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The Golden Ass

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  12,648 ratings  ·  800 reviews

Testo latino a fronte

Un esperimento di magia finito male, un giovane imprudente trasformato in asino, una sequenza di traversie (e di racconti), fino al provvidenziale intervento di una dea: Iside.
Ma cosa sono davvero le Metamorfosi? Solo un racconto divertente o un percorso iniziatico? Il lettore sarà tentato di scoprire indizi di un senso più profondo in una novella dive

Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 1st 1962 by Indiana University Press (first published 170)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Bill Kerwin

If you remember the old toga movies from the '50's--the ones where all the Romans are played by Brits and all the Jews and Christians by Americans--then I am sure you also remember those orgiastic banquet sequences crammed with sweaty wrestlers, kinky dancers, amphora after amphora overflowing with wine, and culinary surprises like roast oxen stuffed with pheasants (the pheasants in turn stuffed with oysters), and golden salvers heaped high with hummingbird tongues.

The Golden Ass is a lot like t
Henry Avila
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lucius ( loosely based on the author ) is a very curious young man, interested in black magic, witchcraft, potions and spells, that can cause real damage , even mystery cults, being the mid second century , during the Roman Empire, in ancient Greece, people believe in the supernatural...A traveler visiting Hypata, the heart of the occult center, in Thessaly, so the public thinks , with a letter of introduction from a friend, to a rich man, Milo , a miser, though living in squalor, counting his m ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
(997 From 1001 Books) - Asinus Aureus = Metamorphoses = The Golden Ass‭, Lucius Apuleius

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

The protagonist of the novel is called Lucius. At the end of the novel, he is revealed to be from Madaurus, the hometown of Apuleius himself. The plot revolves around the protagonist's curiosity (curiositas) and insatiable desire to see and prac

Golden it is, but not the ass.

For us the novel certainly has the value of gold since it is considered the earliest that has survived complete in the Western literary tradition. Originally called Metamorphoses, it is however far from being an epic like Ovid’s. Written around the middle of 2C by an Apuleius, an Algerian under Roman auspices, it probably acquired its “aureum” quality when another Algerian, Saint Augustin, gave it its second title some time later. And it was with this golden aura t
Psyche was right to check out her lover in daylight!

That is all I can say, and I am not impressed with the manipulative tactics used by the God to make her obey "blindly". So I guess the saddest moment is her apotheosis to the divine realm of serving the Greek narcissists during their eternal banquets.

But Psyche, never mind! You had that one perfect kiss, and Canova caught it on camera! That is enough for immortality...

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Jun 28, 2012 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Asses
Recommended to Nathan "N.R." by: Mikhail M. Bakhtin
"What's this we have to put up with now? An ass giving us a philosophy lecture?" Book 10, chapter 33.

The genre of the novel sprung full-formed out of Apuleius’s . . . Ass. The Golden Ass is one of those infamous contenders for the title of First Novel along with such masters as Rabelais, Cervantes, Richardson (come on, people! really?) and Madame Murasaki. It is the only surviving complete exemplar of the Roman novel. Give it some credit. It’s all there. Then there is also Petronius’s work whose
Picked it up on a whim & what a rollicking ride it turned out to be! 
It could very well be a tale told by the granny - full of magic & adventure (with all the salacious bits cut out of course, but that would make it a very short tale!).

A parable, a road trip, a romance, with diversions, tales within tales, satire, containing tragedies bordering on the grotesque & farcical, bawdy comedy, sexual escapades & deviance of various sorts - ancient literature was so rich, no wonder our literary greats t
Heidi The Reader
Lucian longs to experience real magic. When he discovers it, an unfortunate misstep turns him into the title character. In the shape of an ass, Lucian suffers through a series of misadventures.

I wonder when Apuleius was writing The Golden Ass, if he ever imagined this particular novel would be the only one written in Latin to have made it through his time to ours in its entirety.

Perhaps that's an unfair question, because how could a writer imagine something like that?

But if he could have somehow
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
WARNING: This rating is based on the opinion and feelings of a teenager ; )

I don't remember exactly when I read this book. I do remember however, that it was a school assignment and that I might have been 13 or 14 years old. My judgment back then was vastly different from my judgment now and it wasn't a book I chose to read voluntarily but was forced to read it instead, which worsened things since I tended to hate every book my teachers wanted me to read on principle alone.
Anyways, since I have
Daniel Chaikin
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

(Illustration by Jean de Bosschere, source)

13. The Golden Ass, or, Metamorphoses by Apuleius
translation from Latin by E. J. Kenney
Originally written: ~160 ce
format: 295 page Penguin Classics paperback
acquired: December, from a Half-Price
read: Jan 31 – Feb 20
time reading: 13 hr 55 min, 2.8 min/page
rating: 4

I don't think I ever fully appreciated what I was reading here. This is a pleasant read, especially as translated by Kenney, but probably also for native Latin speakers of its time as well. Lu
a masterpiece ,so interesting and entertaining as a read. for beneath the humorous and the sharp ironies lay a religious and philosophical thoughtful mind.
Amusing tales within tales, recollections of characters of various misadventures and misfortunes ....
Lucius A wandering spirit Suffering in his heedless traveling over the world in order to work out his salvation.

Interesting how magic plays a prominent role in the everyday life.

His deep love of life with his eager and curiosity , and mocking
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In the opening paragraph, Apuleius' narrator promises us in this Milesian discourse (a romantic adventure tale that is usually bawdy) to string together ... a series of different stories and to charm your ears ... with amusing gossip, to provide us with a Grecian tale written in Latin. We are given all this and more with this precursor to the picaresque novel. The narrator apologizes if he should stumble and give offence as an unpractised speaker of the foreign idiom of the Roman courts, but
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Considered by many to be the first novel ever written, Apuleius' The Golden Ass is a classic tale of transformation and of humanity (or perhaps individuality) lost and regained.

Set sometime in the second century, somewhere in ancient Greece (specifically in the regions of Macedonia and Achaea, according to the appended map in the book), the story portrays the many adventures Lucius experience after his dreadful transformation into a beast of burden, an ass.

In the beginning, Lucius is portrayed
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This book was written around 170AD and tells the tale of Lucius, a Young Roman aristocrat who is intrigued by magic and is accidentally turned into an ass. As an ass Lucius is treated as an animal and witnesses life amongst an unsavoury group of people, including bandits and adulterous wives. Lucius is threatened with death on a number of occasions.

An entertaining plot driven story.
original read: 2006

As odd and funny today as when it was written.
Erik Graff
Apr 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Lajla Stousland
Shelves: literature
Spending every summer of childhood in a cabin in the woods without television, I became quite a reader early on. Much of what I read was determined by what I could find--mostly books owned by my paternal grandmother, Lajla.

'The Golden Ass' was a desperate choice. It had the advantage of not being a detective or a mystery novel, her apparent favorites. It wasn't an abridged book either--she had quite the collection of those. I had some interest in ancient history, if only from the movies and the
Sep 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The Golden Ass
The difficulty with writing a review for this novel is, what do we compare it to?
A lot of writers have borrowed from or been influenced by Apuleius, so it's good to be acquainted with his text. But the real meaning of it is often obscure, so the whole experience of reading it is quite peculiar.

What I liked:
The witches here are powerful :)
The ass is really, really in trouble. This has helped put my own preoccupations into perspective.
There's a lot of humour.
Everything is unpredictable and this
The novel emerges from the muck for the first time, albeit still clinging in many ways to the conventions of ancient Roman poetry, folklore, and theater. More mythology than anything else, The Golden Ass tells the story of a dude who gets utterly fucked time and time again, and-- in true mythic fashion-- is only delivered by the mercy of the gods. We also get the story of Cupid and Psyche, just for the fuck of it, in the middle. Necessary reading for anyone interested in how fiction as we know i ...more
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
Bestiality. Kidnapping. Mugging. Ye olde carjacking. Burglary. Assault. Murder. Female paedophiles. Incest. Male rape. Adultery. Animal cruelty. Serial killers in the making. Poisonings. Homosexual priest gangbangs. Shapeshifting. Gods and goddesses. The Seven Deadly Sins. Evil mother-in-laws. Drama. Comedy. Tragedy. Adventure. Romance. Horror. Urban legends. Stories within stories. Inspiration for that Hannibal episode where a person was sewn into a dead horse's belly.

What doesn't The Golden As
Apr 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This is the only Roman novel to survive in its entirety, and I for one wish more of them had made it. The Golden Ass is one of very few books I've read more than once.

Lucius (a character very loosely based on the author) is a young citizen growing up in a Roman provincial town in Greece. After completing his studies in Rome, Lucius decides to go on a trip through Boiotea, the region around Thebes. (Thebes was, in the ancient world, a literary punching bag that became almost synonymous with nefar
Aug 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Apuleius is eerily familiar to a modern eye. His seamless blending of suggested mystery cults, Platonic references, and frolicking humor and sexuality make The Golden Ass an entertainment worth repeating. Whether or not the reader is intent on making a sustained foray into the issue of book 11 and treats the book as a religio-philosophical piece or reads it just as a romp through Latin humor and lustiness bears little weight on the ultimate pleasure of the novel as a good read.

Not so much the Fl
Spencer Rich
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is truly amazing. A funny, cynical tale with quite a lot of theosophical symbolism. Amazing that it survived the onslaught of Christianity. For a book from the second century A.D., it's a surprisingly modern novel, incorporating lots of great short stories better than the much later Canterbury Tales. ...more
May 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient
earliest known example of furry p0rn fanfic in world literature?
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books. I read it for a class on the origins of the cult of the Virgin Mary. As a graduate student in the History of Art, I was using this class to better understand the early Christian representations of the Virgin (pre 8th century).

The professor had placed it on reserve so I had to read it within the library. I never expected to be able to read it in one sitting, but once I started the book I just could not put it down. I had to move to a corner where there were no s
Jun 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, fiction
Reading "The Golden Ass" translated from Latin by Robert Graves is all right if you don't mind various episodes related to 'the God' or 'the Goddess', for instance, as mentioned in the last chapter. For instance:

"At length the Goddess advised me to return home. ... (p. 288)" or

... "The God added that under his divine care this man would achieve fame in a learned profession and that Asinius himself would be richly rewarded for his trouble." (p. 290)

It seems vague to me since, I think, it's writte
Kay En P.
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
It's astonishing, truly, how a novel written in the second century AD can be so foul-mouthed, lewd, sexually explicit, violent, and crazy. Makes one bitterly regret christianity's cultural downturn even more. Loved its outspokenness about conventionally delicate themes. ...more
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classical-stuff
I have a 1950 Penguin edition of this, inherited from parents, but haven't a clue as to when I first read it :) Probably late 50's when I was into all that Greek Myth and everything :) ...more
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of this book, Flaubert wrote, "If there's any artistic truth in the world, it's that this book is a masterpiece. It gives me vertigo and dazzles me. ... It smells of incense and urine. Bestiality is married to mysticism." Such literary cologne can be a bit jarring at times or just plain puzzling, but the overall effect is still quite seductive. One of the most entertaining stories I've ever read, though poor Lucious, the titular ass, suffers so many indiginities and whippings that the on occasio ...more
Mel Bossa
For its originality and salaciousness, The Golden Ass deserves three stars.

But while I enjoyed certain parts, I was disgusted with many others. I think I would have loved this maybe ten years ago. Back then I didn't mind misogyny, or couldn't even recognize it much I guess. I read a lot of white men who wrote about whores and witches and nymphos and all that stuff. I suppose I thought it was cool of me as a woman to have such an open mind and all. Now, these days I get put off by these juvenile
عماد العتيلي
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to عماد by: Cath

“Behold Lucius I am come, thy weeping and prayers hath mooved me to succour thee. I am she that is the naturall mother of all things, mistresse and governesse of all the Elements, the initiall progeny of worlds, chiefe of powers divine, Queene of heaven!”.

• I’ve always loved the Classics. Mythology is my ancient true love.
My friend Cath recommended this novel, and I feel truly grateful to her. I loved this novel, and while I was reading it I felt nostalgic and decided to read more mytholog
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Reading 1001: The Golden Ass- Apuleius 1 8 May 24, 2019 02:57AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please, page-number needed. 5 14 Feb 26, 2019 02:29AM  
The Golden Ass and contemporary humor 5 22 Apr 23, 2014 09:52AM  
Boxall's 1001 Bo...: The Golden Ass 5 106 Apr 27, 2013 04:10PM  
Brain Pain: * Questions, Resources, and General Banter - The Golden Ass 24 86 Feb 28, 2013 12:58AM  
Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Three - The Golden Ass - Books 9 - 11 9 57 Feb 23, 2013 12:47PM  
Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Two - The Golden Ass - Books 5 - 8 5 40 Jan 30, 2013 12:29AM  

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Apuleius (Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis “Africanus”; Berber: Afulay, c. 125 – c. 180 CE) was a Latin-language prose writer.

He was a Numidian Berber and lived under the Roman Empire. He was from Madaurus (now M'Daourouch, Algeria). He studied Platonist philosophy in Athens; travelled to Italy, Asia Minor and Egypt; and was an initiate in several cults or mysteries. The most famous incident in his lif

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“I besprinkled their faces with my liquid dung and forced them to leave off.” 10 likes
“Behold Lucius I am come, thy weeping and prayers hath mooved mee to succour thee. I am she that is the naturall mother of all things, mistresse and governesse of all the Elements, the initiall progeny of worlds, chiefe of powers divine, Queene of heaven! the principall of the Gods celestiall, the light of the goddesses: at my will the planets of the ayre, the wholesome winds of the Seas, and the silences of hell be diposed; my name, my divinity is adored throughout all the world in divers manners, in variable customes and in many names, for the Phrygians call me the mother of the Gods: the Athenians, Minerva: the Cyprians, Venus: the Candians, Diana: the Sicilians Proserpina: the Eleusians, Ceres: some Juno, other Bellona, other Hecate: and principally the Aethiopians which dwell in the Orient, and the Aegyptians which are excellent in all kind of ancient doctrine, and by their proper ceremonies accustome to worship mee, doe call mee Queene Isis. Behold I am come to take pitty of thy fortune and tribulation, behold I am present to favour and ayd thee, leave off thy weeping and lamentation, put away all thy sorrow, for behold the healthfull day which is ordained by my providence, therefore be ready to attend to my commandement. This day which shall come after this night, is dedicated to my service, by an eternall religion, my Priests and Ministers doe accustome after the tempests of the Sea, be ceased, to offer in my name a new ship as a first fruit of my Navigation.” 7 likes
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