chapter  19
Experiencing Strangeness: Monstrous Peoples on the Edge of the Earth as Depicted on Medieval Mappae Mundi *
ByMarina Münkler
Pages 28

This essay argues that the monstrous peoples depicted on the edge of the œecumene in medieval maps of the world are not the expression of a medieval preference for the bizarre or fantastic, or the reflection of a mythically oriented consciousness. Rather, they need to be approached as a genuine confrontation with the strange or the alien. Drawing on insights from sociological theory, the essay suggests that as liminal figures, the monstra articulate a transcendence inherent in strangeness; at the same time they help define the borders of genus humanum, hence in the end to define what is one's own.