Of Water and Healing: Ad mediam and Hercules in the Context of Imperial Roman Expansion and the Provinces, 2nd- 3rd c. CE
History of Art and Architecture
UC Santa Barbara
This dissertation investigates dedicatory activity, representations of healing deities, space and the natural environment at Ad Mediam – an ancient curative sanctuary of thermal springs located thirty miles from Trajan’s bridge into Dacia (roughly modern day Romania), built in the 2nd century CE. Following the annexation of the province, Ad Mediam developed into a vibrant social, religious, and medicinal center focusing on the veneration of the hero-god Hercules and other gods. Despite its seemingly remote location, Ad Mediam became a diverse space for communication, competition and identity construction for a range of social and ethnic groups, including officials, war veterans, and pilgrims who traveled from across the empire to the springs for therapeutic purposes. My dissertation integrates a variety of objects and material culture more typically treated separately in the specialized literature.