Apuleius: Virgil and Chief Classic Text Essay

Submitted By lladwi1
Words: 473
Pages: 2

It is not surprising, and not a new assertion, that Apuleius in his Metamorphoses shows consistent and detailed knowledge and exploitation of the text of Vergil, and especially of the Aeneid 1. A learned writer in a a learned age, he would naturally be anxious to show his knowledge of what was by then the chief classic text of Roman education 2. And there seems little doubt that he had a Roman education; he was born in the middle 120's AD at Madauros, now in Algeria 3, a Roman colonia founded in the Flavian period and Latin in language and culture (it was the place at which St Augustine later went to school) 4. For higher education, he tells us, he moved to the more cosmopolitan surroundings of Carthage, the provincial capital and proconsular seat, where he acquired Greek, and later to Athens, where he studied Platonic philosophy 5. He may indeed have spent some time in some of the centres of Greek sophistic activity in the eastern Mediterranean ; we recall that he was on the way to Alexandria (Apologia 72) when he got caught up in the sequence of events which led to the law-suit in which he famously defended himself in the Apologia. But his career after the Apologia, delivered in the year 158/9 6, seems from his Florida of the 160's to have been firmly based in Carthage, performing before Roman governors and a Latin-speaking public in a provincial capital only a few days' sailing from Rome, and though he shows some knowledge of Greek and Greek texts, his chief literary allusions are to the writers of Rome. My concern here will be largely with Apuleius' use of the Aeneid in his novel the Metamorphoses. This is not to say that he does not allude to Vergil in his other works, which contain a number of…