Apuleius

Berber prose writer in Latin
Apuleius

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.

QuotesEdit

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.

The Prophecy of Hermes Trismegistus Edit

Excerpt from Asclepius III contained in the  Corpus Hermeticum, from Latin documents by Apuleius, Full text

  • And in that day men will be weary of life, and they will cease to think the universe worthy of reverent wonder and of worship. And so religion, the greatest of all blessings, for there is nothing, nor has been, nor ever shall be, that can be deemed a greater boon, will be threatened with destruction; men will think it a burden, and will come to scorn it.
  • They will no longer love this world around us, this incomparable work of God, this glorious structure which He has built...
  • Darkness will be preferred to light, and death will be thought more profitable than life; no one will raise his eyes to heaven.
  • The pious will be deemed insane, and the impious wise; the madman will be thought a brave man, and the wicked will be esteemed as good.
  • No word of reverence or piety, no utterance worthy of heaven and of the Gods of heaven, will be heard or believed.
  • But when all this has befallen, Asclepius, then the Master and Father, God, the first before all, the maker of that God who first came into being, will look on that which has come to pass, and will stay the disorder by the counterworking of His will, which is the good.
  • He will call back to the right path those who have gone astray; He will cleanse the world from evil, now washing it away with water-floods, now burning it out with fiercest fire, or again expelling it by war and pestilence.
  • And thus He will bring back His world to its former aspect, so that the Cosmos will once more be deemed worthy of worship and wondering reverence, and God, the maker and restorer of the mighty fabric, will be adored by the men of that day with unceasing hymns of praise and blessing.
 
Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus Siena Cathedral, Italy (1480s)


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