Collection British Museum/Photo by Erich Lessing

Rapt, the virgin Thecla listens “night and day to the word of the virgin life” as Paul reads from a scroll, on this ivory plaque from Rome, dating to about 430 C.E. According to the apocryphal Acts of Paul, Thecla abandoned her fiancé to follow the apostle throughout Greece, where she suffered several martyrdoms, baptized herself and began to preach.