsman and trader, and his connexion with the powerful family, perhaps through the influence of Priscilla, have been one of clientship. As to the name Aquila, the following quotation from a poem of Ausonius with the title Acilio Glabrioni, grammatico Jun. Burdigalensi' [214. 3. 4] may explain its origin:

      Stemmate nobilium deductum nomen avorum

      Glabrio Aquilini Dardana progenies.

      The contention of De Rossi, Marucchi and others that the ancient church of St. Prisca on the Aventine covers the site of the church in the house of Prisca and Aquila will not bear serious investigation. Of the St. Prisca, virgin and martyr, who gave her name to the church nothing is really known, but she was a different person from the Prisca of the Acts and the Pauline epistles. From the fourth to the eighth century the church is always described as titulus Priscae (Duchesne, Lib. Pont.' i. 501, 517). It was not until the Pontificate of Leo III (795-816 A.D.) that the name titulus Aquilae et Priscae first appears (Duchesne, ii. p. 20): fecit in titulo beatis Aquile et Priscae coronam ex argento pens. lib. VI.,' but in this same notice of Leo III occur the words basilica beate Priscae' and Duchesne remarks that Prisca was still ordinary at this time (p. 42).

      In a MS. preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris (Cod. lat. 9697 p. 78) an account is given of the discovery in 1776 of the ruins of a Roman house and Christian oratory close to St. Prisca with frescoes of the fourth century, but this ruin was unfortunately destroyed and no trace of it remains. In Bianchini's edition of the Liber Pontificalis' (P.L. cxxvii. col. 1315) mention is made in the notice of Pope Zephyrinus (198-217) of a Christian glass' [495] found intra antiquae ecclesiae rudera prope S. Priscam' (de Rossi in Bull. di Arch. Crist.' 1867, p. 48). These things prove the existence on this spot of a very ancient Christian place of worship, but nothing more.

      [495] The words of the Lib. Pont. itself Et fecit constitutum in ecclesia et patenas vitreas ante sacerdotes in ecclesia, et ministros supportantes, donec episcopus missas celebraret, ante se sacerdotes adstantes, sic missae celebrarentur,' are an interesting reference to the rites attending the celebration of the Mass at Rome in early times: Duchesne, L.P. i. p. 140, makes the comment la mention de patenes de verre est a remarquer; elles n'etaient certainemeut plus en usage a la fin du V^e siecle,'

      NOTE C

      THE PUDENS LEGEND

      The name of a certain Pudens occurs in St. Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy (iv. 21): Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens and Linus and Claudia.' He is not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament, but a large number of traditions have grown up about him, which connect him with St. Peter rather than with St. Paul; and in these traditions there is in all probability a basis of historical fact. In modern times the theory met with strong support, especially among English writers, that Pudens was the husband of Claudia. They were identified with the Pudens and Claudia of Martial's Epigrams' (iv. 13, xi. 53), and Claudia was held to be a British maiden and a daughter of a British chief named Cogidubnus (Martial, xi. 53, CIL.' vii. 11). But it is needless to discuss this hypothesis, for it has been conclusively shown that the Epigrams' were not written until many years after the death of St. Paul. The name Claudia moreover was then not uncommon, and the fact that the names Pudens and Claudia in the salutation are not coupled together, but separated by the name Linus, is a strong objection prima facie to their being husband and wife. [496]

      The ground document for the Pudens Legend is the very ancient Acts of SS. Pudentiana and Praxedis,' or as it is sometimes called the Acts of Pastor and Timothy.' [497] These Acts' consist of a letter from a presbyter named Pastor (this Pastor appears in the Liber Pontificalis' as brother of Pope Pius I) to another presbyter named Timothy and the reply of the latter. The letters are followed by a short appended narrative. The date of these Acts' is uncertain, and the letters in their present form are undoubtedly fictitious, but they embody, as can be proved by existing memorials, a genuine tradition treated as to its details with the usual inventive freedom and chronological inexactitude.

      The story as told in these Acts' is as follows: a certain Pudens, whose mother was named Priscilla, a Christian of property, who had shown great zeal in entertaining Apostles and strangers, after the death of his wife consecrated his house as a church of Christ. This church in the house of Pudens in the Vicus Patricius was erected into a Roman parish under the name of titulus Pastoris (the Pastor who wrote the letter being the presbyter placed in charge of this parish). Here with his two daughters Praxedis and Pudentiana, who as chaste virgins spent their lives in prayer, fasting, and charitable deeds, Pudens passed his remaining days. The daughters after his death not only obtained the consent of Pope Pius to the building of a baptistery adjoining the church, but the bishop drew the plan with his own hand, and frequently visited the church and offered there the sacrifices to God. On the decease of Potentiana the letter of Pastor informs us that he and the surviving sister Praxedis placed the body by the side of that of her father in the Cemetery of Priscilla [498] on the Via Salaria.

      Here begins what in some MSS. is called the Acts of Praxedis.' Many noble Christians including Pope Pius came to console Praxedis on her loss, among them a certain Novatus, described as the brother of Timothy, but nowhere in these Acts' as the brother of Praxedis and Pudentiana. This is an important point to remember, for most modern writers following later Martyrologies describe Novatus and Timothy as sons of Pudens. [499] Novatus having fallen ill, Praxedis and Pastor visited him in his sickness, and the issue was that he left to them the whole of his property. The letter containing all this information was sent to Timothy to know what he would wish that they should do in the matter of his brother's estate. Timothy replies that he is rejoiced at what his brother has done, and leaves the entire disposition in the hands of Praxedis and Pastor. The contents of these letters in fact make it absolutely clear that there was no relationship between the sisters Praxedis and Potentiana and the brothers Novatus and Timothy.

      After the letters comes a narrative by the hand of Pastor of what followed, Praxedis asked Bishop Pius that the Baths of Novatus, which at that time were not in use, should be consecrated as a church. Pius consented and dedicated in the name of Praxedis the Baths, as a church, within the city in the Vicus Lateranus and he erected it into a Roman parish, titulus, and consecrated a baptistery to it. That this is the true meaning of the original and that the words in brackets are a later gloss interpolated by the writer to explain the existence in his days of a church of St. Pudentiana in the Vicus Patricius as well as a church of St. Praxedis in the Vicus Lateranus is almost self-evident. It runs thus: Quod et placuit Sancto Pio Episcopo; thermasque Novati dedicavit ecclesiam sub nomine beatae Virginis [Potentianae in vico Patricio. Dedicavit autem et aliam sub nomine sanctae Virginis] Praxedis infra urbem Romam, in vico qui appellatur Lateranus.' The Acts' had already given an account of the dedication of the church in the Vicus Patricius at a much earlier period before the death of Novatus. The Acts' conclude with an account of the burial of Praxedis by Pastor in the cemetery of Priscilla by the side of her father and sister.

      The mistake, which led to the interpolation above mentioned caused the following note to he appended to the biography of Pope Pius in two MSS. (and their derivatives) of the Liber Pontificalis': Hic [Pius] ex rogatu beate Praxedis dedicavit aecclesiam thermas Novati in vico Patricii, in honore Sororis suae sanctae Potentianae, ubi et multa dona obtulit; ubi saepius sacrificium Domino offerens ministrabat'; Duchesne commenting on this writes: L'auteur de la note parait avoir mal compris le texte des Acta, car il ne parle que de l'une des deux eglises, rapportant a celle du Vicus Patricius ce qui est dit de l'intervention de Praxede et des thermes de Novatus' (Duchesne, Lib. Pont.' i. 133). This note has also misled most modern writers on the subject. [500] The two Churches of St. Pudentiana and St. Praxedis are at this day two of the most interesting churches in Rome, and undoubtedly stand on the sites of those mentioned in the Acts,' and there is a record of St. Pudentiana having been restored by Pope Siricius (384-398 A.D.). It is quite certain, however, that this church was not named after a daughter of Pudens but after Pudens himself. An inscription Hic requiescit in pace Hilarus Lector tituli Pudentis' bears the date 528 A.D. and shows that this was the correct style. Another inscription of 384 A.D. is Leopardus Lector de Pudentiana and in the mosaic of the apse (the oldest mosaic in a Roman church) the Saviour holds an open volume with the words Dominus conservator ecclesiae Pudentianae.' As Lanciani remarks (Pagan and Christian Rome,' p, 112): In course of time the ignorant people changed the word Pudentiana, a possessive adjective, into the name of a Saint; and the name Sancta Pudentiana usurped the place of the genuine one. It appears for the first time in a document of the year 745.' An inscription of 491 A.D. speaks of certain presbyters Tituli Praxedis.'

      The existence, however, of both sisters receives substantiation from the fact that their tombs and that of Pudens are mentioned in the Liberian Calendar' and in the Pilgrim Itineraries' as existing in the fourth and fifth centuries in the Cemetery of Priscilla, where according to the Acta' they were buried. Paschal I in his great translation of the remains of saints from the catacombs into the city in 817 A.D. brought the sarcophagi of SS. Pudentiana and Praxedis from the catacomb to the Church of St. Praxedis, and the names of both are recorded on a catalogue inscribed on a marble slab to the right of the altar and their portraits appear in the mosaics of this date, which adorn the Church (Marucchi, Elem. d'Arch. Chret.' iii. 325-332).

      It is thought that Justin Martyr, when on his trial in 160 A.D. he declared, being interrogated by the Judge as to his dwelling place, that he lived close to the baths called the Timotine,' may have been referring to the baths of Novatus as the place where he was accustomed to worship. As Timothy was the brother of Novatus it is a possible supposition.

      The question now arises, was this Pudens of the Acta' identical with the Pudens of the 2nd Epistle to Timothy. The Bollandists say No. De Rossi, Marucchi, and many others say Yes, and they get over the chronological difficulty by urging that Pudentiana and Praxedis may have lived to a very advanced age. But the probabilities against such a view are almost insuperable. It is much more likely that the Pudens of the Epistle and the Pudens of the Acta' were father and son. At one time it was the opinion of De Rossi and his school that the first-century cemetery of Priscilla was the property of the family of Pudens. He and his daughters were buried in the cemetery and his mother's name is given in the Acta' as Priscilla. But the discovery of the crypt of the Acilian gens in this catacomb seemed to render it almost certain that the cemetery must have belonged to the family of Acilius Glabrio, the Consul of 91 A.D., in which the names of Priscus, Priscilla and Prisca are found. De Rossi therefore suggested that Pudens may have himself been an Acilius. I have however already made another suggestion, i.e. that Priscilla the mother of Pudens according to the Acta' was an Acilia, and perhaps the aunt or sister of M' Acilius Glabrio.

      The traditions which connect the name of Pudens with the early history of the Church in Rome are persistent and numerous quite apart from what is recorded in the Acta' that we have been considering. It is said that the house of Pudens (the elder Pudens mentioned by St. Paul) was during his stay in Rome the home of St. Peter. The sella gestatoria, or St. Peter's chair, the oak framework of which is of great antiquity, is said to have been originally the senatorial chair of Pudens. The wooden altar at the St. John Lateran again has been in continuous use there since the fourth century, when it was removed from St. Pudentiana, and that despite the fact that Pope Sylvester in 312 A.D. ordered that all altars should henceforth be of stone. Many indeed had been so before, for the word titulus which signifies a consecrated parish church implies its possession of a stone altar. In the Church of St. Pudentiana at the present time there is preserved within the altar a single wood plank reputed to have been left at that church as a memorial when the altar itself was removed. When Cardinal Wiseman was titular cardinal of St. Pudentiana he had the plank examined and found that the wood was identical with that of the altar at the Lateran Church. The reason of its preservation was the tradition that this altar had been used by St. Peter when he celebrated the Eucharist in the oratory in Pudens' house. When St. John Lateran replaced St. Pudentiana as the Cathedral Church of Rome the bishop and the altar moved there together. [501] These traditions have historically small value in themselves, but it may safely be said that they could never have arisen and obtained the vogue which we find them to have had in comparatively early times, had not the Pudens of Apostolic times and his family after him been active and leading members of the primitive Christian community in Rome. [502]

      THE FAMILY CONNEXION OF CLEMENT THE BISHOP.

      A Tabular Statment of the Scheme of Relationship (set forth in Lecture VIII) between the Arrecinian and Imperial Flavian Families.
      



      [496] See Lightfoot, Apost. Fathers, part i. vol. i. pp. 76-79.

      [497] Bollandist Acta SS. Maii, iv. 297-301.

      [498] It is evidently intended that the Priscilla who gave her name to the cemetery was the mother of Pudens.

      [499] A note in the Bollandist Acta SS. Maii, iv, p. 301, states for instance: Colitur S. Novatus 20 Iunii etiam Martyrologio Romano adscriptus et dicitur filius S. Pudentis Senatoris et frater Sancti Timothei Presbyteri et Sanctarum Virginum Praxedis et Potentianae, qui ab Apostolis eruditi sunt in fide,' quorum nihil probamus.

      [500] See De Rossi, Bullettino di Arch. Crist. 1867, pp. 49-65; Marucchi, Elements d'Arch. Chret. ii. 364 ff.; Mem. degli Apost. Pietro e Paolo, pp. 110-116; Lanciani, Pagan and Christian Rome, pp. 110-115; Barnes, St. Peter in Rome, pp. 72-78; Spence-Jones, Early Christians in Rome, pp. 263-7, &c.

      [501] Concerning the term titulus, Barnes (St. Peter in Rome, p. 75) writes: A great deal has been written on the origin and use of this word, but it is probable that it is really derived from its occurrence in the Old Latin version, in the account of the setting up by Jacob of the altar at Bethel after his wonderful dream: an account which to this day is read in the service for the consecration of an altar in a church. "And Jacob said: How terrible is this place; this is no other but the house of God and the gate of heaven. And Jacob arising in the morning took the stone which he had laid under his head and set it up for a title (erexit in titulum), pouring oil upon the top of it." A "title' therefore, in early Christian usage, came to be nothing else but a stone altar duly consecrated, and, in a wider sense, the church that contained that altar and drew its own sanctity from it.' In the Liber Pontificalis (Duchesne, torn. i. p. 126) of Evaristus, the successor of Clement as bishop in 101 A.D., it is recorded hic titulos in urbe Romae dividit presbyteris.'

      [502] Bianchini in his Anastasius Bibliothecarius (edn. of Liber Pontificalis in 1718) made the suggestion that Pudens was a member of the Gens Cornelia. In 1778 in the primitive Christian oratory discovered in immediate proximity to the Church of St. Prisca (supra, p. 243) a bronze tablet was found to one Caius Marius Pudens Cornelianus offered to this man by a town in Spain expressing gratitude for services rendered during the time when he filled the office of legate, and stating that he (Pudens) had been chosen as patron' by the citizens. The date of this tabula patronatus is 222 A.D:, and its presence gives strong grounds for assuming that the house containing the Christian place of worship was his property. The following inscription is of great interest as it belongs to the reign of Vespasian and contains the names of an Amaranthus, a T. Flavius, a Q. Cornelius Pudens, and a Chrestus. Marucchi (Rom. Sott. N.S. i. p. 30) states that immediately adjoining the Cemetery of Domitilla excavated beneath Flavian property lies a property known as Tor Marancia from a certain Amaranthus; on this are a number of pagan sepulchres belonging to the Bruttian family; while Eusebius tells us that he derived his information about the Flavian Christians from an historian named Bruttius [see Note D, p. 256, and Note F, p. 279).

      HILARITATI PVPLIC .   ? .   ? .

      IMP . CAES . VESPASIANI .   ? .   ? .

      SACRVM

      TRIBVL . SVCC . CORP . IVN *

      .   ? .   ? .   ? .   ? .   ?

      T : COMINIVS AMARANTH : : : .

      T : FLAVIVS . T : F : LVSCV : : : .

      Q : CORNELIVS . Q : F : PVDENT : : .

      CVRATORES : LIBEROR : TRIB : SVC : COR : IVNIOR : : . . On the other face occur the words:

      PONEN . CVR .

      C . NYMPHIDIVS . CHRESTVS .

      . ? .   ? .   ? .   ? .   ? .

      DEDIC . XVII K . DEC .

      L . ANNIO . BASSO .

      C CAECINA . PAETO . ?      ? ^COS . (i.e. 70 A.D.) * Tribules succussani. Corpus juniorum.--Muratori, tom. i. p. cccviii.
      



      (1) M. Arrecinus Tertullus Clemens, Prefect of the Praetorian Guard in 41 A.D. (Josephus, Ant.' xix. 1. 6, 7, and Tac. Hist.' iv. 68.) It is from Josephus that we learn that Clemens was privy to the conspiracy of Chaerea and others against Caligula and connived at his assassination. It appears from Josephus that Herod Agrippa came to the Praetorian camp, where troops had acknowledged Claudius as emperor, and successfully acted as mediator between them and that portion of the army that obeyed the Senate (Josephus, Ant.' xix. 3. 1, 3; 4. 1, 2, ff.). This information exclusively reported by Josephus may be taken to imply that Clemens had some connexion, possibly as a God-fearer,' with the Jewish community at Rome, and that he was a friend of Herod Agrippa.

      From Tac. Hist.' iv. 68 it appears that this Prefect was so much beloved by his troops that his son's appointment as Prefect in 70 A.D. was hailed with joy in the camp, because the father's memory after so long an interval of time was still held in regard. Suetonius (Titus' 4) tells us that his name was Tertullus, that he belonged to the Equestrian order, and that his daughter Arrecina Tertulla was the first wife of the Emperor Titus. An inscription CIL.' vi. 12355 gives his praenomen as Marcus.

      (2) Plautia. The name of the wife of (1) is actually unknown. The reasons for assigning to him, as his wife, a sister of Aulus Plautius, the conqueror of Britain, are stated in Lecture VIII. Plautia would be the sister-in-law of Julia Pomponia Graecina, and a relative of Plautia Urgulanilla, the second wife of Claudius.

      (3) M. Arrecinus Clemens, son of (1), described by Tacitus Hist.' iv. 68 as domui Vespasiani per adfinitatem innexum et gratissimum Domitiano, Praetorianis [Domitianus] praeposuit, patrem eius, sub Caio Caesare, egregie functum ea cura, dictitans, laetum militibus idem nomen.' The relationship with the Imperial Flavian House may be traced back to (8) Tertulla, the grandmother of Vespasian, by whom from childhood he was brought up. Tertullus Clemens (1) the Prefect was probably Vespasian's cousin and the companion of his boyhood. Arrecina Tertulla (5), daughter of (1) and sister of (3), married Titus (19). She died while Titus was quite young.

      M. Arrecinus Clemens (3) was Consul Suffectus in 73 A.D. (CIL.' vi. 2016 and xiv. 2242) and a second time with L. Baebius Honoratus (CIL.' xii. 3637). This second consulship appears to have been most probably in 94 A.D. The Fasti Consulares are admittedly imperfect with regard to the names of the consuls suffect. But the names of both the ordinary Consuls Collega and Priscus and of the three suffects for 93 A.D. have been preserved. In 94 A.D. Asprenas and Lateranus were ordinary consuls. [503] In some lists Arrecinus Clemens appears, however, as the colleague of Asprenas (see Dion Cassius, ed. Lipsiae, 1829, iv. p. 84). The Chronicon Paschale' (extract given in Lightfoot, Clement of Rome,' i. p. 110) has the following entries: 93 A.D. Domitian Augustus XIII and Flavius Clemens, 94 A.D. Asprenatus [Asprenas] and Lateranus, 95 A.D. Domitian Augustus XIV and Flavius Clemens II. This is an instance of that confusion of Arrecinus Clemens with Flavius Clemens which has been the fruitful source of difficulties. Flavius Clemens was consul only once and in 95 A.D., Arrecinus Clemens for the second time in 94 A.D. He was a member of the Imperial Council from 82 A.D. and also Curator Aquarum. His name appears CIL.' vi. 199 xi. 428 and xv. 7278. He was put to death by Domitian 94 A.D. or 95 A.D. (Suet. Domitian,' 11.)

      (4) Plautilla. The Acts of Nereus and Achilles' represent these martyrs as at first servants of Plautilla, the sister of Clement the Consul, and afterwards of her daughter Domitilla the virgin. The Acts of Petronilla,' which are incorporated with those of Nereus and Achilles, state that these three saints were all buried in the crypt of Domitilla. That they were real historical persons has been proved in recent years by the discovery by De Rossi [504] of their memorials in the cemetery of Domitilla. It is at least possible, therefore, that Plautilla is likewise an historical person, and the presumption is increased by the fact that she is definitely in these Acts represented as the sister of Clement the Consul. De Rossi himself believed in her real existence, and many others have followed him in the assumption, which I have adopted, as also his suggestion that her mother's name was Plautia. I differ, however, in my interpretation of the words sister of Clement the Consul' in making her the sister not of Flavius but of Arrecinus Clemens. If the historicity of the statement of the Acts of Nereus and Achilles about Plautilla be accepted, it should be accepted as a whole. Now stress is laid on the fact that the Plautilla of these Acts died in the same year as St. Peter suffered martyrdom. The words are explicit: eodem anno dominus Petrus apostolus ad coronam martyrii properavit ad Christum et Plautilla corpus terrenum deseruit.' Plautilla therefore could not well be the sister of Flavius Clemens, the younger of the two sons of Flavius Sabinus, as these sons are described as children at the time of their father's murder in December 69 A.D. The hypothesis that she was the daughter of M. Arrecinus Tertullus Clemens the Praetorian Prefect of 41 A.D., and therefore sister of M. Arrecinus Clemens the Consul of 73 A.D. and 94 A.D., and that she was the wife and not the daughter of her cousin Flavius Sabinus, the brother of Vespasian, and that, through her, T. Flavius Clemens, her son, Consul in 95 A.D., obtained his cognomen, has about it impress of verisimilitude.

      (5) Arrecina Tertulla.--The first wife of the Emperor Titus. She died quite young. See CIL.' vi. 12355, 12357.

      (6) Clement the Bishop.--In the Clementine Homilies' and Clementine Recognitions,' which are in reality Petrine romances derived from a common original and dating from the beginning of the third century, Clement is represented as a Roman by birth and of the kindred of Caesar. His father is a relative and foster-brother of an emperor, and his mother likewise connected with Caesar's family. The name of the father is Faustus (Homilies'), Faustinianus (Recognitions'), Faustinus (Liber Pontificalis'), of two elder brothers Faustinus and Faustinianus (Homilies'), Faustinus and Faustus (Recognitions'), of the mother Mattidia. Now these names belong to the period of Hadrian and the Antonines. Faustina (died 141 A.D.) was the wife of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, and her daughter of the same name (died 175 A.D.) was the wife of his adopted son and successor, Marcus Aurelius. Mattidia was the niece of Trajan, and her daughter Sabina the wife of the Emperor Hadrian. As the romances throughout make Clement to have been the disciple and companion of St. Peter and he is spoken of as being already grown up at the time of the Crucifixion, it will be at once perceived that the compilers of this Clementine literature were, in the use that they made of tradition, absolutely indifferent to chronological considerations. That they gave voice to a genuine tradition both as regards Clement's discipleship to St. Peter and his relationship to the family of the reigning Caesars is rendered in the highest degree probable from the fact that the Clementine story is merely a framework for the Ebionite or Helchasaite version of Peter's travels, preaching and controversies with Simon Magus, which forms the real subject-matter of this literature. [Hort, Clementine Recognitions.'] M. Arrecinus Tertullus Clemens was the kinsman of Vespasian, and as that emperor was brought up not in his paternal home but by his grandmother Tertulla, it is quite possible that they were actually foster-brothers. Tertullus was one of the Flavian cognomina. Q. Flavius Tertullus was consul suffect. in 133 A.D. (CIL.' vi. 858). Plautia was a relative of Plautia Urgulanilla, the second wife of Claudius, her daughter Arrecina Tertulla the wife of Titus.

      In the Acts of Nereus and Achilles' Clement the Bishop is addressed as the nephew of Clement the Consul: patris tui fuisse germanum.' In the Clementines he is represented as considerably the youngest of his family. It is for various reasons more probable that he was the younger brother than the nephew of M. Arrecinus Clemens, and such I have assumed him to be.

      (7) T. Flavius Petro.--The name of the famous saint, Petronilla, who was buried in the Flavian cemetery of Domitilla, was probably derived from this Flavian cognomen. A crop of legends grew up around her name, as being a daughter of St. Peter. It is possible that she may have been a spiritual daughter of the Apostle, as having been converted and baptized by him.

      (8), (9), (10). Titus Flavius Sabinus and his wife, according to Suetonius, left Italy to live among the Helvetii; their son Vespasian was educated by his grandmother Tertulla upon a family estate at Cosa in the Volscian territory. (Suet. Vespasian,' 2, 3.)

      (11) T. Flavius Sabinus, the elder son of (9) and (10). After serving the State in thirty-five campaigns with distinction (Tac. Hist.' iii. 75) and having been Governor of Moesia for seven years, Sabinus was appointed in 57 A.D. Prefect of the City. He held this important office for twelve years continuously save for a brief interval in the short reign of Galba. As Prefect of the City he must have taken part (perhaps passively) in the persecution of the Christians in 65 A.D. and been the witness of the courage with which so many martyrs faced torture and a horrible death. Some have supposed that in his latter years he may to a greater or less extent have fallen under the influence of the Christian Faith. His whole career proclaims him to have been during the greater part of his life a man of action. Tacitus speaks of his being invalidus senecta' and describes him at this stage as mitem virum abhorrere a sanguine et caedibus' (Hist.' iii. 65). When the Vitellians stormed the Capitol, Flavium Sabinum inermem neque fugam coeptantem circumsistunt' (Hist.' iii. 73). And again after his murder, in fine vitae alii segnem, multi moderatum et civium sanguinis parcum credidere' (Hist.' iii. 75). All these traits do not prove much in themselves, but the fact that several of his descendants and relatives were undoubtedly Christians lends a certain probability to the supposition that this mildness, sluggishness, and unwillingness to resist arms in hand may have been due to the acceptance of Christian principles. Sabinus apparently did not marry till late in life, possibly not till after he settled at Rome in 57 A.D., as his children were quite young at the time of his murder in December 69 A.D. If Plautilla were his wife, she died four years before her husband, leaving two sons and a daughter, the younger son receiving his grandfather's cognomen Clemens.

      (12) The Emperor Vespasian appears to have been in considerable poverty at two periods of his life. His eldest son, Titus (19), was born December 30, 39 A.D.: prope Septizonium sordidis aedibus cubiculo vero perparvo et obscuro.' (Suet. Tit.' 1.) Yet a few years later we find him being educated in the palace with Britannicus. It is suggested that this change may have been partly brought about by the influence on behalf of his kinsman of the Praetorian Prefect Arrecinus Tertullus Clemens. At a later period, before he went as Proconsul to Africa in 61 or 62 A.D., he was in such bad circumstances that he had to mortgage his entire property to his brother in order to raise money. (Tac. Hist.' iii. 73.) His wife (13) and his daughter (22), both named Flavia Domitilla, predeceased him. His younger son Domitian (25) seems when Vespasian was abroad in Africa and Judaea to have lived with his uncle Sabinus and to have been under his care. Titus (19) was, while still a youth, married to his relative Arrecina Tertulla (5). Domitian (25), born October 25, 51 A.D., was twelve years younger than his brother. From the end of December 69 A.D. to the following June as Praetor with full consular power he with Mucianus exercised in the absence of Vespasian in Egypt and Titus in Judaea the imperial authority at Rome.

      (15) Flavia Domitilla, spoken of by Eusebius, Chronicon' (Jerome's Lat. vers. ed. Schoene ii. p. 163), thus:--Scribit Bruttius . . . Flaviam Domitillam Flavii Clementis consulis ex sorore neptem in insulam Pontianam relegatam, quia se Christianam esse testata est.' A similar reference derived no doubt from the same source is found in Hist. Eccl.' iii. 18, where the meaning of the word neptem is made clear: Phlauian Dometillan . . . ex adelphes gegonuian Phlauiou Klementos, henos ton tenikade epi Rhomes hupaton. Eusebius states that this took place in the fifteenth year of Domitian, but, as I have pointed out in Lecture VIII, it is almost certain that Eusebius has here misread his authority and that the Consul to whom Flavia Domitilla was niece was Arrecinus Clemens the Consul of 94 A.D., and not Flavius Clemens the Consul of 95 A.D. The family of Flavius Sabinus (11) were children in 70 A.D.; it is scarcely possible therefore that this Flavia Domitilla should have been old enough to occupy such a position of importance as is here assigned to her, and still more so in the Acts of Nereus and Achilles.' In those Acts' she appears as the daughter of Plautilla, sister of Clement the Consul, and is clearly a woman of property with chamberlains of her own. In the Chronicon Paschale' the same passage of Bruttius, about the persecution of the Christians by Domitian, as Eusebius quotes is referred to, but the notice of it appears under the fourteenth year of Domitian, which began in September 94 A.D. The banishment of this Domitilla to the island of Pontia I believe to have taken place at the end of 94 A.D., after Arrecinus Clemens was Consul and before Flavius Clemens entered on his consulship. The fact that Eusebius neither in the Chronicle' nor Ecclesiastical History' makes any mention of the execution of Flavius Clemens or the banishment of his wife seems to me inferential evidence that his authority Bruttius did not here record an event which Eusebius could scarcely have overlooked in one or other of his two historical works. In my Table of the Flavian Family I have made Flavia Domitilla [the virgin] the daughter of FIavius Sabinus (15) and of Plautilla (4), the sister of Arrecinus Clemens (3). I have further suggested in Lecture VIII that after the murder of Sabinus, Plautilla being already dead, the maternal uncle (3) undertook the charge of the orphan children. The two sons as they grew up would in due course be cared for by the Emperor Vespasian, as being the nearest male representatives of his family, his own two sons having no male heirs, the daughter remaining still in the wardship of the maternal uncle who had brought her up. It would be only natural therefore in such circumstances for Bruttius to speak of her as the niece of Arrecinus, rather than as the sister of Flavius.

      The sudden condemnation to death of Arrecinus Clemens by Domitian, as recorded by Suetonius (Domit.' 11), may well have been connected with the same causes which led to his niece Domitilla's banishment, i.e. her profession of the Christian faith and her contumacy in refusing to marry at the Emperor's bidding.

      (22), (23), (24) Dion Cassius (lxvii. 14) relates that Domitian put to death his cousin Flavius Clemens while consul [Suet., Domit.' 15, says almost before his consulship had ended] and that he sent his wife Flavia Domitilla, also a relative, into exile on the island of Pandateria. Suetonius does not mention the wife's banishment, but remarks that this violent act--i.e. the execution--very much hastened his own destruction' and then tells us of the tyrant's assassination by Stephanus the steward of Domitilla. Philostratus (Apollonius,' viii. 25) in his account says that Stephanus was the freedman of Flavius Clemens' wife. Quintilian, who was the tutor of Flavius Clemens' young sons (of very tender age, Suet. Domit.' 15), makes it clear that their mother was the daughter of Domitian's sister: cum vero mihi Domitianus Augustus sororis suae nepotum delegaverit curam' (Inst. Orat.' Prooem. 2). This sister of Domitian died before her father Vespasian became Emperor in 70 A. D. For epigraphic evidence of the existence of this Flavia Domitilla, wife of Flavius Clemens, see CIL.' vi. 948, 8942 and 16246. The first of these as restored by Mommsen stands:

      Flavia Domitilla FILIA.FLAVIAE.DOM.ITILLAE.

      Imp. Caes. VespasiANI.NEPTIS.FECIT.GLYCERAE.L.ET.

      .   ?   ? .   ?   ? .   ?   ? .   ?   ? .   ?   ? .   ?   ? .

      The name of the NEPTIS is given in CIL.' vi. 8942:

      FLAVIAE.DOMITIL VESPASIANI.NEPTIS

      There were thus four Flavia Domitillas: the wife of Vespasian (13), her daughter (22), her granddaughter (24), and her niece (15).
      



      [503] The most complete Fasti Consulares for the Flavian Period are found in a contribution by Asbach in Jahrbuecher des Vereins von Altertumsfreunden im Rheinlande [Bonn] vol. 79, p. 6o ff. Asbach has only discovered the name of one Suffectus in 94 A.D., but he quotes Prosper as making Clement the colleague of Asprenas. It is almost certain that in a year when the Emperor did not assume the consulship there would be several Suffecti. In Muratori, Nov. Thes. Vet. Inscr. tom. i. p. cccxlv, the full list for 93 A.D. is preserved. Consules 93. Pompeius Collega, Cornelius Priscus, quibus suffecti fuerunt. M. Lollius Paullinus, Valerius Asiaticus Saturninus. Horum uni suffectus erat, C. Antistius Iulius Quadratus. So in 94 A.D. M. Arrecinus Clemens and L. Baebius Honoratus were suffecti to Asprenas and Lateranus. The suffect mentioned by Asbach--Silius Italicus--may have taken the place of Clemens in the last months of 94 A.D.

      [504] De Rossi, Bull. di Arch. Crist. 1874, pp. 5 ff., 68 ff., 122 ff. &c. Roma Sotterranea, tom. i. pp. 130 ff. See also Lipsius, Apokryphen Apost. Geschicht. II. i. p. 205.
      



      NOTE E

      THE TOMBS OF THE APOSTLES ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL

      If thou wilt go to the Vatican or to the Ostian road thou wilt find the trophies of the Apostles who founded this Church.' These words of the Roman presbyter Gaius (identified by Dr. Lightfoot [505] with the well-known Hippolytus bishop of Portus) in his treatise against the heretic Proclus are a positive testimony to the existence at the end of the Second Century of trophies or memoriae--i.e. small oratories--over the graves of the Apostles Peter and Paul. It further indicates in what localities these visible monuments were to be found. Eusebius, to whom we are indebted for the preservation of this piece of valuable evidence, makes the further statement that the names of the Apostles were to be seen in the cemeteries of Rome in his day. [506]

      The Liber Pontificalis' contains what appears to be an authentic record of the construction of one of these memoriae. Of bishop Anacletus (Anencletus) it is said Hic memoriam Beati Petri construxit et composuit.' The erection of these monuments may therefore be placed in the early years of Domitian's reign.

      The evidence from traditional sources as to the exact position of the spots where the two Apostles were martyred and afterwards buried is very detailed and complete, and, as is usual in topographical references, is accurate, even though the narratives, in which these references occur, are in the main apocryphal fictions of a late date.

      The principal authorities in the case of St. Peter are as follows:

      Liber Pontificalis': [Petrus] sepultus est via Aurelia in templum Apollinis, iuxta locum ubi crucifixus est, iuxta palatium Neronianum, in Vaticanum, iuxta territorium Triumphale.'

      Jerome, De Viris Illustribus': Sepultus est in Vaticano iuxta viam triumphalem totius orbis veneratione celebratur.'

      Martyrium Beati Petri Apostoli': Ad locum qui vocatur Naumachiae iuxta obeliscum Neronis in montem.'

      Acta Petri': Apud palatium neronianum iuxta obeliscum inter duas metas.'

      Liber Pontificalis': [Cornelius] posuit iuxta locum ubi crucifixus est, inter corpora sanctorum episcoporum, in templum Apollinis, in monte aureo, in vaticanum palatii neroniani.'

      De locis S.S. Martyrum': Petrus in parte occidentali civitatis iuxta viam Corneliam ad milliarium primum in corpore quiescit.'

      From these notices it will be seen that three roads are mentioned--the Via Aurelia (Nova), the Via Triumphalis, and the Via Cornelia. These three roads met at a point close to the Pons Neronianus or Triumphalis. Between the Via Aurelia Nova and the Via Cornelia stood the Circus of Nero, between the Via Cornelia and the Via Triumphalis the Vatican hill. The Circus of Nero was the scene of the Games at which a multitude of Christians perished by horrible tortures in the spring of 65 A.D., and here according to the Acta Petri' suffered St. Peter iuxta obeliscum inter duas metas'--that is on the spina at a point equidistant from the two goals, where the obelisk stood, the same obelisk removed in 1586 to the front of the Basilica. The palatium Neronianum and the Naumachia were appellations given in later days to the remains of the Circus, which was destroyed when Constantine built the first Basilica above St. Peter's tomb. The Mons Aureus (a corruption of Aurelius) was so called from its proximity to the Via Aurelia Nova, later the name was extended to the Janiculum also, the southern part of which is still called Montorio. [507]

      Templum Apollinis. Duchesne writes (Lib. Pont.' i. 120): Quant au temple d'Apollon, il y a, clans cette designation, un souvenir du celebre sanctuaire de Cybele, qui s'elevait tout pres du cirque et de la basilique, et qui fut, jusqu'aux dernieres annees du iv^e siecle, le theatre des ceremonies sanglantes du taurobolium et du criobolium . . . Le College des xv. viri sacris faciundis, qui etait charge du culte de cette deesse, etaient aussi directeurs du culte d'Apollon.' In any case there was a building on this spot popularly known as the templum Apollinis, witness the notice in the Liber Pontificalis' of Pope Silvester (314-335 A.D.): eodem tempore Augustus Constantinus fecit basilicam beato Petro apostolo in templum Apollinis.' (Duchesne, Lib. Pont.' i. 176.)

      The body of St. Peter then was buried in a small cemetery on the Vatican hill close to the place where he was crucified. Over this tomb Anencletus erected his memoria, and in the immediate vicinity the first twelve bishops of Rome, with the exception of Clement and Alexander, were according to the Liber Pontificalis' laid to rest--in each case the phrase recurs sepultus est iuxta corpus beati Petri in Vaticanum.' In time the entire space available was filled up. Zephyrinus was the first to be buried in 217 A.D. on the Appian Way, and his successor Calixtus created the crypt in the great subterranean cemetery called after his name, where he himself and a number of his successors were interred. The crypt of the Popes was discovered in 1854 by De Rossi, and the inscriptions on the broken coverings of the Sarcophagi of several of the bishops may still be seen. Excavations made near the Great Altar of St. Peter's in the early seventeenth century by Paul V and Urban VIII revealed many interesting facts. A large coffin was found made of great slabs of marble containing a mass of half-charred bones and ashes, pointing to the probability that Peter was interred close by the remains of the martyrs who had perished as living torches at the Neronian Vatican fete. All round the Confessio' in which the Apostle's relics were supposed to rest were placed coffins side by side against the ancient walls, containing bodies swathed in Jewish fashion. On the slabs that covered them were no inscriptions, save in one case where the name Linus could be deciphered. [508] Whether these were the bodies of the earliest bishops of Rome it is impossible to say, but the discovery, taken in conjunction with the statements of the Liber Pontificalis' which topographically are so often correct, makes the supposition credible. The evidence is far from complete, but it is weighty. The historical character of the notices relating to the Vatican interments in the Liber Pontificalis' is borne out by the remarkable omission of Clement and also of Alexander. The legend of Clement's martyrdom in the Chersonese is fictitious. It may be taken as certain that he did not die in Rome. In the Liber Pontificalis' we read concerning Alexander--sepultus est via Numentana, ubi decollatus est, ab urbe Roma non longe, miliario VII.' In the Itinerary or Pilgrim Guide of William of Malmesbury: In septimo miliario eiusdem viae [Nomentanae] s. papa Alexander cum Eventio et Theodulo pausant' (De Rossi, Rom. Sott.' i. 179). [509] Again the later notices as to the burials of Zephyrinus, of Callistus and their successors not on the Vatican but upon the Appian Way have been verified by De Rossi and other modern archaeologists. The statements as to the discoveries made in the excavations of 1615 and 1626 rest on contemporary authorities. Francesco Maria Torrigio, who was with Cardinal Evangelista Pallotta an eye-witness of the exhumations of 1615, has given an account of them in his work Le sacre Grotte vaticane,' 1639, and Giovanni Severano also relates what he had heard in his Memorie sacre delle sette chiese di Roma,' 1629. The master mason Benedetto Drei, who was likewise an eye-witness of the discoveries made in 1615, has left an engraved plan originally intended for Torrigio's book; one copy of this, in the British Museum, is of exceptional interest, for it is covered with autograph MS. notes in the handwriting of Drei himself. [510] In this one can see how the tombs are so arranged round the central shrine that the bodies seem to surround that of St. Peter like bishops assisting at a council.' An account quite as circumstantial and authentic is given by a certain R. Ubaldi, canon of the basilica, of the excavations made in 1626. The MS. containing this narrative lay forgotten in the Vatican Archives until it was discovered by Professor Gregorio Palmieri in recent years and was transcribed and published by Cavalicre Mariano Armellini in his work Le Chiese di Roma,' 1891. An English version may be found in A. S. Barnes, St. Peter in Rome,' pp. 315-338, a work full of interesting material and valuable research.

      Let us now turn to the tomb of St. Paul on the Ostian Way. The Apocryphal Acts all declare that St. Paul as became his status as a Roman citizen suffered martyrdom by decapitation--honestiores capite puniantur, and that he was led out to a place known as Aquae Salviae, near the third mile-stone on the Ostian Way. This tradition has not been seriously disputed. In the Greek Acts the addition is made that the Apostle suffered under a pine-tree--eis massan kaloumenen Akkouai Salbias plesi tou dendrou tou strobilou. An extant inscription of Gregory the Great, 604 A.D., records the gift by him of a piece of land at the Aquae Salviae to the basilica of St. Paul--Valde incongruum ac esse durissimum videretur ut illa ei specialiter possessio non serviret in qua palmam sumens martyrii capite est truncatus ut viveret, utile iudicavimus eandem massam quae Aquas Salvias nuncupatur . . . cum Christi Gratia luminaribus deputare.' [511] A memorial chapel was built here in the fifth century, whose remains were discovered in 1867 under the present Church of S. Paolo alle Tre Fontane, and in 1875 in the course of some excavations for a water tank behind this church a number of coins of Nero were found together with several pine-cones fossilised by age.

      The body of St. Paul according to tradition was buried by a Christian matron of the name of Lucina in a plot of ground, which was her property, about a mile nearer to Rome. It was not a subterranean cemetery but one on the surface, and the piece of land was confined, being hemmed in between the Ostian Road and another road, which has since disappeared, known as the Via Valentiniana. [512] This spot in the time of the presbyter Gaius, about 200 A.D., was marked like that of St. Peter on the Vatican by a memorial oratory (trophy) probably erected by Anencletus at the same time as the Petrine memoria already referred to.

      That the bodies of the Apostles did not continuously remain undisturbed in their first resting places is one of those traditions which can be supported by a body of evidence, leaving indeed some points doubtful and obscure, but as regards the main fact almost conclusive. In that Kalendar of the Church known as the Feriale Philocalianum' (about 354 A.D.) under the heading Depositio Martyrum' occurs the following entry:

      III. Kal. Iul. Petri in Catacumbas et Pauli Ostense--Tusco et Basso cons.'

      The names of the Consuls fix the date as 258 A.D. and show that this entry is taken from some official source. It is clearly unintelligible as it stands. De Rossi however discovered at Berne a Codex of the Martirologium Hieronymianum' which exhibits the same entry in a fuller form:

      III. Kal. Iul. Romae natale apostolorum sanctorum Petri et Pauli--Petri in Vaticano via Aurelia Pauli vero in Via Ostensi, utrumque in Catacumbis, passi sub Nerone, Basso et Tusco consulibus.' [513]

      This can only mean that on June 29 the Feast of the Apostles was kept in three places or stations--at the Vatican, on the Ostian Road, and in a place known as the Catacombs in memory of some event which took place in the consulate of Tuscus and Bassus, 258 A.D. The words bassi sub Nerone must be regarded as a parenthesis. The existence of these three stations is proved by a hymn of pseudo-Ambrose for June 29, as these lines show:

      Tantae per urbis ambitum

      Stipata tendunt agmina;

      Trinis celebrator viis

      Festum sacrorum Martyrum.

      Now it can be proved that these consular dates in the Kalendar signify in other cases a translation of remains, and the conclusion is that a translation of the bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul to the Catacombs took place in 258 A.D.

      There are many testimonies to the fact that the bodies of the two Apostles did actually rest in the cemetery ad Catacumbas, but the authorities differ as to the period at which the translation took place and also as to the duration of time during which the relics remained in their temporary tomb. The story contained in the Apocryphal Acta Petri et Pauli' speaks of certain unknown people from the East who after the Apostles' martyrdom attempted to carry off the bodies to their own country, but being overtaken by an earthquake the people of Rome took the bodies from them at the third milestone on the Appian Way at the place called ad Catacumbas. Here the remains were deposited for one year and seven months until tombs were built for them on the Vatican and the Ostian Way. Now this story, of which there are several slightly differing versions, is almost certainly based upon a real historical event, the translation which took place in 258. The late writers of the Acta' were utterly indifferent to chronology, and the deposition in the cemetery on the Appian Way when Tuscus and Bassus were consuls was associated with the martyrdoms and relegated with the accompaniment of many confused and legendary details to the time of Nero. All probability is against the story of the Acta.' Even if the Apostles were put to death at the same time, and I have shown that there is a very strong presumption that St. Peter's death preceded that of St. Paul by two years, nothing could be more unlikely than the bringing back of their bodies to be interred in the vicinity of their places of execution when once they had been laid safely to rest in the cemetery on the Appian Way. There were as yet no sacred associations connected with the Vatican Hill and the Ostian Way to move the Roman Christians to act in the manner described in these apocryphal narratives. [514]

      The cause of the translation of 258 A.D. is not difficult to divine, for this was the year of the outbreak of the persecution of Valerian. An Edict had been issued against the Christians, forbidding their meetings in the cemeteries. It might well be that fears were aroused lest the sacred tombs of the Apostles should be desecrated, and so the bodies were removed to a place of greater safety. The researches of archaeologists have shown that the cemetery ad Catacumbas must in those days have been admirably adapted for the purpose. It was ancient already, it lay apart from other cemeteries, and it resembled rather a pagan than a Christian place of burial (Duchesne, Lib. Pont.' cvii). It has been in recent years most carefully examined and studied and in the chamber known as the Platonia or Platoma a double tomb may still be seen, said to be that in which the bodies were placed. [515] Here Damasus (366-387 A.D.) built a basilica, which until the eighth century was known as the Basilica of the Apostles, and on the walls of the Chamber he placed an inscription in verse. In the Liber Pontificalis' we read--Hic fecit basilicas duas: una beato Laurentio iuxta theatrum . . . et in Catacumbas ubi iacuerunt corpora sanctorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli, in quo loco platomam ipsam, ubi iacuerunt corpora sancta, versibus exornavit.' This poem of Damasus has fortunately been preserved. The text runs thus:

      Hic habitare prius sanctos cognoscere debes

      Nomina quisque Petri pariter Paulique requiris

      Discipulos oriens misit quod sponte fatemur

      Sanguinis ob meritum Christum qui per astra secuti

      Aetherios petiere sinus regnaque piorum

      Roma suos potius meruit defendere cives

      Haec Damasus vestras referat nova sidera laudes. [516]

      Those words discipulos oriens misit may possibly have given rise to the later apocryphal fictions about the unknown men from the East, who tried to carry off the bodies of the Apostles. Damasus however here clearly means by these words the Apostles themselves, the word discipulos being used instead of Apostolos through the exigencies of the metre. He says in effect that though the East had sent the Apostles, Rome, which had been the scene of their labours and their deaths, had the best claim to retain them.

      But even if it be granted that the notices in the Feriale Philocalianum' and the Hieronymian Martyrology' contain an official authentic statement that a translation of the relics to the cemetery ad Catacumbas took place in 258 A.D., as such authorities as the Abbe Duchesne, Monsignor de Waal, Professor Marucchi, and Father A. S. Barnes admit, there are other difficulties to be overcome, and they differ from one another in their interpretation of documentary evidence, and in their views as to whether there were two translations or one only, and as to the duration of the sojourn of the relics in the Platonia. The Apocryphal Acta' say that the bodies were taken to the Catacombs immediately after the martyrdom of the Apostles and were removed to the tombs that had been prepared on the Vatican and on the Ostian Way one year and seven months afterwards. The Itineraries or Pilgrim Guides of the fifth and sixth centuries make the sojourn to be forty years: Et iuxta eandem viam (Appiam) ecclesia est S. Sebastiani martyris, ubi ipse dormit, et ibi aunt sepulchra Apostolorum Petri et Pauli; in quibus xl annos requiescebant (De locis S.S. Martyrum'); Postea pervenies via Appia ad S. Sebastianum martyrem, cuius corpus iacet in inferiori loco, et ibi sunt sepulchra Apostolorum Petri et Pauli in quibus xl annos requiescebant' (Salzburg Notitia'). As Duchesne and Barnes say, the term forty years is here undoubtedly intended as a round number, though the former is inclined, it seems to me, to extend it too widely. [517] The exact number of forty years would bring us to an impossible date, the height of the fiercest persecution which the Christian Church had to endure--that of Diocletian. The period of one year and seven months mentioned in the Apocryphal Acta' has, I have little doubt, some historical basis, which now it is impossible to discover, [518] but that the relics of the Apostles remained in the Platonia at least until the year 284 the Acta' of St. Sebastian testify. According to these Acta ' the Saint was buried in the Catacomb which still bears his name close to the Platonia because he had in a vision expressed the wish that his body might lie near the vestigia of the holy Apostles. [519] There is another difficulty to be surmounted. In the biography of Pope Cornelius, 251-253 A.D., in the Liber Pontificalis' the statement is made that at the request of a certain matron Lucina by name the bodies of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul were taken up by night; and that Lucina first buried the blessed Paul in her own ground (in praedio suo) on the Ostian Road and then that Cornelius placed the body of Peter close to the spot where he was crucified among the bodies of the holy bishops--in templum Apollinis, in Monte Aureo in Vaticanum palatii Neroniani iii Kai. Iul.' Now it is clear that if the bodies of the Apostles were only brought to the cemetery ad Calacumbas in 258 A.D., they cannot have been restored to their former tombs some years earlier. Duchesne, Marucchi, and Barnes are all of opinion that this paragraph in the notice of Cornelius has been somehow misplaced. [520] Further it is stated that after the martyrdom of this Pope this same Lucina gathered together his remains (cuius corpus noctu collegit) and buried it in her own ground (praedio suo) in a crypt close to the Cemetery of Callistus. Apparently therefore Lucina had property, which she converted into a cemetery, both on the Ostian and the Appian Way.

      Now Barnes has proposed a solution of this difficulty which is both ingenious and well worthy of consideration. [521] He suggests that in some worn MS. the name Marcellus has been read as Cornelius and that the passage relating to the restoration of the bodies of the Apostles to their original tombs belongs to the biography of Marcellus. The Pontificate of Marcellus is separated from that of his predecessor Marcellinus by an interregnum due to the persecution of Diocletian, and its date was probably 306-309 A.D. In the biography of this Pope there is again mention of a certain matron, Lucina, the widow of a man named Marcus. On the martyrdom of Marcellus she gathered together his remains (cuius corpus collegit) and buried it in the Cemetery of Priscilla. Lucina, it is said, gave all her property to the Church, and a comparison of the various documents seems to point to that portion of the cemetery of Priscilla on the Via Salaria Nova, where Marcellus and his successors were buried, having been the property of this Lucina. By the time of the accession of Marcellus the bodies of the Apostles had been in the Platonia nearly 50 years. The abdication of Diocletian in 305 A.D. led to peace [522] being restored to the Christian Church in Rome by the advent of Maxentius to power. This then would be a very fitting time for a new pope to prepare the removal of the Apostolic relics from the catacomb to their original tombs. There is extant an inscription of Damasus [523] which tells us that the severity of Marcellus to those who had lapsed in the persecution stirred up violent strife and discord leading to sedition and the shedding of blood.

      Veridicus rector, lapsos quia crimina fiere

      Praedixit, miseris fuit omnibus hostis amarus;

      Hinc furor, hinc odium sequitur, discordia, lites,

      Seditio, caedes; solvuntur foedera pacis.

      Crimea ob alterius, Christum qui in pace negavit,

      Finibus expulsus patriae est feritate tyranni.

      Haec breviter Damasus voluit comperta referre

      Marcelli ut populus meritum cognoscere posset.

      This inscription contains no reference to Marcellus having brought back the bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul to the Vatican and the Ostian Way, but the brevity of the poetical encomium of Damasus, as he himself states, made him confine himself to praising those actions of the bishop which were the cause of the suffering and exile that befell him. [524] I would suggest, however, that in these discords and tumults, to which the inscription refers, may be found perhaps an explanation of the delay of one year and seven months in the entombment of the Apostles of which the Apocryphal Acta' (Passio Petri el Pauli) speak. The strange passage, which tells of how while the bodies of the Apostles were being carried off by the Greeks to be taken to the East, there was a great earthquake and the Roman people ran out and seized them in the place which is called Catacumba at the third milestone on the Via Appia, and the bodies were kept there for one year and seven months, until the places were built in which their bodies were placed, and then they were brought back with glory of hymns and were deposited that of St. Peter in the Vatican and that of St. Paul on the Ostian Way at the second milestone,' may well be a distorted and misdated version of events that really took place in the days of Marcellus. Let us suppose that on the first anniversary day of the Apostles, June 29, after the accession of Maxentius an attempt was made to remove the relics from the Catacombs, but that it was frustrated by the sudden attack of a hostile crowd, from whose hands the bodies were with difficulty rescued and taken back to the Platonia. Then about a year and a half later after all preparations had been carefully made the translation was successfully carried out. Now in the Liberian Catalogue' under the heading depositio martyrum the entry occurs viii. kl. Martias fatale Petri de Cathedra,' and this commemoration Professor Marucchi states was according to ancient documents observed from the Fourth century with such feasting that it gained the popular name of dies sancti Petri epularum.' [525] Further in the Laterculum of Silvias, 448 A.D., it is said that in earlier times this commemoration, held on February 22, was a joint festival of SS. Peter and Paul. [526] Was it not then on this date that after a year and seven months the actual translation took place?

      What may be called the Marcellus hypothesis remains however little more than a plausible conjecture, for no positive evidence can be brought forward to establish its truth.

      Nevertheless an examination of the Apocryphal Acta' reveals the fact that a certain Marcellus was supposed to be the writer of the Passio Petri et Pauli' from which the extract quoted above about the attempt to carry off the Apostles' bodies, and about their lying for a year and seven months in the Catacombs, is taken. Marcellus it is who after the martyrdom takes the lead in burying St. Peter near the Naumachia in the place called the Vatican.' Lipsius in his work on the Apostolic legends devotes a whole section to what he styles der sogenannte Marcellustext.' [527] Nor is this all. On late authority St. Paul was said to have been buried by a certain matron Lucina in her own property (in praedio suo) on the Ostian Way, [528] In the Liber Pontificalis' the Lucina of the Cornelius biography buries St. Paul on the return from the Catacombs on the Ostian Way in praedio suo.' The Lucina of the Marcellus biography is the widow of Marcus, in the Passio Petri et Pauli' Marcus is the father of Marcellus. In all probability the three Lucinas are one and the same person, whose activity was connected with the life of Pope Marcellus. If this should be so, it will at once appear that a strong case is made for placing the return of the relics from the Platonia in the pontificate of Marcellus, about 307 A.D.

      That the bodies of the Apostles were believed to lie in the tombs on the Vatican and on the Ostian Way when Constantine determined to erect basilicas over their remains is certain. The exact year in which these were built is unknown, except that it was in the Pontificate of Pope Silvester, 314-335. The words of the Liber Pontificalis' (Duchesne, 176 and 178) tell us that the object of the Emperor was to do honour to the sacred tombs of the Apostles. The sarcophagus which contained the body of St. Peter he enclosed in bronze from Cyprus and fixed it at the central point of a cubical chamber of masonry--cuius loculum undique aere Cypro conclusit, quod est immobile; ad caput, pedes V; ad pedes, pedes V; ad latus dextrum, pedes V; ad latus sinistrum, pedes V; subter, pedes V; supra, pedes V; sic inclusit corpus beati Petri et recondit.' He then placed on the coffin a cross of gold (with an inscription)--super corpus Petri, supra aera quod conclusit, fecit crucem ex auro purissimo, pens. lib. cl. in mensuram loci, ubi scriptum est hoc CONSTANTINVS AVGVSTVS ET HELENA AVGVSTA HANC DOMVM REGALEM SIMILI FVLGORE CORVSCANS AVLA CIRCVMDAT, scriptum ex litteris nigellis in cruce ipsa.'

      Constantine likewise built a basilica on the Ostian Way to the memory of St. Paul, whose sarcophagus was, like St. Peter's, enclosed in bronze and a cross of gold placed over it cuius corpus ita recondit in aere et conclusit sicut beati Petri . . . et crucem auream super locum beati Pauli apostoli posuit pens. lib. cl.' The scrupulous care that was taken not to disturb the tombs in any way was conspicuously shown in the instance of the Constantinian basilica of St. Paul. It was the custom in the early basilicas that the altar upon the tomb of the saint or martyr to whom the church was dedicated should be placed at the west end at the central point of the chord of an apse round which the clergy sat on either side of the bishop or other dignitary. The Celebrant stood with his back to this apse facing eastward with the congregation before him in the nave. Now the tomb of St. Paul lay so near to the Ostian Way, one of the main roads from Rome, that this first basilica was of diminutive proportions. Before however many years were past it was felt that so small a church was unworthy of St. Paul, and another basilica on the same scale as that of St. Peter was erected in 386 A.D. To effect this without touching the tomb and altar led to a completely new departure in the internal arrangements of the basilica, a new departure that was to have permanent results by being generally adopted. [529] The church was reversed, the apse was now placed at the east end, but the celebrant still stood on the west side of the altar facing eastwards, with result that he looked towards the clergy in the apse and had his back to the congregation in the nave: a custom which has since become universal. Another innovation arose from the desire to cover all the consecrated ground, where the first basilica had stood, and a transverse nave at right angles to the main nave was built, and thus came into existence in 386 A.D. the earliest known example of a cruciform church. No stronger evidence could be brought forward to show the scrupulous and reverential care with which the early Christians cherished and guarded the burial places of their dead. In this they were aided by the laws of the State, which declared every tomb to be locus sacer, locus religiosus,' and there is seen to be no impossibility in the assumption that the sarcophagi which Constantine enclosed in bronze really contained the bodies of the Apostles. Whatever care was bestowed on other tombs, those of St. Peter and of St. Paul would from the first be regarded with exceptional veneration, and be watched over and tended with peculiar devotion, so that it would be most unlikely that those who translated the relics to the catacombs in 258 A.D. should have made any mistake.

      The question whether these sarcophagi encased in bronze by Constantine are still in existence, or whether they were destroyed by the Saracens in 846 A.D. or by the soldiery of Bourbon in 1527, can only be answered positively by excavations which it may safely be said will never be undertaken. Probability on the whole seems to be that, though the shrines were plundered and destroyed, the tombs themselves were untouched. If the story told by Bonanni, [530] who professes to be giving from the MS. of a contemporary of the event (Torrigio) the evidence of eyewitnesses, be true, then in some alterations that were being made in 1594 by the orders of Pope Clement VIII to the altar of the Confession an aperture was opened through which the sarcophagus of St. Peter with the gold cross gleaming upon it was seen by the Pope himself, and Cardinals Bellarmine, Antoniano and Sfondrato. By Clement's command the aperture was filled up with cement and has not been opened since. Further in the excavations by Paul V in 1615 and by Urban VIIl in 1626, in the immediate vicinity of the shrine, conclusive evidence was obtained that the early Christian sepulchres which clustered round the sacred resting place of the Apostle had never been disturbed.

      In the case of St. Paul's shrine a very interesting discovery made in 1835, when the basilica was being rebuilt after the great fire of 1823, points to the conclusion that the tomb had not been interfered with since the fourth century. A slab of marble measuring seven feet by four feet was uncovered with the simple inscription

      PAVLO

      APOSTOLO MART.

      The opinion of archaeologists who have examined the slab is unanimous that the character of the inscription and the form of the letters fix the date as belonging to the age of Constantine. Under the name [531] is a round aperture, the ancient billicum confessionis, sometimes called the fenestrella or little window, through which handkerchiefs or other objects were lowered so as to be hallowed by contact with the sarcophagus.
      



      [505] Apost. Fathers, part i. vol. ii. pp. 318, 377-83.

      [506] Hist. Eccl. ii. 25.

      [507] For the tradition connected with S. Pietro in Montorio and its origin see Lanciani, Pagan and Christian Rome, p. 128; Barnes, S. Peter in Rome, p. 98.

      [508] The evidence of Torrigio (but see below Drei's plan) is not clear, whether the name Linus was a separate word, or the termination of such a name as Marcellinus. The tomb of Linus appears however to have been known in the ninth century according to the poet Rhabanus Maurus. Acta Sanct. 6 Sept. p. 543.

      [509] There is some doubt about Alexander. Marucchi, Elem. d'Arch. Chret. i. p. 28.

      [510] An excellent reproduction of this will be found in Barnes's St. Peter in Rome, facing p. 304. Drei's MS. notes confirm the reading Linus.

      [511] Marucchi, Elem. d'Arch. Chret. ii. p. 74; De Rossi, Roma Sotterranea, i. p. 182; Bullet. di Arch. Crist. 1869, pp. 81 ff.; Lanciani, Pagan and Christian Rome, pp. 156-7.

      [512] Stevenson, L'area di Lucina sulla Via Ostiense' in Nuovo Bullet:. di Arch. Crist. 1898, pp. 68 ff.

      [513] Duchesne, Lib. Pont. i. p. cv.

      [514] A letter of Gregory the Great to the Empress Constantina about 600 A.D. shows that the legend of the early translation was current in his time and accepted by him. Opp. St. Greg. ii. ep. 30.

      [515] Dr. A. De Waal, Die Apostelgruft ad Catacumbas an der Via Appia; Marucchi, Le Merorie degli Apostoli Pietro e Paolo in Roma, 1903, pp. 75-92.

      [516] De Rossi, Inscr. Crist. ii. p. 52.

      [517] Duchesne (Lib. Pont. cv and cvii) suggests a date after 313 A.D., Barnes (St. Peter in Rome) 308 or 309 A.D.

      [518] See suggestion infra, p. 269.

      [519] Acta Sanctorum, Jan. 2, p. 622.

      [520] Duchesne, Liber Pont. i. p. 151; Marucchi, Le Memorie degli Apostoli Pietro e Paolo, p. 56; Barnes, St. Peter in Rome, pp. 116 ff.

      [521] St. Peter in Rome, pp. 119-127.

      [522] Gibbon, Decline and Fall, vol. ii. p. 161: The revolt of Maxentius immediately restored peace to the Churches of Italy and Africa, and the same tyrant who oppressed every other class of his subjects showed himself just, humane, and even partial towards the afflicted Christians.'

      [523] De Rossi, Inscr. Crist. ii. pp. 62, 103, 138.

      [524] That there is confusion in the traditions relating to Cornelius and Marcellus is evident from the fact that in the Liber Pontificalis Cornelius is beheaded in Rome, in the Liberian Catalogue in exile at Centumcellis, cum gloria dormitionem accepit. Damasus makes Marcellus apparently die in exile. In the Liber Pontificalis he is condemned to tend horses in stables at Rome and dies of ill-usage. The inscription of Damasus is however authentic, as is the extant slab containing the words Cornelius Martyr, in the crypt where this Pope was buried.

      [525] Marucchi, Elem. d'Arch. Chret. ii. pp. 453-6; De Rossi, Bullett. d. Arch. Crist. 1890, p. 72 ff.

      [526] Blunt, Annot. Book of Common Prayer (The Conversion of St. Paul')

      [527] Lipsius, Die Apokryphen Apostelgeschichten und Apostellegenden, 2er Band 1e Haelfte, pp. 284-386. One MS. Cod. Urbin. is headed--III. Kl. Iulii Passio beatorum Petri et Pauli a Marcello discipulo Petri edita quique idem interfuit passioni.'

      [528] De Rossi, Roma Sotterranea, ii. p. 262; Stevenson, L'area di Lucina sulla Via Ostiense,' Nuovo Bullett. 1898, p. 60 ff.

      [529] Barnes, St. Peter in Rome, p. 215 ff.; Belloni, Della grandezza et la disposizione della primitiva Basilica Ostiense.

      [530] Bonanni, Temp. Vatic. Historia, published in 1696, p. 149.

      [531] There are also two square apertures of later date, purpose unknown.
      



      NOTE F.

      The Roman Catacombs. The Cemeteries of Priscilla and Domitilla.

      During the first century of our era the Romans almost universally practised cremation for the disposal of their dead. The law of the XII Tables supposes inhumation as well as cremation to be in use; but cremation gradually became the vogue and it was not until the age of the Antonines that, largely through the influence of Christianity and other Oriental cults, a reversion to the practice of inhumation began to take place. The early Christians from the first adopted the Jewish custom of burial, and their tombs were, whenever circumstances permitted, fashioned after the likeness of those in Palestine, sepulchres like that of the Lord Jesus Christ. No burials were permitted within the city of Rome; but the beds of soft volcanic tufa which lay beneath the soil of the suburban area afforded easy facilities for the excavation of subterranean galleries, vaults, and crypts in which to lay the dead. Hence gradually in the course of the first four centuries came into existence that vast underground city of the dead, often incorrectly spoken of as the Roman Catacombs. The word Catacombs strictly applies to one small cemetery only, the locus ad catacumbas [532] where the bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul in 258 A.D. found a temporary resting-place. The first Christian cemeteries differed in no way from those of the Jewish community, three of which have been discovered and explored. [533] There has been much written on the subject of the Roman Catacombs which does not need consideration here. The cemeteries of the first century, whatever may have been the case later, were the property of private persons of rank and wealth, and were intended in the first place for the use of the family to which the owners belonged, also for that of their clients, freedmen and slaves, and by permission for other poor persons belonging to the Christian brotherhood. As yet there was no question of the formation of Collegia funeratica or Burial Guilds, though it is regarded as highly probable that such organisations with their collective ownership and special privileges did exist in the third century; indeed it is known that the several cemeteries were each attached to a titulus--or parish church. But this was not the case in the period with which we are dealing, when the places of assembly for congregational worship were still private houses--ecclesiae domesticae. The most ancient parts of the cemeteries of Priscilla and DomitilIa and the crypt of Lucina, which date from Apostolic times, were family vaults constructed beneath the property of the person after whose name they are called, and granted by that person, as a locus sacer' placed under the protection of the Roman Law (lex monumenti). Henceforward the tomb was held inviolable, whatever might be the religion of those interred in it. The plot of ground (area) was often enclosed by walls, or its dimensions were engraved on boundary stones. Sometimes the inscription is found Sibi suisque, libertis libertabusque posterisque eorum,' sometimes the letters H.M.H.N.S.--hoc monumentum haeredem non sequitur.' The administration of the leges monumentorum lay within the jurisdiction of the pontifices, who were thus the legal guardians of the inviolability of the burial-places thus granted, and their leave was required for the deposition of the bodies in the tombs or their translation, or indeed for the holding of anniversary festivals or rites or for any changes in the construction or character of the monuments. These powers do not seem to have been arbitrarily or vexatiously used, but it must always be remembered that they did exist and that the catacombs were in no sense secret and unknown hiding-places of the early Christians, but, with the exception perhaps of a few small subterranean crypts carefully concealed, like the Platonic chamber in which the bodies of the Apostles for awhile were laid, were registered and thus known to the magistrates.

      The Roman Catacombs are one of the wonders of the world. It has been calculated that the length of the galleries in the cemeteries excavated within three miles of the Gates of Servius amounts to 540 miles, the quantity of material removed by excavation 96,000,000 cubic feet, and the number of bodies interred at the very least 1,700,000. [534] Of this vast network of subterranean galleries only a comparatively small portion has been explored, though progress is being made year by year, and unfortunately all the cemeteries as they have been opened out have been found to be in a miserable state of ruin and devastation. Nevertheless, the Catacombs even in their present condition contain in the inscriptions and frescoes that still cover the walls, and in the remains of the shrines of saints and martyrs, a most precious record not merely of the names of the Christians who in the ages of persecution found their last resting-place in the loculi arranged along the walls of these crypts and galleries, but of their beliefs, prayers, rites, worship, and modes of thought. Historically we are here in the presence of a crowd of witnesses who though dead yet speak to us, of a mass of evidence that is incontrovertibly authentic.

      By far the larger part of the tombs in the Catacombs belong to the century and a half which preceded the peace of the Church under Constantine, 313 A.D. But after the middle of the fourth century, although by the care of Pope Damasus (366-384 A.D.) and others basilicas were erected over the most venerated remains of famous martyrs, and the chapel-crypts in which the bodies actually lay were adorned with rich shrines and mural decorations, subterranean interment gradually ceased [535] and in the fifth century the Catacombs had become simply sanctuaries, whither pilgrims resorted to pray before the tombs of the martyrs. For three centuries a continual stream of pilgrims made their way, to Rome for this purpose, and some of the Itineraries or guide-books that they used still exist. Meanwhile the cemeteries were already in the seventh century beginning to be robbed of their precious contents, as in 645 A.D. and in 652 A.D. a number of the bodies of martyrs were removed from the Catacombs into Rome in order to save them from pillage and desecration at the hands of barbarian invaders. Finally in the time of Paschal I (817-824 A.D.) this translation to churches within the city walls was carried out on an extraordinary scale. It is said that the remains of no fewer than 2300 martyrs were deposited in one single church, that of St. Praxedis. Henceforward the pilgrimages came to an end, the Catacombs were deserted, and in time their very existence was forgotten. The accidental re-opening of a Christian cemetery by some workmen in the Vigna Sanchez on the Via Salaria in 1578 led to a revival of interest. It was part of what is now known as the Catacomb of the Jordani, but a landslip, owing to the rough carelessness of those who first examined these crypts, completely destroyed them and no trace of them now remains. It was fortunate that at the beginning of the seventeenth century a really intelligent and scientific exploration of the Catacombs was undertaken by Antonio Bosio, died 1629 A.D., who devoted thirty years to the study of the subject and was the real founder of Christian archaeology. He had great difficulties in his way owing to lack of resources for the purposes of excavation, but his Roma Sotterranea,' published after his death in 1632, is of very great value owing to the wanton destruction during the next two centuries of monuments and works of art, which had survived as memorials of early Christianity in Rome. The one object of the exploration of the Catacombs, even on the part of those who did seriously study Christian archaeology and whose writings are a proof of the interest they felt in their subject--Aringhi, Boldetti, Bottari [536] and others--was the discovery of the relics of saints. To effect this purpose the cemeteries were pillaged and ravaged, the loculi broken open, their contents carried away, the inscriptions broken to pieces or removed wholesale, the precious works of art found in the tombs--gold and silver vessels, lamps, medallions, engraved seals, precious stones, and personal ornaments--stolen and scattered far and wide. Some of these are to be seen to-day in museums and private collections, but the greater part have disappeared. Not until the middle of the nineteenth century was a successor found who approached the study of the Catacombs in. the scientific spirit of Bosio, and with far greater genius. Giovanni Battista de Rossi (1822-94), whose early interest in the subject of Christian archaeology had been aroused by the labours of P. Marchi, [537] whose pupil indeed he was, gave his whole life with a thoroughness and industry which could not be surpassed to the investigation of all known sources which threw light upon the topography and history of subterranean Rome. He possessed in a peculiar manner a special combination of gifts--patience, imagination and insight, and the results of his labours have been not merely fruitful in discovery and in additions to our knowledge of early Christianity, but they have proved that the so-called legends of the Acta Sanctorum,' though late in date, are never to be regarded as simply fictitious romances, the efforts of imaginative invention. On the contrary, however great the accretion of legendary details, largely thaumaturgic, these stories deal with real historical persons and have been built up on a basis of genuine fact. Of De Rossi's method of working and the materials that he used in his researches--i.e. the Pilgrim Itineraries of the seventh century, five of which are still preserved in monastic libraries, the ancient topographies, the Sillogae Epigraphicae' drawn up in the eighth and ninth centuries, the famous Monza papyrus containing a list of the sacred oils from the various shrines sent by Gregory the Great to the Lombard Queen Theodelinda, the notices in the Liber Pontificalis,' the Hieronymian Martyrology, the lists in the Liberian Catalogue entitled Depositio Episcoporum' and Depositio Martirum,' and the Acta Sanctorum' themselves--a full account is given by himself in his published works, [538] which should be consulted. References have already been made to the most important of the discoveries which have in recent years rewarded the explorers of the first century cemeteries of Priscilla and Domitilla under De Rossi's inspiring guidance, and it is unnecessary to restate at length what has been written. The bearing however of these and other discoveries in the same localities on the history of the Christian Church in Rome during the second half of the twelfth century is of such an interesting character that a brief recapitulation of results may be of service.

      The vast cemetery of Priscilla lies on the Via Salaria Nova on the north side of the city. It consists of two stories, in each of which is found a network of galleries and crypts. The present entrance is modern (1865), the ancient door stands on the opposite side of the road, above which can be still read the inscription in the red letters which denote great antiquity, COEM. PRISCILLAE. It was in 1888 that De Rossi in the course of excavations discovered the crypt and chapel of the Acilian gens. The explorers first came across a broken marble slab containing the words ACILIO GLABRIONI FILIO, and afterwards the ruined crypt was unearthed and other fragments of inscriptions to members of various branches of the Acilian family. Formerly the walls had been encrusted with marble or coated with fine plaster and covered with frescos and mosaics, but everything had been smashed to pieces by the hands of relic and treasure hunters in the middle of the seventeenth century. Nevertheless the historical value of this signal find is great. It may be held to establish the fact that M' Acilius Glabrio, the consul of 91 A.D., who was put to death by Domitian accused of following Jewish manners and strange superstitions' and of being an inciter of innovations,' was a Christian, and not merely so but that in the second century many members of this distinguished family belonging to the high aristocracy of Rome had embraced the Christian faith. It seems to follow that this cemetery was excavated under property belonging to the Acilian House. The names of Priscilla and Prisca are found on inscriptions as in use among members of this family, and the Priscilla who was the donor of the ground and founder of the cemetery was doubtless a near relative of the Consul. In the preceding Note on the Legend of Pudens' it has been pointed out that there is no necessary inconsistency in the two statements that Priscilla was mother of Pudens and sister or aunt of M' Acilius Glabrio. Indeed there are signs that the Acilian crypt and the primitive cemetery of Priscilla, though closely adjoining, were originally separated, the crypt being approached by a distinct staircase. If so, it is quite possible, as the Acta' seem to indicate, that the cemetery may have been through his mother the property of Pudens, the crypt at its side constructed beneath land belonging to Glabrio. Above the cemetery of Priscilla, after the peace of the Church, was built a basilica, afterwards known as St. Sylvester, [539] into which the bodies of many martyrs and saints were translated from the crypts below in the fourth century. The bodies however of Pudens and his daughters and of Aquila and Prisca were left undisturbed until the time of Leo IV in the middle of the ninth century. Leo IV appears to have made a careful exploration of the cemetery, but after his days it fell into disuse and complete abandonment. Beneath the story where these bodies lay is a second story, consisting of a long gallery out of which open some twenty transversal galleries as yet very imperfectly explored. Of this second story deep down below the surface and approached by two or more staircases from the upper galleries Marucchi writes: On peut dire sans exaggeration que c'est la region cimeteriale la plus vaste et la plus reguliere de toute la Rome souterraine. Ses inscriptions gravees sur marbre, ou peintes en rouges sur des tuiles comme au premier etage, attestent qu'au moins en partie elle remonte a la plus haute antiquite. A mon avis, il y eut la un noyau cimeterial des le Il^e siecle.' [540] One of the most remarkable features of the cemetery of Priscilla is the existence of two large tanks, one on each floor, besides several smaller ones. These two large tanks were almost certainly ancient baptisteries. Marucchi has written learnedly, and with a considerable measure of success, to identify the cemetery of Priscilla with the Cymiterium Ostrianum, ubi Petrits apostolus baptizavit' of the apocryphal Acta Liberii.' This cemetery also was called ad Nymphas or ad Fontes S. Petri, names which might well be derived from the tanks just mentioned. One of the principal pieces of evidence adduced by Marucchi is found in the Catalogue of Monza containing a list of the phials of sacred oil taken from the different shrines and sent to Queen Theodelinda by the direction of Gregory the Great. Under the heading Salaria Nova' follows: Sedes ubi sedit Scs Petrus ex oleo Sci Vitalis Scs Alexander Scs Martialis Scs Marcellus Sci Silvestri Sc Felicis Sci Filippi et aliorum multorum Scorum. . . .' All these saints mentioned were buried either in the Cemetery of Priscilla or its immediate vicinity. [541] In any case we are in the presence here of the most ancient of Roman baptisteries.

      The Cemetery of Domitilla lies to the west of the Via Ardeatina (a road which ran parallel to the Via Appia) close to the point where it is crossed by the modern Via delle Sette Chiese. The cemetery extends under a property known as the Tor Marancia, a name doubtless derived from a certain Amaranthus. [542] In excavations made on this property a number of pagan tombs were found, which gave the clue to De Rossi that he was seeking in order to locate the cemetery of Domitilla mentioned in the Acts of Nereus and Achilles.' One of these discovered in 1772 contains the words

      FLAVIAE . DOMITILLAE
      VESPASIANI . NEPTIS
      EIVS . BENEFICIO . HOC . SEPVLCRVm
      MEIS . LIBERTIS . LIBERTABVS . POsuit.

      Another found in 1817 records how a certain Calvisius Philotas made this tomb for his brother Sergius Cornelius Julianus, for his wife Calvisia, and for himself

      EX INDVLGENTIA FLAVIAE DOMITILL.

      In close vicinity to these were discovered four inscriptions to members of the Bruttian gens. One of these makes mention of a Bruttius Praesens.

      D M.
      BRVTIO . VENVSINO
      C . BRVTTIVS . PRAESENS
      PATRONVS . LIBERTO
      BENE . MERENTI . FECIT.

      Now Eusebius in his Chronicle' tells us that he derived his information about the Domitianic persecution and the banishment of Flavia Domitilla to the island of Pontia from an historian named Bruttius, who may possibly be identified with C. Bruttius Praesens, who was consul for the second time in 139 A.D. This group of indications led Dc Rossi to suspect that the cemetery which lay beneath the Tor Marancia was none other than the Cemetery of Domitilla, in which, according to the Acts of Nereus and Achilles,' those martyrs were buried.

      Acting on this hypothesis the Commission of Sacred Archaeology under the direction of De Rossi began a systematic exploration of the cemetery in 1852. At first progress was but slow, owing to the difficulties placed in the way of research by the then proprietor of the property. Tor Marancia was however in 1873 purchased by Monsgr. Francesco de Merode, with the aim of forwarding the work by every means in his power. Already in 1865 De Rossi had re-discovered the original entrance to the Catacomb hewn out of the side of a low cliff. It must always have been a conspicuous object to the passer-by, and is a proof of the great security which was felt in the protection and immunity from disturbance afforded by the law to all places of burial. This entrance opened into a vestibule adorned with biblical frescoes, which were plainly visible from outside through the door. To this vestibule De Rossi gave the name of Il vestibule dei Flavi; its construction is assigned to the first century. The inscription above the entrance was missing, but in 1874 in the ruins of the basilica of St. Petronilla only a very short distance from the entrance was a fragment of marble containing a portion of a title, which De Rossi has restored thus:

      SepulcRVM
      FlaviORVM

      Below this is the Christian symbol, an anchor. In 1873 De Rossi was rewarded by the discovery of the basilica of Nereus and Achilles, which had been one of the special objects of his search. There could be no doubt on the matter, for a portion of an inscription of Pope Damasus was found, the contents of which are known, for a copy exists in the Pilgrim Itinerary of Einsiedeln, and a small column was unearthed on which is represented a scene of martyrdom and above it the word ACILLEVS. According to the Itineraries' the tomb of the famous martyr Petronilla lay behind the altar which covered the remains of Nereus and Achilles. The explorers were able to verify this indication. In a cubiculum behind the apse of the basilica, and approached by a short passage, a fresco was discovered on the wall filling the front of the arcisolium where the sarcophagus had lain; the painting showed two female figures standing, art elder and a younger woman with their names inscribed

      VENERANDA . DEP . VII . IDVS . IANVARIAS . PETRONELLA MARTYR.

      In or close by this cubiculum was therefore, it may be safely inferred, the burial place of PETRONILLA. Her sarcophagus was actually removed to the Vatican at the request of the King of France at a time when many such translations were made by Pope Paul I (755-756).

      The inscription on the sarcophagus.

      AVRELIAE . PETRONILLAE . FIL . DVLCISSIMAE .

      may be taken as indicating that she belonged to the Aurelian gens, several of whose members are buried in this cemetery, and that she was related to the Flavian imperial family, one of whose cognomina was Petro.

      The legend that she was the daughter of St. Peter has no foundation other than the name.

      One of the most ancient portions of the cemetery situated in the immediate vicinity, and to the south of the remains of the basilica of Nereus and Achilles (or as it is sometimes called of Petronilla), is that styled the Region of the Flavii Aurelii. It contains the inscription PhL. SABEINOS . KAI TITIANE ADELPhE not improbably the grandchildren of Flavius Clemens and of Flavia Domitilla the founder of the crypt.

      Another of the earliest and most interesting crypts in this Catacomb was discovered in 1881. The decorations of this sepulchral chamber are elaborate and rich, resembling those of a room in a Pompeian house, and belonging to the same period. Above the arcisolium inscribed on marble is the single word AMPLIATI. Les lettres de cette courte epitaphe,' remarks Marucchi, sont tres soignees et d'une forme paleographique certainement anterieure a la seconde moitie du II^e siecle; on peut la juger sans temerite de la fin du premier.' [543] It is remarkable too that such prominence should be given to a single name bespeaking probably a man of servile origin. A further mark of the regard in which this tomb was held is the existence of a staircase of later date, cut through the rock to provide a direct way of approach from the Via Ardeatina to the pilgrims. That the man thus honoured was the Ampliatus mentioned by St. Paul in the salutation in chapter xvi. of the Epistle to the Romans is therefore not an unreasonable supposition. A later inscription in the same crypt records that a certain Aurelius Ampliatus with Gordianus his son have erected a memorial to Aurelia Bonifatia, his incomparable wife. This Aurelius Ampliatus may have been a descendant of the Ampliatus who was a contemporary of the Apostles, and very probably a freedman of the Aurelian family, many members of which family, as this Catacomb bears witness, had been among the early converts to Christianity.

      The precious medallion in bronze, containing the earliest representation in existence of the heads of the two Apostles Peter and Paul, now in the Sacred Museum of the Vatican Library, was found by Boldetti in the Cemetery of Domitilla. [544]
      



      [532] The meaning of the term is uncertain. De Rossi gives it a hybrid derivation from kata and cubitorium, but this is very doubtful.

      [533] Raffaele Garrucci, Cimeteri degli antichi Ebrei; Orazio Marucchi, Elem. d'Arch. Chret. ii. 208-226, 259-276.

      [534] Lanciani, Pagan and Christian Rome, pp. 320-1. The estimate is that of Michele Stefano de Rossi made in 1860.

      [535] No inscription has been found of a later date than 410 A.D.

      [536] Aringhi, Roma Sotterranea, 1651; Boldetti, Osservazioni sopra i cimeteri di santi martiri ed antichi cristiani di Roma, 1720; Bottari, Sculture e pitture sacre extratte dai cimeteri di Roma, 1757.

      [537] I monumenti delle anti cristiane primitive ne11a metropoli di Cristianesimo, 1844.

      [538] Roma Solterranea Cristiana, 1864-77. Inscriptiones Christianae urbis Romae VIIo saeculo antiquiores, 1861-88. Il museo epigrafico cristiano pro-laterense, 1878. Musaici delle chiese di Roma anteriori at seculo XV, 1872. Especially Bullettino di Archeologia cristiana, 1863-94. The Bullettino has been continued with the title Nuovo Bullettino under the editorship of Professor O. Marucchi, the pupil and fellow-worker cf De Rossi.

      [539] The basilica of St. Sylvester suffered complete destruction during the period of the Barbarian invasions. Its very existence had for long centuries been forgotten, until De Rossi unearthed its ruins in 1889.

      [540] Marucchi, Elem. d'Arch. Chret. ii. 459.

      [541] Marucchi, Di un antico battistero recentemente scoperto nel cimetero apostolico di Priscilla a delta sue importanza storica, 1901. Le Memorie degli Apostoli Pietro e Paolo in Roma, 1903, pp. 93-108. In Roma Sotterranea Cristiana, nuova serie, tom. i. p. 10, Marucchi writes Spero di pubblicare un nuovo lavoro su questo stesso argumento.'

      [542] Supra, p. 249.

      [543] Elem. d'Arch. Chret. ii. 118.

      [544] Osservationi sui cimeteri, 1720, p. 192.

Back to George Edmundson index.

See Also:
   The Church in Rome in the First Century: Introduction
   The Church in Rome in the First Century: Lecture 1
   The Church in Rome in the First Century: Lecture 2
   The Church in Rome in the First Century: Lecture 3
   The Church in Rome in the First Century: Lecture 4
   The Church in Rome in the First Century: Lecture 5
   The Church in Rome in the First Century: Lecture 6
   The Church in Rome in the First Century: Lecture 7
   The Church in Rome in the First Century: Lecture 8
   The Church in Rome in the First Century: Appendices

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