Giovanni Lattanzi

The good ship Thecla bears Paul (labeled, center) toward some new destination in this unusual late-third- or early-fourth-century fragment of a gravestone or sarcophagus relief now in the Capitoline Museum in Rome. The image, which shows Paul at the tiller of a ship labeled “Thecla,” is the oldest-known artistic work celebrating the female saint, and is, perhaps, the most unusual. Is Paul guiding Thecla, or is Thecla “carrying” Paul by spreading his teaching on her apostolic mission?