Talk:Pope Damasus I

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This entry is currently having something both ways - if the pagan zeal of Julian embarassed pagan aristocrats (which I find a little doubtful), the riotous rabble reported in the first paragraph would have put them off even more. Other than that, great start! --MichaelTinkler

Thanks! Hopefully this next revision is better. I think it clarifies some of the issues you address. I will work more on this and also some on the history of the Pope:


  • Read thru. Reword some stuff to clarify. Rearrange some sections DONE
  • Bibliography DONE
  • Linkage DONE
  • Spell check DONE
  • Pope stuff: history of title. Read a bit more for this.

- Asa

hmmm. will have to do more research before i sink my teeth into Pope... -Asa

this is a great job; I hope all our papal biographies of significant popes end up like this. And yes, Pope is a hugantic topic! --MichaelTinkler
(Note: the above three sections were written at some point before 25 February 2002, & apparently refers to the versions of this article prior to that date.) -- llywrch 20:04, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

National origin[edit]

Some sources say he was Spanish. User:Falphin had suggested he was Portuguese. Any ideas?[1] Kaisershatner 23:51, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Pope Damasus I was neither Spanish nor Portuguese, since those countries didn't exist in the 4th century. He was a Roman citizen from Hispania, born near the modern Portuguese city of Guimarães (not in that city itself, considered "The Cradle City" of Portugal, which was only founded in the 9th century by Count Vímara Peres) in the Conventus Bracarensis (whose capital was the city of Braga) of Gallaecia.
The source you indicated does not say he was Spanish, but a Spaniard, meaning by that that he was from Hispania (not modern Spain!). This is a recorrent problem in English, which is the fact that Hispania is refered to as Spain. This is profoundly incorrect. The word "Spain" in modern English (and its counterparts in other languages) means the country of Spain, not all of the Iberian peninsula (as the respective articles show). The fact is that Castillian expansionism over the centuries (ask not only the Portuguese, but also the Galicians, the Basques or the Catalans...) tried to monopolize the definition of Iberia (or Hispania) in a way that satisfied its imperial interests. In fact, even if the word Spain was used in ancient times to refer to the whole of Iberia, today it is not. In this sense, given that the Kingdom of Spain only emerges with the union of Castille and Aragon in 1492 (and this is disputed since Navarre was only incoporated in 1512), one can almost say that there was no Spain before the 16th century! There was only Iberia or Hispania (that should not be confused with Spain, even if the term Hispanic is used to denote Spanish speaking peoples). It was the Muslin conquest and subsequent occupation of Visigothic Hispania that led to a Christian reaction know as the Reconquista from which several Christian kingdoms emerged (such as Asturias, León, Castille, Portugal, Navarre, etc.). Over time Castille came to dominate most of Iberia (but not Portugal, except for a small period between 1580 and 1640) and the use of the castillian word "España" (which is the castillian version of latin Hispania) started as a political strategy to curb autonomy or independence from centralist Madrid (for the same reason Castillian language started to be known as Spanish, implying the irrelevance of other Iberian languages - this was still a problem in the Spain of the 20th century, with the active repression of languages other than Castillian). It was Iberia that was conquered by the Romans, who called it Hispania. The country of Spain didn't exist then. It was Hispania that was conquered by Suevi, Vandals, Alans and Visigoths. The country of Spain didn't exist then. It was Visigothic Hispania that was conquered by the Moors. The country of Spain didn't exist then. Furthermore, if you call Spain to the Iberian peninsula, this not only is simply not true, but is felt as profoundly offensive at least by the Portuguese. The Ogre 14:25, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Of course, from what I said above, one can not say that Pope Damasus I was Portuguese, since Portugal only emerges in the 9th century and only achieved independence in the 12th century. So I'll remove the statement that he was one of two Popes of portuguese origin. The Ogre 14:37, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Wow. My apologies for my profound ignorance, and thanks for the history lesson (and for editing the article). It should have been clear that neither Portugal nor Spain existed then, but in any case, I am now much better informed. Thanks! Kaisershatner 15:09, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
You're wellcome Kaisershatner. Keep up the very good work! The Ogre 16:12, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Good job all on the work done. I have a book, on Church history that might give a little more light on Pope Damasus as well. I thought I should mention he is considered Portugese Pope just as Pope Adrian VI is considered Dutch. Even though they were born before the birth of a "nation" in ancient Europe very few considered themselves part of a "people". I hope that makes since. The article is worded fine though, and it remains in the category with the other Portuguese Pope so the status quo is sufficient. Thanks again for all the hard work, I'm sorry for not being able to contribute as of now. Falphin 01:43, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
My book pretty much just reinterated whats already said, so I guess its time to move on. Falphin 19:28, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

What is the source for saying he was born near Idanha-a-Velha? My Liturgy of the Hours merely says he was "born in Spain", and Butlers indicates that though he was of Spanish extraction, he "seems to have been born in Rome". Carl.bunderson (talk) 20:52, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

I really need to know the source for his birth city as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:08, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

The authority of the Catholic Encyclopedia (which is accepted in an earlier note on the same page) states that he was born in Rome. The Oxford Dictionary of the Popes by J.N.D. Kelly (1978 edition, p. 32) states that he was born in Rome. The Enciclopedia dei papi (2000) states: "In realtà una cospicua documentazione, soprattutto epigrafica, sembra senz'altro indicare in Roma il luogo di nascita di Damaso." I still see no reliable source that says he was born in Portugal or Spain. And I certainly appreciate and accept the anti-nationalistic statements above about the anachronistic use of "Portugal" and "Spain" and "Spanish". Vicedomino (talk) 15:25, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

Recent scholarship certainly seems to accept that he was of Iberian origin at least, which was important for his career. See for example: Cameron, Alan, "The Date and the Owners of the Esquiline Treasure", American Journal of Archaeology, Vol 89, No. 1, Centennial Issue (Jan., 1985), pp. 135–145, JSTOR (later pages). We generally accept the 100-yo Catholic Encyclopedia as reliable on such matters until it proves not to be, which is fairly often. Johnbod (talk) 16:27, 1 January 2016 (UTC)


I doubt that he died in 383. I think these books which are cited have the incorrect date by printing. I doubt that his successor Pope Siricius had been consecrated so long time later than December 384! When 384 is right date of Siricius’ consecration, there are no information about the vacancy. See also J. N. D. Kelly "Dictionary of Popes" and [2] which give 384 as a right date. Kask (talk) 17:37, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Stoning his opponents[edit]

Nothing is mentioned here about Pope Damasus I stoning 100 men of his opponents to death?? -- (talk) 11:36, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

If you have a RS stating this, please add it. carl bunderson (talk) (contributions) 01:45, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Definition of adultery[edit]

"Damasus faced accusations of murder and adultery (despite having not been married)...." One does not have to be married to commit adultery. A single man who has sex with a married woman (or vice versa) commits adultery. The parenthetical phrase quoted above should be removed since it states a misunderstanding of adultery. Caeruleancentaur (talk) 13:08, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

It would be worthwhile to include more information on this episode if a good reference could be found. I believe that the charge was made by a certain convert from Judiasm named Isaac, who was later banished to Spain where he reverted. This Isaac is often suggested to be the author Ambrosiaster. As it stands now, the charge is mentioned in the header, but never described in the body. Rwflammang (talk) 16:45, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Establishment of Jesus' Birthdate[edit]

I'm brand new to talk pages - hope I'm not messing up anything.

If it's true that Damasus was the one that came up with December 25 as Jesus' birthday, it might be an interesting section. My source is Does anyone knows if this is true or not? Some sources say Constantine came up with December 25.

Chas9225 (talk) 05:28, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

that source doesn't seem to be very reliable as it says that ursinas was pope but he was a deacon. Alienboxer13 (talk) 16:50, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

section headings[edit]

I don't think there are too many sections headings, seeing that they seem reasonable. I think the problem is that the sections could be made more robust. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:37, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

you sure 'bout that birth[edit]

in your one you say he was born in 305 but in another one it says 304. explain. Alienboxer13 (talk) 16:45, 2 October 2013 (UTC)