Landscape, Space, and Presence in the Cult of Thekla at Meriamlik
Abstract

Abstract:

This paper proposes a number of novel ways of ‘reading’ the landscape and space of the sanctuary of Thekla at Meriamlik (south-central Turkey). Although only limited archaeological fieldwork has been carried out at this important late antique pilgrimage sanctuary, it is possible to combine the textual perspectives of the Life and Miracles and other Thekla traditions with the physical landscape that the architects of the sanctuary put to use in significant ways to emphasize Thekla’s presence and local significance. The paper first investigates the construction of a sacred landscape around Meriamlik, and then turns to a discussion of the spatial politics between Thekla’s shrine and the urban center of Seleukeia on the Kalykadnos. Finally, it explores how Thekla’s presence was mediated within the sanctuary itself.