The Golden Ass

The Golden Ass

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The Golden Ass

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The Metamorphoses of Apuleius, which St. Augustine referred to as The Golden Ass (Asinus aureus),St. Augustine, The City of God 18.18.2 is the only Latin novel to survive in its entirety.

The protagonist of the novel may in fact be the author himself. His first name is revealed to be Lucius;The Golden Ass 1.24 at the end of the novel, he is revealed to be from Madaurus,The Golden Ass 11.27Walsh, P.G. "Lucius Maudaurensis," Phoenix 22.2(1968): 143-157. 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.


The date of composition of the Metamorphoses is uncertain. It has variously been considered by scholars as a youthful work preceding Apuleius' Apology of 158/9 AD, or as the climax of his literary career and perhaps as late as the 170s or 180s. Apuleius adapted the story from a Greek original of which the author's name...
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