Apuleius, being a biographical introduction to the translation of The Golden Asse by Thomas Taylor, 1822.

Apuleius, the celebrated author of the following works, is undoubtedly the greatest of the ancient Latin Platonists, a portion of whose writings have been preserved to the present time; and though, in consequence of living at a period in which the depths of the Platonic philosophy had not been fathomed, and its mysteries luminously unfolded, as they afterwards were by certain Coryphæan Greeks, he is not to be classed among the chief of the disciples of Plato, yet he will always maintain a very distinguished rank among those who have delivered to the more accessible parts of that philosophy with consummate eloquence, and an inimitable splendour of diction.

Of his life, scarcely any thing more of importance is known, than the particulars respecting himself which may be collected from his works, and these are as follows: He lived in the second century , about the time of Antoninus Pius, and was a native of Madaura, a Roman colony in Africa, and hence, in his Apology, he calls himself a semi-Gætulian and semi-Numidian, because the place of his birth was situated on the very confines of Numidia and Gætulia. His family was of considerable rank; for his father, whose name was Theseus, had exercised at Madaura the office of duumvir, which was the first dignity of a colony; and his mother, whose name was Salvia, was originally of Thessaly, and descended from the family of Plutarch. He appears to have been well instructed in all the liberal disciplines of the Greeks, to have been graceful in his person, and to have abounded in wit and learning. Hence, speaking of his literary attainments, he says, in his Florida, "The first cup of knowledge which we receive from our preceptors removes entire ignorance; the second furnishes us with grammatical learning; the third arms us with the eloquence of the rhetorician. Thus far many drink. But I drank of other cups besides these at Athens; of poetry, the fabulous; of geometry, the limpid; of music, the sweet; of dialectic, the rough and unpleasant; and of universal philosophy, the never-satiating and nectareous cup."

He studied first at Carthage, then at Athens, and afterwards at Rome, where he acquired the Latin tongue without any assistance, as he himself informs us at the beginning of his Metamorphosis. An ardent desire of becoming acquainted with all the arcana of philosophy, and all the mysteries of religion, induced him to make several voyages, and enter himself into several religious fraternities. He spent nearly the whole of his estate in travelling; so that, having returned to Rome, and being desirous of dedicating himself to the service of Osiris, he wanted money to defray the expense of the ceremonies of his reception. Hence he was under the necessity of parting with his clothes to make up the requisite sum. After this he procured the means of subsistence by pleading; and through his eloquence and skill, was not in want of causes, some of which were of great importance. He restored his fallen fortune, however, much more by a lucky marriage than by forensic harangues. A widow, whose name was Pudentilla, neither young nor fair, but who stood in need of a husband, and had a good estate, thought Apuleius adapted to her purpose. The accuser of Apuleius, as we learn from the Apology, affirmed she was sixty years of age; but his design in asserting this was to prove, that the passion she had conceived for the accused was not natural, but the effect of magic. Apuleius made it appear, that she was not much above forty years of age, and that if she had passed fourteen of those years in a state of widowhood, it was not from any aversion to matrimony, but from the opposition of her father-in-law to it; and that at length celibacy had so far impaired her health, that the physicians and midwives were of opinion, that the best remedy for the diseases which were the consequence of it was wedlock. The argument employed by Apuleius on this occasion was, that a lady so advised, and who had no time to lose, if she desired to make the best use of her teeming years, wanted not to be constrained by magic art to make choice of a spouse. This rich widow Apuleius cheerfully married, at a country hose near Oea, a maritime town of Africa. This marriage involved him in a troublesome lawsuit; the relations of this lady's two sons pretending that he had employed magic to possess himself of her money and her heart. Hence they accused him of being a wizard, before Claudius Maximus, the proconsul of Africa. From this charge he defended himself with great ability and vigour, as is evident from the Apology, that is still extant, which he delivered before his judges.

He was also extremely laborious, and wrote many books, some in verse, and others in prose; of which but a small part has escaped the ravages of time. Hence, in his Apology, in answer to his adversary, on the subject of eloquence, he says: "As to eloquence, if ever I had any, it ought not to appear to be either wonderful or odious, if, having from my youth to this time strenuously applied myself to the study of literature, spurning all other pleasures, with greater labour, perhaps, than was ever employed by any other man, by day and by night, I have endeavoured to obtain it, with the contempt and loss of my health." He delighted in making public speeches, in which he gained the applause of all his auditors. When they heard him at Oea, the audience unanimously exclaimed, that he ought to be honoured with the freedom of the city. The people of Carthage, on hearing him harangue, erected a statue of him, as a testimony of their esteem of his talents; and he was honoured in the same way by other cities. It is said by Sidonius Apollinaris, that his wife held the candle to him while he studied; "but this," says Bayle, "must not, I think, be taken literally, it is rather a figure of Gallic eloquence."

It has been above observed, that he wrote many books. Indeed, it may be said, as Bayle remarks, that he was an universal genius, as there are but few subjects which he has not handled. Hence, he translated the Phædo of Plato, and the Arithmetic of Nicomachus. He wrote a treatise De Republica, another De Numeris, and another De Musica. His Table-Questions are quoted, and also his Letters to Cerellia, his Proverbs, his Hermagoras, and his Ludicra. This last work he mentions himself: "They read," says he, "in my Ludicra, a short epistle in verse, concerning a powder for the teeth.

The works of Apuleius which have escaped the ravages of time are, his Metamorphos, or, as it is generally called, the Golden Ass, in eleven books; his treatises of Natural and Moral Philosophy; of the Categoric Syllogism; and of the God of Socrates, a translation of all which is now presented to the public. And besides this there are extant, his Apology, his Florida, and his treatise De Mundo, which is nothing more than a translation from the Greek of a treatise with the same title which is generally ascribed to Aristotle. The Latin translation also of the Asclepian Dialogue of Hermes Trismegistus, is attributed to Apuleius; and though it is entirely destitute of that splendour of diction which so eminently distinguishes the writings of our author, yet it is not improbable that it is one of his productions; since a translator, if he is faithful, will not only give the matter, but the manner also of his original.

With respect to the treatises translated in these volumes, the Metamorphosis is the most celebrated of all the works of Apuleius. A great part of this fable may be said to be a paraphrase of the Ass of Lucian, which was originally derived from a work of Lucius Patrensis, who wrote in Greek, and was of Patræ, a city of Achaia. The most important parts however of the Metamorphosis, viz. the fable of Cupid and Psyche, and the eleventh book, in which Apuleius gives an account of his being initiated in the mysteries of Isis and Osiris, are not derived from any sources with which we are at present acquainted. I call these the most important parts, because in the former, as it appears to me, the very ancient dogma of the pre-existence of the human soul, its lapse from the intelligible world to the earth, and its return from thence to its pristine state of felicity, are most accurately and beautifully adumbrated. This I have endeavoured to prove in the notes which accompany the translation of this fable. (For Mr. Taylor's notes on this subject, see Cupid and Psyche) And as to the eleventh book, though the whole of the Metamorphosis is replete with elegance and erudition, yet this book excels all the rest, in consequence of containing many important historical particulars, and many which are derived from the arcana of Egyptian philosophy and religion. What he says about his initiation into the Mysteries in particular, is uncommonly interesting and novel.

Dr. Warburton formed an opinion of the design of the Metamorphosis, which, in one part of it at least, appears to me to be singularly ridiculous and absurd; viz. that the author's main purpose was to commend the Pagan religion as the only cure for all vice whatsoever; and to ridicule the Christian religion. There may be some truth in the former part of this assertion; but it is wholly incredible, that at a period when the Christian religion was openly derided and execrated by all the Heathens, Apuleius should have written a work one part of the intention of which was to ridicule latently that which, without any concealment, and with the sanction of the existing government, was generally despised. One passage indeed occurs in which he speaks contemptuously of the Christians; but then his meaning is so far from being latent, that it must be obvious to every one. The passage I allude to is the following in book the ninth, in which Apuleius, speaking of the nefarious wife of a baker, says of her: "Then despising and trampling on the divine powers, instead of the true religion, counterfeiting a nefarious opinion of God, whom she asserted to be the only deity; devising also vain observances, and deceiving all men, and likewise her miserable husband, she enslaved her body to morning draughts of pure wine, and to continual adultery." In the tenth book also, he denominates a most execrable character cruciarius, which according to Plautus signifies discipulus crucis, a disciple of the cross; and perhaps in thus denominating this murderer, he intended to signify that he was a Christian; but there are no other parts of this work in which there is a shadow of probability that Apuleius had the Christian religion in view; except it should be said that he alludes to it, when in the eleventh book he calls the Heathen the most pure, magnificent, and eternal religion.

What then was the real design of Apuleius in composing this work? Shall we say, with Macrobius, that Apuleius sometimes diverted himself with the tales of love, and that this is a kind of fable which professes only to please the ear, and which wisdom banishes from her temple to the cradles of nurses? This, however, is by no means consistent with that dignity and elevation of mind which are essential to the character of a Platonic philosopher. Is it not therefore most probable that the intention of the author in this work was to show that the man who gives himself to a voluptuous life, becomes a beast, and that it is only by becoming virtuous and religious, that he can divest himself of the brutal nature, and be again a man? For this is the rose by eating which Apuleius was restored to the human, and cast off the brutal form; and, like the moly (ed. Gr. μῶλυ, the herb given by Hermes to Odysseas to protect him from the wiles of Circes) of Hermes, preserved him in future from the dire enchantments of Circe, the Goddess of Sense. This, as it appears to me, is the only design by which our author can be justified in composing the pleasing tales with which this work is replete. Indeed, unless this is admitted to have been the design of Apuleius, he cannot in certain passages be defended from the charge of lewdness; but on the supposition that these tales were devised to show the folly and danger of lasciviousness, and that the man who indulges in it brutalizes his nature, the detail of those circumstances through which he became an ass, are not to be considered in the light of a lascivious description, because they were not written with a libidinous intention; for every work is characterized by its ultimate design. Hence, what Iamblichus says respecting the consecration of the phalli among the ancients in the spring, and the obscene language which was then employed, may be said in defence of these passages in the Metamorphoses: viz. "The powers of the human passions that are in us, when they are entirely restrained, become more vehement; but when they are called forth into energy, gradually and commensurately, they rejoice in being moderately gratified, are satisfied; and from hence, becoming purified, they are rendered tractable, and are vanquished without violence. On this account, in comedy and tragedy, by surveying the passions of others, we stop our own passions, cause them to be more moderate, and are purified from them. In sacred ceremonies, likewise, by certain spectacles and auditions of things base, we become liberated from the injury which happens from the works effected by them. Things of this kind, therefore, are introduced for the sake of our soul, and of the diminution of the evils which adhere to it through generation, and of a solution and liberation from its bonds. On this account, also, they are very properly called by Heraclitus remedies, as healing things of a dreadful nature, and saving souls from the calamities with which the realms of generation are replete." Notwithstanding, however, there is no real lasciviousness in these passages, yet as the generality of readers in the present age would, on the perusal of them, fancy that there is, they are not published in the following translation of this work.

With respect to the treatises of Natural and Moral Philosophy, they may be considered as a good epitome of the physiology and ethics of Plato; certain parts of those sciences being excepted, the depths of which Apuleius had not fathomed, in consequence, as I before observed, of the more abstruse dogmas of Plato not having been developed at the time in which he lived. And his treatise on the Categoric Syllogism is a useful introduction to the logic of Aristotle. The treatise on the God of Socrates is on the whole an admirable work, and contains some things of a most interesting and remarkable nature, as I have shown in the notes which accompany the translation of it.

In translating these treatises, I have endeavoured to be as faithful as possible, and to give the manner as well as the matter of the author; since a translation in which both these are not generally united, must necessarily, as I have already observed, be essentially defective. I have also availed myself of the best editions of the works of Apuleius, and among these, of the Delphin edition, which I think is excellent on the whole, though the editor frequently in his interpretation substitutes other words for those of the original when this is not necessary. There is an ancient translation into English of the Metamorphosis by one Adlington, the first editions of which were printed in 1566 and 1571, and the last edition in 1639; and there are other intermediate editions; but as he every where omits the most difficult and the most elegant passages, his work is rather a rude outline or compendium than an accurate translation. Bayle does not appear to have been acquainted with this work of Adlington; but of the French versions he observes as follows: "I have never met with any modern French translation of the Golden Ass. If I am not mistaken, John Louveau is the author of the first old translation. La Croix du Maine mentions it, without setting down the year in which it appeared. He only says that it was printed at Lyons. It was reprinted at Paris by Claudius Micard, in 1584. One I. de Montlyard published a translation of the same book, with a commentary. One of the two editions which I have seen, was according to the copy printed at Paris, by Samuel Thiboust, 1623. The preface is long, and contains a criticism on several errors of John Louveau.

"I find that La Croix du Maine, and du Verdier Vau-Privas, have mentioned a translation, which may very well be older than that of John Louveau. They say that George de la Bouthiere, or de la Boutier, a native of Autun, rendered the Metamorphosis or Golden Ass of Apuleius into French. The one says, that this version was printed at Lyons, by John de Tournes and William Gazeau, in the year 1553: the other, that it was printed by John de Tournes, in 1516. There is an error of the press in the last date; and it is evident, that to put the figures in their right places, it ought to be 1556. Now, as the same author has said, that the translation by John Louveau was printed in the year 1558, there is reason to suppose that it was later than that of George de la Bouthiere.

"Since the first edition of the dictionary, part of a translation of the Golden Ass has appeared in Paris. The Journal de Scavans of the 9th of January, 1696, mentions it. Mons. the Baron des Coutures published with notes, in 1698, his French version of the treatise de Deo Socratis."

I shall conclude with observing, that I trust the readers of this work will candidly peruse it, as one labour more, among many of no common magnitude, of a man who has spent the far greater part of his life in endeavouring to obtain himself a knowledge of the philosophy of Plato, and to elucidate and promulgate it for the the benefit of others: who also, in accomplishing this, has had to encounter the hiss of Envy, and the bite of Detraction, the laugh of Folly, and the sneer of Contempt, unmerited unkindness, and unfeeling neglect, together with domestic ills of an overwhelming nature, and of the rarest occurrence. In short, the present translation is the work of a man whose life has been most eventful and singularly disastrous, a few splendid circumstances excepted, which have illuminated and enlivened the oppressive gloom of Adversity like "a sun-beam in a winter's day," and which, whenever he may deem it expedient to give the detail of his literary career to the public, he will most gladly and gratefully record.


The below article concerning Apuleius was found in William Smith's A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, John Murray, 1880.

APPULEIUS or APULEIUS (inscriptions and the oldest MSS. generally exhibit the double consonant, see Cren. Animad. Phil. P. xi. sub. init.; Oudendorp, ad Apul. Asin. not. p. 1), chiefly celebrated as the author of the Golden Ass, was born in the early part of the second century in Africa, at Madaura, which was originally attached to the kingdom of Syphax, was transferred to Masinissa at the close of the second Punic war, and having been eventually colonized by a detachment of Roman veterans, attained to considerable splendour. This town was situated far inland on the border line between Numidia and Gaetulia, and hence Appuleius styles himself Seminumida et Semigaetulus, declaring at the same time, that he had no more reason to feel ashamed of his hybrid origin than the elder Cyrus, who in like manner might be termed Semimedus ac Semipersa. (Apolog. pp. 443, 444, ed. Florid.) His father was a man of high respectability, who having filled the office of duumvir and enjoyed all the other dignities of his native town, bequeathed at his death the sum of nearly two millions of sesterces to his two sons. (Apolog. p. 442.) Appuleius received the first rudiments of education at Carthage, renowned at that period as a school of literature (Florida, iv. p. 20), and afterwards proceeded to Athens, where he became warmly attached to the tenets of the Platonic philosophy, and, prosecuting his researches in many different departments, laid the foundations of that copious stock of various and profound learning by which he was subsequently so distinguished. He next travelled extensively, visiting, it would appear, Italy, Greece, and Asia, acquiring a knowledge of a vast number of religious opinions and modes of worship, and becoming initiated in the greater number of the mysteries and secret fraternities so numerous in that age. (De Mundo, p. 729; Apolog. p. 494.) Not long after his return home, although he had in some degree diminished his patrimony by his long-continued course of study, by his protracted residence in foreign countries, and by various acts of generosity towards his friends and old instructors (Apolog. p. 442), he set out upon a new journey to Alexandria. (Apolog. p. 518.) On his way thither he was taken ill at the town of Oea, and was hospitably received into the house of a young man, Sicinius Pontianus, with whom he had lived upon terms of close intimacy, a few years previously, at Athens. (Apolog. p. 518) The mother of Pontianus, Pudentilla by name, was a very rich widow whose fortune was at her own disposal. With the full consent, or rather in compliance with the earnest solicitation of her son, the young philosopher agreed to marry her. (Apolog. p. 518.) Meanwhile Pontianus himself was united to the daughter of a certain Herennius Rufinus, who being indignant that so much 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 Appuleius upon the charge, that he had gained the affections of Pudentilla by charms and magic spells. (Apolog. pp. 401, 451, 521, 522, &c.) The accusation seems to have been in itself sufficiently ridiculous. The alleged culprit was young, highly accomplished, eloquent, popular, and by no means careless in the matters of dress and personal adornment, although, according to his own account, he was worn and wan from intense application. (Apolog. p. 406, seqq. 421, compare p. 547.) The lady was nearly old enough to be his mother; she had been a widow for fourteen years, and owned to forty, while her enemies called her sixty; in addition to which she was by no means attractive in her appearance, and had, it was well known, been for some time desirous again to enter the married state. (Apolog. pp. 450, 514, 520, 535, 546, 541, 547.) The cause was heard at Sabrata before Claudius Maximus, proconsul of Africa (Apolog. pp. 400, 445, 501), and the spirited and triumphant defence spoken by Appuleius is still extant. Of his subsequent career we know little. Judging from the voluminous catalogue of works attributed to his pen, he must have devoted himself most assiduously to literature; he occasionally declaimed in public with great applause; he had the charge of exhibiting gladiatorial shows and wild beast hunts in the province, and statues were erected in his honour by the senate of Carthage and of other states. (Apolog. pp. 445, 494; Florid. iii. n. 16; Augustin. Ep. v.)

Nearly the whole of the above particulars are derived from the statements contained in the writings of Appuleius, especially the Apologia; but in addition to these, we find a considerable number of circumstances recorded in almost all the biographies prefixed to his works. Thus we are told that his praenomen was Lucius; that the name of his father was Theseus; that his mother was called Salvia, was of Thessalian extraction, and a descendant of Plutarch; that when he visited Rome he was entirely ignorant of the Latin language, which he acquired without the aid of an instructor, by his own exertions; and that, having dissipated his fortune, he was reduced at one time to such abject poverty, that he was compelled to sell the clothes which he wore, in order to pay the fees of admission into the mysteries of Osiris. These and other details as well as a minute portrait of his person, depend upon the untenable supposition, that Appuleius is to be identified with Lucius the hero of his romance. That production being avowedly a work of fiction, it is difficult to comprehend upon what principle any portion of it could be held as supplying authentic materials for the life of its author, more especially when some of the facts so extracted are at variance with those deduced from more trustworthy sources; as, for example, the assertion that he was at one time reduced to beggary, which is directly contradicted by a passage in the Apologia referred to above, where he states that his fortune had been merely "modice imminutum" by various expenses. In one instance only does he appear to forget himself (Met. xi. p. 260), where Lucius is spoken of as a native of Madaura, but no valid conclusion can be drawn from this, which is probably an oversight, unless we are at the same time prepared to go as far as Saint Augustine, who hesitates whether we ought not to believe the account given of the transformation of Lucius, that is, Appuleius, into an ass to be a true narrative. It is to this fanciful identification, coupled with the charges preferred by the relations of Pudentilla, and his acknowledged predilection for mystical solemnities, that we must attribute the belief, which soon became current in the ancient world, that he really possessed the supernatural powers attributed to him by his enemies. The early pagan controversialists, as we learn from Lactantius, were wont to rank the marvels said to have been wrought by him along with those ascribed to Apollonsius of Tyana, and to appeal to these as equal to, or more wonderful than, the miracles of Christ. (Lactant. Div. Inst. 5.3.) A generation later, the belief continued so prevalent, that St. Augustine was requested to draw up a serious refutation--a task which that renowned prelate executed in the inmost satisfactory manner, by simply referring to the oration of Appuleius himself. (Marcellin. Ep. iv. ad Augustin. and Augustin. Ep. v. ad Marcellin.

No one can peruse a few pages of Appuleius without being at once impressed with his conspicuous excellences and glaring defects. We find everywhere an exuberant play of fancy, liveliness, humour, wit, learning, acuteness, and not unfrequently, real eloquence. On the other hand, no style can be more vicious. It is in the highest degree unnatural, both in its general tone and also in the phraseology employed. The former is disfigured by the constant recurrence of ingenious but forced and tumid conceits and studied prettinesses, while the latter is remarkable for the multitude of obsolete words ostentatiously paraded in almost every sentence. The greater number of these are to be found in the extant compositions of the oldest dramatic writers, and in quotations preserved by the grammarians; and those for which no authority can be produced were in all probability drawn from the same source, and not arbitrarily coined to answer the purpose of the moment, as some critics have imagined. The least faulty, perhaps, of all his pieces is the Apologia. Here he spoke from deep feeling, and although we may in many places detect the inveterate affectation of the rhetorician, yet there is often a bold, manly, straight-forward heartiness and truth which we seek in vain in those compositions where his feelings were less touched.

We do not know the year in which our author was born, nor that in which he died. But the names of Lollius Urbicus, Scipio Orfitus, Severianus, Lollianus Avitus, and others who are incidentally mentioned by him as his contemporaries, and who from other sources are known to have held high offices under the Antonines, enable us to determine the epoch when he flourished.

The extant works of Appuleius are:

I. Metamorphoseon seu de Asino Aureo Libri XI.This celebrated romance, which, together with the ὄνος of Lucian, is said to have been founded upon a work bearing the same title by a certain Lucius of Patrae (Photius, Bibl.cod. cxxix. p. 165) belonged to the class of tales distinguished by the ancients under the title of Milesiae fabulae. It seems to have been intended simply as a satire upon the hypocrisy and debauchery of certain orders of priests, the frauds of juggling pretenders to supernatural powers, and the general profligacy of public morals. There are some however who discover a more recondite meaning, and especially the author of the Divine Legation of Moses, who has at great length endeavoured to prove, that the Golden Ass was written with the view of recommending the Pagan religion in opposition to Christianity, which was at that time making rapid progress, and especially of inculcating the importance of initiation into the purer mysteries. (Div. Leg. bk. ii. sect. iv.) The epithet Aureus is generally supposed to have been bestowed in consequence of the admiration in which the tale was held, for being considered as the most excellent composition of its kind, it was compared to the most excellent of metals, just as the apophthegms of Pythagoras were distinguished as χρνσᾶἔπη. Warburton, however, ingeniously contends that aureuswas the common epithet bestowed upon all Milesian tales, because they were such as strollers used to rehearse for a piece of money to the rabble in a circle, after the fashion of oriental story-tellers. He founds his conjecture upon an expression in one of Pliny's Epistles (2.20), assem para, et accipe auream fabulam, which seems, however, rather to mean " give me a piece of copper and receive in return a story worth a piece of gold, or, precious as gold," which brings us back to the old explanation. The well-known and exquisitely beautiful episode of Cupid and Psyche is introduced in the 4th, 5th, and 6th books. This, whatever opinion we may form of the principal narrative, is evidently an allegory, and is generally understood to shadow forth the progress of the soul to perfection.

II. Floridorum Libri IV. An ἀνθολογία, containing select extracts from various orations and dissertations, collected probably by some admirer. It has, however, been imagined that we have here a sort of common-place-book, in which Appuleius registered, from time to time, such ideas and forms of expression as he thought worth preserving, with a view to their insertion in some continuous composition. This notion, although adopted by Oudendorp, has not found many supporters. It is wonderful that it should ever have been seriously propounded.

III. De Deo Socratis Liber. This treatise has been roughly attacked by (St.) Augustine.

IV. De Dogmate Platonis Libri tres. The first book contains some account of the speculative doctrines of Plato, the second of his morals, the third of hislogic.

V. De Mundo Liber. A translation of the work περὶ κόσμου, at one time ascribed to Aristotle.

VI. Apologia sive De Magia Liber. The oration described above, delivered before Claudius Maximus.

VII. Hermetis Trismegisti De Natura Deorum Dialogus. Scholars are at variance with regard to the authenticity of this translation of the Asclepian dialogue. As to the original, see Fabric. Bibl. Graec. 1.8.

Besides these a number of works now lost are mentioned incidentally by Appuleius himself, and many others belonging to some Appuleius are cited by the grammarians. He professes to be the author of “poemata omne genus aptavirgae, lyrae, socco, cothurno, item satiras ac griphos, itemhistories varias rerum nec non orationes laudatas disertisnec non dialogos laudatos philosophis,” both in Greek and Latin (Florid. 2.9, iii 18, 20, 4.24); and we find especial mention made of a collection of poems on playful and amatory themes, entitled Ludicra, from which a few fragments are quoted in the Apologia. (pp. 408, 409, 414; compare 538.)

The Editio Princeps was printed at Rome, by Sweynheym and Pannartz, in the year 1469, edited by Andrew, bishop of Aleria. It is excessively rare, and is considered valuable in a critical point of view, because it contains a genuine text honestly copied from MSS., and free from the multitude of conjectural emendations by which nearly all the rest of the earlier editions are corrupted. It is, moreover, the only old edition which escaped mutilation by the Inquisition.

An excellent edition of the Asinus appeared at Leyden in the year 1786, printed in 4to., and edited by Oudendorp and Ruhnken. Two additional volumes, containing the remaining works, appeared at Leyden in 1823, edited by Boscha. A new and very elaborate edition of the whole works of Appuleius has been published at Leipzig, 1842, by G. F. Hildebrand.

A great number of translations of the Golden Ass are to be found in all the principal European languages. The last English version is that by Thomas Taylor, in one volume 8vo., London, 1822, which contains also the tract De Deo Socratis.


Please visit this page: Cupid and Psyche

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Theogony.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.

Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.

How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.

This logo is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).

PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages:

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek

Transliteration of Ancient Greek

Pronouncing the Names of the Gods in Hellenismos

PHOTO COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: The many pages of this website incorporate images, some created by the author, but many obtained from outside sources. To find out more information about these images and why this website can use them, visit this link: Photo Copyright Information

DISCLAIMER: The inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) with the views of HellenicGods.org by the external sources from which they were obtained.

Further, the inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) by HellenicGods.org of the contents or views of any external sources from which they were obtained.

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For answers to many questions: Hellenismos FAQ

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