Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1849
Funerary inscription of Presbyter Felix ordered by Presbyter Amatus from Vézeronce (Gaul). Felix was buried in Briord (Gaul), AD 630 (or 615).
croix Ingenie uirtute cluins et nuulis ortum occopat hoc / tumolo Chr(sti)i no(mine) Felix pr(es)b(yte)r; uir magnus, cleminx ac mente / benegnus, abstutus, argus, dulcissimus, aptus, ordeneque rictu uita / cometante beata, gesisti sacum pr(es)b(yte)r officio; laudaelis et sapi- / ensie legis, consile magnas dum fenerares opes, omnium potins, / passiins compascere litis et ueruis anenus pacefekare ferus. / Non te nuuilior criscit ex mure parentum sperne dispectus suble- / cetauet onor. Hinc egetur longa meruit sene crimine uita et tum / propia sepeleuauit opem. Vixit in pace an(nos) LV; obi(it) XV k(a)l(endas) septebris, / ind(ictione) III. Hoc ergo Amatus studuit conscriuere karmin c(?ui) antes- / tetis est Veseroncia tuos.
Possible reading proposed by Descombes:
croix Ingenii uirtute cluens et nobilis ortu occupat hoc tumulo (= hunc tumulum) <in> Chr(sti)i no(mine) Felix, pr(es)b(yte)r; uir magnus, clemens ac mente benignus, astutus, largus (ou argutus?), dulcissimus, aptus, ordine qui ricto, uita comitante beata, gessisti sacrum pr(es)b(yte)r(ii) officium; laudabilis et sapientiae legis, consilii magnas dum feneraris opes, omnium potens, patiens compescere lites et uerbis animos pacificare feros. Non te nobilior crescit ex more parentum, sperne<re?> dispectus sollicitauit honor. Hinc igitur longa (ou longam?) meruit sine crimine uita (ou uitam?) ...
[Descombes does not suggest a reading here; CIL proposes "hinc igitur longam meruit sine crimine vitam egentum propria saepe levavit opem" which I follow in the translation – JSz.]
Vixit in pace an(nos) LV; obi(it) XV k(a)l(endas) septebris, ind(ictione) III.
Hoc ergo Amatus studuit conscribere carmen, qui antistes est, Veseroncia, tuus.
(Recueil des inscriptions chrétiennes de la Gaule: XV, 264)
cross Presbyter Felix, known by the nature of his virtue and noble origin, occupies this tomb in the name of Christ. The great man, gentle and of kind mind, wise and generous [or eloquent?], most sweet, benevolent, you performed in the right order [i.e. regularly?] [the duties] of the sacred presbyterial office, combining it with a good life. Praised for his knowledge of the law, while you accumulated a great wealth of wisdom, [considered] powerful by all, patient in resolving conflicts and calming with words untamed minds. No one was more noble as far as parentage goes; [but] the honour [of presbyterate?] encouraged [you] not to despise [anybody]. Hence, he deserved to go through a long life without sin, [as] he often comforted his people [using his own] wealth.
He lived in peace 55 years; he died on the 15th kalends of September, in the 3rd [year] of the indiction.
It was Amatus, who is your priest (antistes) at Vézeronce, who wished to write this poem.
(trans. J. Szafranowski)


Of the eighteen epitaphs found in Briord, three are of presbyters. For the two other presbyters, see [1847] and [1850]. The latter is the epitaph of Presbyter Amatus, the same who in this inscription presents himself as antistes. Both the title he adopts for himself and the location of the enigmatic Veserontia have been the subject of scholarly discussion.
Veserontia is probably the same place which was mentioned by Gregory of Tours as the location of the battle between Franks and Burgundians at which King Chlodomer lost his head (both figuratively and literally): Veserontia locus urbis Viennensis (Histories, III.6). The most likely identification is that with present-day Vézeronce-Curtin, some 50 km east of Vienne and 15 km south of Briord. Other locations which were also proposed, such as Vérisieu, have now been discarded as not evidence-based.
As to the antistes, the older editors of this inscription largely considered it a title for a bishop, which seems impossible to defend: 1) Veserontia was certainly not the episcopal see; 2) in the epitaph of Amatus [1850], he is presented as a presbyter. Descombes also rejects the possibility that Amatus could be a chorbishop, claiming that this title was introduced to the West only in the 8th century, which, however, is contradictory with the acts of the Council of Riez (Gaul, AD 439), see e.g. [382] and [404]. I agree, nevertheless, with Descombes that there is no reason to assume that Amatus was a chorbishop: a presbyter could call himself an antistes (see e.g. [1351]), just as could be titled sacerdos, although this was very rare. Finally, it is plausible that Amatus was an archpresbyter, as Descombes suggests, given that it was a customary title to all semi-independent parish priests in rural areas. Contrary to Descombes, however, I do not think that there is a connection between Amatus' archpresbyterate and his title of antistes: any presbyter could be called that, especially when he is addressing himself by this title in the epitaph he ordered to be engraved.
The 3rd year of indiction probably indicates the year 630, as from the epitaph of Amatus himself [1850] we learn that he died in 633 or 634, at the age of 48. Thus, the year 615 (of the 3rd indiction as well) is somehow less probable, since Amatus would have then been an antistes at Veserontia while being only 29 or 30 years old.

Place of event:

  • Gaul
  • Briord
  • Vézeronce

About the source:

Origin: Briord (Gaul)Vézeronce (Gaul),
The stone (?) bearing this inscription was found in the beginning of the 18th century in Briord at château de Saint-André (Briord lies some 50 km east of Lyon). It was copied by de Veyle who did not provide any description of the material on which the inscription was engraved, or the place it was found. Both the stone(?) and the de Veyle`s original manuscript are now lost, and the inscription is known only from the manuscript copy made Fevret de Fontette. Dimensions are, therefore, unknown.
F. Descombes (ed.), Recueil des inscriptions chrétiennes de la Gaule, vol. XV, Paris 1985, no. XV, 264.
C. de Veyle, Explication des Antiquités romaines qui se trouvent dans le pays de Bresse, Valromey et Gex, manuscript lost; copy by Fevret de Fontette, ms. B. N., fonds Moreau 861, ff. 60 and 163 (of the lost original), ff. 229 v and 230 r (of the copy).
Trismegistos no. 487778
Epigraphik Datenbank Clauss/Slaby no. EDCS-10501454 (ill.)
O. Hirschfeld (ed.), Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. XIII, Berlin 1899, 2477.
E. Diehl (ed.), Inscriptiones Latinae christianae veteres, vol. 1, Berlin 1924/1925, no. 1075.
E. Le Blant (ed.), Inscriptions chrétiennes de la Gaule antérieures au VIIIe siècle, Paris 1856-1865, no. 377.
A. Allmer (ed.), Inscriptions antiques et du Moyen Age de Vienne en Dauphiné. Première partie, Inscriptions antiques antérieures au VIIIe siècle, vol. IV, Paris 1876, no. 1954.


Social origin or status - Social elite
Burial/Funerary inscription
Functions within the Church - Parish presbyter
Functions within the Church - Rural presbyter
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Economic status and activity - Indication of wealth
Relation with - Another presbyter
Described by a title - Antistes
Legal practice
Ecclesiastical administration - Selling tombs/Administering graveyards
Public functions and offices after ordination - Public trustee/Mediator
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1849,