Agnellus of Ravenna, in his Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis, written in Latin, refers to the foundation of a church dedicated to *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) in Pula (Istria) and the decoration of a church dedicated to *Andrew (the Apostle, S00288) in Ravenna (northern Italy); he claims these events took place in 546/557. Account written in Ravenna in 830/846.
Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)
Agnellus of Ravenna
Agnellus of Ravenna, Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis 76
Aedificauit que ecclesiam beatae Mariae in Pola quae uocatur Formosa, unde diaconus fuit, mira pulchritudine, et diuersis ornauit lapidibus.
‘And he [Maximian, Bishop of Ravenna, 546-557] built the church of St Mary which is called Formosa, in Pula, where he was a deacon, and he decorated it with various stones.’
Ecclesiam uero beati Andreae apostoli hic Rauennae cum omni diligentia, non longe a regione Herculana, columnas marmoreas suffulsit, ablatas que uetustas ligneas de nucibus proconnisas decorauit. Tunc ablatum corpus ipsius apostoli Rauennam ducere conabatur.
‘He decorated with all diligence the church of St Andrew the apostle here in Ravenna, not far from the Herulana region; having removed the old wooden columns made of nut trees, he filled the church with columns of proconnensian marble. Then he tried to bring the stolen body of the apostle to Ravenna.’
Text: Deliyannis 2006. Translation: Deliyannis 2004.
Cult building - independent (church)Non Liturgical Activity
Construction of cult buildingsRelics
Renovation and embellishment of cult buildings
Transfer/presence of relics from distant countriesProtagonists in Cult and Narratives
Noted absence of relics
Ecclesiastics - bishops
SourceAgnellus of Ravenna (ob. c. 846) was a deacon of the cathedral in Ravenna and – by hereditary right – abbot of two monasteries in Ravenna. He wrote his Liber Pontificalis Ecclessiae Ravennatis between 830 and 846, following the model of the Roman Liber Pontificalis. This work provides biographies of all the bishops of Ravenna from the legendary founder bishop Apollinaris to those active in Agnellus’ own day, and was originally composed to be delivered orally, most likely to clerics of Ravenna. This text is preserved in two manuscripts: one from the 15th c. (Bibliotec Estense Cod. Lat. 371 X.P.4.9.) and a fragmentary manuscript from the 16th c. (MS Vat. Lat. 5834). Agnellus bases his account of the lives of late antique bishops on documents preserved in Ravenna, stories which had been transmitted orally, and his own experience of the architectural landscape of 9th c. Ravenna.
Agnellus' work contains invaluable architectural and art historical information about Ravenna: Agnellus refers to several religious buildings in Ravenna and the neighbouring settlements of Caeserea and Classe. He describes their decoration and preserves several inscriptions, many of which are now lost to us. It must be remembered this is a 9th c. work. Agnellus’ descriptions of buildings and their fixtures is based on his 9th c. experience, and not late antique reality. Indeed, his accounts of the events of earlier years are often riddled with inaccuracies. Yet it is likely that his descriptions of the churches of Ravenna are more trustworthy. As Deborah Mauskopf Deliyannis argues, a comparison of surviving late antique mosaics with Agnellus’ account suggests that his descriptions were largely accurate. This is limited to what he does tell us – for example Arian foundations are often ignored whilst orthodox foundations are emphasised. Yet, overall, this text provides invaluable information about the cult of saints in late antique Ravenna.
DiscussionIt is probable that Agnellus gleaned this information from a inscriptions or textual sources which are now lost to us.
Maps showing the likely locations of the foundations in Classe and Ravenna are attached to this record.
Deliyannis, Deborah Mauskopf, Agnelli Ravennatis Liber pontificalis ecclesiae Ravennatis (Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis 199; Turnhout, 2006).
Deliyannis, Deborah Mauskopf, The Book of Pontiffs of the Church of Ravenna (Washington D.C., 2004).
Deichmann, Friedrich Wilhelm, Ravenna, Hauptstadt des spätantiken Abendlandes, vol. 1-3, (Wiesbaden, 1958-89).
Deliyannis, Deborah Mauskopf, Ravenna in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, 2010).
Mackie, Gillian, Early Christian Chapels in the West: Decoration, Function and Patronage (Toronto, 2003).
Moffat, Ann, "Sixth Century Ravenna from the Perspective of Abbot Agnellus," in: P. Allen and E.M. Jeffreys (eds,), The Sixth Century – End or Beginning? (Brisbane, 1996), 236-246.
Morini, E., "Le strutture monastische a Ravenna," in: Storia di Ravenna, 2.2, Dall’età bizantia all’ età ottania, ed. A. Carile (Ravenna, 1992), 305-312.
Schoolman, Edward, Rediscovering Sainthood in Italy: Hagiography and the Late Antique Past in Medieval Ravenna (Basingstoke, 2016).
Stansterre, J. M., "Monaci e monastery greci a Ravenna," in: Storia di Ravenna, 2.1, Dall’età bizantia all’ età ottania, ed. A. Carile (Ravenna, 1992), 323-329.
Verhoeven, Mariëtte, The Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna: Transformations and Memory (Turnhout, 2011).
|ID||Name||Name in Source||Identity||S00033||Mary, Mother of Christ||Maria||Certain||S00288||Andrew, the Apostle||Andreas||Certain|
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Frances Trzeciak, Cult of Saints, E05786 - http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E05786