Apuleius (/ˌæpjʊˈliːəs/; also called Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis; c. 124 – c. 170 AD)[1] was a Latin-language prose writer, Platonist philosopher and rhetorician.[2] He was a Numidian who lived under the Roman Empire[3] and was from Madauros (now M'Daourouch, Algeria). He studied Platonism 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 ancient Tripoli, Libya. 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 a donkey.

Depiction of Apuleius
Depiction of Apuleius
Bornc. 124 A.D.
DiedBelieved to be c. 170 (aged 45–46) A.D.
OccupationNovelist, writer, public speaker
Notable worksThe Golden Ass


Apuleius, Opera omnia, 1621 - BEIC 9468424.tiff
Apuleii Opera omnia (1621)

Apuleius was born in Madauros, a colonia in Numidia on the North African coast bordering Gaetulia, and he described himself as "half-Numidian half-Gaetulian."[4] Madaurus was the same colonia where Augustine of Hippo 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;[5] late-medieval manuscripts began the tradition of calling him Lucius from the name of the hero of his novel.[6] 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.

His father was a provincial magistrate (duumvir)[4] who bequeathed at his death the sum of nearly two million sesterces to his two sons.[7] Apuleius studied with a master at Carthage (where he later settled) and later at Athens, where he studied Platonist philosophy among other subjects. He subsequently went to Rome[8] to study Latin rhetoric and, most likely, to speak 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 Greco-Roman mysteries, including the Dionysian Mysteries.[9] He was a priest of Asclepius[10] and, according to Augustine,[11] sacerdos provinciae Africae (i.e., priest of the province of Carthage).

Not long after his return home he set out upon a new journey to Alexandria.[12] On his way there he was taken ill at the town of Oea (modern-day Tripoli) and was hospitably received into the house of Sicinius Pontianus, with whom he had been friends when he had studied in Athens.[12] The mother of Pontianus, Pudentilla, was a very rich widow. With her son's consent – indeed encouragement – Apuleius agreed to marry her.[13] Meanwhile, Pontianus himself married the daughter of one Herennius Rufinus; he, indignant that Pudentilla's wealth should pass out of the family, instigated his son-in-law, together with a younger brother, Sicinius Pudens, a mere boy, and their paternal uncle, Sicinius Aemilianus, to join him in impeaching Apuleius upon the charge that he had gained the affections of Pudentilla by charms and magic spells.[14] The case was heard at Sabratha, near Tripoli, c. 158 AD, before Claudius Maximus, proconsul of Africa.[15] The accusation itself seems to have been ridiculous, and the spirited and triumphant defence spoken by Apuleius is still extant. This is known as the Apologia (A Discourse on Magic).[2]

Apuleius accused an extravagant personal enemy of turning his house into a brothel and prostituting his own wife.[16]

Of his subsequent career we know little. Judging from the many works of which he was author, he must have devoted himself diligently to literature. He occasionally gave speeches in public to great reception; he had the charge of exhibiting gladiatorial shows and wild beast events in the province, and statues were erected in his honor by the senate of Carthage and of other senates.[17]

The date, place and circumstances of Apuleius' death are not known.[18][19] There is no record of his activities after 170, a fact which has led some people to believe that he must have died about then (say in 171), although other scholars feel that he may still have been alive in 180 or even 190.[20]


Frontispiece from the Bohn Library 1902 edition of The Works of Apuleius: a portrait of Apuleius flanked by Pamphile changing into an owl and the Golden Ass

The Golden Ass

The Golden Ass (Asinus Aureus) or 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 with 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 many 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. He is introduced to the Navigium Isidis. Then the secrets of the cult's books are explained to him, and further secrets are revealed before he goes 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.[21] The adventures of the ass stand at the beginning of the picaresque novel tradition which eventually produced The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling.[22]

The Apologia

Apologia (Apulei Platonici pro Se de Magia) is the version of the defense presented in Sabratha, in 158-159, before the proconsul Claudius Maximus, by Apuleius accused of the crime of magic. Between the traditional exordium and peroratio, the argumentation is divided into three sections:

  • in the first, the writer refutes the accusations leveled against his private life. He demonstrates that by marrying Pudentilla he had no interested motive and that he carries it away, intellectually and morally, on his opponents.
  • The second tends to prove that his so-called "magical operations" were in fact indispensable scientific experiments for an imitator of Aristotle and Hippocrates, or the religious acts of a Roman Platonist.
  • The third recounts the events that have occurred in Oea since his arrival and pulverize the arguments against him.

The main interest of the Apology is historical: it offers a lot of information about its author, magic and life in Africa in the second century. But, it is not devoid of literary value.[23]

Other works

His other works are:

  • Florida. A compilation of twenty-three extracts from his various speeches and lectures.
  • De Platone et dogmate eius (On Plato and his Doctrine). An outline in two books of Plato's physics and ethics, preceded by a life of Plato
  • De Deo Socratis (On the God of Socrates). A work on the existence and nature of demons, the intermediaries between gods and humans. This treatise was roughly attacked by Augustine of Hippo. It contains a passage comparing gods and kings which is the first recorded occurrence of the proverb "familiarity breeds contempt":[24]

    parit enim conversatio contemptum, raritas conciliat admirationem
    (familiarity breeds contempt, rarity brings admiration)

  • On the Universe. This Latin translation of the work De Mundo is probably by Apuleius.

Apuleius wrote many other works which have not survived. He wrote works of poetry and fiction, as well as technical treatises on politics, dendrology, agriculture, medicine, natural history, astronomy, music, and arithmetic, and he translated Plato's Phaedo.[25]

Spurious works

The extant works wrongly attributed to Apuleius are:[26]

Apuleian Sphere

The Apuleian Sphere described in Petosiris to Nechepso, also known as "Columcille's Circle" or "Petosiris' Circle",[27] is a magical prognosticating device for predicting the survival of a patient.[28]


  1. ^ "Lucius Apuleius". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. ^ a b "Apuleius, Apology". George Town University.
  3. ^ "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
  4. ^ a b Apuleius, Apology, 24
  5. ^ P. G. Walsh, (1999) The Golden Ass, page xi. Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ Julia Haig Gaisser, (2008), The fortunes of Apuleius and the Golden Ass: a study in transmission and Reception, page 69. Princeton University Press.
  7. ^ Apuleius, Apology, 23
  8. ^ Apuleius, Florida, 17.4
  9. ^ As he proudly claims in his Apologia. (Winter, Thomas Nelson (2006) Apology as Prosecution: The Trial of Apuleius)
  10. ^ Apuleius, Florida 16.38 and 18.38
  11. ^ Augustine, Epistle 138.19.
  12. ^ a b Apuleius, Apology, 72.
  13. ^ Apuleius, Apology, 73
  14. ^ Apuleius, Apology, 53, 66, 70, etc
  15. ^ Apuleius, Apology, 1, 59, 65
  16. ^ Apuleius, Apology, 75–76; Rebecca Flemming (1999), "Quae corpore quaestum facit: The Sexual Economy of Female Prostitution in the Roman Empire," Journal of Roman Studies 89, p. 41.
  17. ^ Apuleius, Apology, 55, 73; Florida, iii. n. 16; Augustine, Ep. v.
  18. ^ Gollnick, James (1999). The Religious Dreamworld of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses: Recovering a Forgotten Hermeneutic. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-88920-803-2.
  19. ^ Apuleius (2004). The Golden Ass, Or, The Metamorphoses. Barnes & Noble Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-7607-5598-3.
  20. ^ Londey, David George; Johanson, Carmen J. (1987). The Logic of Apuleius: Including a Complete Latin Text and English Translation of the Peri Hermeneias of Apuleius of Madaura. Brill publishers. p. 11. ISBN 90-04-08421-5.
  21. ^ Iles Johnson, Sarah, Mysteries, in Ancient Religions pp. 104–5, The Belknap Press of Harvard University (2007), ISBN 978-0-674-02548-6
  22. ^ The Oxford Companion to English Literature, 6th Edition. Edited by Margaret Drabble, Oxford University Press, 2000 Pp 35
  23. ^ Cèbe, Jean-Pierre (1989). "Apulée". Encyclopédie berbère. 6 | Antilopes – Arzuges. Aix-en-Provence: Edisud. pp. 820–827.
  24. ^ S. J. Harrison (2004), Apuleius, Oxford University Press, p. 149, ISBN 978-0-19-927138-2
  25. ^ P. G. Walsh, (1999) The Golden Ass, pages xiv–xv. Oxford University Press.
  26. ^ Mark P. O. Morford, (2002), The Roman philosophers, page 227. Routledge.
  27. ^ Kalesmaki, Joel. "Types of Greek Numerology". Archived from the original on 14 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-26.
  28. ^ Rust, Martha Dana (1999). "Art of Beekeeping Meets the Arts of Grammar: A Gloss of "Columcille's Circle"". Philological Quarterly. 78.


  • Luca Graverini, Literature and Identity in the Golden Ass of Apuleius (Columbus: Ohio State University press, 2012; original ed. in Italian, Pisa: Pacini, 2007). ISBN 978-0814292921.
  • Claudio Moreschini, Apuleius and the Metamorphoses of Platonism (Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2016) (Nutrix. Studies in Late Antique, Medieval and Renaissance Thought 10), ISBN 978-2-503-55470-9
  • Carl C. Schlam, The Metamorphoses of Apuleius: On Making an Ass of Oneself (Chapel Hill-London, 1992).
  • Gerald Sandy, The Greek World of Apuleius: Apuleius and the Second Sophistic (Leiden, Brill, 1997).
  • Finkelpearl, Ellen D. Metamorphosis of Language in Apuleius: A Study of Allusion in the Novel (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1998).
  • O. Pecere, A. Stramaglia, Studi apuleiani. Note di aggiornamento di L. Graverini (Cassino: Edizioni dell' Università degli Studi di Cassino, 2003).
  • Lucia Pasetti, Plauto in Apuleio (Bologna: Patron Editore, 2007).
  • Frangoulidis, Stavros. Witches, Isis and narrative: approaches to magic in Apuleius' Metamorphoses (Berlin; New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2008) (Trends in classics – Supplementary volumes, 2).
  • Apuleius : Rhetorical Works. translated and annotated Stephen Harrison, John Hilton, and Vincent Hunink. edited Stephen Harrison. (New York : Oxford University Press, 2001).

External links

Caelius Rhodiginus

Caelius Rhodiginus (born Lodovico Ricchieri; 1469, Rovigo–1525, Rovigo) was a Venetian writer, and professor in Greek and Latin.

His original name was Ludovico or Lodovico Celio Ricchieri. He took the name Rhodiginus from his birthplace, Rovigo. He studied at Ferrara and Padua. He was a professor in Greek and Latin at Rovigo from 1491-9, and again from 1503-4. He was sacked by the council of Rovigo on 26 May 1504 because of his high-handedness in dealing with the city. He subsequently taught in many places including Bologna, Vicenza, Padua, and Ferrara. In 1515, he became the chair of Greek at Milan; he returned to Rovigo in 1523, and died two years later. His pupil Julius Caesar Scaliger described him as the Varro of his age.

His principal work was the Antiquarum Lectionum in sixteen books published in 1516 in Venice at the Aldine Press. It was a collection of notes on the classics and general topics. Rhodiginus continued to collect materials towards producing a new edition, and the book was posthumously expanded to thirty books and published under the editorship of his nephew Camillo Ricchieri and G. M. Goretti in 1542 at Basle. He also wrote commentaries on Virgil, Ovid, and Horace.

Claudius Maximus

Claudius Maximus (fl. 2nd century AD) was a Roman politician, a Stoic philosopher and a teacher of Marcus Aurelius. No works by him are known to exist; however, he is mentioned in a few prestigious works from classical literature.

Cupid and Psyche

Cupid and Psyche is a story originally from Metamorphoses (also called The Golden Ass), written in the 2nd century AD by Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis (or Platonicus). The tale concerns the overcoming of obstacles to the love between Psyche (, Greek: Ψυχή [pʰsyː.kʰɛ᷄ː], "Soul" or "Breath of Life") and Cupid (Latin Cupido, "Desire") or Amor ("Love", Greek Eros ’′Ερως), and their ultimate union in a sacred marriage. Although the only extended narrative from antiquity is that of Apuleius, Eros and Psyche appear in Greek art as early as the 4th century BC. The story's Neoplatonic elements and allusions to mystery religions accommodate multiple interpretations, and it has been analyzed as an allegory and in light of folktale, Märchen or fairy tale, and myth.Since the rediscovery of Apuleius's novel in the Renaissance, the reception of Cupid and Psyche in the classical tradition has been extensive. The story has been retold in poetry, drama, and opera, and depicted widely in painting, sculpture, and even wallpaper. Though Psyche is usually referred to in Roman mythology by her Greek name, her Roman name through direct translation is Anima

Eros and Psyche (Robert Bridges)

Eros and Psyche is a narrative poem with strong romantic and tragic themes: first published in 1885 by Robert Bridges. Bridges was licensed as a physician in England until 1882 when he was forced to retire due to a lung disease. He would then devote the rest of his life to literary research and writing and would be appointed as Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom in 1913.

Bridges' Eros and Psyche retells the Eros (Cupid) and Psyche myth first recorded by Lucius Apuleius in his book The Golden Ass. The work received critical acclaim; Coventry Patmore expressing the opinion that Bridge's version would become the standard form of Apuleius myth.

Flamen Divi Julii

In Roman Imperial cult, the flamen Divi Julii or flamen Divi Iulii, was the priest of the divinised Julius Caesar, and the fourth of the so-called flamines maiores (the archpriests of the Roman flaminates) to be created. The new flaminate was established in by the Roman senate in 42 BC, as part of Caesar's consecration as a divus (divinity of the Roman State) two years after his assassination. Caesar had, in his lifetime, been the recipient of unofficial, divine cult from his supporters, and had designated Mark Antony to serve as his priest. Caesar's cult continued after his death, and in 40 BC, the senate confirmed Antony as the first flamen Divi Iulii.

Gaius Appuleius Diocles

Gaius Appuleius Diocles (104- after 146) was a Roman charioteer.

Gaius Appuleius Diocles was born in approximately 104 A.D in Lamecum, (now Lamego, Portugal) the capital city of Lusitania, province of Emerita Augusta (modern-day Mérida, Spain). His father owned a small-time transport business and the family was comparatively well off. Diocles is believed to have started racing at the age of 18 in Ilerda, (today's Lérida, in Catalonia Spain) This first notable victory outside his native land brought him international fame and encouraged him to go to Rome. and quickly gained a reputation good enough to get himself called up to the ‘big leagues’ at the capital of the Roman empire.

He became known as the Lamecus and henceforth brought fame and renown to his native ancient city of Lamecum. Within the city, a statue was erected on top the fountain in front of the garden known today as Jardim do Campo, located in the centre of town.

He most commonly raced four-horse chariots and in most of his races he came from behind to win. Diocles is also notable for owning an extremely rare ducenarius, a horse that had won at least 200 races. Records show that he won 1,462 out of the 4,257 four-horse races he competed in and was placed in an additional 1,438 races (mostly finishing in second place). The ‘champion of charioteers’ is one of the best-documented ancient athletes, most likely because he was such a star at the famous Roman Circus Maximus.

Being the best in the field also seems to have allowed Diocles to perfect his showmanship. Many of his victories took the form of a ‘come from behind’ crossing of the finish line at the last possible moment. The crowds loved it. Any race with Diocles quickly became the ‘featured event’ of the day. This naturally helped Diocles make even more money. His winnings reportedly totaled 35,863,120 sesterces, allegedly, over $15 billion in today’s dollars, an amount which could provide a year's supply of grain to the entire city of Rome, or pay the Roman army at its height for a fifth of a year. Classics professor Peter Struck describes him as "the best paid athlete of all time".

Gaius the Platonist

Gaius the Platonist (2nd century) was a Greek or Roman philosopher, and a representative of Middle Platonism. Very little is known about him except that he was the teacher of Albinus, who is known to have published a now lost nine-volume summary of Gaius' lectures on Plato. He taught Platonism in the first half of the 2nd century, but almost nothing is known about his philosophical opinions. It has been speculated that the On Plato and His Doctrine written by Apuleius may have been taken from the lectures of Gaius, but this assertion is now seen as dubious. It has also been thought that the anonymous commentary on the Theaetetus of Plato, which is partially extant, may have come from his school. Porphyry mentions that his works were read in the school of Plotinus.

Gelos (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Gelos (Γέλως) is the divine personification of laughter. According to Philostratus the Elder, he was believed to enter the retinue of Dionysus alongside Comus. Plutarch relates that Lycurgus of Sparta dedicated a small statue of Gelos to the god, and elsewhere, mentions that in Sparta there was a sanctuary of Gelos, as well as those of Thanatos, Phobos "and other [personifications of] experiences of this kind".Risus was the Latin rendition of the name Gelos. A festival in honor of Risus (i. e. Gelos) in Thessaly was described by Apuleius, but it is unknown whether it was an actual event or writer's invention.

History of Roman-era Tunisia

The history of Roman-era Tunisia begins with the history of the Roman Africa Province. Rome took control of Carthage after the Third Punic War (149–146). There was a period of Berber kings allied with Rome. Lands surrounding Carthage were annexed and reorganized, and the city of Carthage rebuilt, becoming the third city of the Empire. A long period of prosperity ensued; a cosmopolitan culture evolved. Trade quickened, the fields yielded their fruits. Settlers from across the Empire migrated here, forming a Latin-speaking ethnic mix. The Carthaginian society made up of native Phoenician-speaking Libyans (Berbers) and Phoenicians, as well as Berber-speaking Libyans, was becoming gradually romanized, some native Libyans like Apuleius and Septimus Severus became great figures of the Roman empire. Christianity became gradually spread among the Northwest Africans, offering to the Roman Catholicism three of its Popes, as well as Augustine of Hippo. During the eclipse of the Roman Empire, several prominent Libyans revolted. A generation later the Vandals, a Germanic tribe, arrived in Tunisia with the help of the Maurii (Libyans of Northwest Africa) and reigned over the Roman province for nearly a century. Several Libyan (Berbers) revolts occurred during the reign of the Vandals in the former Roman Africa, some detached themselves and established self-rule at the periphery. The Byzantine Empire eventually recaptured the area from the Vandals into its dominion in 534, which endured until the Islamic conquest, completed in 705. Then came the final undoing of ancient Carthage.

List of Dacian plant names

This is a list of plant names in Dacian, surviving from ancient botanical works such as Dioscorides' De Materia Medica (abb. MM) and Pseudo-Apuleius' Herbarius (abb. Herb.). Dacian plant names are one of the primary sources left to us for studying the Dacian language, an ancient language of South Eastern Europe. This list also includes a Bessian plant name and a Moesian plant name, both neighboring Daco-Thracian tribes.

A separate list exists containing Romanian words of possible Dacian origin that form the Eastern Romance substratum.


Madauros (Madaurus, Madaura) was a Roman-Berber city and a former diocese of the Catholic Church in the old state of Numidia.

Magic in fiction

Magic in fiction is the endowment of characters or objects in works of fiction with powers that do not naturally occur in the real world.

Magic often serves as a plot device and has long been a component of fiction, from the days of Homer and Apuleius down through the tales of the Holy Grail and King Arthur, to more contemporary authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Ursula K. Le Guin, Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, J.K. Rowling, Mercedes Lackey, and Derek Landy.


In ancient Roman religion, the Manes or Di Manes are chthonic deities sometimes thought to represent souls of deceased loved ones. They were associated with the Lares, Lemures, Genii, and Di Penates as deities (di) that pertained to domestic, local, and personal cult. They belonged broadly to the category of di inferi, "those who dwell below," the undifferentiated collective of divine dead. The Manes were honored during the Parentalia and Feralia in February.

The theologian St. Augustine, writing about the subject a few centuries after most of the Latin pagan references to such spirits, differentiated Manes from other types of Roman spirits:

Apuleius "says, indeed, that the souls of men are demons, and that men become Lares if they are good, Lemures or Larvae if they are bad, and Manes if it is uncertain whether they deserve well or ill... He also states that the blessed are called in Greek εὐδαίμονες [eudaimones], because they are good souls, that is to say, good demons, confirming his opinion that the souls of men are demons."

Latin spells of antiquity were often addressed to the Manes.

Marcellus of Capua

Marcellus of Capua was a third- or fourth-century martyr who was inserted in the General Roman Calendar in the 13th century. He is recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church, with 7 October as his feast day.Untrustworthy legends associated him with a Saint Apuleius, which led to them being mentioned together in some editions of the Roman Martyrology, but the name of Apuleius has been removed from that official list of saints of the Catholic Church, as without historical foundation.In the Tridentine Calendar, Marcellus was commemorated with Apuleius and two other saints on 7 October, the feast day of Pope Mark. In 1716, this day became the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the commemoration of Marcellus and Apuleius was moved to 8 October. Marcellus were restored to 7 October in 1969 and Apuleius was expunged.

Milesian tale

The Milesian tale (Μιλησιακά, Milisiaka in Greek; in Latin fabula milesiaca, or Milesiae fabula) is a genre of fictional story prominent in ancient Greek and Roman literature. According to most authorities, a Milesian tale is a short story, fable, or folktale featuring love and adventure, usually of an erotic or titillating nature. M. C. Howatson, in The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (1989), voices the traditional view the Milesian tale is the source "of such medieval collections of tales as the Gesta Romanorum, the Decameron of Boccaccio, and the Heptameron of Marguerite of Navarre".

Gottskálk Jensson of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, however, offers a dissenting view or corrective, arguing the original Milesian tale was:

a type of first-person novel, a travelogue told from memory by a narrator who every now and then would relate how he encountered other characters who told him stories which he would then incorporate into the main tale through the rhetorical technique of narrative impersonation.

This resulted in "a complicated narrative fabric: a travelogue carried by a main narrator with numerous subordinate tales carried by subordinate narrative voices". The best complete example of this would be Apuleius's The Golden Ass, a Roman novel written in the second century of the Common Era. Apuleius introduces his novel with the words "At ego tibi sermone isto Milesio varias fabulas conseram" ("But let me join together different stories in that Milesian style"), which suggests not each story is a Milesian tale, but rather the entire joined-together collection. The idea of the Milesian tale also served as a model for the episodic narratives strung together in Petronius's Satyricon.

Moon magic

Moon magic is associated with the moon. There is a belief common to many cultures that working rituals at the time of different phases of the moon can bring about physical or psychological change or transformation. These rituals have historically occurred on or around the full moon and to a lesser extent the new moon. Such practices are common amongst adherents of neopagan and witchcraft systems such as Wicca. Witches in Greek and Roman literature, particularly those from Thessaly, were regularly accused of "drawing down the moon" by use of a magic spell. The trick serves to demonstrate their powers (Virgil Eclogues 8.69), to perform a love spell (Suetonius Tiberius 1.8.21) or to extract a magical juice from the moon (Apuleius Metamorphoses 1.3.1). These beliefs would seem to be consistent with many other cultures traditions, for instance; casting of the i ching is often done during the full moon's apex.


Pseudo-Apuleius is the name given in modern scholarship to the author of a 4th-century herbal known as Pseudo-Apuleius Herbarius or Herbarium Apuleii Platonici. Whoever the author of the text was apparently wished readers to think that it was by Apuleius of Madaura (124–170 CE), the Roman poet and philosopher, but modern scholars do not believe this attribution. Little or nothing else is known of Pseudo-Apuleius apart from this.

The oldest surviving manuscript of the Herbarium is the sixth-century Leiden, MS. Voss. Q.9. Until the twelfth century it was the most influential herbal in Europe, with numerous extant copies surviving into the modern era, along with several copies of an Old English translation. Thereafter it was more or less displaced by the Circa instans, a herbal produced at the school of Salerno. "Pseudo-Apuleius" is also used as a shorthand generic term to refer to the manuscripts and derived works.

The Golden Ass

The Metamorphoses of Apuleius, which Augustine of Hippo referred to as The Golden Ass (Asinus aureus), is the only ancient Roman novel in Latin to survive in its entirety.The protagonist of the novel is called Lucius. At the end of the novel, he is revealed to be from Madaurus, the hometown of Apuleius himself. The plot revolves around the protagonist's curiosity (curiositas) and insatiable desire to see and practice magic. While trying to perform a spell to transform into a bird, he is accidentally transformed into an ass. This leads to a long journey, literal and metaphorical, filled with inset tales. He finally finds salvation through the intervention of the goddess Isis, whose cult he joins.


In Roman mythology, Voluptas or Volupta, according to Apuleius, is the son born from the union of

Cupid and Psyche.

He is often found in the company of the Gratiae,

or Three Graces, and she is known as the god of

"sensual pleasures", "voluptas"

meaning "pleasure" or "delight".

Some Roman authors mention a goddess named Volupia, who had a temple, the Sacellum Volupiae on the Via Nova by the Porta Romana, where sacrifices were offered to the Diva Angerona. The name appears to signify "willingness".The corresponding goddess In Greek Mythology is Hedone.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.