Lost in the cursed scrub-oaks, jagged rocks, dusty unpaved roads, and small farm plots of Rough Cilicia, one finds (if one is really looking and knows where) Köşkerli—the modern name given to a scatter of ruins around an ancient Byzantine church.

The church ruins at Köşkerli, with the oddly-placed chapel (with awkward water pipe laid across it) in the foreground (photo © Daniel C Browning Jr).

The main door of the church is nearly blocked by an oddly-placed small chapel that seems out of place or an afterthought. In front of the chapel is a rather large single fallen column. On my first visit to Köşkerli, I didn’t think much of the arrangement. But while researching another issue about the site, I obtained the Turkish language report of the archaeological survey there.1 The author noted that the single column is too large to have come from the church itself and has no matching columns among the ruins. He speculated that it fell from the chapel (or immediately outside it) and was possibly a column for a Stylite, or “pillar-dwelling monk.” As it happens, Stylites were something of a feature of the eastern Asia Minor-Syria regions in the Byzantine period. I think the idea has merit. So, on a subsequent visit last year, and again this week I paid special attention to the column.

Ancient Dan with the fallen single column at Köşkerli (photo © Daniel C Browning Jr).

It is tempting to make observations on the outcomes of elevating a man above others so his “holiness” can be observed, but I am trying to avoid politics and theology in this forum.

Small chapel as seen from the door of the church at Köşkerli, with fallen singular column in center background (photo © Daniel C Browning Jr).

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1 Semavi Eyice, “Güney Anadolu’da bir ören yeri Köşkerli-Anadolu,” Araştırmaları 16 (2002): 227-39.

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