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Apuleius of Madaura

(c. 125 - after 170 CE)

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

(Lucius) Apuleius, also known as Apuleius of Madaura, was born in Madaura in about 125 CE. He was a Berber writer and philosopher. His name is a controversial issue, it is presumed on the basis of one of his works entitled “Metamorphoses” that his name was Lucius. This was also assumed before since the name Lucius is conveyed in many manuscripts.

His father was most likely Duumvir. He received his first education in his hometown, but when he was still a little boy he was educated in Carthage and the next studies in Athens. He made many trips. He began his literary activity in Rome. He later returned to Africa and married the wealthy and much older Pudentilla. After her death, he inherited a large fortune, but the relatives of the deceased believed that he had managed to deceive Pudentille with magic. He was sued by an absurd lawsuit. Apuleius’ defence speech, known as Apologia, sive Pro se ipso de magia liber, has considerable literary value and is an important resource for knowing his personal life. It turned out to be so convincing that not only was Apuleius exonerated, but also entrusted with the position of sacerdos provinciae in Carthage, i.e. the priest of the emperor’s cult throughout Africa, and a statue was erected in his honour.

His most important work is “Metamorphoses” also known as “The Golden Ass”. The narrator in the novel writes in the first person and tells his story. During his journey, he is accidentally turned into a donkey – hence the title “golden donkey”; perhaps bestowed by St. Augustine.

We do not have information about his life after 170 CE.


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