• This paper investigates the multiple impulses that contributed to the early medieval interest in Pope Damasus’s inscriptions. In part, Damasus’s verses were read as guides to Rome’s martyrial topography; in part, they served as models of a classicizing Christian style. Above all, the appeal of these verses derived from their association with Damasus himself, who came to be seen as a secure mediator of the early Christian past. Concurrently, the figure of Damasus grew in stature, as a saint marked by his solicitude for the Christian community, whether living or dead.