POSTHUMOUS HONOURS AND SANCTUARIES.
We have seen that the bodies of the two martyrs who had died in SardiniaPontianus and Hippolytuswere brought back to find a resting place amidst the scenes of their former life and work. They were companions in their burial, as they had been companions in their banishment. The same Ides of August, presumably in the year 237 or 238, saw them both deposited with all honours in the suburban Cemeteries. But, though the day was the same, the place was different. Pontianus, the pope, was laid in the papal crypt then recently constructed in connexion with the Cemetery of Callistus on the Appian Way, but already occupied by his successor Anteros who died after occupying the papal throne a few months (A.D. 236) and thus preceded him to his grave. His companion in exile Hippolytus found his grave on another of the great roads which stretch across the Campagnathe Tiburtine Way. He was laid in a catacomb constructed on the Ager Veranusan estate doubtless so called from some former owner.
On this way to Tivoli, not far from the Praetorian camp and less than a mile from the City gate, we are confronted, at least as early as the fourth century, with two famous cemeteries standing almost face to face, each with its proper sanctuary, on either side of the road, which here runs roughly speaking from West to East. On the southern or right side is the more famous of the two, the Cemetery of S. Cyriace connected with which stands the Basilica of S. Laurentius selected by the latest of the popes, whose long tenure of office and notable career alike single him out from the long line of his predecessors, as his last resting-place by the side of the famous deacon of Rome. On the left hand of the same road and therefore to the North, between this Via Tiburtina and the Via Nomentana, is the site of the Cemetery and Basilica of S. Hippolytus. The two Cemeteries with their respective sanctuaries are quite distinct in ancient authorities; but owing to the fact
that the shrine and Cemetery of S. Hippolytus were ruined and obscured or obliterated at a comparatively early date, and that many monuments were transferred from it to the larger and more distinguished sanctuary on the south side of the road, its memory was absorbed in the fame of the Basilica of S. Laurentius, and modern writers have inextricably fused and confused the two. The discoveries of recent years, interpreted by the archaeological genius of De Rossi, have corrected the error, and established the distinction beyond dispute.
The sanctuary and cemetery of Hippolytus therefore, with which we are directly concerned, had no connexion originally with the famous basilica of S. Laurentius. Its site is on the sloping ground or 'mons,' as it is called on the left of the road, and therefore between the Cemeteries of S. Agnese on the Via Nomentana to the North and that of S. Laurentius (or more properly of S. Cyriace) on the Via Tiburtina to the South. Dated inscriptions have been found in these catacombs, ranging from the close of the third century to the beginning of the fifth1. As it appears to be called the Coemeterium Hippolyti, and as the genitive in such cases generally denotes the owner or founder of the place of sepulture, not the principal saint whose cultus was celebrated there, De Rossi reasonably conjectures that this cemetery was Hippolytus' own possession2. This seems highly probable for many reasons. It would account for the selection of the spot for his own grave; whereas the circumstances of his burial would have suggested some other locality, in closer proximity to Pontianus his companion alike in exile and in death. It would account, as I have already pointed out, also for the unique honour which was done to him in the erection of a statue on the spot, whether soon after his death or even during his life time, for it would be erected on his own estate. Considering his hostile relations to the heads of the Roman hierarchy during his life time on the one hand, and the persecutions to which he was subjected from the civil powers on the other, the circumstances must have been very favourable in other
1 See Bull. di Archeol. Crist. Ser. iv. I. p. 49.
2 See Bull. di Archeol. Crist. l. c. p. 15 sq (1882); comp. Rom. Sott. I. p. 116 sq. The earliest notice of his burial (see above, I. p. 251) in the Depositio Martyrum of the Liberian Catalogue gives 'Ypoliti in Tiburtina et Pontiani in Calisti,' where according to De Rossi we should understand 'in ejusdem coemeterio' after 'Ypoliti.' De Rossi gives other notices indicating that the proper name of these catacombs was Coemeterium S. Hippolyti. In the Martyr. Hieron. xiii Kal. Jul. the reading of the Berne MS is 'Rome, in cimiterio Yppoliti via Tiburtina,' where the common text has 'Romae Hippolyti,' thus substituting another martyr Hippolytus for the place of burial.
respects to enable his friends to do him this honour. However great their zeal, they must have been secure from molestation on either side; and only the absolute possession of the ground could have given them this security.
Here then he was deposited on the Ides of August the same day on which he was commemorated in after ages for some centuries. But evil days soon overtook the Church of Rome. The next century was crowded with other cares and interests, and the past was forgotten. A sponge passed over the records of Hippolytus and his times; and only the confused smear remained of a once exceptionally vivid and characteristic portraiture. There were the schisms and feuds within the Roman Church itselfpopes and antipopes; there were the persecutions which assailed the Christians from without, and bred endless perplexities of discipline within; there were the great dogmatic controversies which harried the universal Church from one end to the other; last, but not least, there were the first rumblings of the dark thunder-cloud in the Northern sky, the earliest inroads of those barbarian hordes who were destined before long to sweep away old Rome in desolation and ruin. At length towards the close of the fourth century on the accession of Damasus came a respite; when men could breathe again, and their interest in the past revived.
Damasus (A.D. 366384) was a great restorer of the sanctuaries of Rome. The catacombs more especially, as the resting places of the martyrs, received his attention. In this pious work he was ably seconded by the famous calligrapher Furius Dionisius Filocalus, who describes himself as the 'cultor atque amator' of Damasus. Rarely if ever, in the history of the Church, has a great leader been fired with such zeal for recording the Christian heroism of the past and found so accomplished an artificer to carry out his designs. Rarely, if ever, has history stood in sorer need of such a chronicler1. Our only regret is that the knowledge of Damasus was not commensurate to his enthusiasm.
Among the many saints of the past whose memory profited by his reverential zeal, was the martyred father of the Church, the venerable Hippolytus. Already a sanctuary enclosed the remains of the saint; but it was enlarged and beautified by Damasus, when on the defeat of the rival faction which had supported the antipope Ursicinus he received the allegiance of the whole Roman Church. The inscription commemorating the event runs as follows
1 For an account of the inscriptions of Damasustheir composition and calligraphysee De Rossi in Bull. di Archeol. Crist. Ser. iv, III. p. 7 sq.
LAETA DEO PLEBS SANCTA CANAT QVOD MOENIA CRESCVNT
ET RENOVATA DOMVS MARTYRIS HIPPOLITI1.
It is conjectured that he received the submission of the opposite party in this very building. There would be a singular appropriateness in its selection for this purpose; since he supposed that Hippolytus had at one time favoured the antipapal schism of Novatiana forerunner of Ursicinusand afterwards by an opportune recantation had recalled the people from the paths of error to the unity of the Church. This supposed incident in the saint's career he commemorated in another inscription set up in the same building, to do honour to 'Hippolytus the elder2.'
But Damasus knew little or nothing beyond the fame of Hippolytus as a martyr, and probably as a writer. A confused rumour had reached his ears that Hippolytus had not been always on friendly terms with the popes his predecessors. He concluded therefore, being ignorant of the chronology of the saint's life, that he must have been an adherent of the Novatian party (see above, p. 424 sq), the chief precedent, which history recorded of rival claimants to the papal throne, before the papal schism which amidst disgraceful and murderous riots had ushered in his own elevation to the see of S. Peter.
At the beginning of the next century occurred the visit of the Spanish poet Prudentius to this shrine.
His collection of hymns entitled Peri Stephanon or De Coronis, 'the crowns of the martyrs,' consists of fifteen poems. Most of these commemorate Spanish martyrs like Vincentius and Eulalia, or martyrs already celebrated by festivals in the Spanish Church. But the largest space (2152 verses out of 3875) is devoted to four martyrs especially honoured in Rome, Laurentius, Romanus, Hippolytus, and Agnes, besides a short poem (66 lines) on the passion of S. Peter and S. Paul. Rome therefore may be said to have inspired the collection. But it will be observed that all the four were celebrated in the catacombs lying on the Tiburtine Way or near it. The celebration of the three former moreover took place at the same time of the year within five days of each other (Aug. 9, Aug. 10, and Aug. 13) and in the same locality, in the twin sanctuaries which stood vis à vis on the Tiburtine Way.
Of the connexion between the cultus of S. Laurence and S. Hippolytus I shall have much to say hereafter. But who was the other member
1 AR. 7. b; see above, p. 329.
2 AR. 7. a; see above, p. 328.
EPISTLES OF S. CLEMENT.
of the trio? Romanus is a strictly historical person. He was a deacon and exorcist who suffered in the persecution of Diocletian (A.D. 303), a native of Caesarea in Palestine or the neighbourhood, but actually martyred in Antioch and therefore unconnected originally with Rome. His fame is especially associated with a miracle, which (whatever may be the foundation of fact) is recorded by his contemporary and fellow-countryman, the historian Eusebius; he astounded the bystanders by speaking distinctly after his tongue had been cut out1.
This was unquestionably the Romanus who is celebrated in the poem of Prudentius. The poet dwells at great length on this very miracle, embellishing it with many hideous accessories. Moreover he adds the incident of a little childa mere infantbeing summoned by Romanus from among the Christian bystanders and invited by the saint to bear testimony to Christ. The child did this to the edification of the bystanders, though at the cost of its own life. The incident of this infant martyr has no place in the contemporary record of Eusebius; but it was attached to the story of Romanus at a very early date. I think I see the origin of this edifying appendage to the contemporary account of Eusebius. Some eulogist of Romanus, when he described the constancy of the saint under the threats of the tyrant, would apply to him, perhaps would put into his own mouth, the scriptural words Ps. viii. 2 'Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of Thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.' As a matter of fact S. Chrysostom, who nevertheless betrays no knowledge of the infant-martyr, uses this very text in his extant oration on Romanus2. It was only a single step to go from the abstract to the concrete, and to produce the babe in person. Accordingly another orator, apparently a younger contemporary
1 Euseb. Mart. Palaest. § 9, in the form of this work attached to the Ecclesiastical History. See also the other recension, preserved only in the Syriac which is translated by Cureton (pp. 6, 54). The story of Romanus is told likewise in the spurious work de Resurrectione, preserved only in Latin and ascribed to Eusebius, Op. VI. p. 1097 sq (Migne). The part relating to Romanus is given also in Ruinart Act. Sinc. Mart. p. 392. Evidently this is not a genuine work of Eusebius, as is apparent (if for no other reason) from the fact that Romanus is made not a cleric, but a soldier; of which transformation I shall have to speak presently. Nevertheless it was written originally in Greek, as it shows again and again; e.g. 'forte proferentium Judaeorum tres pueros', a literal translation of the genitive absolute (προφεροντων των Ιουδαιων, 'the Jews alleging the case of the Three Children'), but utterly without sense in the Latin. It betrays the influence of S. Chrysostom's genuine oration (see the next note).
Theodoret (Epist. 130, IV. p. 1218 Schulze) mentions the name of the martyr, but nothing more.
2 Chrysost. Op. II. p. 616 (ed. Bened.).
of the golden-mouthed, preaching likewise at Antioch on the Day of S. Romanus in a sermon which is wrongly ascribed to S. Chrysostom himself, makes Romanus ask that a babe (βρεφος) shall be brought in from the market-place, taken (it would appear) at hap-hazard; and a child is brought, testifies, and suffers accordingly1. At all events this addition to the original story must have been circulated before the age of Prudentius. Prudentius however knows nothing, or at least says nothing, about the infant's name. By later martyrologists it is called Barulas or Baralas. This name appears in the Latin Martyrologies of Ado and others.
Of the connexion of this Romanusa Palestinian by birth and an Antiochene by martyrdomnot only with Rome but with the sanctuaries on the Tiburtine Way, we have ample proof, even if it might not have been inferred from his prominence in the collection of Prudentius. In the inscription, which was put up in the 13th century in the basilica of S. Laurence, we read
CONTINET HOC TEMPLVM SANCTORVM CORPORA PLVRA
A QVIBVS AVXJLIVM SVPPLEX HIC POSCERE CVRA.
Then, after mentioning Xystus and Laurentius with the first martyr Stephen, the inscription enumerates Hippolytus with his nurse Concordia and his family. Then follows next in order
Of this inscription I shall have to say more presently2. For my immediate purpose this mention is sufficient. The time also of the festival of S. Romanus nearly coincided with those of S. Laurence and S. Hippolytus as appears from this notice in the Old Roman Martyrology (AR. 40. g), where we have in juxta-position
|v Id Aug.||Romae, Romani militis|
|Vigilia sancti Laurentii|
|iv Id Aug.||Romae Laurentii archidiacon. martyris et militum clxv.|
|Idus Aug.||Romae, Hippolyti martyris cum familia sua, et S. Concordiae nutricis ejus;|
1 Op. II. p. 618. The festival of S. Romanus was evidently a great day at Antioch and would give occasion to flights of Christian oratory which influenced the transmission and embellishment of the story. The oration of our pseudo-Chrysostom is one of these. Its genuineness is condemned on the ground of style; but the Benedictine editor adds (for reasons given) 'crediderem...esse cujusdam presbyteri Antiocheni, qui sub Flaviano alternas cum Chrysostomo concionandi partes ageret'; see also Tillemont Mém. v. p. 206.
2 See below, p. 461 sq, 469 sq.
and we meet with similar notices in Florus-Beda and in Ado and the later Roman Martyrologists.
There can be no doubt therefore that the Romanus of Prudentius and of the Roman Martyrologists is the same person with the Romanus of Eusebius and Chrysostom. But, if so, how do we explain two differences? (1) The Romanus of Eusebius is a cleric, a 'deacon and exorcist'; but the Romanus of the Roman Martyrologists is a soldier: (2) The Romanus martyred at Antioch was commemorated on Nov. 18, but the Romanus of the Tiburtine way and of the Latin Church generally on Aug. 9, the eve of S. Laurence.
(1) As regards the profession of Romanus the testimony of Eusebius is quite distinct. This martyr was a deacon in one of the villages in the neighbourhood of his own Caesarea; but in all authors after Eusebius his clerical status has disappeared. Even Chrysostom, who was most favourably situated as to time and place for ascertaining the truth, seems to have regarded him as a soldier. He tells how Romanus kept together the army (στρατοπεδον) of Christ and shifted the shame of defeat from the Christians to the heads of the foes (τας των πολεμιων κεφαλας, p. 613). He represents the devil as desiring, by cutting out the martyr's tongue rather than depriving him of life outright, to make him a witness of 'the lapses and the disaster of his own soldiers' (των πτωματων και της συμφορας των οικειων στρατιωτων, p. 614). The second passage at all events does not look like a metaphor, though we might be inclined so to interpret the first. But whatever may have been Chrysostom's own meaning, this figure of Christian warfare was doubtless the bridge of passage from Romanus the cleric to Romanus the soldier. This appears in the development of the story, when we arrive at the pseudo-Eusebius, who may not improbably have written before the close of the fourth century and whose account appears to be influenced by the eulogium of S. Chrysostom. We are there told that Romanus arriving at Antioch, and finding that 'many soldiers belonging to the Church had lapsed' (multos milites cecidisse ecclesiae), presented himself before the judge, and said; 'Thou shalt not depart exulting, for God has soldiers who cannot be forced to submit' (habet enim Deus milites qui superari non possunt). This 'soldier of the Lord' (Domini miles) accordingly resolves to show his own constancy by resistance. Though Romanus is not distinctly called 'a soldier' here, the language implies his military profession. To this account of the pseudo-Eusebius, which we have only in a Latin translation, the Latin Martyrologists seem from several indications to have been indebted. With them at all events he is unmistakeably a soldier.
Of the profession of Romanus the Spanish poet tells us nothing. So far as his direct language goes he might have been either a cleric or a soldier, but he describes him as a noble of ancient lineage (vetusta nobilem prosapia) who by his many services had won the first rank among the citizens (meritisque multis esse primum civem); and at the suggestion of the attendants, the offensive crowd (noxialem stipitem) are removed by the judge, that a man of illustrious rank might not be condemned by a plebeian sentencea description which ill assorts with a simple deacon ministering in an obscure village of Palestine. We may reasonably assume therefore, that Prudentius too regarded Romanus as a soldier, if he had any distinct conception at all on this point. The poem on Romanus is the pièce de resistance of the collection. It occupies not fewer than 1140 lines, nearly a third of the whole number. It is made the vehicle for an elaborate attack on the absurdities of idolatry, after the names of the apologists, with an accompanying defence of Christianityneither the attack nor the defence wanting in vigour and eloquence of a certain kind. We may suspect that Prudentius, having little to tell of the saint himself, poured into this poem the contents of his poetical common-place book. But the immediate impulse to the poem seems to have been given by the festival which he witnessed on the Tiburtine Way.
(2) But what shall we say of the time of the festival, Aug. 9th? Eusebius again is quite explicit as to the day of the martyrdom. His Romanus suffered at Antioch in the first year of Diocletian's persecution on the 16th Dius, equivalent to xv Kal. Dec. (Nov. 18), or the 7th (it should be the 17th) later Teshri, as given in the Syriac recension, the same day on which his fellow-countrymen Alphaeus and Zacchaeus were martyred at Cassarea. Accordingly we find this day assigned to him in the ancient Syriac Calendar, which must date from the latter half of the fourth century (the extant MS bearing date 412). The festival therefore, as celebrated at Rome, must be the commemoration of some translationprobably the deposition of the reliques in this Roman sanctuary on the Tiburtine way. But the Roman Martyrologies, from the Martyrologium Hieronymianum onward, preserve elsewhere the record of the true day of martyrdom. The fact is that the contents of the Syriac Martyrology, or of some allied Calendar, or both, were shovelled into this valuable refuse-heap of martyrological records which bears the name of Jerome, and so we find:
|xv Kal. Dec.||In Caesarea natalis sanctorum...Alphaei, Zacchaei, Romani.|
|xiv Kal. Dec.||In Antiochia civitate, Romani monachi, Baralae;|
where we have a double entry of the same person. The corresponding notice in the Vetus Romanum is
xiv Kal. Dec. Antiochiae Romani monachi et martyris,
where the clerical character of Romanus is still preserved in 'monachus.' Again in the later Martyrologists, Ado and his companions, the notice of Romanus of Antioch appears on one of these two days in December, where he is correctly described as a martyr in the persecution of Diocletian, where the prefect's name Asclepiades is given (after Prudentius), and where the story of the child Baralas is likewise told.
We are now in a position to say something more generally about this journey of Prudentius to Rome, so fertile in its poetical results; and the investigation is not uninstructive. On his way from Spain to the eternal city he stops at Forum Cornelii or Forum Syllae, the modern Imola; and there he pays his devotions at the shrine of the local saint, to which the cathedral of Imola is still dedicatedCassianus the school-master martyr who was beaten to death with the tablets and stabbed with the stiles of the ungrateful urchins whom he had taught. Here he saw a picturenot less vivid and doubtless not less truthful than the representation of Hippolytus' sanctuary of the Tiburtine Way which he describes afterwardsof the pedagogue done to death by the beardless monsters in revenge for the castigations of the rod which they must have richly deserved. This is the only poem in the whole collection which commemorates a martyr not connected either with his native Spain or with Rome the object of his visit. At Rome he would probably arrive before the festival of the Passion of S. Peter and S. Paul (June 29th). This indeed might have been the immediate aim of his journey, and would determine the time of his arrival in the city. He describes the unwonted stir among the Roman people,
Plus solito coeunt ad gaudia; die, amice, quid sit
Romam per omnem cursitant ovantque.
He pictures, though briefly, yet notwithstanding some difficulties with the vividness of an eye-witness, the two basilicas of S. Peter and S. Paul on either side of the rivertheir position and features; he describes the 'sacerdos,' probably the Roman bishop, as busied from morning to night (so we may perhaps paraphrase the word 'pervigil'), celebrating the sacred rites, first at the one and then at the other; he speaks of himself with the rest of the crowd as hurrying from the one to the other
Nos ad utrumque tamen gressu properemus incitato,
Et his et illis perfruamur hymnis;
and he concludes by appealing to all strangers, visitors like himself in the holy city, to profit by the occasion;
Haec didicisse sat est Romae tibi; tu, domum reversus,
Diem bifestum sic colas memento.
This poem was, it would almost seem, written for the occasion. But his chief interest gathers about the three festivals celebrated in the middle of August on the Tiburtine waythose of S. Romanus, S. Laurentius, and S. Hippolytus. The poem on S. Agnes was suggested probably by its proximity; for her martyrdom was celebrated at a different time of the yearin January. The eulogy of S. Cyprian may also have been prompted by this Roman visit; for his commemoration was celebrated in the cemetery of S. Callistus on xviii Kal. Oct. (Sept. 15); but, as Prudentius himself says, Cyprian was celebrated all the world round,
Praesidet Hesperiae, Christum serit ultimis Iberis.
He was, writes the poet, though 'proprius patriae martyr,' yet 'ore et amore noster.'
From this long digression on the hymns of Prudentius and more especially on Romanus, of which the motive will appear presently, I return to Hippolytus. Prudentius gives us a minute and accurate description of what he saw at the commemoration on the Tiburtine Way. There was the picture of the martyrdom over the tomb of the martyr, painted in vivid colours; the mangled limbs scattered here and there; the thorns and thickets stained with the vermilion blood; the weeping friends, following in the rear and gathering the remains into their bosom; one fondling his snow-white head, others his mutilated arms and legs; others wiping up with their clothes or with sponges the blood-bespattered ground, that nothing might be lost of the precious remains. He then describes the sanctuary itself; the crypt with its dark galleries, not far from the city walls; the subterranean recesses lighted here and there with windows in the roof, so that the sun's rays poured in. Thither the martyr's body was brought from Ostia, where the martyrdom took place, and there deposited in a shrine gleaming with solid silver. Lining the recess were slabs of smooth Parian marble adorned with gold. From morning to night the tide of worshippers flowed in constant succession, Romans and foreigners; kissing the precious metal and pouring fragrant ointment on it, their faces bedewed with tears. Nobles and common-folk jostled each other shoulder to shoulder; visitors, clad in festive white, thronged from all
parts; the roads poured in their contingent from every sidefrom Picenum and Etruria, the rude Samnite, the Campanian from lofty Capua, the citizens of Nolahusbands, wives, and children. Wide though the space, it was all too little for the dense multitudes. But hard by there is another temple ready to receive the crowds, towering upward with its lofty walls; a double range of columns supports the gilded beams of the roof; the aisles end in curved recesses; the central nave rises to a greater height; in front is a lofty tribunal approached by steps, whence the chief priest preaches God. With difficulty does even this larger edifice receive the surging and heaving crowds, thus opening a mother's bosom to gather and cherish her children. 'If my memory serves me aright,' the poet adds, 'beautiful Rome worships this saint on the Ides of August'; and he urges his bishop, Valerianus of Zaragoza, to whom the poem is addressed, to give a place among the annual festivals to Hippolytus, as places were already given to Cyprian, to Chelidonius, to Eulalia. 'So,' he concludes, 'when thou shalt have filled the folds with milk-white lambs, mayest thou be borne aloft and join the company of holy Hippolytus.' Evidently the cult of S. Hippolytus was at its zenith, when Prudentius visited the shrine; as it naturally would be after the recent architectural and decorative splendours lavished upon it by Damasus.
Of the scene of this multifarious gathering no question can now be entertained. Recent excavations have laid open the subterranean basilica of S. Hippolytus on the north of the Tiburtine Waythe specus exceptionally spacious for underground sanctuaries of this kind, lit from windows in the roof, substantially as it was seen by the eyes of Prudentius. Of this however I shall have to speak presently. But what was the larger edifice which received the throngs too great for the cavern beneath? Was it another basilica of S. Hippolytus above ground on or near the same site? Or was it the more famous sanctuary of S. Laurence on the south side of the road? Not unnaturally critics have inclined to this latter view. The excavations in the cemetery of Hippolytus have not proceeded far enough hitherto to enable us to form a confident opinion. But it must be remembered that at that remote age only the Constantinian basilica of S. Laurence existednot a very spacious building on any showing. The churches of Xystus III (A.D. 440), of Pelagius II (A.D. 578), and of Honorius III (A.D. 1216), were still unbuilt. The actual condition of the basilica of S. Laurence in the eye of Prudentiusa subject beset with considerable difficultieswill demand a few words of explanation presently.
But what was this picture of the martyrdom so vivid in its details
which Prudentius saw and described? The most improbable supposition of all is that it represented the actual event. 'It is more like a poet's or a painter's than a prefect's deed,' it has been truly said1, 'to tear an old Christian with horses, whether because of his own unluckily suggestive name or because of the tale of his namesake'the hero of the ancient Greek myth. Some have supposed therefore that a classical sculpture or painting of the son of Theseus, the hero of Greek tragedy, torn to pieces by horses, was discovered in the neighbourhood (Döllinger, p. 39 sq), or removed from elsewhere and placed in the chapel of his namesake. This is a tempting explanation; but unless Prudentius has far exceeded the license of poets in his description, it will not suit the details. What are we to say of the collection of the reliques? What of the 'venerable white head' fondled in the lap of the disciples? What of the sopping and sponging up the blood? Obviously we have here not a work of Greek or Grseco-roman art, but a product of Christian piety, resembling in its gross realism and bad taste, as well as its intensity and devotion, the pictures of martyrdom with which we are familiar a few centuries later. Certainly it was not a sculpture, unless it had been painted over by some Christian artist; for Prudentius speaks of the vivid colouring, the purple and vermilion, of the scene. Moreover, though we should accept this explanation of the picture on the Tiburtine Way, we have still to account for the similar painting which the poet saw on this same journey at Imolathe martyrdom of Cassianus not less realistic and described with equal vividness. The martyrdom of Cassianus at all events had no counterpart in ancient Greek legend. De Rossi thinks and gives reason for thinking2, that this representation of Hippolytus' martyrdom was painted on a very small scalelike a miniature or a Dutch work of art. This seems not improbable; though no stress can be laid on the fact that recent explorations have not as yet brought to light any traces of its existence. Even if it had been a large fresco, we could not hope to discover any vestiges remaining in a place which has passed through so many vicissitudes as the sanctuary of S. Hippolytus. The most probable explanation seems to be that, the manner of Hippolytus' death being unknown and some concrete representation being necessary, this early Christian painter selected the fate of his mystical namesake as 'a pictorial mode of writing above the shrine HIPPOLYTUS MARTYR3.'
1 Benson Journ. of Class. and Sacr. Philol. I. p. 192.
2 Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882, p. 73 sq.
3 Benson p. 210. I should say that this article On the Martyrdom and Commemorations of S. Hippolytus, which I have more than once quoted, was written without the knowledge of recent discoveries, when it was still possible to maintain that the original Hippolytus of the Ager Veranus was not a cleric, but a soldier.
After the visit of Prudentius we find no notice of this cemetery and crypt of S. Hippolytus for nearly a century and a half. Then, during the papacy of Vigilius (A. D. 537555) a record is preserved of its restoration by one Andreas a presbyter, in an inscription of which fragments have been found on the spot itself and of which the concluding lines are1
PRAESVLE VIGILIO SVMP[SERVNT] ANTRA DECOREM
PRAESBYTERI ANDREAE CVR[A] PEREGIT OPVS.
It was a season of great trouble and disaster to the Roman Church in many ways. Rome stood two sieges from the barbarians during this single episcopate, the one from Witiges in A.D. 537, 538, the other from Totila in A. D. 546, 547. The suburban churches and cemeteries were devastated and laid in ruins. It must have been on one of these occasions that the renovation of which the inscription speaks took place.
As the writer apparently speaks of a 'second' devastation (ITERVM), it would seem to have been after the invasion of Totila that these repairs were undertaken2. This accords with the language above quoted which gives only the name of Vigilius as dating the epoch ('praesule Vigilio'); whereas in another case, when the restoration took place presumably after the former siege by Witiges, we are told that pope Vigilius himself 'hostibus expulsis omne novavit opus3.' Vigilius was absent from Rome during the last years of his life. The writer in his account of these restorations under Vigilius mentions the skylights in the roof admitting the sun, which were a special feature of this subterranean church and which Prudentius had described a century and a half beforehere specified as three in number'trinum stupuit per specula lumen.'
Connected with this group of saints commemorated in August on the Tiburtine Way was the cultus of S. Genesius, the Roman actor of pantomimes who is said to have suffered in the persecution of Diocletian. He is mentioned in the medieval itineraries in the entourage of Hippolytus as lying near Concordia, between Triphonia and Cyrilla. He must therefore have been buried in the cemetery of Hippolytus4.
1 Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882, p. 59 sq, where the inscription is given in its correct form. The lacunae were incorrectly supplied in an earlier number, ib. 1881, p. 40.
2 See Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882, p. 61 sq.
3 Comp. ib. 1873, p. 46 sq; 1876, p. 125.
4 Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882, p. 23 sq; comp. Rom. Sott. I. p. 178. There were two martyrs of this name; (1) A notary of Aries who suffered under Diocletian, A.D. 303; (2) A pantomime actor of Rome who suffered in this same year or (as some think) A.D. 285 or 286. They are both celebrated on the same day viii Kal. Sept. (Aug. 25) in Ado and the Latin Martyrologists; or on successive days, Aug. 24 and Aug. 25. De Rossi (l. c.) says that the Genesius of the Ager Veranus was the actor. It would seem to me difficult to say that there was no confusion between the two. In the Martyrologium Vetus both the two are named on the same day Aug. 25, 'Genesius mimus' and 'Genesius Arelatensis'; in the old Carthaginian Calendar only the former. In Prudentius (Peristeph. 4), who was fresh from the Ager Veranus, Genesius of Aries is mentioned (ver. 36) among other martyrs at Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza). Was there only one Genesius after allfirst notary and then actor; just as there was only one Romanus and only one Hippolytus (see p. 462 sq, p. 460 sq)?
His day was viii Kal. Sept. (Aug. 25th). Nearly two centuries later than the above mentioned restorations of Vigilius, we find a successor of Vigilius, Gregory III [A.D. 731741], restoring the roof of the Church of S. Genesius, and erecting an altar of the Saviour there (AR. 15 A b). This was presumably some above-ground building erected in honor of Genesius within the precincts of the cemetery of Hippolytus, but we have no adequate information.
Again there is silence for some centuries respecting the basilica of S. Hippolytus; but meanwhile important works were carried out on the opposite side of the Tiburtine Way in the more famous sanctuary of S. Laurentius, which in course of time had a fatal influence on the decadence and obliteration of the humbler cemetery and shrine. As the fate of the two is ultimately connected together, and as some account of the history of the Church of S. Laurence is therefore necessary for the appreciation of my particular subject, this will be a convenient point for a very few words of explanation.
The honour paid to S. Laurence, the deacon of Sixtus III, who perished with his master in the Decian persecution, dates from the earliest times. He was the Stephen of the Western Church. 'Quam non potest abscondi Roma,' says Augustine, 'tam non potest abscondi Laurentii corona1.' 'De beati solemnitate Laurentii,' says the prayer in the oldest Roman sacramentary, 'peculiarius prae caeteris Roma laetatur; cujus nascendo civis, sacer minister, dedicatum nomini Tuo munus est proprium' (Liturg. Rom. Vet. i. p. 398, Muratori). His festival had a special vigil, which was celebrated from the earliest timesa peculiar honour bestowed on few saints besides. His name appears in calendars which can hardly date more than a generation after his death. It is no marvel then that the aureole which encircled the
1 Serm. 303, Op. v. p. J233, ed. Bened.
heads of other neighbouring saints and martyrseven of the famous Hippolytus himselfshould have paled in the light of his unique splendour.
How much truth there may be in the current story about the mode of S. Laurence's martyrdom, we need not stop to enquire. His day was the fourth before the Ides of August, three days before the commemoration of S. Hippolytus. As the deposition of Hippolytus on the opposite side of the Tiburtine Way probably took place some years before his death, we must regard the circumstance which brought them into close connexion in time as well as place, as a mere coincidence. But it was fraught with momentous consequences to his posthumous fame.
The architectural history of the basilica of S. Laurence is strangely complicated; and the problems have only been solved (not yet completely) in our own generation. The accounts given by Bunsen1 and older writers are altogether erroneous. The excavations of recent years, interpreted by the archaeological knowledge of De Rossi and others, have gone far to solve the problem2.
The original basilica of Constantine stood over the tomb of the martyr. It occupied, roughly speaking, the same site as the present chancel, i.e. as the basilica of Pelagius II. It was orientated in the same waythe apse being at the West end, and the narthex at the East. At the same time that this pope built this church over the tomb, he adorned the crypt itself, in which the body lay, with exceptional splendours and endowed it with costly gifts. Damasus adorned his altar with gifts which he commemorated in an inscription on the spot
HAEC DAMASVS CVMVLAT SVPPLEX ALTARIA DONIS
MARTYRIS AEGREGII SVSCIPIENS MERITVM3.
Before the close of the century [c. A.D. 400] we read of some works executed by one Leopardus, a priestnot unknown to us for his zeal on behalf of other sanctuariesand commemorated by an inscription4.
Towards the middle of the next century, the reigning pope Sixtus III
1 Beschreibung der Stadt III. Pt. ii. p. 312 sq. The error of these older writers in connecting this basilica with the name of Galla Placidia and thus throwing the architectural chronology into confusion is explained by De Rossi, Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1864, p. 43; Inscr. Christ. Urb. Rom. II. p. 105.
2 See especially De Rossi Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1864, p. 42 sq; 1876, p. 22 sq: and the important notes of Duchesne, Lib. Pont. I. p. 197 sq, 235 sq, 310.
3 Inscr. Christ. Urb. Rom. II. pp. 82, 117.
4 Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1867, p. 53 sq; comp. Inscr. Christ. Urb. Rom. II. p. 155.
(A. D. 432440) made a highly important addition to the buildings on this ground (AR. 15 B b). He not only adorned the existing confession of S. Laurentius with columns of porphyry and in other ways, the previous work of Constantine having probably suffered in the pillage of A. D. 410 under Alaric; but he built an entirely new and more spacious basilica to the West of the Constantinian church, so that the apses of the two buildingsthe old and the newstood back to back. This building of Sixtus corresponds with the nave of the existing basilica. Its apse was at the East end, and its narthex at the West. This basilica was termed 'Dei genetricis,' 'of the Mother of God'; a designation which would seem especially appropriate at a time when the Nestorian controversy was agitating the Church. This is the 'basilica major,' which in the Itineraries of the seventh century is distinguished from the 'basilica ubi ipse modo requiescit' (AR. 38 b). It bears this name in two inscriptions of the fifth century found on the spot [IN B]ASSILICA MAXIO[RE], IN BASILICA MAIORE AD DOMNV LAVRENTIVM1.
Again Pelagius II [A.D. 579590] enlarged, raised, and generally rebuilt, the smaller basilica to the East, which rose over the body. The Liber Pontificalis I. p. 309 (Duchesne) speaks of this work as 'basilicam a fundamento constructam,' and the existing building shows this language to be hardly an exaggeration. Owing to its superior splendour, when thus renovated by Pelagius, this building is described as 'basilica speciosior,' 'basilica nova mirae pulchritudinis,' in the Itineraries (AR. 38 a b) to distinguish it from the larger basilicathe erection of Sixtus III to the West. We are told moreover that Pelagius dedicated his building to S. Sixtus, S. Laurentius, and S. Hippolytus. But there is reason to think that this threefold dedication is earlier than Pelagius. When Sixtus III built his new basilica 'Dei Genetricis,' he would naturally turn his attention to the dedication of the older building, which likewise owed new splendours to his munificence, and in which he himself was ultimately buried. What more natural then than that he should have associated in the dedication his martyred predecessor and namesake Sixtus II, who had been associated with S. Laurentius in his life and in his death? If so, Pelagius only accepted the triple dedication as he found it. But he commemorated it in a remarkable way. Over the arch of the apse he placed a mosaic representing the Saviour seated in the centre, while right and left of him were the two Apostles S. Peter and S. Paul, and the three saints of the dedication, with himself PELAGIVS EPISC. the builder of the church somewhat in the
1 Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1876, p. 22 sq.
background. The point to be observed is that SCS YPOLIT, as here represented, has not yet lost his proper personality. Though associated with S. Laurence, he still remains the priest with the clerical tonsure, not the soldier with the military cloak; the doctor of the Church, not the warder and convert of S. Laurence.
The last and greatest change was yet to come. Hitherto there were two basilicas, back to back; the largerthe building of Xystusfacing westward, and the smallerthe original erection of Constantine as rebuilt by Pelagiusfacing eastward. In 1216 Honorius III broke through the apses and fused the two. Thus the building of Sixtus became the nave, and the building of Pelagius the chancel, of the combined basilica, as it still exists. The orientation therefore now conforms to our northern type, the chancel being at the East end and the vestibule at the West. Accordingly the mosaic set up by Pelagius, though undisturbed in its main features, no longer looks down the church according to the original design, but looks inward towards the east end.
But, while the basilica of S. Laurence thus grew to greater magnificence, the basilica of S. Hippolytus dwindled from small to less. In the middle of the eighth century the Lombards under Astolph swept over the land, extinguished the exarchate of Ravenna, and besieged Rome itself. The invader dug up and carried off the bodies of the saints and martyrs, as trophies, into his own country. What could the Romans do to meet these successive desecrations of the sanctuaries? The siege of Astolph was in A.D. 756. Of the succeeding popes some, like Paul I (A.D. 756767) and Paschal I (A.D. 817824) and Leo IV (A.D. 847855) pursued the more timorous, but safer course of removing the sacred reliques from the suburban cemeteries to the churches within the city. This was only a more respectable form of body-snatching than the Lombard plundering itself. On the other hand Hadrian I (A.D. 772795) and Leo III (A.D. 795816) adopted the bolder policy of restoring the extra-mural sanctuaries. Of Nicolas I (A.D. 858867) it is recorded that he made a visitation of the churches and cemeteries ('sanctorum ecclesias ac coemeteria circuibat')1; but whether this resulted in any definite policy with respect of the smaller suburban sanctuaries, we have not, so far as I know, any information. We read of this same pope as making certain gifts to the church of S. Laurence without the walls2.
These vicissitudes of the papal policy were felt in the cemetery of
1 See Rom. Sott. I. p. 221.
2 Lib. Pont. II. p. 166 (Duchesne).
S. Hippolytus. Paul I, between A.D. 757 and A.D. 761, founded the church and monastery of S. Silvester in Capite, so called from the head of S. John the Baptist which was its most precious reliqueopened several suburban tombs, and transferred to his new foundation the bodies of the saints and martyrs1. In the portico of the church he affixed two tablets containing respectively the names of the male and female saints thus translated; among whom are several from the cemetery of Hippolytus, more especially the body of Hippolytus himself. Those parts of the inscriptions which refer to the saints buried in the Ager Veranus, will be found above (AR. 37 b).
On the other hand in the Life of Hadrian I (A.D. 772795) we are informed that this pontiff 'restored the parts of the cemetery of S. Hippolytus which had fallen into decay from ancient times', and likewise 'the church of S. Stephen close to the aforesaid cemetery' (AR. 15 A c). It is not clear what building is meant by this last designationwhether the basilica of S. Hippolytus itself called the church of S. Stephen for some unknown reason or some chapel annexed to this basilica and dedicated to S. Stephen2. At all events it must be distinguished from the church of S. Stephen in the cemetery of S. Cyriaca on the opposite side of the Tiburtine way; for the restorations of the two several churches of S. Stephen are mentioned separately in the Life of Hadrian (Lib. Pont. i. p. 508, 511), and the situation of each is described3.
Again; under Leo IV (A.D. 847855) the policy of translation is substituted for the policy of restoration. This pontiff, having restored, enlarged, and beautified the basilica of the Quatuor Coronati on the Coelian, in order to invest it with greater honour, deposited under the altar the body of Hippolytus and his family with others (AR. 15 A e). This is the second body of S. Hippolytus, the first having already been translated by Paul I to S. Silvester.
Lastly; at some later date, whether when Honorius III carried out his works in the basilica of S. Laurentius (A.D. 1216) or at some earlier point of time, the reliques in the cemetery of S. Hippolytus seem to have been swept wholesale into the church of S. Laurentius, probably because their own proper resting-place had now fallen hopelessly into ruin. An inscription, though probably a later (i3th cent.) copy of the
1 Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882 p. 37 sq.
2 ib. 1882, p. 23 sq, p. 53.
3 The church of S. Stephen connected with S. Laurence was built by Simplicius [A.D. 468483] Lib. Pont. I. p. 249. On the two churches of S. Stephen see Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882, p. 43 sq, p. 52 sq.
earlier monument, was read by the pilgrims of the 13th and 14th centuries (AR. 37 a), which enumerates these precious treasures and among them is a third body of Hippolytus. Thus our saint and doctor appears as
forma tricorporis umbrae
even in Rome itself; while, as we shall see presently, other bodies of Hippolytus were laid in other cities of Europe. I need not stop to enquire how far this multiplication of bodies was due to the practice of calling any limb of a saint the 'body,' even though it might be only a small portion, and how far it arose from the zeal which led to the eager identification of any remains which lay near the supposed place of sepulture with the saint who was the object of search.
But, while the body of S. Hippolytus was undergoing this process of multiplication, his personality also was being subjected to a transformation. Baronius accused even an early writer like Prudentius of confusing together the personalities of three distinct namesakes (p. 412): (1) the divine and father of the Church; (2) the martyr of Antioch; (3) the soldier and gaoler of S. Laurence. He supposed that the Spanish poet had borrowed the Novatianism from the second, and the connexion with the Ager Veranus from the third, and had falsely attributed both the one and the other to the first, thus rolling the three into one. Other later writers also have adopted this view, with or without modifications. Possessing information which was not within the reach of Baronius, we are able to exculpate Prudentius from both these robberies. The attribution of Novatianism, as we now find (p. 424 sq), is much older than Prudentius; and, as a matter of fact, is attributed to the Roman divine some centuries before it is attached to the Antiochene martyr, so that the robbery is on the other side. Again, the supposed appropriation of the sepulchre in the Ager Veranus has arisen from an entire mistake; which it will be worth while now to explain.
De Rossi has shown satisfactorily that the supposed confusion of Hippolytus the doctor and divine with Hippolytus the gaoler and convert of S. Laurence is not a confusion at all but a substitution. In fact they do not co-exist. We find no traces of Hippolytus the gaoler in connexion with the Ager Veranusor indeed, any traces of his existence at alltill the 7th century at least. With Damasus and Prudentius the Hippolytus of the Ager Veranus is a priest. On the sarcophagus of Apt (see below, p. 467), which may date from the fourth or fifth century, though connected with S. Sixtus, he is not only a priest, but a writer. He is a priest still in the mosaics put up by Pelagius,
when this pope restored the basilica of S. Laurentius (c. A.D. 580); for he is clad in priestly robes. He is so represented likewise in other contemporary works of art, for instance in the mosaic in S. Apollinaris at Ravenna. The earliest work of art to which De Rossi can point as departing from this mode of representation is the Celimontane picture of the time of Formosus (A.D. 891896), where he is clad in the military chlamys1.
What is the meaning of all this? As the basilica of S. Hippolytus dwindled into insignificance and fell into ultimate ruin, the cultus connected with it was transferred to the imposing church of S. Laurence on the opposite side of the way, while the bodies of the saints and martyrs, or such as still remained in the cemetery of Hippolytus, were transferred thither. Hence the desire to connect with S. Laurence historically those who were connected with him locally; and the various Acts of the Laurentinian Cycle started into being. Of these the most famous was Hippolytus himself, who had the chief place assigned to him in these Acts; while the other members of his entourage, such as Concordia, though originally they may have had no historical connexion even with Hippolytus himself, yet were woven into the story, owing to the fact that they were buried in the same cemetery. In the Martyrology of Ado († A.D. 874) we have embedded great part of the Passion of S. Sixtus, S. Laurentius, and S. Hippolytus, which included likewise the martyrdoms of these minor saints grouped around them, and seems to have served as a guide book for the pilgrims to this Ager Veranus2.
But how was this transformation from the cleric to the soldier effected? What was the main instrumentality which brought it about? I seem to myself to be able to answer this question with a reasonable degree of probability.
At an earlier point in this investigation (p. 446 sq) I discussed the honours paid to the martyr Romanus in the Ager Veranus, though himself connected with Caesarea and Antioch. I there pointed out that, though known to have been a cleric on contemporary authority, he was transformed into a soldier within two or three generations of his death; that some reliques were possessed or supposed to be possessed in the basilica or cemetery of S. Laurence; and that he was one of the group of martyrs celebrated in the Ager Veranus in August. His day was the eve of S. Laurence, as it appears in the Martyrologium Vetus (AR. 40 g);
|v Id. Aug.||Romae, Romani militis|
|Vigilia sancti Laurentii,|
1 Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882, p. 34.
2 AR. 38; see below, p. 473.
but in a list of the reliques on an ancient tablet found in S. Laurence (AR. 37 a), we read
POST HOS IPOLITUS COLLIS RE
CUM NUTRICE SUA CUM CUNC
TA PLEBE SUORVM
where the proper name would be easily overlooked and explained 'a Roman soldier' as descriptive of Hippolytus. Though this actual tablet is probably not older than the 13th century, it is apparently a copy of an earlier inscription; and at all events the same connexion of names would appear in other documents relating to these martyrs. Thus, having himself been transmuted from a cleric into a soldier, Romanus handed on the same transmutation to Hippolytus.
I am the more encouraged to believe that this is the real account of the change, because I find that in all essential respects Hippolytus the soldier is the mere double of Romanus the soldier. Both the one and the other suffer under Decius; both the one and the other belong to the band guarding Laurence; both the one and the other are cut to the quick by the good confession of the martyr-deacon, and seek baptism at his hands; both the one and the other are put to death; both the one and the other are buried by Justinus in the Ager Veranus. Only in the manner of their death there is a difference. While Romanus suffers in a common-place way, being beheaded, Hippolytus in accordance with the picture of the martyrdom seen by Prudentius is torn to pieces by horses.
Moreover, there is much confusion about the day. The day of Romanus is first given by Ado as the eve of S. Laurence (p. 322), and he is mentioned in direct connexion with Hippolytus in the scenes immediately preceding the martyrdom of S. Laurence (p. 324). Then again he is stated (p. 325) to have suffered 'on the very day (ipso die) on which the blessed Laurence suffered.' This confusion is not insignificant.
Then again; there is a notice in the account of Hippolytus' martyrdom, which seems to be a faint echo of the transformation undergone by Hippolytus. Decius orders him to be 'stripped of the dress which he wore as a Christian' ('veste qua induebatur habitu Christiano') and 'to be clothed in the soldier's dress which he wore as a Gentile' ('vestiri militari veste qua gentilis utebatur'). 'Be our friend,' says the emperor
to him, 'and in our presence resume the profession of a soldier which thou didst always follow' (in conspectu nostro utere militia pristina quam semper habuisti)1. These Acts seem to have been written as I have said, specially for the use of pilgrims to the Ager Veranus; but in the church of S. Laurence the mosaic of Pelagius might still be seen, where Hippolytus was represented as a tonsured priest. Did not this discrepancy need some such reconciliation as the words here ascribed to Decius suggest?
Connected with the transformation of the priest into the soldier is the 'familia,' notably his nurse Concordia, who were martyred with him in the later form of the legend. The earlier calendars and liturgies speak of Hippolytus alone. In later documents and in later MSS of the older documents, he is surrounded by his companion martyrs2.
After the close of the ninth century we read nothing more of the basilica or cemetery of S. Hippolytus. Mention indeed is made of the 'Mount of S. Hippolytus3,' the hill at the back of the cemetery in the 11th century; but it is mentioned simply as a locality, without any reference to the sanctuary which once existed there. When Martin V in 1425 gave permission for the removal of slabs and stones from the desolate suburban catacombs to construct the pavement of S. John Lateran4, the cemetery of S. Hippolytus was one of those rifled for this purpose, as the stones now embedded in the Lateran pavement show (see above, p. 329); though it is not mentioned by name. Yet the rifling was not complete; for the lower part of the statue of Hippolytus was discovered on the spot in 1551. At the revival of learning the individuality of the cemetery of Hippolytus had so entirely disappeared, that the basilicas and cemeteries on the two sides of the Tiburtine Way were hopelessly confused by historians and archaeologists under the general name of the 'Ager Veranus'; and so long as this confusion existed, no satisfactory results were possible. This hopeless state of things continued for more than three centuries. Only in our own generation was this confusion dissipated by the archaeological discoveries, interpreted by the antiquarian penetration and learning of De Rossi. The excavations more especially, which have been made since the year 1880, have furnished a final answer to the main questions.
On this Ager Veranus, to the left side of the Tiburtine Way, to one journeying from Rome to Tivoli, had been discovered three centuries
1 See above, p. 358 sq.
2 See the illustrations given by De Rossi Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882, p. 31 sq.
3 Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882, p. 42; comp. Rom. Sott. I. p. 161 sq.
4 ib. 1881, p. 39 sq; 1882, p. 42.
EPISTLES OF S. CLEMENT.
ago, as we have seen, the actual statue of Hippolytus. Here also, at a later date, was found an inscription REFR[I]GERI[O] . TIBI . DOMNVS . IPPOLITVS . SID (sit)1. Hence also probably came later still a sepulchral stone bearing the words AT . IPPOLITV . SVPER . ARCOSOLIV, which found its way into the Vatican Museum2. At length in 1881 the excavations were commenced on this site in right earnest3, and resulted not only in the discovery of the inscriptions recording the works of Damasus (A.D. 366384) and of Vigilius (A.D. 537555), as mentioned already (pp. 328 sq, 424, 454), but in the actual disinterment of the subterranean basilica of Hippolytus, as described by Prudentius and as repaired by Vigilius. It is much larger than such subterranean chapels to the Catacombs generally, as the description of Prudentius would lead us to expect. It exhibits the isolated altar on the bema of the apse, as described by this same poet. It shows traces of the three windows overhead 'trinum per specula lumen,' as specified by Vigilius, so as to throw a flood of light into this under-ground church, a feature which impressed Prudentius, though he does not mention the actual number of these lights. It is obviously however not in the state in which it was left by Damasus, but bears traces of the subsequent repairs of Vigilius. Thus inscriptions of the age of Damasus, and later, no longer stand in their original position, but have been displaced, so that in some instances they are partly concealed. One such Damasian inscription TIMOTEVS . PRESBYTER in the true Filocalian character (see above, p. 444) must have stood originally in the front of an 'arcosolium.' It is now used to construct one of the steps to the bema4. Again the walls, as seen by Prudentius, were lined with glistening white marble; they are now covered with plaster5.
Three other sanctuaries of S. Hippolytus in Rome and Italy deserve a passing notice.
(1) During the papacy of Siricius (A.D. 384399) one Ilicius a presbyter erected all the buildings which were to be seen in connexion with the church and monastery of S. Pudentiana along the Vicus Patricius (now the Via Urbana), beginning with the MEMORIA SANCTI
1 Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882, p. 45.
2 ib. p. 48.
3 ib. p. 56 sq.
4 See Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882, p. 68, Tav. I, ii.
5 This Timotheus must have been a person of some importance in the history of the Church. Our first impulse is to identify him with the Timotheus of Ostia, whose 'depositio' is Aug. 22 (xi Kal. Sept.) in the Liberian list. He would thus add another to the saints of the Ager Veranus celebrated in August. This Timotheus however is stated by Ado (and the same is implied in the Liberian list) to have been buried in the Cemetery of Ostia.
MARTYRIS IPPOLYTI1. This was the period, as we have seen (p. 452), when the fame of Hippolytus reached its zenith owing to the devotion of Damasus; and Siricius, the next successor of Damasus, was the very man to give further encouragement to it, since it is especially recorded in his honour on his tomb that the malcontents of the anti-Damasian faction were at length united under him2. The same reason therefore which had led Damasus to show his reverence for Hippolytus in the sanctuary on the Tiburtine Way, as the champion of unity in the Church in the midst of schism, would lead Siricius also to heap additional honours upon him. But why the selection of the Vicus Patricius and the church of S. Pudentiana for this memoria? De Rossi (Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882, p. 16) answers that Hippolytus probably lived in the Vicus Patricius or gathered a Christian congregation there for worship. This must be taken as a mere conjecture, like the similar conjecture respecting the house and memoria of Clement which I have dealt with elsewhere (I. p. 94). But the connexion of the suburban cemeteries on the Tiburtine way with the priests of the 'title' of this (the third ecclesiastical) regionon the Esquiline including S. Pudentiana and S. Praxedisfrom the fifth century at least is a matter of certainty. These priests seem to have served these cemeteries, and grants of graves were made by them or their prior. Thus we have mention in a sepulchral inscription dated A. D. 491 of a grave acquired by one Fausta in the cemetery of Hippolytus A. PRB. TIT. [P]RAX[SEDIS]3. Elsewhere in this same cemetery was found belonging to the year 528 the grave of one HILARYS. LICTOR (lector). TT. PVDENTIS4; and again another of one PB. PRIOR5, whose name is mutilated and who doubtless belonged to this same region and title. It is probable therefore that the presbyter Andreas, who under Vigilius (see above, p. 454) repaired the basilica of S. Hippolytus, was the prior of this title6.
(2) The next Italian sanctuary, which claims a mention in connexion with Hippolytus, is Portus, the haven of Rome. From what I
1 Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1877, p. 15 sq; 1882, p. 15 sq.
2 See Duchesne Lib. Pont. I. p. 217.
3 Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882, p. 65 sq.
4 Resoconto dei Cultori di Archeologia Cristiana 1883, April i, (Roma 1888).
5 Bull. di Archeol. Crist. l. c.
6 On the connexion of the cemeteries on the Tiburtine Way with the 'tituli' of this region see Rom. Sott. III. p. 516 sq. Of pope Simplicius (A.D. 468483) we are told that he arranged respecting the service at 'regio III ad sanctum Laurentium' among other similar arrangements in other 'regiones'. On the tituli 'Praxedis' and 'Pudentis' (or 'Pudentianae') see also Duchesne Notes sur la Topographie de Rome au Moyen Age p. 22 sq (Rome 1887), extracted from the Mélanges d'Archéologie.
have said already and shall have to say hereafter, it will be apparent that, whether he was actually bishop of Portus or not, no other placehardly even the Ager Veranusis more closely identified with his name by history and tradition alike. The tower of a ruined church in Portusa landmark seen afar over the surrounding wastestill bears his name. Of Leo III (A. D. 795816) we are told that he gave certain cloths to the 'basilica beati Yppoliti martyris in civitate Portuense,' one to cover his body (super corpus ejus), and another for the great altar (Lib. Pont. II. p. 12, Duchesne). Whether it is mentioned at an earlier date, I know not. The ruins are said to belong to the eighth century. The well is also shown, in which according to the Portuensian version of the legend his body was drowned. It is in the Isola Sacra1, the island made by the original mouth of the Tiber and by the channel cut for the works of Claudius and Trajan at the new Port. Of the identification of Hippolytus with an early Portuensian martyr Nonnus, and of his association with the virgin Chryse in the spurious Acts of the latter, I shall have to speak presently (see below, p. 474 sq).
Though events were preparing the way, as I have shown, for a bishopric at Portus in the age of Hippolytus, the permanent see seems not to have been established till the next century. In the middle ages and afterwards it ranked second of the suburbicarian sees, Ostia taking the precedence.
(3) At the ancient Forum Semproni, the modern Fossombrone, in the valley of the Metaurus on the Flaminian Way about 165 miles from Rome, there exist to the present day two castles called respectively by the names of S. Hippolytus and S. Laurencethe same two saints who were celebrated on the Tiburtine Way in the middle of August. Now we find in the Hieronymian Martyrology2 under Feb. 2nd
iv Non. Feb. Romae Foro Sinfronii, via Flaminia, miliario ab urbe centum septuaginta quatuor Laurentii, Hippolyti,
and again under Aug. 6
viii Id. Aug. Laurentii, Hippolyti, et militum centum sexaginta duorum,
in the common text, or as it is otherwise read 'militum clxv.' Comparing these notices one with another and with the actual fact relating
1 For the ancient works at Portus see Lanciani Ancient Rome in the light of Recent Discoveries p. 231 sq. For the Christian remains esp. De Rossi Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1866, p. 37 sq. For the medieval and later condition comp. Nibby Analisi II. p. 602 sq, and see Benson Journ. of Class. and Sacr. Philol. I. p. 202 sq.
2 See above, p. 356.
to Fossombrone, we cannot doubt that De Rossi is right in reading 'millario' for 'militum' in the second passage, the word having been contracted into 'mil'1; and in the first passage we should probably substitute clxiiiii for clxiiii. Indeed the 165 soldiers cannot be explained otherwise; for they have no relation to the more modest 'familia' of 18 or 19 persons which forms the entourage of our S. Hippolytus in the later form of the legend. With this correction the earlier notice (Feb. 2) will in all likelihood represent the anniversary of the dedication of the sanctuary of these two saints at Fossombrone, whither probably the oil or some other relique of them was taken, while the latter (Aug. 6) represents the annual celebration of their proper festival in the Ides of August celebrated likewise at Fossombrone, as it was celebrated at Rome. In fact both these notices seem to have been introduced into the Hieronymian hodge-podge from some Umbrian or North Italian document.
The reverence paid to this saint outside of Italy need not occupy us long. We have seen (p. 452) that Prudentius recommended his own superior, the Archbishop of Zaragoza, to introduce the cultus of Hippolytus; but whether the advice was taken we do not know. At all events he has a place in a Carthaginian Calendar of the fifth or sixth century, where the usage was closely allied to that of the Spanish Church; and in the Gothic Missal, which exhibits the liturgical practice of the Visigoths in Spain in the seventh or eighth centuries (AR. 39, 40). In France the remarkable sarcophagus at Apt near Avignon is proof of the spread of his fame2 in the fifth (?) century. Again we find at Aries an early church dedicated to him. In the year 973 one Theucinda petitions the Archbishop of Aries to be allowed to ' rebuild and restore' ECCLESIAM IN HONORE BEATI YPOLixi DEDiCATAM, which must therefore have been in existence long before3. But his greatest fame in this country is connected with the great Abbey of S. Denis near Paris. About the year 7 64 Fulrad Abbot of S. Denis brought the bones of S. Hippolytus from the Ager Veranus and laid them for a time in his newly founded Abbey Fulrado-Villiers, thence called St Hippolyte or St Bilt; whence they were translated shortly after his death (cf 785) to S. Denis. Hippolytus was here celebrated as at Rome on' the Ides of August, and his martyrdom was represented as in the picture seen by Prudentius in the Ager Veranus. But he was no longer the cleric, but the soldier,
1 Bull. di Archeol. Crist. 1882, p. 36.
2 ib. 1866, p. 33 sq; 1882, p. 35.
3 See De Rossi Inscr. Christ. Urb. Rom. II. p. 267.
no longer the doctor of the Church but the convert of S. Laurence; for the transformation had already been made. About the year 1159 pope Alexander III visited S. Denis and, on enquiring whose bones a certain reliquary contained, was told those of Hippolytus. 'I don't believe it, I don't believe it,' said the pope bluntly, 'I supposed that he lay still in the City.' He had only too much reason for his scepticism; for he might have known that Rome itself contained no less than three bodies of S. Hippolytus, one in S. Silvester, a second in the Quatuor Coronati, and a third in S. Laurence. The saint himself however would stand no trifling. His bones rattled and rumbled in the reliquary, like the roar of thunder, till the pope cried out in terror, 'I believe it, my lord, I believe it, my lord; do keep quiet.' The pope made his peace by erecting a marble altar in the oratory of the saint1.
Nor was this the only body of Hippolytus outside Rome. There was, or is, another in the church of S. Julia at Brescia; and another in S. Ursula at Cologne; besides heads and limbs here and there elsewhere.
Return to the Table of Contents of J. B. Lightfoot's The Aposstolic Fathers, Part I, Vol. 2
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