Presentation Title: St. Thecla and Potnia Theron: The Crossroads of Christianity and Paganism

Section: Through the Female Eye: Power, Perspective and Procreation III

Location: , 104

Date & Time: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 2:10pm - 2:25pm


Christianity today may strike us as monotheistic, but narratives from the origins of the faith betray pagan origins. This tendency is evident in popular Christian narratives, including The Acts of Thecla. Like Potnia Theron, the Minoan sacred lady of the beasts, Thecla of Iconium’s influence over the natural elements and wild animals establish her status as a martyr as well as a strong female figure in a patriarchal society. Borrowing traits of pagan deities, whose worship was still very much in practice, Thecla’s tale of martyrdom represents a compelling paradox, depicted visually and narratively: the syncretism of these two fundamentally different expressions of belief makes one wonder if pagan powers attributed to a Christian saint legitimize or compromise her station. By looking at the narrative of Thecla and her visual representations, I will explore how the pagan elements of Thecla's world affect her role and status as a martyr. 

Type of Presentation: Individual oral

Oral presenters
Presentation Area: Religion

Presentation Topic: Religion

Arts presenters

Class Project
Course name: 
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Presenter Information
Presenter(s): Stites, Sierra LeAnne
Major(s): Literary Studies
Class Year(s): 2014

Sponsor(s): Hatjigeorgiou, Maria
Dept(s): Religion

Moderator: ,