17 May 2009


Apuleius, the 2nd century AD author of The Golden Ass, the next book in the calendar for the Roman History Reading Group, came from Madaurus in what is now Algeria ( photos).

View Larger Map

After he married a wealthy widow, he was accused by her family of having persuaded her to marry him by using black magic and his "Apology" or speech in his own defence against the charges still exists. Nowadays he is most famous for his novel "The Metamorphoses", better known by the title St. Augustine uses for it, "The Golden Ass".

James O'Donnell has a site devoted to Apuleius's Apology. It is a very old site (1996!), so most of the external links are long broken, but the site itself is well worth exploring. Vincent Hunink is another scholar who has studied the Apology and others of Apuleius's works.

More specifically related to "The Golden Ass" is this page. Apuleius's novel was loosely based on a story also used by someone who may or may not have been Lucian of Samosata (French translation here).

There is a house in Ostia, which belonged to someone called Apuleius, who it has been argued was the same person as our author. Information about the house and the related buildings can be seen in the ostia-antica website, while the YouTube video below takes us on a guided tour.

1 comment:

RWMG said...

Comment from Judith Weingarten of /Zenobia, via Facebook:

Pseudo-Lucian's 'The Ass' is now available in English translation (by J.P. Sullivan) so no need to send your readers to a French edition --in paperback: B.P. Reardon, ed. Collected Ancient Greek Novels U of Calif Press, 589-618. It's nowhere near as good as Apuleius' tale, of course, but rather coarsely chucklesome all the same.