abstract: This article explores the potential significance of the suburbs as a liminal space in both ancient Greek and Roman literature, focusing on literature from the imperial period. It will be demonstrated that in these texts the suburbs recur as a setting of preternatural stories, such as those found in The Life of Apollonius of Tyana by Philostratus, in Lucian's Philopseudes , and in Petronius's Satyricon , as well as in many other loci. In all of them, the "demonic" in various forms operates on the outskirts of town. Such a setting is no coincidence. The suburbs comprise a specific area that both literally and figuratively constitutes the limen of the city, and demons are commonly regarded as liminal beings; hence, by virtue of this symbolic connection, the urban periphery appears as an ideal location for the demonic.
Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies on the Preternatural – Penn State University Press
Published: Apr 4, 2017
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