Phlegon of Tralles; revenants; ghosts; restless dead
Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Scripta Classica, Vol. 12 (2015), s. 137-149
An interesting narrative about a revenant found in the first chapter of the Mirabilia, a collection of marvelous stories by Phlegon of Tralles (2nd century AD), has been examined and interpreted by many. Scholars usually discussed the narrative’s origin, composition, and style, and also the vague identity of the main character of the story, a girl by the name of Philinnion, and her affiliation with ghost-lore. No one of them, however, attempted to locate Philinnion within the category of the restless dead which she seems to belong to, namely, ἄωροι – the prematurely dead. This distinct type of the dead, as is inferred from numerous ancient literary and non-literary sources, was believed to be especially prone to interaction with the living. In this article I attempt to examine the
figure of Philinnion in the context of beliefs in the prematurely dead by means of which I hope to
better explain crucial problems encountered by modern readers by answering questions regarding
Philinnion’s identity and her rationale for returning to the world of the living.