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NortaooU yixtee

J. 8. Gushing Co. — Berwick & Smith Co.

Norwood, Masa., U.S.A.


The text of these tales is that of Helm's second edition of
the Metamorphoses. The few changes that have been intro-
duced are noted in the commentary. The spelling and punctu-
ation have been made to conform to that of the other books in
this Series.

Purser's edition of Cupid and Psyche has been of great
assistance in preparing the notes upon that portion of the text.
Butler's translations of the Metamorphoses and the Apology
have been used and his renderings have been often adopted in
the introductory study.

In the few cases where expurgation seemed advisable the
point of the tale has in no instance been affected. In the one
case where expurgation would have spoiled the story the editor
has included the text, but without commentary. This was
done that a complete view of the short story as found in
Apuleius might be presented.

As the stories are of unequal merit and interest, the follow-
ing are cited as the best of the collection : Diophanes the Chal-
dean, The Bobber's Tale, The Tragedy of Tlepolemus and
Charite, The Lost Slippers, Cupid and Psyche.

The editor wishes to express his thanks to Professor John

C. Rolfe, the general editor, for the valuable assistance he has


J. B. P.

June, 1918.



Apuleius : His Life and Works vii

The Origin and Extension of the Term " Milesian Tale " . . xiv

The Apuleian Short Story ........ xxii


Tale of Aristomenes the Commercial Traveler . . 1


Telyphron's Tale of the Witches 13

The Robber's Tale 20

The Tragedy of Tlepolemus and Charite ... 29

Eaten Alive 38

The Lost Slippers 39

The Fuller's Wife 43

The Three Brothers 45

The Enamored Stepmother 48

The Jealous Wife 57

The Tale of the Tub 62

Cupid and Psyche 65




Apuleius, sometimes called Lucius ^ Apuleius, although
there is some doubt as to the correctness of the prseuomen,
was one of the most picturesque figures and bizarre authors in
the whole range of literature. He was born about 125 a.d.,
the exact year being uncertam.

Ancient authors in general are rather reticent with regard
to their personal history, and our information on this point
from other sources is apt to be meagre. Cicero, whose life is
better known to us than that of many a statesman of modern
times, Horace, rich in personal reminiscence, Pliny, charm-
ingly affected and loquacious, and Apuleius, who takes us fully
into his confidence, form a quartet of striking exceptions to
this rule.

The Apology, the Florida, and the last part of the Metamor-
phoses, three of the works of Apuleius, are the sources of
most of our information as to his life. He was an African, a
native of the Roman colony of Medaura in Numidia, and it is
interesting to note that twenty miles to the north was situated
Thagaste, the birthplace of St. Augustine, another famous
African. The family of Apuleius was one of wealth and influ-
ence. His father, as one of the two chief magistrates of the
flourishing Roman colony, held an office corresponding in the
provincial city to that of consul at Rome. At his death, he

1 This praenomen is found only in late manusoripts and may be due to the
fact that, particularly in the latter part of the Metamorphoses, Apuleius
identifies himself with Lucius, the hero of the romance.



left his son a fortune of about one hundred thousand dollars,
a sum of perhaps triple the purchasing power of such an
amount at the present time.

Apuleius, during his earlier years, attended school at Car-
thage. Then, following what had become an almost universal
custom with young men of means who had literary instincts,
he sojourned at Athens to complete his education. Here he
devoted himself to the study of philosophy, rhetoric, geometry,
music and poetry, accumulating those vast stores of informa-
tion which are in evidence everywhere in his works. The next
few years he passed in extensive travel, and in this way spent
a large portion of the fortune left him by his father.

On returning from the east he met at Corinth a body of
priests of Isis, who succeeded in gaining so strong a hold upon
his lively imagination that he was initiated into the mysteries
of the service of Isis. Journeying then to Rome, he became a
devoted worshipper at the Roman temple of the goddess in the
(Campus Martins. Soon his rest was troubled by visions and
it was apparent that divine will desired his further initiation
into the mysteries of Osiris. As his funds were now exhausted,
he amassed means to defray this additional expense by devot-
ing himself to the practice of his profession, that of a lawyer.
It may be remarked that Apuleius possessed, in addition to his
literary ability, a very practical talent for making money, and
as often as he cared to devote his energies to that end, was

It was at this period that Apuleius perfected his Latin by
becoming more conversant with Roman usage, for strange to
relate, the medium in which he produced such marvellous
results was probably not his native tongue. He was of course
familiar with Greek, the literary tongue of the east. We are
not c(!rtain as to what language he spoke in liis youth; although
it may have been a jjrovincial Latin or (J reek, it is most proba-
ble that it was Punic, a Semitic tongue of the same group as
Hebrew. Ai)uleius may have composed his romance, the


Metamorphoses, during the Roman sojourn, but it is more
reasonable to suppose that he wrote it on his return home.
An inveterate traveller, he was constantly moving from one
point of interest to another until the period of his marriage.

It was while returning from a trip to Alexandria, the capital
of Egypt, that Apuleius fell ill at Oea, the modern Tripoli,
where the remarkable incidents occurred which gave occasion
for the composition of the Apologia, or Apology, a unique vol-
ume of human experience and the sole extant specimen of
forensic oratory from the period of the empire.

It appears that in his student days Apuleius had been on
terms of close intimacy with a certain Pontianus who lived in
Oea with his mother Pudentilla, who had lost her husband
some thirteen years before. Her father-in-law had become
very pressing in his endeavors to have her ally herself with
another of his sons, Cincius, that her wealth might not be lost
to his family. He was able to hold over the lady the threat of
disinheriting her two sons, Pontianus and Pudens, as he had been
appointed their guardian by his son's will. It was therefore
fortunate for Pudentilla that he died at this critical moment.

The lady so long a widow, now freed from embarrassing im-
portunity, felt disposed to follow her own inclination in the
choice of a second husband. Her sons were not averse to such
a reasonable wish, but inasmuch as their hopes of ultimately
attaining independent fortune rested upon the disposition
which their mother should make of her wealth, they were
desirous, Pontianus in particular, that the choice of their
mother should fall upon some one who would be well disposed
toward them. At this juncture Apuleius appeared at Oea.
What more natural than that his former student friend should
call upon the indisposed traveller and upon his recovery enter-
tain him at the home of his mother and persuade him to remain
at Oea during the winter ?

Although Pontianus had ulterior motives, he was sufficiently
wise to conceal them until a favorable occasion for their dis-


closure presented itself. Apuleius bad delivered during his
stay one of the public lectures for which be was so famous, and
had aroused his auditors to a high pitch of enthusiasm. At
the close of the lecture the people entreated him to do their
city the honor of becoming one of its citizens. This was Pon-
tianus' opportunity. He proposed that Apuleius marry bis
mother Pudentilla, thereby acceding to the request of the
citizens to make Oea his home, consummating the wishes of the
widow, and freeing his friend from the apprehension of an un-
congenial step-father.

The lady was no longer in the first flush of youth nor, we
are told, was she fair to look upon. Apuleius married her,
however, and soon came to esteem her for her qualities of mind
and heart. He settled down and we hear of no more trav-
elling. But there was trouble brewing. A third brother of
Pudentilla's first husband, angered because she had rejected
his brother Cincius, joined with Pontianus' father-in-law, who
had great expectations in regard to the wealth of his son-in-
law's mother, to vent their resentment upon Apuleius. Accu-
sations were brought against him that he had won the heart of
the widow by sorcery, that he was a man of immoral life, and
that he had married the mature lady solely for her wealth.

The trial took place at Sabrata and was presided over by
Claudius Maximus, proconsul of Africa, who was attending the
assizes there. It will be remembered that in the time of
the republic the office of proconsul of Africa was one of the
most dignified and lucrative at the disposal of the state and
that it still retained something of its ancient prestige.

Apuleius, it appears, had no difficulty in refuting the charges,
and secured an acquittal. In view of his overpowering
curiosity with regard to magic and his interest in it, one may
readily believe tliat he did dabble in it, but the particular
charges on this occasion appear to have been frivolous and
absurd. The crass indecency of portions of the Metamorphoses
indicates a moral sense none too delicate, but as to the charge


that he married for money, the most that ought to be said is
that this consideration probably influenced him. Despite the
acquittal, he left Oea, and settled in Carthage, where he gained
great fame as poet, philosopher, and rhetorician. It is to the
public lectures which he delivered while at Carthage that we
owe the work known as the Florida, nosegays culled from
these flowery productions. Carthage so esteemed him that she
raised a statue in his honor and gave him the office of chief
priest of the province, which conferred upon the holder the
leading place in the provincial council.

Apuleius was a voluminous writer. There are extant in
addition to the three works already mentioned one on the life
and philosophy of Plato, one on the demon of Socrates, and
one on the universe. None of these latter works is of any value
and no one save the specialist would be repaid for the time
spent in perusing them. The Apology, however, as a document
of human experience, and as a specimen of forensic oratory
and the Metamorphoses for its intrinsic merit and interest, and
as a precursor of the modern novel, are exceptions, and deserve
attention. Many other works of Apuleius have perished, for
he wrote on mathematics, music, astronomy, medicine, botany,
and zoology. We hear also of the Hermagoras, a collection of
ancient love stories.

He was much admired during his life and his fame survived
him. He possessed vast stores of ill-digested information and
was characterized by a vivid imagination, just such qualities
as would appeal to a decadent age, for such it was in the
history of Latin literature.

The works of Apuleius were known to St. Augustine, also a
native of Africa, who flourished some three hundred years
later. Of these works the Metamorphoses is by far the most
important, and it constitutes one of the curiosities of literature.
In style we know of nothing so cloying, rhythmic and mellif-
luous. The prose of D'Annunzio has something of the same
effect and is touched with the same taint of decadence.


It was long thought and is still maintained in some quarters,
that there was such a phenomenon as African Latinity, a
product of purely African growth with a richness and profu-
sion of color largely due to the Semitic element in the blood
of the people. It is now generally conceded that the style of
Apuleius, mainly characterized by archaisms, floridity and
rhythm, is nothing more than an extreme example of the
Asiatic school of writing, so well known in strictly classical
times both in the prose of Greece and Rome, a style that had
its influence even on Cicero.

One may not be utterly lost, artistically speaking, if one does
take a certain pleasure in the literary form in which such a
work as the Metamorphoses is cast ; but a little goes a good
way. If continued, it becomes wearisome and cloying. It is
therefore best appreciated in the short story and it is in this
form that it is used in the Metamorphoses ; for, as we shall see,
this work is little more than a collection of such stories loosely
joined together. There is also this to be said, that the style
in which the Metamorphoses is composed is perfectly adapted
to that romance which is to a large extent unreal, mystical
and fantastic.

The Metamorphoses was known as the " Golden Ass " of
Apuleius : ass, because the hero Lucius, as the result of clumsy
dabbling in magic, was transformed into that beast instead of
into a bird as he had intended ; golden, suggesting the idea of
excellence, perhaps a hint of the romantic. Walter Pater con-
veys the idea when, in Marias the Epicurean, he entitles the
chapter describing the influence upon the boy Marius of the
perusal of this romance. The Golden Bonk.

There is a work falsely attributed to Lucian entitled Xwcms,
or the Ass. This story, in so far as it has to do with the
transformation and tlie results, is essentially that told by
Apuleius, but the style is absolutely dilferent and the episodes
characteristic (jf thi; latter work are lacking.

It is generally sup])oscd that both stories were derived from


a lost work of which mention is made, Tlie Ass of Lucius of
Patras. However this may be, we are justified in saying
that the unique qualities of Apuleius' story are due solely to
his own talents.

The eleventh book of the Metamorphoses changes from the
collection of short stories which we shall presently discuss, to
a narration which we seem justified in considering a personal
account of religious experience, and we find a curious identifi-
cation of Lucius the hero, and Apuleius, the author of the


TALE " 1

Short stories of amours, adventure and magic, such as
have for ages flourished in the Orient, became known to the
Greeks of Asia Minor. Collections of these tales may have
been written down and given the name of the city or region in
which they were compiled or whose life they purported to
depict. Thus we hear of Milesian Tales. Such tales spread
to Italy and become popular in Magna Graecia even before
they flourished in Greece proper, and the city of Sybaris lent
its name to the Sybaritic Tales."^ Mention is also made of
Trojan, Pallenian, Naxian, Sicilian, and Bithynian collec-

Since the tale of the Matron of Ephesus in the Satyricon of
Petronius (generally regarded as giving a fair idea of what
Milesian tales were like) would in all probability belong to an
Ephesian collection, and since the extant specimen of the
Sybaritic contains nothing strikingly characteristic,* not even

1 The most complete account of this obscure type may be found in Philolo-
gus LXVI, Zk Milexiaca des Aristides. The conclusions there deduced differ
somewhat from those suggested in this article.

2 Sybaritic Tales are mentioned by jElian, Historise Varise 14, 20. The
story he cites is the sole extant specimen, and it is mildly facetious in

8 Notes prefixed to the sketches of Parthenius state that they were derived
from collections called Troica, Pal/eniaca, Naxiaca, Slcelica, Bithynica, as
well as Milesiuca. See, however, what is said concerning local histories, note
pagexviii. For this type of title as applied to romances, compare the titles of
some of the full h.-ngth Greek romances of a later period, the Buhylonica of
Iambli(!hus, the scene of the romance being laid in Babylonia ; the .FAhiopica
of ndiodorus ; the fJyprica of Xenoi)lion of Cyprus and the Ephesiaca of
Xenoplion of P^phesus.

* But see Kobde, Der Griediischc Jimuaii, 587.



the element of lewdness wliicli is supposed to be an essential
of the Milesian tale, it seems probable that these different
classes were but different names for a general class of stories,
the main or sole purpose of which was entertainment.^ It was
quite natural that those gifted and impressionable lonians of
Miletus should excel in this type of story and that the word
" Milesian " should come to stand for the whole genre. These
Milesian tales are of considerable interest as the forerunners
of the more elaborate Greek Romances 2 which flourished from
the second to the fifth centuries, of which the Da2:)hne and
CJiloe of Longus is the best known. They are the prototypes
of those tales so popular in France and Italy, of which
Boccaccio's are the most famous.

Parthenius, Virgil's Greek teacher, has been thought to give
the clearest idea of what the Milesian tales were, as the fol-
lowing quotation from Dunlop's History of Fiction shows. ^
" But though the Milesian tales have perished, of their nature
some idea may be formed from the stories of Parthenius of
Nicaea, many of which, there is reason to believe, are extracted
from these ancient fables, or at least are written in their

It is indeed likely that those tales, the scene of which is
laid in Miletus, and the themes of which are for the most part
of inconstancy, were derived directly from collections of
Milesian tales. It is also true that notes either by Parthenius
or by a later hand, were prefixed to several of the tales, stating
that they were taken from Milesian collections. However, it
is well known that Parthenius explicitly stated that he com-

1 A suggestion somewhat similar is made by Purser in the excursus on the
Milesian Tale in his excellent edition of Cupid and Psyche.

2 The 3d edition (1914) of Rohde's work cited above contains a re'snme' by
Schmid of the latest discoveries and theories in regard to the Greek Romances.

The most illuminating work, however, on the Greek novel is the extensive
study which forms the introduction to Calderini's translation, Le avventure
di C'herea e CaUiroe, Turin 1913.

8 Dunlop's ^isfory of Fiction (revised by Wilson), Vol. I, chap. 1, p. 11.


posed these thirty-six skeleton tales called Erotic Experi-
ences for his friend the Latin poet, Cornelius Gallus, to serve
as material for elegies and other poems. The very meagre-
ness of those which can with certainty be called Milesian, pre-
vents their giving us an adequate notion of what Milesian
tales were.

The German scholar, Christ, in his History of Greek Litera-
ture^ suggests that the story of the Matron of Ephesus in
Petronius furnishes us a good example of the Milesian tale
and this is midoubtedly correct in the early and restricted
meaning of the term. To this we may add the story of the
Lad of Pergamus and The Solicitous Mother in the same
work. Christ seems also to make a proper distinction, when
he says that the forerunners of the Greek novel were the
Milesian Tales of Aristides and the Erotic Experiences of

Plutarch, in his Life of Crassus,'^ indicates clearly the un-
savory character of the early Milesian tale. He says, in
speaking of the events following the defeat of Crassus, the
Roman general at Carrhae, " but the vizier, calling together
the senate of Seleusia, laid before it certain books, the work of
Aristides, his Milesiaca; these had not been forged, but had
really been found in the baggage of Roscius, and gave the
vizier a good opening for directing insulting remarks against
the Romans, who not even in time of war could refrain from
such writings and doings."

It will be well to note that the word used to designate
Milesian tales in the passage just cited is Milesiaca, the Greek
neuter plural of the adjective meaning Milesian, and that this
is the word usually although not exclusively employed in
Greek in referring to them.

We are to understand that the tales were normally written in
prose. Dunlop's remark to the effect that a couplet in Ovid,

1 firip.clti.irhi> Literaturgeschichte , 4th revised ed. 84G.

2 Plutarch, Crussus, 32.


lunxit Aristides Milesia carmina secum
Pulsus Aristides nee tamen urbe sua est,

would indicate that some of these tales had been written in
verse, is of course based upon the reading carmina, '* songs " or
" poems." The reading now universally accepted is crimina,
" charges." The passage therefore states that the slanderous
or rather scandalous Milesian tales which Aristides wrote in
connection with his history (for so we understand the words
iuxit secum) did not cause his banishment.^

The only evidence that these tales appeared in poetic form
is derived from such poems as Phaedrus III, 10, and Babrius
116, where the subject is quite in the style of the early lewd
Milesian tale. This, however, is inadequate evidence on which
to base a statement that Milesian tales as such were sometimes
written in metrical form. That poets of the type of Phaedrus
and Babrius should select as a subject for a poem a Milesian
theme of the earlier type is quite natural. Had Cornelius
Gallus composed elegies upon those themes furnished him by
Parthenius, and purporting to be derived from Milesian sources,
we should hardly classify them as Milesian tales.

This same Aristides is mentioned by Ovid in another couplet
wherein he states that Sisenna, a Roman writer, translated*
Aristides and that the latter inserted risque stories^ in his

1 Rohde, Rhein. Mns. 58, 128, understands secum to refer to crimina aud
the phrase to mean "joined together the trifling Milesian tales."

2 There are preserved of this translation nine short fragments. Of these
only numbers 1, 2 and 9 are suggestive of the character of the tales.

(1) Nisi comminus excidisset, quanti dantur? tauti inqult Olumpias ;
simul hoc dicens suavium dedit ; indicating a love tale.

(2) " P}-oiii data aliquid quod domi habebis," inquit, "quod tibi non
mayni stabit," suggestive of the wheedling words of a courtesan.

(9) indicative of their lewdness; Fr. Hist. Rom. Peter, Vol. I, 2d ed.297.
8 Vei-tit Aristiden Sisenna nee obfuit iUi.

Historiae turpes inseruisse iocos. Trist. II, 443.
Rohde, Rhein. Mus. 48, 128, understands historiae to mean Siseniia's activ-
ity as an historian. Our interpretation is that of Heinsius and supports our
understanding of the phrase secum in the couplet previously cited.


history. Chassang * suggested that Aristides may have written
a history of Miletus and may have cited numerous tales illus-
trative of Milesian life. This suggestion of Chassang is
now quite convincing, since it has been definitely ascertained
that the term Milesiaca was applied to local histories of

This view is still further supported by the fact that Aristides
wrote a number of local historical works of which the titles
and some fragments have been preserved. Compare, therefore,
his title, Milesiaca, which we conjecture to be primarily an
historical work, with his Italica, SiJielica and Persica, which
we know to be historical works.^

We seem therefore reasonably justified in stating definitely
that the term Milesiaca was first applied to local histories of
the city, and then to tales illustrative^ of Milesian life and
characterized by lubricity, such tales in fact as are referred to
in Plutarch.

That Aristides was the collector of these tales rather than
their author, and that the term came to be applied to lewd
stories in general are at least suggested by a passage in the
Amoves of Lucian.^ It is generally conceded that this work is
falsely attributed to Lucian, but for our purpose the particular
author is a matter of indifference. A character in the work,
speaking of certain lewd stories, said that he might well
believe that he were Aristides listening in delight to Milesian

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