Apuleius: A Latin Sophist by S. J. Harrison

By S. J. Harrison

This booklet is a reaction to the literary pleasures and scholarly difficulties of analyzing the texts of Apuleius, most famed for his novel Metamorphoses or Golden Ass. residing in second-century North Africa, Apuleius was once greater than an writer of fiction; he was once a consummate orator highbrow, Platonist thinker, impressive stylist, relentless self-promoter, and flexible writer of a remarkably various physique of labor, a lot of that is misplaced to us. This ebook is written for these capable of learn Apuleius in Latin, and Apuleian works are hence quoted with no translation (although the place they exist compatible translations were indicated). during this publication Dr Harrison has supplied a literary guide to all of the works of Apuleius in addition to the Metamorphoses, and has set his works opposed to their highbrow heritage: not just Apuleius' occupation as a appearing highbrow, a sophist, in second-century Roman North Africa, but in addition the bigger modern framework of the Greek moment Sophistic. whereas focusing totally on the texts as literature and literary-historical, the e-book additionally bargains with Apuleius' works of didactic philosophy and his consequent reference to center Platonism.

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The content of fr. 20 suggests that it is derived from historiography, or perhaps from a military anecdote in a rhetorical context. But Brancaleone (1996-7) argues effectively against the Apuleian attribution, pointing out that Scheffer takes over the relevant citation from N. Perotti's Cornucopia (1489), a notori­ ously unreliable source for classical quotations. 125 126 36 Apuleius in Context: Life, Background, Writings This looks like a genuine oratorical fragment, and (along with Scheffer's citation of fr.

205). The title Apologia certainly has relevant literary affinities, which have no doubt contributed to its appearance in texts ofApuleius' speech: in particular, its use for the two Apologias of Socrates of Plato and Xenophon suggests a Socratic model which Apuleius the literary Platonist might be keen to follow, and there are certainly moments at which the Apuleius of the Apologia echoes the Socrates of the Apology. 13 But significant resemblances between the Apologia and Plato's Apology are necessarily limited: both are speeches which present a philosopher on trial for his life and in some sense defend­ ing philosophers and philosophy in general (cf.

Fr. 16. Servius on Vergil Georg. 126: quod negat Apuleius in libris quos de arboribus scripsit. This sole allusion concerns the identity of the felix malum at Georg. 2. 126; Apuleius clearly engaged in a controversy which was both scientific and literary, very suitable for a writer who commonly quotes Vergil as a mat­ ter of cultural display (cf. g. Apol. 30, DDS 130, Mu. 320). The form of citation makes it clear that there was more than one Apuleian book on trees, but allows the possibility that these books were simply a part of the larger agricultural work listed as 8 above, since ancient works on farming usually included substantial sections on the crucial area of arboriculture (the second book ofVarro's Res Rusticae is devoted to it).

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