Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Mediterranean Sea

*Mediterranean Sea. Seaway on which the slave-dealer Labrax tries to abscond with Daemones’ daughter Palaestra to Sicily in order to sell her for a better price and cheat Plesidippus, a young man who loves Palaestra. A storm conjured by the gods shipwrecks Labrax’s vessel, ends his scheme, and temporarily separates four of the characters, while also separating Labrax from his money and Palaestra from proof of her true identity. Just as the goddess Venus emerged in birth from the sea in ancient myths, first Palaestra and then her identity emerge from the sea, allowing a rebirth of sorts, in her recognition by Daemones.


Cyrene (SI-ree-nee). Also known as Cyrenaica. North African town in what is now Libya and home to the Greek exile Daemones. The same storm that blows the roof off Daemones’ seaside cottage reunites him and his wife with their daughter in the home they have made in this foreign land. The home serves as a backdrop and symbol of the reconstituted family.

Temple of Venus

Temple of Venus. Temple to the Roman goddess located near Cyrene. The temple and the woman who tends it provide temporary shelter for the shipwrecked women. Labrax’s madness and impiety are demonstrated in his assault on them as they cling to the temple’s altar. The temple serves as a witness to the divine source of the storm, and to the familial and erotic love that the storm allows to blossom (Venus as goddess of love). Divinity unites what human actions have geographically torn asunder.


*Athens. Original home to the exiled Daemones, his wife, and Palaestra, it is also the city from which Plesidippus hails.