The Ancient Library

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he became warmly attached to the tenets of the Platonic philosophy, and, prosecuting his researches in many different departments, laid the founda­tions of that copious stock of various and profound learning by which he was subsequently so distin­guished. He next travelled extensively, visiting, it would appear, Italy, Greece, and Asia, acquiring a knowledge of a vast number of religious opinions and modes of worship, and becoming initiated in the greater number of the mysteries and secret fraternities so numerous in that age. (De Mundo, p. 729 ; Apolog. p. 494.) Not long after his re­turn home, although he had in some degree diminished his patrimony by his long-continued course of study, by his protracted residence in foreign countries, and by various acts of generosity towards his friends and old instructors (Apolog. p. 442), he set out upon a new journey to Alex­andria. (Apolog. p. 518.) On his way thither he was taken ill at the town of Oea, and was hospitably received into the house of a young man, Sicinius Pontianus, with whom he had lived upon terms of close intimacy, a few years pre­viously, at Athens. (Apolog. I. c.) The mo­ther of Pontianus, Pudentilla by name, was a very rich widow whose fortune was at her own disposal. With the full consent, or rather in com­pliance with the earnest solicitation of her son, the young philosopher agreed to marry her. (Apolog. p. 518.) Meanwhile Pontianus himself was united to the daughter of a certain Herennius Rufinus, who being indignant that so much wealth should pass out of the family, instigated his son-in-law, together with a younger brother, Sicinius Pudens, i mere boy, and their paternal uncle, Sicinius /Vemilianus, to join him in impeaching Appuleius ipon the charge, that he had gained the affections of Pudentilla by charms and magic spells. (Apolog. >p. 401, 451, 521, 522, &c.) The accusation eems to have been in itself sufficiently ridiculous. The alleged culprit was young, highly accomplish-d, eloquent, popular, and by no means careless in he matters of dress and personal adornment, al-hough, according to his own account, he was worn nd wan from intense application. (Apolog. p. 06, seqq. 421, compare p. 547.) The lady was early old enough to be his mother; she had been widow for fourteen years, and owned to forty, 'hile her enemies called her sixty ; in addition to rhich she was by no means attractive in her ap-earance, and had, it was well known, been for >me time desirous again to enter the married ;ate. (Apolog. pp. 450, 514, 520, 535, 546, 541, 47.) The cause was heard at Sabrata before laudius Maximus, proconsul of Africa (Apolog. }. 400, 445, 501), and the spirited and triumph-it defence spoken by Appuleius is still extant, f his subsequent career we know little. Judging 3in the voluminous catalogue of works attributed his pen, he must have devoted himself most siduously to literature; he occasionally declaimed public with great applause; he had the charge exhibiting gladiatorial shows and wild beast mts in the province, and statues were erected in 3 honour by the senate of Carthage and of other ites. (Apolog. pp. 445, 494; Florid, iii. n. 16; ngustin. Ep. v.)

Nearly the whole of the above particulars are rived from the statements contained in the writ-js of Appuleius, especially the Apologia; but in dition to these, we find a considerable number of



circumstances recorded in almost all the biographies prefixed to his works. Thus we are told that his praenomen was Lucius ; that the name of his father was Theseus; that his mother was called Salvia, was of Thessalian extraction, and a descendant of Plutarch; that when he visited Rome he was en­tirely ignorant of the Latin language, which he acquired without the aid of an instructor, by his own exertions; and that, having dissipated his fortune, he was reduced at one time to such abject poverty, that he was compelled to sell the clothes which he wore, in order to pay the fees of admis­sion into the mysteries of Osiris. These and other details as well as a minute portrait of his person, depend upon the untenable supposition, that Appu­leius is to be identified with Lucius the hero of his romance. That production being avowedly a work of fiction, it is difficult to comprehend upon what principle any portion of it could be held as supply­ing authentic materials for the life of its author, more especially when some of the facts so extracted are at variance with those deduced from more trustworthy sources; as, for example, the assertion, that he was at one time reduced to beggary, which is directly contradicted by a passage in the Apolo­gia referred to above, where he states that his for­tune had been merely "modice imminutum" by various expenses. In one instance only does he appear to forget himself (Met. xi. p. 260), where Lucius is spoken of as a native of Madaura, but no valid conclusion can be drawn from this, which is probably an oversight, unless we are at the same time prepared to go as far as Saint Augustine, who hesitates whether we ought not to believe the ac­count given of the transformation of Lucius, that is, Appuleius, into an ass to be a true narrative. It is to this fanciful identification, coupled with the charges preferred by the relations of Pudentilla, and his acknowledged predilection for mystical solemnities, that we must attribute the belief, which soon became current in the ancient world, that he really possessed the supernatural powers attributed to him by his enemies. The early pagan controversialists, as we learn from Lactan-tius, were wont to rank the marvels said to have been wrought by him along with those ascribed to Apollonius of Tyana, and to appeal to these as equal to, or more wonderful than, the miracles of Christ. (Lactant. Div. Inst. v. 3.) A generation later, the belief continued so prevalent, that St. Augustine was requested to draw up a serious refu­tation—a task which that renowned prelate exe­cuted in the most satisfactory manner, by simply referring to the oration of Appuleius himself. (Mar-cellin. Ep. iv. ad Augustin. and Augustin. Ep. v. ad Marcelling

No one can peruse a few pages of Appuleius without being at once impressed with his conspi­cuous excellences and glaring defects. We find everywhere an exuberant play of fancy, liveliness, humour, wit, learning, acuteness, and not unfre-quently, real eloquence. On the other hand, no style can be more vicious. It is in the highest degree unnatural, both in its general tone and also in the phraseology employed. The former is dis­figured by the constant recurrence of ingenious but forced and tumid conceits and studied prettinesses, while the latter is remarkable for the multitude of obsolete words ostentatiously paraded in almost every sentence. The greater number of these are to be found in the extant compositions of the oldest

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