Apuleius - Metamorphoses. Book 1. (Classical Texts) - 2013

Apuleius - Metamorphoses. Book 1. (Classical Texts) - 2013

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A ris & P hillips C lassical T exts




anintroduction, translation and notes by

Regine May

A ris and P hillips C lassical T exts


Metamorphoses or

The Golden Ass Book 1

With an introduction, translation and notes by

Regine May


Aris & Phillips Classical Texts are published by Oxbow Books, Oxford

©R. May 2013 All rights reserved. No pan of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including photocopying without the prior permission of the publishers in writing.

ISBN hardback: 978-1-908343-80-2 ISBN paper: 978-1 -908343-81 -9

A CEP record for this book is available from the British Library

This book is available from Oxbow Books, Oxford, UK Phone: 01865-241249; Fax 01865-794449 and The David Brown Book Company PO Box 511, Oakville, CT 06779, USA Phone: 860-945-9329: Fax: 860-945-9468 or from our website www.oxbowbooks.com

Cover image: Lucius walking next to his horse on his way to Hypata meets two travellers. From Μ. M. Boiardo, Apulegio volgare (1518). Photo: John Gibbons




Introduction Bibliography

1 51

Metamorphoses or The Golden Ass Book 1






PREFACE Apuleius’ Metamorphoses or The Golden Ass, our only complete Latin novel, has inspired authors from the second century AD onwards until today. It influenced, for example, Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night s Dream and was dramatised by Peter Oswald for the Globe Theatre in 2002 as part o f their Cupid and Psyche season. Artists as far apart in time and aesthetic outlook as Canova and the modem graphic novelist Manara have been fascinated by it. The Metamorphoses' continued appeal derives in part from its modernity. The m odem novel incorporates all genres, for example drama, philosophical treatises or lyrical poetry, and this has been prefigured by A puleius’ text. Metamorphoses is in m any ways a timeless work o f art: a gullible and unreliable first person narrator finds him self placed in Kafkaesque situations o f the supernatural kind (exposure to witches and metamorphosis into a donkey) and has to brave this frightening scenario all on his own. The scene for this alienation o f the character, so common in modem literature and experienced by modem society, is set in book one o f the Metamorphoses, which introduces and anticipates many major themes o f Apuleius’ complex novel. These themes range from witchcraft and magic to the question o f how serious philosophical and religious allusions in the novel itself should be taken. This commentary is intended to open up the first book o f Metamorphoses to a wider readership. The introduction accordingly places both the author and the novel into the context o f the literature and society o f the second century AD. It also ensures that Met. 1, despite being the first o f eleven books o f the novel, can be read as a self-contained text. The Latin text has been compared carefully with the manuscripts and modem editions, especially Zim m erm an’s 2012 Oxford Classical Text. I have tacitly simplified obvious inconsistencies in the spelling o f the text found in the manuscripts, e.g. Photis/Fotis or grabatulus/grabattulus, but, like previous editions o f Metamorphoses (notably Zimmerman 2012), I have not tried to harmonise all orthographical inconsistencies. The translation is intended to be as close as possible to the Latin original, but not a grammatical crib. It brings out especially the literary texture o f Metamorphoses and the rhetorical, often flowery style o f Apuleius. The commentary concentrates on Apuleius as a literary artist and is keyed to the translation. But Apuleius’ style and especially his