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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world

The Notitia ecclesiarum Urbis Romae, written in Latin in Rome c. 625/638 names the basilica of *Valentinus (priest and martyr of Rome, S00433) on the via Flaminia, north of Rome, and mentions, but does not name, other martyrs' graves nearby.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Literary - Pilgrim accounts and itineraries

Major author/Major anonymous work

Lists of Shrines in Rome

Catalogue of the Churches of the City of Rome (Notitia ecclesiarum Urbis Romae) 2

Deinde intrabis per urbem ad aquilonem donec peruenies ad portam Flamineam ubi sanctus Valentinus martir quiescit uia Flaminea in basilica magna - quam Honorius reparauit -, et alii martires in aquilone plaga sub terra.

'From there [the church of SS Giovanni e Paolo] you pass through the city heading north until you reach the porta Flaminia where saint Valentinus rests on the via Flaminia in a large basilica which Honorius restored. There are also other martyrs under the earth to the north.'

Text: Glorie; Translation: R. Wiśniewski
Cult Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave
Burial site of a saint - cemetery/catacomb
Cult building - independent (church)

Non Liturgical Activity

Renovation and embellishment of cult buildings


Bodily relic - entire body

Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Although described as a catalogue, or list, of the churches of the city of Rome, the Notitia ecclesiarum Urbis Romae is in reality a list of saints' graves, and, with one single exception (E00259), these were located outside the city-walls, in the catacombs and churches that ringed Rome. The list is arranged by the major roads leaving the city, starting in the north, with the via Flaminia, and working round clockwise, to end on the via Cornelia; this arrangement was probably intentional, in order to close the list with Rome's greatest shrine, the church and grave of Peter on the Vatican hill.

Notitia was probably composed during or shortly after the pontificate of Pope Honorius (625-638), several of whose constructions and works of repair are noted, and certainly before that of Theodore (642-649), since, when it describes the church of St Valentinus on the Via Flaminia (E00633), it mentions repairs by Honorius but fails to mention a rebuilding by Theodore (for which, see E00856).

A description of the basilica of St Peter (E00690), written around the middle of the 8th century, was later appended to the original list.

The author of the
Notitia is unknown, and could have been either a Roman or a foreign visitor; it survives in a single late-eighth-century manuscript now in Vienna.

Notitia is clearly based on thorough knowledge of the extramural shrines of Rome (whether at first or second hand); but inevitably, with so many Roman martyrs (many with similar or identical names) and with the accretion of different traditions over the centuries, many of the names of martyrs given in the text are of uncertain identification and it also contains some obvious errors (for instance, several popes who are known to have died a peaceful death are here described as martyrs). It is generally impossible to tell which of these uncertainties and errors were already established at the shrines and which were introduced by our author.


For this church, see also E07000.


Glorie, F., Itineraria et alia geographica aetatis patrum, saec. VI - VIII (Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina 175; Turnhout: Brepols, 1965), 205-311.

Record Created By

Robert Wiśniewski, Philip Polcar

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00060Martyrs, unnamed or name lostCertain
S00433Valentinus, priest and martyr of RomeValentinusCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Robert Wiśniewski, Philip Polcar, Cult of Saints, E00633 -