San Pietro in Vincoli, Pope John II, and the Mystery of Urbiclus Cedrinus

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Paweł Nowakowski



In this paper, the author offers a new edition and commentary on an inscription from the church of San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome, recording a donation to this church by a certain presbyter Severus (PCBE Italie 2: s.v. Sever(u)s 20), under the patronage of Pope John II Mercurius (533–535). From 1568 onwards, the inscription, usually cited as ILCV 1780 (ed. E. Diehl) has attracted the attention of a number of already early modern scholars, who have offered different readings and dating of this text and have described its changing display location in the building. These aspects of the inscription’s history have been entirely absent from present-day studies of this church, and a need for a proper edition has been increasingly pressing. Alongside the editorial part, the author refers to the enigmatic urbiclus cedrinus, specified in the inscription as the object donated by Severus. Several different possible inter- pretations of this term are examined, including the now prevalent identification as a ‘small cedar disk’ by Giusto Fontanini (1727), and a new option is suggested: that it was a cedar panel decorating the door.


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