The Golden Ass

Introduction

The Metamorphoses of Apuleius, which St. Augustine referred to as The Golden Ass (Asinus aureus),[1] is the only Ancient Roman novel in Latin to survive in its entirety.

The protagonist of the novel is called Lucius.[2] At the end of the novel, he is revealed to be from Madaurus, in ancient Algeria,[3] the hometown of Apuleius himself. The plot revolves around the protagonist's curiosity (curiositas) and insatiable desire to see and practice magic. While trying to perform a spell to transform into a bird, he is accidentally transformed into an ass. This leads to a long journey, literal and metaphorical, filled with in-set tales. He finally finds salvation through the intervention of the goddess Isis, whose cult he joins.


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