The Liminal Space: Suburbs as a Demonic Domain in Classical Literature
Abstract

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.