Coin depicting Apuleius (from U. of Florida Website )

Biographical Information
Apuleius (sometimes referred to as Lucius Apuleius, due to an identification between Apuelius himself and the narrator of the
Metamorphoses, Lucius (Apuleius, Metamorphoses, XI.15) from Madaurus (Met., XI.27)[1] ), was a writer, active during the mid-to-late 2nd century C.E. Most of the biographical information we have for Apuleius comes from his own works—in particular, the last book of the Metamorphoses, the Apologia, and the Florida[2] . This information gives us a relative chronology of Apuleius’s life; however, specific dates remain elusive. H.E. Butler, in his introduction to the Apologia, estimates Apuleius’s birth to be around 125 C.E., based on the date of the consulship of one of Apuleius’s contemporaries[3] . At any rate, by the time Apuleius is born, his birthplace, between Numidia and Gaetulia (Apuleius, Apologia, 24), (Madaurus, the hometown of Lucius, as mentioned earlier), was a well-to-do Roman colony[4] . His family was quite wealthy and influential in the town, and his father was even elected to the highest office available in the town, one of the two duoviri[5] .

His early education took place in Carthage, followed by further time in Athens (Apuleius,
Florida, 18), where he studied poetry, geometry, music, rhetoric, and philosophy (Flor., 20) at the Academy. He also tells us that he has extensively studied Latin and Greek (Apol. 4), and he demonstrates a knowledge of (and likens himself to) numerous philosophers, such as Pythagoras and Zeno (Apol. 4), as well as Diogenes (Apol. 22), Anaxagoras, Leucippus, Democritus, Epicurus, Epimenides, Orpheus, Ostanes, Empedocles, Socrates, and Plato (Apol. 27). After leaving Athens, he travelled extensively (Apol. 23), and, eventually, returned home to North Africa and married his wife, Aemilia Pudentilla, the widowed mother of a friend of his, Sicinius Pontianus (Apol. 72-73). This marriage resulted in charges being brought against Apuleius by Sicinius Aemilianus, one of Pudentilla’s brothers-in-law; Sicinius Clarus, another of her brothers-in-law, as well as a suitor; Herennius Rufinus, Pontianus’s father-in-law; and Sicinius Pudens, Pudentilla’s younger son, who seems to have been persuaded to join the cause by the previously mentioned three[6] . The supposed charge was the use of magic to seduce Pudentilla to marry him, as well as various other, magica maleficia (Apol. 1), or “magical offenses”, crimes punishable under the lex Cornelia de sicariis et veneficiis. This law, originally published by L. Cornelius Sulla in 81 B.C.E. to try and punish, as the name implies, “murderers” and “poisoners” had, by the time of Apuleius been extended to include, in general, any use of occult means to produce some malicious action or effect[7]

His trial, the subject of the
Apologia, took place in Sabratha (Apol. 59) while Claudius Maximus was proconsul (most likely around 158 – 159 C.E.[8] , but no later than 161 C.E., since Antoninus Pius is listed as emperor at the time of the trial)[9] . Ultimately, he is acquitted, but moves on from Oea, where he had been living since his marriage to Pudentilla[10] . After this, he next appears in Carthage, where he not only becomes a career-philosopher and orator[11] , but also delivers the Florida[12] (datable, perhaps, by some passages to the 160’s C.E.[13] ), is honored with a statue, and becomes the chief priest of the province (Flor. 16). These details are the last we have for him, since nothing is known concerning his death.

Aside from the
Apologia and the Florida, Apuleius left numerous literary works for posterity. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Metamorphoses, or “The Golden Ass,” which, incidentally, deals heavily with themes of magic. Many scholars, therefore, suggest that the Apologia must have pre-dated the Metamorphoses, since the pervasive use and discussion of magic in the Metamorphoses would hardly have been overlooked by those bringing charges of magic against the author himself[14] . In addition, Apuleius also composed de Dogmate Platonis, in which Apuleius discusses the philosophy of Plato, de Deo Socratis, a treatise on “daemons” as put forth by Socrates, and de Mundo, a translation of a pre-existing Greek work (generally attributed to Apuleius). Many of Apuleius’s works have also been lost to us, including, but not limited to, works of poetry and science (mentioned in the Apologia), as well as several more speeches[15] .

Structure of the
In Apuleius’s
Apologia, one can see the vestiges of his rhetorical training in the dispositio, or “orderly arrangement,” of his argument along the lines employed in classical oration (especially by the likes of Cicero). Apuleius does diverge from the classical exempla in various instances; however, in general, one can see the basic structure. The standard arrangement for such a speech would generally be as follows:
  • Exordium – an introduction, in which the subject and purpose of the discourse are presented
  • Narratio – a narrative account of the situation (what has happened and the nature of the case)
  • Partition/Divisio – an outline of what will follow
  • Confirmatio –the main part of the argument, in which logical arguments are presented as proof
  • Refutatio – a countering of the opposition’s points
  • Peroratio – a summary and appeal to the crowd.

Apologia can be generally broken down in the following way:
  • Ch. 1-3 – the exordium[16] : Apuleius presents himself and some background facts on the circumstances of the case.
* Ch. 4-24 – extraneous material dealing with Apuleius’s lifestyle (in response to libel being spread by his accusers).
  • Ch. 25-28 – a divisio[17] : Apuleius ponders the meaning of magus and outlines what he is preparing to discuss.
  • Ch.29-65 – a refutatio: Apuleius examines his opponents’ proof of “magic” and presents logical (or logical-sounding) arguments against each.
  • Ch. 66-67 – another divisio[18] : Apuleius considers his supposed “seduction of Pudentilla” and summarizes the points he will argue momentarily.
  • Ch.68-101 – another refutatio: Apuleius examines his opponents’ evidence for his seduction of Pudentilla, providing commentary and refutation.
  • Ch.102-103 – the peroratio[19] : Apuleius summarizes relevant information, points out weaknesses in the case, and concentrates on evoking great emotion for his cause.

Meaning of
Apuleius spends the largest portion of the
Apologia examining the “evidence” of magic presented against him, but before he embarks on this, he theorizes about the exact meaning of the word magus. His first explanation for the word magus, in Apologia 25, is that it is the Persian word for “priest,” one who has knowledge and skill in ceremonial law, sacrifices, and religious ordinances and who is entrusted (according to Plato, Apuleius tells us) with the education of young princes. He goes on to explain that they are chosen from among the Persian elders and constitute the wisest, most just, most temperate, and bravest, and that their magic is simply knowledge of prayer and worship (Apol. 26). It does appear that the word magos is Persian in origin and refers to a “fire-priest” and that the term, sometime in the fifth century B.C.E., was adopted by the Greeks to mean a “magician”, often with the additional implication that the individual is untrustworthy[20] . Herodotus tells us they are a Median sect [21] responsible for “royal sacrifices, funeral rites, and for the divination and interpretation of dreams,” while Xenophon simply concludes that they are authorities on all things dealing with the gods[22] . Nevertheless, by the fifth century B.C.E., the powers of the magoi are said to include: prolonging life, performing incantations and purifications, making people disappear, affecting heavenly bodies (esp. the moon and sun), and altering the weather[23] . The Latinization of this word, magus, does not appear in Latin literature until around 50 B.C.E., when it was still used to denote some sort of religious specialist[24] ; however, later authors seem to use the word for the meaning of “magician,” instead of some sort of priest[25] .
Modern Iranians Preparing for Ancient Persian Fire Festival (image from ABCnews.com)

Next, Apuleius presents another, more “common” definition of
magus: one who, by speaking with the gods through incantations, acquires the power to perform anything he wishes (Apol. 26). This magus is also keenly interested in the “workings of providence” and “worships the gods excessively” (Apol. 27). Pseudo-Quintilian expands on this definition and tells us that through this communication with the gods, the magician can compel the gods to do his will and, through his incantation, can control the “earth, stars, rivers, and spirits”[26] . These communications are in the form of spells, called cantamina (or, alternately, just carmina), and it appears to be only in the use of this word, cantamina, that the magical, incantation-based communication with the gods is distinguished from the religious, prayer-based communication (preces) with those same beings[27] . This idea of incantations and spoken spells takes root in Rome at an early date and is even addressed in the Twelve Tables, in which “evil incantation” or those designed to harm, were very clearly forbidden; however, it should be noted that the law specifies incantation intended for harm, suggesting that other, less negative incantations were known, acknowledged, and, perhaps, even allowed[28] . It is this definition, as Apuleius states, that seems to be the more prevalent one in antiquity, and one often hears of magical incantations, and there seems to be a strong emphasis on the power of words.

The last suggestion that Apuleius makes in his definition of
magus is that the prosecution has confused a magus and philosopher, because the philosopher’s curiosity concerning where things come from and how they work seem “irreligious” (Apol. 27). The association between the two is understandable, since both carefully study the form and function of various aspects of nature (such as plants and animals). In addition, magic is generally thought to pre-date (and possibly lead to) medicine and science, since it represents an “unorganized scientific instinct” that occurs before cause and effect and thoroughly (and scientifically) explored and understood[29] . Like the philosopher or natural scientist, the magician is a “keen observer of the natural world around him whose sense of cause and effect has been warped by his mystical trend of mind or by his ignorance of true scientific method”[30] .

The “Evidence of Magic” from Apuleius’s Prosecution
Those accusing Apuleius in this case use various arguments to “prove” that he is, in fact, a magician and capable of conjuring some magical love charm to seduce Pudentilla and, furthermore, likely to do so. They make various accusations concerning his habits, some extraordinary “situations” in which he is involved, and mysterious objects in his possession. As one can see in the
disposition of Apuleius’s defense, more time is spent refuting the prosecution’s evidence of wrong-doing than in providing his own proof of innocence. A great deal of the remaining time is spent insulting those accusing him (a topic not dealt with in this entry). This entry will, instead, look at the accusations made against Apuleius concerning magic, what they might have meant to the classical audience (in terms of magic and magicians), and how Apuleius explains them.

One of the common themes embraced by Apuleius’s accusers seems to be the procurement of ordinary items for some occult use. Among these things, whose exact relevance to the trial is unclear, as they seem to pertain more to Apuleius’s general lifestyle than his supposed use of magic, are Arabian herbs, a mirror, and fish. Another set of accusations revolves around incidents involving Apuleius—specifically, fainting people and night-time rituals. The last two accusations involve mysterious objects: unnamed “magical objects” and a wooden statuette. Each of these will be examined in turn.

Arabian Spices
Apologia 6, the prosecution produces for the court a few lines of verse from Apuleius to an acquaintance, Calpurnianus, concerning tooth-powder made of Arabian spices. Although no magic seems to be implied here, Apuleius states that this information is presented as a “matter for savage denunciation” and he compares their condemnation of his tooth-powder to the same sort of outrage that would result from the production of a poison (Apol. 7). As mentioned, there seems to be a disconnect between the presentation of this tooth-powder and the main subject of the trial, magic; however, herbs and plants were widely used in the creation of talismans, amulets, and cures, the implementation of charms, in conjunction with incantations and in transformation magic[31] . The great witch Medea is said to have gathered herbs (Ovid, Met., VII.227), and Dido, also, employs herbs on her pyre (Vergil, Aen., IV.513).Thus, it may be that this evidence of an “Arabian spice” tooth-powder is intended to conjure up images of magical herb use, although it is not actually brought up in the list of magical accusations.

Apuleius’s explanation of his knowledge and use of the “Arabian spices” for tooth-powders is that, as a philosopher, there should be no part of his body that is affected by lack of cleanliness, especially not his mouth, since this is the gateway for the soul and the place from which speech, one of the philosopher’s most important tools, comes. He also proclaims that the mouth enjoys a prominent position, close to the eyes, and should be treated with great care, and any educated gentleman would do well to take care of his mouth (
Apol. 7).

Another object which the prosecution uses against Apuleius is his mirror (Apuleius,
Apol. 13-16). Although this, like the Arabian spices, does not appear in the list of specific magical wrong-doings and seems to have been presented only to undermine Apuleius’s character, it, also, has magical implications (although association with these may or may not have been intended by the prosecution). Mirrors and water-surfaces are used in magic for their reflective properties. Specifically, they are used to obtain reflected light for mesmerizing[32] and diviniation. Water is used in a practice called lecanomancy, or “bowl-divination”, in which water is placed in a bowl and the lights and images reflecting off the surface of the water (or the surface of the bowl through the water) are observed. Mirrors are used similarly in catoptromancy, or “mirror-divination”. Both are forms of what is generally known as “scrying”, the art of predicting the future[33] . Again, this specific use of the mirror is not directly stated in the prosecution’s case, but might be implied in the seemingly ridiculous accusation that “he has a mirror” (Apol. 13), which may be intended to suggest magic, in addition to a supposed character flaw[34] .

In response to this, Apuleius contends that mere possession of the object does not constitute use (especially not continual use) and non-possession does not constitute non-use (
Apol. 13). Furthermore, he contends that there is no crime in being acquainted with one’s own image (Apol. 14), and that Socrates actually encouraged his students to study themselves in the mirror (Apol. 15).
Example of Ancient Bronze Mirror (from travelpod.com)

Next, and first amongst the actual magical accusations, is the fact that Apuleius attempted to procure certain types of fish: the
lepos marinus, or sea-hare, and two others known by obscene names (Apol. 33) (presumably the veretillum and virginal, although these fish-names are not attested elsewhere[35] ) The insinuation concerning the obscenely-named fish seems to be that they would be used in charms dealing with the sexual organs (veretrum, for the male organ, and virginalis, for the female organ), which their names evoke (Apol. 35). The sea-hare, which is actually a large sea-dwelling slug, is known to be extremely poisonous[36] . Thus, the suggestion seems to be that anyone seeking to acquire the lepos marinus must be intending to produce venena, which are poisons or some other sort of magic potion—the Romans did not distinguish between poisons and potions in the same way which we do[37] . Apuleius’s accusers seem to make a great stir about the author’s act of cutting up this lepos marinus (Apol. 41), while they do not seem to mind the dissection of the two vulgarly-named fish. This suggests that it was not the dissection of fish, in general, that disturbed them, but rather the dissection of the lepos marinus, since, in their minds, this creature was used only for the creation of poisons [38] .

Against these accusations, Apuleius presents the argument that just because the item might have an alternate, more sinister usage does not constitute use of the item for that purpose (
Apol. 32). He also contends that in neither Latin nor Greek literature are fish associated with magicians or incantations (Apol. 30). In response to the point of dissection, he explains that he, like some of his philosophical fore-bears, is an ichthyologist and has published at least one volume on his studies of fish, a book which is produced in course and from which some passages are read (Apol. 36-38).
A "Sea-Hare" (from wikimedia.org)

Fainting People
The next accusation levied against Apuleius is that he, along with a few accomplices, had led a boy away into a secret place equipped with a small altar and lantern, and he had used some sort of incantation which made the boy collapse and wake up, at a later time, very confused. Apuleius, himself, suggests that this story may be incomplete and that they should suggest that the boy uttered prophecies from his trance-like state (
Apol. 42). If this had been the story, according to Apuleius, then it would certainly fall within the scope of magic, as there is a story related by Varro concerning this sort of prophetic ritual. The same sort of “crime” is described in a second accusation, which involved a woman who had come to visit Apuleius also fainting as a result of some incantation (Apol. 48). In the absence of accusations of divination (it seems as though the prosecution never describes Apuleius’s motive for performing incantations on these two), one might assume that Apuleius’s opponent are suggesting the sort of malevolent incantation usually found in defixiones, or “curse tablets”. These defixiones, which generally take the form of sheet of lead which is inscribed with the name of the victim and the desired effect and then rolled or folded[39] , are found throughout the ancient world. Defixiones all express some sort of desire to bring other people or animals, against their will and without their knowledge, under the power of whoever is commissioning or (in the case of magicians who are able to write their own defixiones) writing the tablet[40] . Some common examples of desired injuries expressed in curse tablets are as follows: death, illness, amnesia, mental suffering, insomnia, forced celibacy, loss of loved ones or possessions, defeat in competitions, public humiliation, failure in the business or politics, and general lack of success[41] . A considerable number of these defixiones have, indeed, been found in Apuleius’s native stomping ground of North Africa (especially in connection with the circus in Carthage), thereby making it very likely that a magician from this area would be very familiar with the sort of incantation required to cause harm to individuals. These alleged incantations, therefore, may have been milder forms of the sort incantations one would find on these tablets and specifically intended to cause the victim to faint and awake confused.

Apuleius’s defense against these accusations is quite simple: both the boy, whose name Apuleius tells us is Thallus, and the woman, whose name remains unknown, are epileptic. In fact, the boy is said to suffer fits two or three times a day, and Apuleius proclaims that it would more likely be magic to keep the boy on his feet (
Apol. 43). He further points out that Thallus has had fits since before he, himself, arrived in the city and many (including one of the accusers) have witnessed these fits (Apol. 44). The woman, he claims, was brought to him for examination by a physician (Apol. 48), and he dutifully used the theories of Plato to determine the nature of her affliction, then sent her on her way (Apol. 51).
Example of a "defixio" (from wikimedia.org)

“Magic Objects”
The next charge is that Apuleius kept some mysterious object wrapped up in a piece of cloth among Pontianus’s household gods, of which no one knows the appearance or nature. It is admitted that no one has seen the object, but that it is suspected to be magical (
Apol. 53). Although the exact nature of this object is unknown, and it is therefore impossible to describe what it might be used for, it is useful to note that magicians were widely believed to have certain secret tools or implements which they employed in their magic[42] . In general, it could be assumed that different tools were used for different magical endeavors, but, since the nature of these “objects” is unknown, it is difficult to pinpoint what, exactly, the prosecution was accusing Apuleius of besides ownership of items he wished to keep secret.

Apuleius is able to repel this weak charge very easily, on account of the fact that the prosecution cannot produce or even describe what the objects are and seem to be simply assuming that, since they are secret objects, they must be related to magic (
Apol. 53). Furthermore, Apuleius explains that he does, in face, have such a cloth filled with objects, but that they are emblems and mementos presented to him by priests during his initiation into various Greek mysteries. The practice of keeping this things, he states, is neither abnormal nor unheard of (Apol. 55). If we are truly to identify Apuleius with Lucius, the narrator of the Metamorphoses, then he is professed to be initiated, at the very least, into the mysteries of Isis (Met. XI.23-24) and those of Osiris (Met. XI.28-30).

Nighttime Rites at the House of Crassus
Next, the prosecution read a written testimony by one Junius Crassus, who claimed that Apuleius had performed, in the company of a friend, Appius Quintianus, certain night-time rituals which resulted in Crassus’s finding of feathers and soot in the entrance-hall of his home (
Apol. 57). These traces, while innocuous on their own, serve, in conjunction with the idea of a nocturnal rite, to conjure up images of magic. These supposed “rites” took place during the night and involve only two people, quite in opposition with proper civic rites, which take place during the day and in front of everyone[43] . Also, the “rites” seem to involve the sacrifice of a bird, which is by no means the usual victim for proper civic rituals[44] . Likewise, the mention of smoke in the rituals evokes more magical imagery. Tibullus, in a poem describing bewitchment, makes mention of a torch rite[45] and Hecate, one of the Underworld Goddesses who is associated with witchcraft, is often described as being accompanied by torches[46] . Thus, while the evidence presented, some torch-marks and feathers from supposed nighttime rituals, is not damning on its own, the “deviant features” presented would likely have brought magic to the mind of the common citizens[47] .

Against these accusations, Apuleius replies that Crassus was in Alexandria at the time, so he could not have witnessed these things firsthand (
Apol. 57), and upon realizing this, changed his story to say that he had been told by a slave that these rituals had taken place. Furthermore, he contends that if he had wanted to do his sort of ritual, he would have found somewhere better to do it or would have had the mess cleaned up. He also joked that there was no way to tell from the evidence, soot and feathers, that whatever caused them happened at night (because night-smoke is not inherently blacker than day-smoke) (Apol. 58). As a final note, he contends that Crassus is, in fact, a drunkard and penniless, and that he sold his statements to the persecution for money (Apol. 59).
Hecate (from Encyclopedia Mythica)

Wooden Figurine
The prosecution’s next accusation, appearing in
Apologia 61, is that Apuleius owns a figurine made from a very rare wood (revealed a little later as ebony). This figurine, which Apuleius supposedly uses in his magical rituals, takes the form of a skeleton and is called by a Greek word, basileus, which, according to the prosecution, means “my king”. A common belief at the time seems to have been that the magician, in his rites, employed a statuette which was associated with the Underworld and embodied the magician’s super-human power[48] . Furthermore, this sort of private devotion to lead to suspicion of superstitio, or “excessive religious fervor”[49] . The fact that this figurine was purported to be shaped like a skeleton and, since it was made of ebony, dark in color serves to reinforce the persecution’s insistence that it was, in some way, related to death, ghosts, or the Underworld. Furthermore, a common use of “voodoo dolls” was to manipulate spirits, and Hermes, the figure supposedly represented (according to Apuleius), is of central importance to the control of spirits, since he escorts souls to and from the Underworld[50] . There is also evidence that these Hermes dolls were produced for the purpose of magically promoting trade and would have likely had a compartment in which to insert strips of paper with spells on them. Additionally, this term basileus appears in some Greek magical texts and applies to some of the powers invoked therein.

In this particular case, one might say that Apuleius’s argument actually strengthens the prosecution’s case, since he does, in fact, admit that it is a statuette of Hermes (
Apol. 61); however, he claims it was not made for any nocuous purposes and was made by a local artist, named Saturninus, who is, apparently, of upstanding character (Apol. 62). According to these same sections, the statuette was supposed to be made of boxwood, a more common wood, but Pontianus, wanting to do something special for his friend and step-father, procured some planks of ebony and took them to Saturninus to be used in place of boxwood. Apuleius, furthermore, expounds on his own piety and describes how he offers the statuettes pious prayers, libations, and sacrifices on feast days (Apol. 63).

Overall, Apuleius's accusers provided some compelling "evidence" concerning whether or not the author was a magus; however, their "evidence" consists mostly of theories and observations, and lacks hard proof (which, it has been argued, may not be that vital in high-profile ancient (and modern, for that matter) court cases). Of course, it stands to reason that if Apuleius did dabble in magic, which is entirely possible (and even likely), he was likely quite capable of concealing his hobby from any disapproving members of society. Secrecy, after all, seems to be key in any magic ritual. For the most part, though, it seems like the prosecution was doomed to failure, on account of Apuleius's unflagging wit and charm. By spending a good portion of his defense simply making them look like fools, he succeeds in undermining their credibility. Consequently, he does not really have to prove or disprove anything, only prove that he is, somehow, more credible. Nevertheless, however ineffective the accusers' arguments, their "evidence" provides the modern reader with a decent set of data concerning ancient North Africans' thoughts on objects used for magic, the results of magic, and what makes one a "magician."

Annotated Bibliography:
I. Primary Sources
The Apologia and Florida of Apuleius of Madaura, trans. H.E. Butler. Oxfored: Clarendon Press, 1909. – Apuleius’s defense speech, translated by H.E. Butler. It provides a good partial overview on beliefs about magic in 2nd century North Africa/Roman World; however, sometimes lacking on details about the beliefs. It is also good for studying insult-heavy defense speeches and Apuleius’s witty style.

Apuleius of Madauros,
Florida, ed. Vincent Hunink. Amsterdam: J.C. Gieben, 2001. – this text of the fragmented Florida and commentary provided additional biographical information for Apuleius. The date, context, and, really, the content of the Florida are hotly debated, but Apuleis does talk about his life within the work. Also, it provides another example of his writing style.

Apuleius of Madauros,
Pro Se De Magia , ed. Vincent Hunink. Amsterdam: J.C. Gieben, 1997. – this set of two books provides and a copy of the Latin text (I) and an extensive commentary (II). The copy of the Latin text was useful, but it is really in the extensive commentary, which includes information about the structural breakdown of the speech, that this source shines. Helpful for both teachers and students.

II. Web Resources
Apuleius, Apologia: Seminar – a webpage put together after/during a seminar on the
Apologia. It has extensive information about Apuleius and the circumstances of this case; various texts (Latin, Latin with an English crib, “Experimental” English), including a very fresh and modern translation of the text; information about magic in North Africa; and a great deal more. It is indispensable in the study of the Apologia.

Lacus Curtius – generally a great resource for the Classics, with an encyclopedia, topographical dictionary, and various works of literature (however, Apuleius is not among them). It does, however, have information concerning places mentioned in the
Apologia and students can research various gods and such here.

Wikipedia – the articles on Apuleius and Magic in the Greco-Roman world are useful, to an extent; however, especially in the case of Apuleius, there is not much information specific to the
Apologia. Both are useful for general context.
Apuleius: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apuleius
Magic in Greco-Roman World: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_in_the_Greco-Roman_world

III. Secondary Sources for Students
Gager, John G., ed.
Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World. Oxford: Oxford University, 1992. – an extensive work focusing on the defixiones and binding spells. Aside from a very information introduction, it has numerous example of ancient defixiones (including their context and, oftentimes, drawings or photos!) dealing with various topics, form athletics to love. Furthermore, the tablets are an exciting read.

Graf, Fritz.
Magic in the Ancient World. Cambridge: Harvard University, 1997. – Graf’s book provides excellent information on magic in the ancient world, including sections on the etymology of the word “magus”, on literary representations of magic, and on outside perceptions of the magician. This source would be useful with students, if segmented out (presented all at once, it may be overwhelming), but is very useful for teachers, as well.

Lowe, J.E.
Magic in Greek and Latin Literature. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1929. – this text provides a good overview of magic in Greece and Rome with constant literary references. Aside from examining the development of magic and its general use in the ancient world, Lowe does extensive studies of famous practitioners of magic. Furthermore, actual Greek and Latin passages are quoted, providing a good opportunity for students to see this information in part of its original context.

Raven, Susan.
Roman Africa, 3rd ed. London: Routledge, 1993. – provides a narrative account of North Africa from early settlement to Arab take over. Good pictures, as well. Writing is compelling and easy to read. Good for general information on North Africa.

Rives, James B. “Magic in Roman Law: Reconstruction of a Crime”,
Classical Philology 22, no. 2 (Oct., 2003): 313-339. – an excellent read concerning Apuleius’s crime and how it, as “magic”, pertains to Roman law. Provides a great, detailed cultural and legal context for the crime, then examines Apuleius’s defense.

Slater, Niall W. “Apuleius and the Visual Arts”,
From Hannibal to St. Augustine, ed. Monique Seefried Brouillet. Atlanta: Emory University, 1994. – a short article on Apuleius’s use of visual cues. It is an excellent article to introduce Apuleius to students and place him in a wider context of art in the ancient world.

IV. Secondary Sources for Teachers
Bradley, Keith. “Law, Magic, and Culture in the
Apology of Apuleius”, Phoenix 51, no. 2 (Summer, 1997): 203-223 – provides an excellent source for the legal and culture context of the Apologia. It could also be useful for students.

Ciraolo, Leda and Johnathan Seidel , eds.
Magic and Divination in the Ancient World. Leiden: Styx, 2002. – a short resource on divination and prophecy in the ancient world, covering various cultures. It is very useful for understanding divination and how to recognize the “sign”. It also has a very informative section on “Magic and Literary Theory in Late Antiquity”.

Dickie, Matthew W.
Magic and Magicians in the Greco-Roman World. London: Routledge, 2001. – a fairly extensive work on the development, use, and perception of magic in the Greco-Roman world. Perhaps a bit lengthy for students (all at once), it would be very useful broken up. The work flows very nicely. It also provides a short study of various “magicians” from different time periods in the Greco-Roman world.

Gollnick, James
. The Religious Dreamworld of Apuleius’s Metamorphoses. Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University, 1999. – Although it does not deal specifically with the Apologia, it does examine dreams, magic, and religious experiences in the Metamorphoses, some of which may or may not have been analogous to Apuleius’s own life. At the very least, it allows us to see use of these elements in Apuleius’s most famous work.

Janowitz, Naomi.
Magic in the Roman World. New York: Routledge, 2001. – a good overview on magic as it pertains to the first couple of “Christian centuries.” It provides a good context for the direction in which things were beginning to move in Apuleius’s time.

Lancel, Serge.
Carthage: A History, trans. Antonia Niell. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995. – provides excellent archaeological evidence for the entire history of Carthage, although the main focus seems to be Punic Carthage up through the Punic Wars (and a little beyond). Information is dense at times, but readable. Good for specific information on Carthage.

Mirecki, Paul and Marvin Meyer, eds.
Magic and Ritual in the Ancient World. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill, 2002. an excellent collection of articles dealing with various aspects of magic in the ancient world. Particularly useful is Fritz Graf’s contribution, “Theories of Magic in Antiquity”, however, many of the others are useful as well. At the very least, it can provide a broader context for Roman magic.

Ogden, Daniel.
Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds. Oxford: Oxford University, 2009. – a sourcebook with excellent information pertaining to specific Greek and Latin passages dealing with various aspects of magic. It would be an excellent teaching aid for those seeking to examine the included passages (which are numerous) in their original language.

Riess, Werner, ed.
Paideia at Play: Learning and Wit in Apuleius. Groningen: Barkhuis, 2008. – although the section pertaining to the Apologia is small, it does provide excellent information concerning Apuleius’s wittiness and exploitation of his education during the trial. Other, non-Apologia sections are still useful for discussions on Apuleius’s style, life, and general attitudes.

Tavenner, Eugene.
Studies in Magic from Latin Literature. New York: Columbia University, 1916. – another great study of magic in Latin literature. This one, however, has the Latin extensively quoted throughout (making it less accessible to students). The information is extensive and useful, especially the sections dealing with distinguishing magic from religion and science. The second part of the book is dedicated to magic for medical purposes, a helpful tool for anyone wishing to make the argument that magic in the ancient world was, more often than not, used for good.

  1. ^ Apuleius, The Apologia and Florida of Apuleius of Madaura, trans. H.E. Butler (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909), 5.
  2. ^ Ibid.
  3. ^ Ibid.
  4. ^ Ibid.
  5. ^ Ibid.
  6. ^ Ibid., 10.
  7. ^ James B. Rives, “Magic in Roman Law: the Reconstruction of a Crime,” Classical Antiquity 22, no. 2 (October 2003): 320.
  8. ^ Keith Bradley, "Law, Magic, and Culture in the "Apologia" of Apuleius," Phoenix 51, no. 2 (Summer 1997): 203.
  9. ^ Apuleius, The Apologia and Florida,10.
  10. ^ Ibid., 11.
  11. ^ Niall W. Slater, “Apuleius and the Visual Arts.” From Hannibal to Saint Augustine: Ancient Art of North Africa from the Musée Du Louvre, Ed. Monique Seefried Brouillet (Atlanta: Emory University, 1994), 96.
  12. ^ Apuleius, The Apologia and Florida, 12.
  13. ^ Apuleius of Madauros, Florida, ed. Vincent Hunink (Amserdam: J.C. Gieben, 2001), 18.

  14. ^ Apuleius, The Apologia and Florida of Apuleius of Madaura (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1967), xxii-xxiii.
  15. ^ Ibid., xxiv-xxviii.
  16. ^ Apuleius of Madauros, Pro Se De Magia (Apologia) II, Ed. Vincent Hunink (Amsterdam: J.C. Gieben, 1997), 9.

  17. ^ Ibid., 86.

  18. ^ Ibid., 175.

  19. ^ Ibid., 246.

  20. ^ Type your reference here.Matthew Dickie, Magic and Magicians in the Greco-Roman World (New York: Routledge, 2001),14.
  21. ^ Eugene Tavenner, Studies in Magic From Latin Literature (New York: Columbia University, 1916), 1.

  22. ^ Fritz Graf, Magic in the Ancient World, trans. Franklin Philip (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1997), 20.
  23. ^ Dickie, Magic and Magicians in the Greco-Roman World, 33-34.
  24. ^ Rives, “Magic in Roman Law: the Reconstruction of a Crime,” 321.
  25. ^ Tavenner, Studies in Magic From Latin Literature, 4.
  26. ^ Ibid., 7.
  27. ^ Fritz Graf, “Theories of Magic in Antiquity,” Magic and Ritual in the Ancient World, ed. Paul Mirecki and Marvin Meyer (Leiden: Koninklijke Brill, 2002), 94.

  28. ^ Dickie, Magic and Magicians in the Greco-Roman World (New York: Routledge, 2001), 145.
  29. ^ Tavenner, Studies in Magic From Latin Literature, 8.
  30. ^ Ibid.
  31. ^ J.E. Lowe, Magic in Greek and Latin Literature (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1929), 24.

  32. ^ Lowe, Magic in Greek and Latin Literature, 39.
  33. ^ Daniel Ogden, Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds (Oxford: Oxford University, 2009), 205.
  34. ^ Niall W. Slater, "Passion and Petrifaction: The Gaze in Apuleius," Classical Philology 93, no. 1 (January 1998), 41.
  35. ^ Graf, Magic in the Ancient World, 72.

  36. ^ Ibid., 73.
  37. ^ Rives, “Magic in Roman Law: the Reconstruction of a Crime,” 320.
  38. ^ Graf, Magic in the Ancient World, 73.
  39. ^ Lowe, Magic in Greek and Latin Literature, 33
  40. ^ John G. Gager, ed., Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World (Oxford: Oxford University, 1992), 21.
  41. ^ Ibid.
  42. ^ Graf, Magic in the Ancient World, 80.
  43. ^ Ibid., 77.
  44. ^ Ibid., 78.
  45. ^ Lowe, Magic in Greek and Latin Literature, 120.
  46. ^ Ibid., 61
  47. ^ Graf, Magic in the Ancient World, 80.
  48. ^ Ibid., 81.
  49. ^ Ibid.
  50. ^ Ibid.