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Berber prose writer in Latin

Lucius Apuleius (c. 124c. 170) was a Roman philosopher, orator and romance-writer, of Berber North African origin. Apuleius' best-known work is his Metamorphoses, usually known in English as The Golden Ass.


English quotations and page-numbers are taken from the anonymous translations in The Works of Apuleius (London: Bohn’s Classical Library, 1853).

Opera omnia, 1621
  • Parit enim conversatio contemptum; raritas conciliat admirationem.
    • Familiarity breeds contempt, while rarity wins admiration.
      • De Deo Socratis (On the God of Socrates), ch. 4; p. 355.
    • Variant: Familiarity breeds contempt, but concealment excites interest.
  • Ad vivendum velut ad natandum is melior qui onere liberior.
    • It is with life just as with swimming; that man is the most expert who is the most disengaged from all encumbrances.
    • Apologia; seu, Pro Se de Magia (Apologia; or, A Discourse on Magic), ch. 21; p. 268.
  • Sanus est, qui scit quid sit insania, quippe insania scire se non potest, non magis quam caecitas se videre.
    • But he who knows what insanity is, is sane; whereas insanity can no more be sensible of its own existence, than blindness can see itself.
    • Apologia; seu, Pro Se de Magia (Apologia; or, A Discourse on Magic), ch. 80; pp. 326-7.

Metamorphoses (The Golden Ass)Edit

  • En adsum tuis commota, Luci, precibus, rerum naturae parens, elementorum omnium domina, saeculorum progenies initialis, summa numinum, regina manium, prima caelitum, deorum dearumque facies uniformis, quae caeli luminosa culmina, maris salubria flamina, inferum deplorata silentia nutibus meis dispenso: cuius numen unicum multiformi specie, ritu vario, nomine multiiugo totus veneratus orbis.
    • Behold me, Lucius; moved by thy prayers, I appear to thee; I, who am Nature, the parent of all things, the mistress of all the elements, the primordial offspring of time, the supreme among Divinities, the queen of departed spirits, the first of the celestials, and the uniform manifestation of the Gods and Goddesses; who govern by my nod the luminous heights of heaven, the salubrious breezes of the ocean, and the anguished silent realms of the shades below: whose one sole divinity the whole orb of the earth venerates under a manifold form, with different rites, and under a variety of appellations.
    • Bk. 11, ch. 5; p. 226.
  • Nam cum coeperis deae servire, tunc magis senties fructum tuae libertatis.
    • For when you have once begun to serve the Goddess, you will then in a still higher degree enjoy the fruit of your liberty.
    • Bk. 11, ch. 15; p. 233.
  • Accessi confinium mortis et calcato Proserpinae limine per omnia vectus elementa remeavi, nocte media vidi solem candido coruscantem lumine, deos inferos et deos superos accessi coram et adoravi de proximo.
    • I approached the confines of death, and having trod on the threshold of Proserpine, I returned therefrom, being borne through all the elements. At midnight I saw the sun shining with its brilliant light; and I approached the presence of the Gods beneath, and the Gods of heaven, and stood near, and worshipped them.
    • Bk. 11, ch. 23; pp. 239-40.
    • Describing initiation into the mysteries of Isis.

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