Views To and From the Wondrous Mountain
The body of the stylite, ambiguously depicted as both person and object, is an image whose currency intersects Byzantine literature, art, and architecture. It continues to speak to us through the extant Lives and homilies composed about and by these stylites, as well as on clay tokens that were received as blessings by pilgrims. It was even an extension of and subsumed into the monumental architecture surrounding it. This traditional session of papers focuses on one stylite, Symeon the Younger (d. 592), whose legacy had lasting importance in the Byzantine world but whose literary tradition and monastery on the Wondrous Mountain near Antioch have received only preliminary study (van den Ven 1962, Djobadze 1986, Déroche 1996, Kaplan 2002, and Millar 2014). The four papers provide a sharper focus on the saint as well as a panoramic view of the Wondrous Mountain within Byzantine society. They clarify Symeon the Younger as a historical figure by examining the saint’s self-presentation in his sermons and the architectural development of the Wondrous Mountain during his life. They also illuminate ongoing engagement with his cult by prodding the growth of traditions pertaining to the mothers of stylites as well as the reception of the Life of Symeon the Younger in later texts.