Apuleius

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Apuleius (sometimes called Lucius Apuleius; c. 125 – c. 180) was a Latin prose writer. He was a Berber,[1] from Madaurus (now M'Daourouch, Algeria). He studied Platonist philosophy in Athens; travelled to Italy, Asia Minor and Egypt; and was an initiate in several cults or mysteries. The most famous incident in his life was when he was accused of using magic to gain the attentions (and fortune) of a wealthy widow. 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.

His most famous work is his bawdy picaresque novel, the Metamorphoses, otherwise known as The Golden Ass. It is the only Latin novel that has survived in its entirety. It relates the ludicrous adventures of one Lucius, who experiments with magic and is accidentally turned into an ass.

Contents

Life

Apuleius was born in Madaurus (now M'Daourouch, Algeria), a Roman colony in Numidia on the North African coast, bordering Gaetulia, and he described himself as "half-Numidian half-Gaetulian."[2] Madaurus was 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. As to his first name, no praenomen is given in any ancient source;[3] late-medieval manuscripts began the tradition of calling him Lucius from the name of the hero of his novel.[4] Details regarding his life come mostly from his defense speech (Apology) and his work Florida, which consists of snippets taken from some of his best speeches.

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