Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 2042
Funerary inscription of the presbyter John from Salona (Dalmatia) mentioning his wife and sons, among them Marcellinus, proconsul of Dalmatia. The inscription also mentions that John was buried near the tomb of St Anastasius the Fuller. Salona, Dalmatia, AD 599 or 603.
1 Hic iacit Iohannes
peccatur et in
dignus presbiter
Expleto annorum cir
5 culo quinto hunc
sibi sepulcrum Io
hannis condere iussit
Marcellino suo procon
sule nato germano prae
10 sente simul cunctosque
nepotes ornavit tumolum
mente fideli defunctus acces
sit obsis una cum coniuge natis
Anastasii servans reverenda
15 limina s(an)c(t)i tertio post decimum
Augusti numero mens(is) ind(ictionis) <I?>I brae(sentis)
finivit saeculi diem
(Epigraphic Database Heidelberg HD053167, following Drew-Bear 2005)
Here lies John, sinner and unworthy presbyter. After the fifth cycle of years John ordered this tomb to be built, in the presence of his son, the proconsul Marcellinus, his brother and all his grandsons. He decorated the tomb. He died with a faithful mind and as a guest and servant arrived together with his wife and sons to the respectable abode of saint Anastasius. He died on the 13th of August on the second year of this present indiction.
(trans. M. Szada)


John was the father of Marcellinus, proconsul Dalmatiae in 599 (see PLRE III, s.v. Marcellinus 3, pp. 812-13; in 599 Gregory the Great wrote a letter to Marcellinus, proconsul Dalmatiae). John's wife and two other sons died before him. The "five cycles" mentioned in the inscription most probably refer to indictions; thus, when John died he was at least 75 years old.

Place of event:

  • Danubian provinces and Illyricum
  • Salona

About the source:

Origin: Salona (Danubian provinces and Illyricum)
The inscription is inscribed on three large limestone plates. Originally, it was on two plates, the first broke into two, 60x100x15 cm and 87x115x16 cm, the third plate`s dimensions are 96x143x15 cm (the divisions between the plates are marked in the edited text with two slashes). The script is large (7-8 cm) and of high quality. Under the plates, three tombs have been found. The dating depends on the reading of the last line where the indiction is mentioned. On the plate one can see "LI". Drew-Bear reads here "II" - the second year of the indiction, thus, AD 599 (which agrees with the date of proconsulate of Marcellinus). Others proposed the sixth year, thus AD 603.
Trismegistos no. 184346
Epigraphic Database Heidelberg HD053167 [with ill.]
Epigraphik-Datenbank Clauss/Slaby EDCS-29601559
Packard Humanities Inscriptions 181302
E. Marin, Salona 4. Inscriptions de Salone chrétienne, IVe-VIIe siècles, Rome, Split 2019, no. 96, pp. 305-12 (with the photography)
M. Corbier, Année épigraphique 2005, nos. 1185-1186
R. Cagnat, Année épigraphique 1890, no. 80
T. Mommsen, O. Hirschfeld, A.V. Domaszewski, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum III Suppl. 1, no. 9527; Suppl. 2, p. 2139 ad no. 9527
F. Bücheler, Carmina Latina epigraphica (CLE) 1, no. 719
E. Diehl, Inscriptiones Latinae christianae veteres, no. 79
F. Bulić, Bulletin d'archéologie et d'histoire dalmates 13 (1890), p. 49-54
A. Šašel, J. Šašel, Inscriptiones Latinae quae in Iugoslavia inter annos MCMXL et MCMLX repertae et editae sunt, vol. 3, Ljubljana 1963, p. 354 [9527]
T. Drew-Bear, "Un épigramme latine du prêtre Iohannes mort en 599 ap. J.-C. à Salone", in:  Le monde romain à travers l'épigraphie: methodes et pratiques. Actes du XXIVe Colloque International de Lille 2001, Villeneuve d'Asq 2005, 397-405
N. Gauthier, "À la veille de la chute de Salone: l’épitaphe de prêtre Iohannes (599 ou 603 ap. J.-C.)", in: J. Desmulliez, C. Hoët-Van Cauwenberghe (eds.), Le monde romain à travers l'épigraphie: methodes et pratiques. Actes du XXIVe Colloque International de Lille 2001, Villeneuve d'Asq 2005, 384-396; fig. 1.
E. Dyggve, R. Egger, Der altchristliche Friedhof Marusinac, Forschungen in Salona 3, Wien 1939, pp. 156-57, no. 35; fig. 152.
M.A. Handley, "Two Hundred and Seventy-Four Addenda and Corrigenda to the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire from the Latin-Speaking Balkans", Journal of Late Antiquity 3 (2010), 113–157.


Social origin or status - Social elite
Family life - Marriage
Family life - Offspring
Family life - Widowerhood
Burial/Funerary inscription
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Economic status and activity - Indication of wealth
Relation with - Wife
Relation with - Secular authority
Relation with - Woman
Devotion - Veneration of saints and relics
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER2042,