:"Apuleius should not be confused with Lucius Appuleius Saturninus, a Roman demagogue or with Pseudo-Apuleius, an author."

Infobox Writer
name = Lucius Apuleius

caption = Sketch of Apuleius
birthdate = c. 123
birthplace = Madaurus
deathdate = c. 180
deathplace =
occupation = Novelist
notableworks = "The Golden Ass"

Lucius Apuleius Platonicus (c. 123/125-c. 180) was a Romanized Berber ["Berbers : ... The best known of them were the Roman author Apuleius, the Roman emperor Septimius Severus, and St. Augustine", "Encyclopedia Americana", Scholastic Library Publishing, 2005, v.3, p.569] who described himself as "half-Numidian half-Gaetulian", remembered most for his bawdy picaresque Latin novel, the "Metamorphoses", otherwise known as "The Golden Ass" or, in Latin, the "Aureus Asinus" (where the Latin word "aureus" - golden - connoted an element of blessed luckiness).


He was born in Madaurus (now M'Daourouch, Algeria), a Roman colony in Numidia on the North African coast, bordering Gaetulia. This is the same "colonia" where Saint Augustine later received part of his early education, and, though located well away from the Romanized coast, is today the site of some pristine Roman ruins. Details regarding his life come mostly from his defense speech (see below) and a work entitled "Florida," which consists of snippets taken from some of his best speeches.

Apuleius inherited a substantial fortune from his father, a provincial magistrate. Apuleius studied with a master at Carthage (where he later settled) and later at Athens, where he studied Platonic philosophy among other subjects. He subsequently went to Rome to study Latin oratory and, most likely, to declaim in the law courts for a time before returning to his native North Africa. He also travelled extensively in Asia Minor and Egypt, studying philosophy and religion, burning up his inheritance while doing so.

Apuleius was an initiate in several cults or mysteries, including the Dionysian mysteries. [As he proudly claims in his "Apologia". (Winter, Thomas Nelson (2006) [http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=classicsfacpub "Apology as Prosecution: The Trial of Apuleius"] )] He was a priest of Aesculapius ["Florida" 16.38 and 18.38] and, according to Augustine, [Augustine, "Epistle" 138,19.] "sacerdos provinciae Africae" (i.e. priest of the province of Carthage).

After being accused of using magic to gain the attentions (and fortune) of the wealthy widow he married (the mother of a school chum from his days in Athens), he declaimed and then distributed a witty "tour de force" in his own defense before the proconsul and a court of magistrates convened in Sabratha, near Tripoli. This is known as the "Apologia (A Discourse on Magic)". The work has very little to do with magic, and a lot to do with making mincemeat of his opponents, with hilarity and panache. It is among the funniest works that have come down to us from Antiquity -- it is certainly the most entertaining example of Latin courtroom oratory to survive, though some fans of Cicero might disagree -- and firmly places Apuleius among the great humorists of his day.

His other works include "De Deo Socratis (On the God of Socrates)", "Apologia", "Florida", "On Plato and his Doctrine", and possibly "On the Universe".

The "Metamorphoses" is the only Latin novel that has survived in its entirety. It is an imaginative, irreverent, and amusing work that relates the ludicrous adventures of one Lucius, who experiments in magic and is accidentally turned into an ass. In this guise he hears and sees many unusual things, until escaping from his predicament in a rather unexpected way. Within this frame story are found multiple digressions, the longest among them being the well-known tale of Cupid and Psyche.

The "Metamorphoses" ends with the (once again human) hero, Lucius, eager to be initiated into the mystery cult of Isis; he abstains from forbidden foods, bathes and purifies himself. Then the secrets of the cult's books are explained to him, and further secrets revealed before going through the process of initiation which involves a trial by the elements in a journey to the underworld. Lucius is then asked to seek initiation into the cult of Osiris in Rome, and eventually is initiated into the "pastophoroi"—a group of priests that serves Isis and Osiris. [Iles Johnson, Sarah, "Mysteries", in "Ancient Religions" pp.104-5, The Belknap Press of Harvard University (2007), ISBN 978-0-674-02548-6]


*"The Golden Ass"
*"De Deo Socratis (On the God of Socrates)"
*"On Plato and his Doctrine"
*"On the Universe"


* Finkelpearl, Ellen D., "Metamorphosis of Language in Apuleius: A Study of Allusion in the Novel" (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1998), Pp. viii, 241.
* S. J. Harrison, "Apuleius: A Latin Sophist" (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000), 281 pp.
* S. Frangoulidis, "Roles and Performances in Apuleius' Metamorphoses" (Stuttgart, J. B. Metzler, 2001).
* O. Pecere, A. Stramaglia, "Studi apuleiani. Note di aggiornamento di L. Graverini" (Cassino: Edizioni dell' Universita degli Studi di Cassino, 2003). Pp. 300.
* David Sick, "Apuleius, Christianity, and Virgin Birth," "Wiener Studien", 118 (2005), pp. 91-116.
* Monika Asztalos, "Apuleius' Apologia in a Nutshell: The Exordium," Classical Quarterly, 55,1 (2005), pp. 266-276.
* Regine May, "Apuleius and the Drama. The Ass on Stage" (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Pp. 379.
* Julia Haig Gaisser, "The Fortunes of Apuleius and the Golden Ass: A Study in Transmission and Reception" (Princeton (NJ), 2008), 404 pp.
* Robert H. F. Carver, "The Protean Ass: The 'Metamorphoses' of Apuleius from Antiquity to the Renaissance" (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), xvi + 545 pp.

External links

*gutenberg author|id=Apuleius|name=Apuleius
* [http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/apuleius.html Apulei Opera] (Latin texts of all the surviving works of Apuleius) at The Latin Library
* [http://www.cwru.edu/UL/preserve/stack/Apologia.html English translation of "Florida" by H. E. Butler (PDF)]
* [http://www.chieftainsys.freeserve.co.uk/apuleius_apology01.htm English translation of the "Apologia" by H. E. Butler]
* [http://www.cwru.edu/UL/preserve/stack/Apologia.html English translation of the "Apologia" by H. E. Butler (PDF)]
* [http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jod/apuleius/index.html Apuleius - Apologia: Seminar] (Latin text of the "Apologia" with H. E. Butler's English translation and an English crib with discussion and commentary)
* [http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/classicsfacpub/4/ "Apology as Prosecution: The Trial of Apuleius"]
* [http://www.intratext.com/Catalogo/Autori/AUT23.HTM Apuleius' works] : text, concordances and frequency list

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  • Apuleius — [ap΄yo͞o lē′əs] Lucius fl. 2d cent. A.D.; Rom. satirist: author of The Golden Ass …   English World dictionary

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  • Apuleius — biographical name Lucius circa A.D. 124 after 170? Roman philosopher & rhetorician …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Apuleius — /ap yeuh lee euhs/, n. Lucius, born A.D. 125?, Roman philosopher and satirist. * * * …   Universalium

  • Apuleius — noun An ancient Platonist and a Sophist …   Wiktionary

  • Apuleius — Ap•u•le•ius [[t]ˌæp yəˈli əs[/t]] n. Lucius big born a.d. 125?, Roman philosopher and satirist …   From formal English to slang

  • Apuleius — /æpjəˈliəs/ (say apyuh leeuhs) noun Lucius /ˈlusjəs/ (say loohsyuhs), fl. c. 160, Roman philosopher and satirist, author of The Golden Ass …   Australian-English dictionary

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  • APULEIUS, LUCIUS° — (second century C.E.), Latin author from N. Africa. Apuleius is best known as the author of the Metamorphoses. In his Apologia (also known as De Magia) he mentions both Moses and Johannes (presumably jannes ; cf. Numenius) among important… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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