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Apuleius

Birthdate: 125
Date of death: 170
Other names: Lucius A. Apuleius, Луций Апулей

Apuleius was a Latin-language prose writer, Platonist philosopher and rhetorician. He was a Numidian who lived under the Roman Empire and was from Madauros . 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 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.

Works

Apologia
Apuleius

Quotes Apuleius

„Behold me, Lucius; moved by thy prayers, I appear to thee; I, who am Nature, the parent of all things, the mistress of all the elements, the primordial offspring of time, the supreme among Divinities, the queen of departed spirits, the first of the celestials, and the uniform manifestation of the Gods and Goddesses; who govern by my nod the luminous heights of heaven, the salubrious breezes of the ocean, and the anguished silent realms of the shades below: whose one sole divinity the whole orb of the earth venerates under a manifold form, with different rites, and under a variety of appellations.“

—  Apuleius, book The Golden Ass

Bk. 11, ch. 5; p. 226.
Metamorphoses (The Golden Ass)
Original: (la) En adsum tuis commota, Luci, precibus, rerum naturae parens, elementorum omnium domina, saeculorum progenies initialis, summa numinum, regina manium, prima caelitum, deorum dearumque facies uniformis, quae caeli luminosa culmina, maris salubria flamina, inferum deplorata silentia nutibus meis dispenso: cuius numen unicum multiformi specie, ritu vario, nomine multiiugo totus veneratus orbis.

„Familiarity breeds contempt, while rarity wins admiration.“

—  Apuleius

De Deo Socratis (On the God of Socrates), ch. 4; p. 355.
Original: (la) Parit enim conversatio contemptum; raritas conciliat admirationem.
Variant: Familiarity breeds contempt, but concealment excites interest.

„I approached the confines of death, and having trod on the threshold of Proserpine, I returned therefrom, being borne through all the elements. At midnight I saw the sun shining with its brilliant light; and I approached the presence of the Gods beneath, and the Gods of heaven, and stood near, and worshipped them.“

—  Apuleius, book The Golden Ass

Bk. 11, ch. 23; pp. 239-40.
Describing initiation into the mysteries of Isis.
Metamorphoses (The Golden Ass)
Original: (la) Accessi confinium mortis et calcato Proserpinae limine per omnia vectus elementa remeavi, nocte media vidi solem candido coruscantem lumine, deos inferos et deos superos accessi coram et adoravi de proximo.

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„But he who knows what insanity is, is sane; whereas insanity can no more be sensible of its own existence, than blindness can see itself.“

—  Apuleius, book Apologia

Original: (la) Sanus est, qui scit quid sit insania, quippe insania scire se non potest, non magis quam caecitas se videre.

„It is with life just as with swimming; that man is the most expert who is the most disengaged from all encumbrances.“

—  Apuleius, book Apologia

Apologia; seu, Pro Se de Magia (Apologia; or, A Discourse on Magic), ch. 21; p. 268.
Original: (la) Ad vivendum velut ad natandum is melior qui onere liberior.

„For when you have once begun to serve the Goddess, you will then in a still higher degree enjoy the fruit of your liberty.“

—  Apuleius, book The Golden Ass

Bk. 11, ch. 15; p. 233.
Metamorphoses (The Golden Ass)
Original: (la) Nam cum coeperis deae servire, tunc magis senties fructum tuae libertatis.

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