Apuleius: Rhetorical Works

OUP Oxford (2001)
Abstract
These rhetorical texts by Apuleius, second-century Latin writer and author of the famous novel Metamorphoses or Golden Ass, have not been translated into English since 1909. They are some of the very few Latin speeches surviving from their century, and constitute important evidence for Latin and Roman North African social and intellectual culture in the second century AD. They are the work of a talented writer who is being increasingly viewed as the major literary artist of his time in Latin. The Apologia, Apuleius' self-defence against a charge of magic delivered in North Africa in AD 158-9, has been well described as 'a masterpiece of the Second Sophistic'. It is a brilliant lively and colourful piece and is the only full Latin oration preserved from the second century AD, and provides important evidence for contemporary North African life. The Florida ('flowery pieces') is a collection of excerpts deriving from an earlier anthology of Apuleian speeches, most apparently delivered at Carthage in the 160s AD. As a whole, these passages offer a unique view of the rhetorical practice of a performing intellectual in Latin in the second century AD. They also give important information on civic life in Carthage through their treatment of proconsuls and the local senate. The De Deo Socratis, probably also from the 160s, is an oration in the form of a popular philosophical lecture on the 'god' of Socrates, the inner voice which, according to Plato, advised him;. This is the only surviving sophistic declamation in Latin. The material is treated brilliantly by Apuleius, being much ornamented with poetic quotation and rhetorical and stylistic pyrotechnics.
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