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Different drinking habits: satirical strategies of self-fashioning in Antonine ego-narrative.


This paper aims to explore some parallels and contrasts between two contemporary Latin texts, Gellius' Noctes Atticae and Apuleius' Metamorphoses, as forms of satirical self-display through ego-narrative. My point of departure for this comparison is that Gellius and Apuleius both express themselves through fictionalised 'personal recollections' revolving around the theme of the 'vicissitudes of the intellectual'. Thus, both Gellius and Apuleius construct the literary role of a 'younger self' through a satirical manipulation of a first-person narrative, featuring the story of a young intellectual upstart in elite society. I do not read these works as 'autobiographical', but rather as 'auto-graphical', in the sense of written, literary forms of self-production. Recent studies move away from the narrow conception of 'autobiography' as a written, secondary representation of an already given 'self, which includes 'facts' of an already given life, and rather focus on the very process of writing about 'self as a culturally and medially determined practice of fashioning a subject's identity (Selbstverschriftlichung, 'constitution of self). (1)

Throughout this article I refer to Gellius' and Apuleius' literary selfdisplay as 'satirical self-fashioning', although neither Noctes Atticae nor Metamorphoses are works of Roman Satire in a strict sense. I use the term 'satirical' therefore mainly in a broader sense, which refers, on the one hand, to the constructed self-image of the 'young student' and its ironical distance from the 'authorial' persona, and, on the other, to the general tendency of satirical writers to deconstruct the self-constructed images of authority of other intellectuals and persons of power, and to expose the social mechanisms and conditions of power in the contemporary political context. For the latter aspect of satire in a broader sense, Gellius' and Apuleius' contemporary colleague Lucian can be viewed as paradigmatic, and this article will quote many parallels from his works.

Yet, regarding the genre of Satire in a strict sense, recent publications have demonstrated the significant presence of Roman verse satire and Menippean Satire in the Metamorphoses and the Noctes Atticae. (2) Although self-presentation through various roles (personae) is a phenomenon pervading Latin literature in general, this form of literary self-display in Gellius and Apuleius may be especially indebted to Roman Satire, which, more than any other literary expression, introduces an 'I' performing in the guise of multiple and varied roles and masks (Zimmerman 2006, 102, quoting e.g. Freudenburg 1993). (3) Along similar lines, the self-parodying or self-ironising aspects of the construction of a 'younger self', who is infatuated with forms of knowledge that are open to criticism for the author (e.g. magic or dangerous dialectic tricks), may also be indebted to Roman Satire. I consider these forms of self-irony as conscious forms of comic self-display, which are meant to be taken as mock self-irony (4): Gellius and Apuleius did not really wish to disparage themselves, but created the ironical distance between their authorial persona and the role of their 'younger self' to construct a 'satirical window on the world' (see below, p. 93).

My combined investigation of these two contemporary Latin intellectuals should be seen against the background of recent developments in the approach of Antonine Latin literature within its cultural context. In the case of Apuleius, there is an important shift from views which picture him as a superficial showman in the spirit of the Greek Second Sophistic, who merely shows off his erudition and polymath learning, to more contextualised approaches of Apuleius' role as a Roman intellectual in the political and cultural context of North Africa--especially the historical commentary on the Florida by La Rocca (2005) and the work of Vossing (1997) deserve mentioning here.

We can observe a similar development in scholarly approaches regarding the 'image' of Gellius: earlier, more positivistic approaches to the Noctes Atticae, while stereotyping its author as an unoriginal collector of information and uncritical admirer of the celebrities of the Second Sophistic (Favorinus, Herodes Atticus), have put most emphasis on questions of content and the thematic organisation of this content. More recent studies like Beall (1999) and Pausch (2004) draw attention to the question how Gellius narrates this content, and emphasise that the single chapters of the Attic Nights should be analysed in their entirety, and from a literary point of view. (5) Following this line of approach, a next step has been to investigate Gellius' literary and satirical qualities in a number of his commentarii, and to place these observations in the contemporary cultural context of the Antonine age. (6) Like Apuleius, Gellius can be viewed as a Roman intellectual who, on the one hand, expresses himself through the cultural and literary traditions of Latin literature, and, on the other hand, employs medial strategies that are firmly anchored in the contemporary cultural context, using the writing of Latin prose as a device to construct his Roman identity and authority, and to argue his position against cultural rivals. Against this background, it is interesting to focus on particular ways of literary self-fashioning in which Apuleius and Gellius are particularly akin. (7)

Outline of the Content

In the first part of the article, Satirical Self-Display in the Space of Roman Elite Communication, I trace the shared intellectual backgrounds of Gellius' and Apuleius' self-fashioning both from a synchronic perspective (Antonine intellectual culture) and a diachronic one (the Roman cultural tradition). I try to demonstrate that their role of 'young (modest) student' contains elements of self-satire, but also creates a satirical 'lens' through which contemporary phenomena are ironically refracted. Their satirical role-playing reflects the context of the symposium, which represented the contemporary space for elite communication and mockery of rivals. Against this background, I discuss some scenes from the Noctes Atticae and the Metamorphoses that show Gellius and Apuleius as being particularly close in their satirical techniques.

In the second part, Satirical Self-Display as Vehicle for the Author's Quest for Truth, I interpret Gellius' and Apuleius' literary strategies of selffashioning (self-display through various personae) as 'truthful' forms of selfexpression on a symbolic level. In this context I also elucidate Apuleius' reference to his identity as a 'man from Madauros' in Met. 11,27,9. Gellius' and Apuleius' comparable use of the notions of the 'educational journey' and 'initiation' as symbols for a 'quest for truth' express their authorial reflections about the question of true education and the path one has to follow to attain it.

In the third and final part of this article, Satirical Self-Display as Vehicle for Polemics: Ideological Contrasts between Gellius and Apuleius, Apuleius' and Gellius' comparable forms of self-production become the startingpoint to highlight their different ideological stances, which were, as I will argue, competing paradigms of a Roman life of learning in the Antonine cultural arena. Against the symposiastic background of Antonine elite communication, I will interpret their references to different 'drinking habits' in terms of a debate in a polemical context, lending symbolical expression to Gellius' and Apuleius' conflicting ideological convictions.

Part One: Satirical Self-Display in the Space of Roman Elite Communication

Shared Intellectual Backgrounds: the Antonine Literary Community

Apuleius and Gellius, who may have been former fellow-students at Athens, (8) shared a distinguished Latin literary culture, which they instrumentalised to fashion themselves as authoritative Roman intellectuals against other cultural rivals. Both authors explicitly refer to their rivals in their works, associating them with envy of their own success. (9) Since the 'envy' problem is a common topos of satiric writers, (10) the references to envy at the beginning of the Noctes Atticae and at the end of the Metamorphoses may perhaps be understood in a programmatic way, as 'satirical' self-construction gestures.

As products of and reactions to cultural practices of rivalry and competition, Apuleius' and Gellius' works reflect the agonal mentality of the Antonine literary community, drawn together by competitive and playful forms of intellectual culture (sympotic questions; linguistic debates, etc.). (11) Both authors participated in a Roman network of patronage, including prominent intellectuals like Apuleius' fellow-African M. Cornelius Fronto, who channelled his proteges into positions of power with eloquent letters of recommendation. (12) This politico-cultural context produced Gellius' and Apuleius' literary portrayals of 'the vicissitudes of the intellectual', reflecting the contemporary dynamics of elite formation and scrutiny of authority.

Gellius and Apuleius particularly move on common ground in their references to established written and oral traditions of (self-)recommendation, such as letters of recommendation and learned conversation at the dinner table. For example, Lucius' letter of recommendation (Apul. Met. 1,23; 7,1), which he presents to his new patron Milo, a leading citizen of Hypata, recalls contemporary practice as reflected in the numerous letters of recommendation which the prominent intellectual and politician Fronto wrote for his proteges, especially for fellow-Africans like M. Postumius Festus. In Noctes Atticae, Gellius pays homage to this famous patron of learning in lively anecdotes, which reflect Fronto's influential role as a judge of Latin erudition and Roman morals in an imperial elite network, reaching both the highest aristocratic circle in Rome and local aristocracies in Africa. (13)

Apparently, Apuleius and Gellius use different genres for their literary self-fashioning: whereas Apuleius uses 'fictional narrative' in his Metamorphoses, Gellius writes commentarii (a translation of the Greek [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] or [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 'notes', 'memoirs'). (14) Yet, both authors express themselves through 'fluid', 'open' genres, which comprise various literary sub-forms such as Socratic dialogue, Cynic diatribe, sympotic wit, anecdote (chreia), narrative (diegema), poetic quotation, and rhetorical speech. Both Antonine authors share a contemporary taste for humorous anecdotes and short stories that centre on a particular topic or moral point, revealing the fluid transition between entertaining, mime-like short tales (sermo Milesius; uariae fabulae) and short, self-contained anecdotes and memoirs (commentarii, adnotatiunculae) in second century Latin prose, a fluid transition which points to the contemporary context of typical forms of literary entertainment at the symposium. (15) Both authors promise the reader a mixture of delight and learning in the prefaces to their work (Apuleius' Prologue: Met. 1,1; Gellius' Praefatio). We can also observe a close parallel between Gellius and Apuleius in their use of sermones and 'table talks' as a setting of intellectual exchange, in which the exposure of impostor figures and inferior rivals plays a central role. (16) Since the symposium is also the context for mockery and satire par excellence, the shared interest in symposiastic settings and intellectual dinner conversations in Noctes Atticae and Metamorphoses points to the underlying Roman intellectual culture of satirising self and others that connects Gellius and Apuleius.

Possibly, the authors even participated in the same intellectual symposia during their stays in Athens and Rome, where they may have recited parts of their prose and poetry to each other and to other dinner guests. (17) In Noctes Atticae 19,11, shortly after a scene in which erotic poetry is recited in a symposium context (19,9, a chapter possibly known by Apuleius, cf. Apol. 9,12), Gellius quotes a Latin adaptation of an erotic poem by Plato, which has been plausibly attributed to Apuleius. (18) The 'friend of mine, a highly cultured youth', to whom Gellius attributes this erotic epigram, was probably his former fellow-student from Africa, who may have recited it during a sympotic occasion in Athens or Rome, and who expressed his interest in writing and reading erotic poetry in his Apology (9-13; 87,4; see below, p. 99).

Shared Intellectual Backgrounds: The Roman Cultural Tradition

Gellius' role of young student, who observes and remembers the conversations, dialogues, and speeches of famous intellectuals, can be viewed in a typically Roman intellectual tradition of using fictionalising forms of selfexpression. The Roman paradigm par excellence of a fictionalised dialogue between famous intellectuals, which voices deeper ideas of the author about the role of culture and implicitly points to the author's own exemplary cultural role, was Cicero's De Oratore. (19) Gellius' literary role of the adulescens as the observer of famous intellectuals is especially akin to Tacitus' Dialogus de Oratoribus (2,1), which gives expression to that author's deeper concerns about Roman eloquence. (20)

In Noctes Atticae, Gellius stages himself in the role of student, who is, not unlike Apuleius' Lucius, characterised by an adolescent enthusiasm for intellectual activities that for Gellius as an author may be open to criticism: he becomes the fascinated sectator of Platonists and Academics, and joins crowds that applaud and shout at the rhetorical performances of famous sophists (Gell. 9,8,3; cf. 14,1,1). Yet, this satirical self-presentation may also become a vehicle for the author's deeper concerns about contemporary cultural phenomena, reflecting on the atmosphere of competition and polemic among cultural rivals, who try to attract large groups of followers, with sometimes questionable strategies of persuasion. Moreover, it points to the ironic contrast between the unstable role of the searching student and the role of the authoritative writer, who has acquired a stable ideological basis in the cultural platform that lies at the root of his ego-narrative (see the next section).

On a more general level, Gellius' and Apuleius' self-display through the medium of entertaining literary genres (stories, anecdotes, etc.) can also be viewed in the light of the Roman cultural tradition, where the use of humour and wit is characteristic feature of various genres of prose and poetry, and especially important in rhetorical contexts with regard to the speaker's selffashioning, where humour may also enable him to convey more serious thoughts. Cicero connects the use of humour with the orator's winning over of his audience's mind through self-presentation (ethos). (21) Moreover, Cicero treats anecdotes (fabellae) and narrative (narratio) as useful sources of humour in de orat. 2, 240 and 264, and points out that 'there is no category of jokes that is not also a source for earnest and serious thoughts' (de orat. 2, 250 nullum genus est ioci, quo non ex eodem seuera et grauia sumantur).

Shared Techniques of Literary Self-display: Devious Modesty

As we have observed, both the Attic Nights and the Metamorphoses use the device of a first-person narrative, featuring a young intellectual upstart in elite society, whose curiosity makes him travel through the Empire, joining various circles (sectae) of charismatic figures of variable reputation. Both authors stage a 'former self', who plunges into a Greek world of education and pseudo-education. Both employ a satirical disjunction between their role of author/narrator and the role of their younger self. (22) Their construction of a naive, (apparently) modest, credulous or curious 'former self' reflects contemporary infatuations with charismatic authority and polymath erudition, and points to an ironic distance between two stages of educational development in the 'I'--a former stage of intemperate youth, marked by an avid search for various forms of knowledge and enlightenment, and a later stage of mature and stable insight, established by the recognised authority and literary success of the writer. (23)

Yet, this constructed role of the young eager student also offered various possibilities of satirising self and others. Behind their masks of modesty and deference, both Gellius and Apuleius hide a satirist who provides critical comments on the powerful persons they apparently esteem. Thus, their constructed modesty turns out to be a devious kind of modesty: whereas Milo praises Lucius for his uirginalis uerecundia (Met. 1,23,3; cf. 1,26,2), a virtue possibly also emphasised by the letter of recommendation, the reader may unmask Lucius' modesty towards Milo as a pose, especially when he learns that Lucius actually views Milo as a filthy, stingy old man (Met. 1,26,7 rancidi senis). In a similar way, Gellius emphasises his modesty towards his teachers, for example with the word cunctabundus (3,1,3), describing his respectful hesitance in his role as a student to address his master Favorinus with a question regarding effeminacy--as we can see from references in Lucian and other writers, Favorinus, who was born without testicles, was often ridiculed for his unmanly appearance and behaviour, including a high feminine voice (Lucian, Demonax 12; cf. Eunuchus 7; Philostr. vit. soph. 1, 25 p. 541). As an author, Gellius employs this very chapter about the topic of effeminacy for satirical allusions to Favorinus' negative 'image', exposing his notorious effeminacy and avarice. (24)

The Role of the 'Student' as a Satirical Window on the World

The 'satirical' nature of Apuleius' and Gellius' literary self-fashioning works in various directions: on the one hand, there is an element of self-satire in their roles of young, eager, and curious students, who travel to and through Greece and to Rome and succumb to the enticements of Greek (pseudo-) learning and to the success and power promised by the mastery of Roman rhetoric and impeccable Latin. Both the young Gellius and Lucius display forms of behaviour that their spiritual fathers would not necessarily approve of or identify with in their role of mature intellectual, such as an unbridled thirst for all kinds of knowledge--even illicit and fraudulent knowledge magic; Chaldaean astrology) (25)--and the tendency to follow powerful charismatic teachers, without critical reflection on what is truly useful, enlightening, and educative. (26) On the other hand, the satire simultaneously points to the cultural context reflected in these self-portrayals, a context where many forms of philosophical learning and religious conviction thrived, but were also subject to contemporary criticism and mockery. (27) Hence, Apuleius' and Gellius' technique of characterising self and others also embodies a satirical comment on wider contemporary and social phenomena, in a similar spirit to Lucian. (28) Both the Attic Nights and the Metamorphoses reflect a critical awareness that any choice for a particular secta could become the object of the censure and the ridicule of those who preferred to make different cultural and religious choices; (29) this awareness has a significant influence on their satirical self-fashioning.

Patrons and Mechanisms of Patronage Exposed: Milo and Fronto

Particularly striking parallels in the satirical techniques employed can be observed between the scene in the Metamorphoses, where Lucius enters the house of the wealthy miser Milo, who is depicted as a prominent figure in Hypatan society, and a similar scene in the Attic Nights, where Gellius enters the house of the famous orator Fronto, who taught rhetoric to Marcus Aurelius, and who was one of the most wealthy and powerful men of his age. When the young Lucius enters the house of the wealthy Milo, he finds him lying on a grabattulus:

intuli me eumque accumbentem exiguo admodum grabattulo et commodum cenare incipientem inuenio ...

'I betook myself inside and found him reclining on a rather tiny cot and just starting to have dinner'. (Apul. Met. 1,22,6)

The grabattulus is a shabby piece of furniture that on the one hand symbolises Milo's pretended poverty, and on the other hand recalls stage-props from comedy. Indeed, Milo is a comic character, who recalls negative types from satire like the boorish, uncultivated host. He is also a bizarre kind of philosopher, who obstinately holds Lucius in his power, and exhausts him with endless dinner conversations.

We have a strikingly similar comic entrance scene in the Attic Nights, where the young student Gellius enters the house of Fronto, and finds the famous orator lying on a kind of low couch, scimpodium, that evokes similar associations with the comic stage as Milo's grabattulus:
   Gell. 19,10,1 Atque ubi introducti sumus, offendimus eum cubantem
   in scimpodio Graeciensi ...

   'When we arrived and were admitted, we found him lying on a Greek
   couch .'

The element of the shabby couch seems a stock element of caricatured portrayals of the intellectual: the scimpodium particularly recalls Socrates in Aristophanes' Clouds (254), who uses his scimpodium in the uncanny initiation rite of Strepsiades. The Aristophanic parody works through biographical reference, alluding to the Platonic portrayal of Socrates: in Plato's Protagoras (310C), Socrates lies on a okiutcoik; when Hippocrates visits him. There are several hints that Gellius' portrayal of Fronto in the present chapter is satirical too, following the tradition of Aristophanes' Clouds. In the present scene, for example, Gellius also makes a satirical allusion to Fronto's notorious gout, which recalls epigrammatic and Lucianic wit, and may hint at Fronto's wealth. (30) Moreover, we have in the Gellian Fronto the same satirical disjunction between the appearance of a poor man, symbolised by his shabby piece of furniture, and his actual enormous wealth, as we have observed in the patron-figure Milo--Gellius shows this disjunction by representing Fronto in the middle of a discussion about the construction of new baths with several architects--then, Fronto suddenly interrupts the negotiations about the expense of this luxurious project, by starting a philological discussion with his friends about the Latin word praeterpropter. The anecdote ends in a satirical mode: the grammarian who had criticised the word praeterpropter as plebeian and uncultivated is put in his place by Fronto with a clever quotation from Ennius, and leaves blushing and sweating while everyone laughs at him. (31) Thus, satirical exposure takes place on several levels, and Fronto turns out to be both exposed and exposer. (32)

Philosophical Dinners as Scenes of Satirical Exposure

Another example showing how Gellius and Apuleius are quite close in their satirical technique is formed by two scenes, where both Gellius and Apuleius present their 'younger self' as participating in a philosophical dinner, where the fare is simple and strictly vegetarian, and where the host has a comic or at least an ambiguous characterisation. At the loquax et famelicum conuiuium at Milo's empty dinner table, the food consists of "merely stories" (Met. 1,26,7 cenatus solis fabulis), but scholars have observed the Plautine allusion in the ambiguous word fabulis here, which can also mean "beans" (cf. Gell. 4,11,1), which would add to the characterisation of Milo as a weird philosopher, an ascete who only serves beans to his guests. (33) We can compare this with the vegetarian dinner at the philosopher Taurus' in Gell. 17,8,2:
   frequens eius cenae fundus et firmamentum omne erat aula una lentis
   Aegyptiae et cucurbitae inibi minutim caesae ...

   'The entire basis and foundation of the meal usually consisted of
   one pot of Egyptian beans, to which were added gourds cut in small

Like Milo's dinner (solis fabulis), the true ingredients of Taurus' meals consist of table talk (Gell. 7,13,2 coniectabamus ad cenulam non cuppedias ciborum, sed argutias quaestionum, 'we brought to the simple meal, not dainty foods, but ingenious topics for discussion'), which points on a metaliterary level to the 'Table Talk' dimension of Gellius' own sympotic miscellany, in the same vein as Athenaeus' Deipnosophistae. (34)

Whereas the poor fare at Milo's table reflects his self-constructed image as a poor man, which the narrator deconstructs as the charade of a greedy patron who is actually very wealthy, in Taurus' case the simple vegetarian meal may be a satirical allusion to the philosopher's actual poverty. The Gellian scenes with the Platonic philosopher Taurus possibly contain satirical references to the financial position of philosophers, who were dependent on the support of wealthy patrons such as Herodes Atticus. (35) Apart from their associations with Pythagorean lore and patronage, one can draw a parallel between the Apuleian Milo and the Gellian Taurus as characters that do not practice what they preach: Gellius as author represents Taurus as someone who is repeatedly prone to feelings of irritation and frustration, whereas he lectures his students on anger, quoting Plutarch to prove his thesis that wise men should show moderation in their emotions (Gell. 1,26). (36) Gellius as author makes the satirical exposure work by staging his 'younger self in the role of Taurus' student, who with 'devious modesty' asked his temperamental master, whether a wise man got angry (1,26,1 interrogaui in diatriba Taurum, an sapiens irascetur).

Both Gellius and Apuleius, then, merge the Menippean parody of the philosophical symposium, where not food but intellectual conversation is the main dish, with a satirical account containing recollections of the sermones of their youth. (37) The sympotic scenes with Milo and Taurus point to the symposium (sermones) as a recurrent theme in both the Metamorphoses and the Noctes Atticae, reflecting an important space of elite communication in Antonine contemporary culture. (38) Moreover, the manipulation of a shy intellectual by a boorish patron in the Metamorphoses recalls Roman verse satire, especially Horace (cf. Serm. 1,9, where Horace becomes the victim of the Bore). A more contemporary parallel can be found in Lucian's satire of boorish patrons who enslave scholars to maintain a cultured appearance, On Salaried Posts in Great Houses (De Mercede Conductis), where an intellectual is brought into a rich man's house, humiliated with various questions he cannot answer, and allowed to go hungry (26). (39)

Part Two: Satirical Self-Display as Vehicle for the Author's Quest for Truth

Self-display through various personae as a symbolical form of self-expression

In Noctes Atticae, Gellius' literary self-presentation is characterised by a process of assuming various roles and personae: depending on the context, Gellius casts himself in the role of the youthful sectator, the independent researcher, the imperial adviser, (40) and the mature author (most prominently in the Praefatio). In a similar way, Apuleius speaks to us through various personae throughout his literary works, such as the persona of the reliable scholar (the Apology), (41) the pupil of the Carthaginians (Flor. 18,15), the friend and counselor of powerful Roman magistrates, (42) the eloquent poet (Apol. 5-13), or the poor philosopher (Apol. 21-22; cf. Met. 11,27,9 Madaurensem, sed admodum pauperem).

Moreover, Gellius and Apuleius use comparable literary repertoires, like anecdote and narrative, as a means of self-display, constructing their identity as narrators or protagonists in a way that invites a symbolical reading against the political and cultural background. Apuleius' Florida 3 on Apollo and Marsyas, for example, illustrates Apuleius' use of anecdotal and narrative material as an instrument of self-fashioning in a political context of rivalry: the uncultivated boorish Marsyas can thus be viewed as one of Apuleius' opponents in disguise, and the beautiful Apollo, scorned by Marsyas for his delicate, smooth beauty and his versatility in knowledge, stands for Apuleius himself--especially the parallels with the Apology are striking, where Apuleius was accused of being a good-looking and eloquent philosopher by his opponents. A short piece of narrative, then, becomes a medium for selfexpression. (43)

Apuleius constructs his identity in a particularly intriguing way in the extended narrative of his Metamorphoses, (44) where he performs the role of a curious 'I' who travels through a fictional realm of magic and religious experiences. In this form of self-display, Apuleius adopts the persona of the young Greek Lucius known from the Greek ass narrative, and yet reveals his African identity in the Isis Book (11,27,9 Madaurensem), where Lucius travels to a different realm: imperial Rome.

In a recent study on fiction in bucolic poetry, M. Payne (2007) plausibly argues that ancient readers of Theocritus and Vergil were not expected to rigidly separate the author from the narrator or protagonist in the poetic text, but clearly recognised that the author projected himself into a role--or into various roles--in a fictional world. (45) We may compare Apuleius' own description in the Apology of Vergil's self-display in the Eclogae (Apol. 10,5 abstinens nominum sese quidem Corydonem, puerum uero Alexin uocat, 'without using real names, calling himself 'Corydon' and the boy 'Alexis''), and transfer its implications to Apuleius' own impersonation of the role of Lucius. (46) Viewed in this way, Apuleius' self-projection into a recognisably fictional realm--the world of magic and witchcraft, which was depicted in the popular Greek Ass Story--and his adopting the role of a fictional, immoral character called Lucius can be read as a 'truthful' self-expression, a way of telling the truth in a playful way. (47)

Given the parallels between Apuleius and Lucius (both have been initiated in mystery cults, both are associated with an interest in magic), ancient readers may have immediately recognised in Lucius a symbolical form of self-expression of the author. (48) With the reference to Madaurensem (Met. 11,27,9), Apuleius even expands his self-display through narrative fiction by referring to different occasions of self-fashioning, where he appeared in his famous role (persona) of the Platonic philosopher from North Africa. Thus, Apuleius consciously connects his role as 'Lucius' in his fictionalised egonarrative with a self-constructed 'image' from a different context, where people could encounter him as the 'man from Madauros'. (49) Many of his readers would have been familiar with this persona; some of them possibly had the occasion to hear and see the 'man from Madauros' performing in public (for example with an epideictic speech on a philosophical theme) or even to admire a statue of the philosophus Platonicus Madaurensis. (50) Through the reference to this persona, Apuleius may--again--allude to the rivalries and feelings of envy that his successful but controversial selfpresentation evoked in the contemporary context (above, n. 9). In Apol. 24,68, Apuleius defends his origin from Madauros (24,8 splendidissima colonia) against the defamation of his opponents, arguing that even people living in the periphery of an empire could produce a wise man (24,6). In the Metamorphoses, Apuleius underscores with 'Madaurensem' his own conscious manipulation of this narrative as a medium of producing recognisable and significant identities for himself, and as a multi-layered symbolic form of self-expression. (51)

Educational Trajectory, Initiation, and Worldly Success in Rome

In both Noctes Atticae and Metamorphoses, the projection of the 'I' into the role of a young inquisitive intellectual travelling around Greece and Rome to imbibe multifarious knowledge is combined with the literary representation of an 'educational trajectory', depicting various stages of education that lead up to the practice of professional life in Rome. In Apuleius' Metamorphoses, this 'educational trajectory' is most notably reflected in the Prologue, which represents the successive stages of the speaker's educational background in terms of an elaborate topographical description, symbolising his extensive rhetorical and literary training in Greece and Rome (1,1,3-4). Moreover, Lucius' 'educational journey' from Greece to Rome is reflected in Book 11,52 where the doctrina of Lucius' youth (11,15,1; cf. 3,15,4) is, on the one hand, contrasted with the blessings of Isiac religion (11,15,1 nec tibi natales ne dignitas quidem uel ipsa, qua flores, usquam doctrina profuit, 'not your birth, nor even your position, nor even your fine education has been of any help whatever to you'), but enables, on the other hand, Lucius' rhetorical and literary success in Rome (11,27,9; 11,30,4).

As Montiglio (2007, 107 f.) observes, Apuleius' choice to make Rome the goal of Lucius' homecoming is likely to reflect Apuleius' own educational journey to the contemporary intellectual centre. One could add that Osiris' reference to the envy of Lucius' (/Apuleius') rivals, which has an auto-referential function as well (see above, n. 9), is significantly anchored in Rome, underlining the Empire's capital's powerful quality as a centre of cultural and intellectual competition.

A similar 'educational trajectory' from Greece to Rome to the one described in the Metamorphoses can be observed in Gellius' Noctes Atticae, the title of which partly alludes to Gellius' educational experiences as a young student in Athens and Attica (cf. Gell. 1,2,1; 17,8,1), and partly to the writing process during Attic winter nights (cf. Praef. 4), which has produced a Latin work which is firmly anchored in Rome and in the Roman cultural tradition. A particular illustration of the teleological dimension in this educational trajectory, which Gellius' ego-narrative shares with Apuleius', can be found in Noctes Atticae 14,2, which opens with Gellius' description of the transition of the theoretical stages of school training from his youth to his first professional experience as a iudex priuatus in Rome (Gell. 14,2,1 ut homo adulescens, a poetarum fabulis et a rhetorum epilogis ad iudicandas lites uocatus, 'being a young man, called from poets' tales and orators' perorations to preside in court'). (53)

Both Lucius and the young Gellius, then, have followed various stages of theoretical education and school training, before they were chosen by a 'higher authority' to put their abilities into practice in Rome. Both Apuleius and Gellius point out through their ego-narrative that the puerile doctrina of the schools is not sufficient for success in practice (54): one needs the blessing and the power of a higher authority in Rome to make things actually work. Thus, their respective ego-narratives can be interpreted as a symbolic form for a quest for knowledge and for deeper concerns about the role and value of education in society. Both respond in their own way to a larger debate on measuring true and false authority, reflecting contemporary concerns about dubious and healthy forms of rhetorical persuasion and philosophical or religious 'conversion'. (55)

Initiation and the Exclusiveness of True Knowledge

The summit of Lucius' educational journey is the Gottesschau he experiences during his Isiac initiation (11,23,7, quoted further below), where he is not only initiated into the mysteries of a religious cult, in the sense of an adolescent's rite of passage, but also depicts himself as acquiring knowledge and power, as the initiation allows him to attain a superior state of perception, which is only reserved to a privileged few. This use of initiation as a symbol for an exclusive source of knowledge, which is only available for those who deserve it, is also used by Gellius in his Praefatio (20 f.), where he represents his Noctes Atticae as something 'sacred', which may not be touched by those who have not been initiated in the mysteries of the 'Muses' play' (see above, n. 9).

Apuleius expresses also in his other works the connection he feels between the studium ueri (the 'ardour for truth') and experiences of religious initiation. (56) He expresses this studium ueri in an extreme and satirical fashion through the mask of Lucius, who is initiated in various cults (Met. 3,15,4), like Apuleius. Yet, Lucius also fully remains 'in character' in Book 11 as an temperamental young man, oscillating between anxious inhibition and rash eagerness. (57) Given the 'trajectory of education' depicted in the Metamorphoses, it is significant that Lucius presents himself in Book 11 as a child that needs to be tempered by his parents (11,21,3):
   clementer ac comiter et ut solent parentes immaturis liberorum
   desideriis modificari, meam differens instantiam spei melioris
   solaciis alioquin anxium mihipermulcebat animum ...

   (the priest Mithras) gently and kindly put off my insistence, as
   parents try to restrain the immature desires of their children, and
   he soothed my natural anxiety with the comfort of hope for better

In accordance with this unsteady characterisation, Lucius claims to have seen the upper divinity already after his first initiation in the mysteries of Isis (11,23,7):
   Accessi confinium mortis et calcato Proserpinae limine per omnia
   uectus elementa remeaui, nocte media uidi solem candido coruscantem
   lumine, deos inferos et deos superos accessi coram et adoraui de

   'I came to the boundaries of death and, having trodden the
   threshold of Proserpina, I travelled through all the elements and
   returned. In the middle of the night I saw the sun flashing with
   bright light. I came face to face with the gods below and the gods
   above and paid reverence to them from close at hand.'

This passage describing Lucius' Gottesschau again shows the satirical disjunction between Lucius and Apuleius, since the latter carefully describes the Gottesschau (a glimpse of the supreme god) as an experience that is only rarely allowed to wise men, and only after making the utmost philosophical effort (De Deo Socratis 3 p. 124; cf. Plato, Timaeus 28c):
   (cum Plato) praedicet hunc solum [sc. deum] maiestatis incredibili
   quadam nimietate et ineffabili non posse penuria sermonis humani
   quauis oratione uel modice conprehendi; uix sapientibus uiris, cum
   se uigore animi, quantum licuit, a corpore remouerunt, intellectum
   huius dei, id quoque interdum, uelut in artissimis tenebris
   rapidissimo coruscamine lumen candidum intermicare ...

   '(since Plato) proclaims that this god alone, such is the amazing
   and ineffable excess of his majesty, cannot be comprehended, even
   to a limited extent, in any discourse, owing to the poverty of
   human speech; and that even for wise men, when, by vigour of mind
   they have removed themselves from the body as far as they can, the
   comprehension of this god is like a bright light fitfully flashing
   with the swiftest flicker in the deepest darkness, and that only
   from time to time ...' (58)

Along these lines, Apuleius preaches the moderate attitude represented by his fellow-Platonist Plutarch (significantly presented as his alter ego's ancestor in Met. 1,2 and 2,3), who criticises those who pretend to attain philosophical truth merely by assuming the external features of Isiac initiates, like a linen dress and a shaven skull (De Iside et Osiride 3, Mor. 352 C). (59) Plutarch identifies the true philosopher with the true votary of Isis, who uses Reason in investigating and in studying the truth contained in the religious ceremonies. Discussing the mystic or 'epoptic' part of philosophy, Plutarch also refers to the 'flash of lightning' mentioned by Apuleius that symbolises the pure truth (77, Mor. 382 D-E), (60) only once seen by those who move beyond conjectural matters by using Reason:


'and when they have somehow attained contact with the pure truth abiding about it, they believe that they have, as if being initiated into the mysteries, the full realisation of philosophy within their grasp'.

The Platonic and Plutarchan backgrounds, then, shed significant light on Apuleius' satirical self-fashioning in the role of Lucius. Whereas Lucius' mystic experience gives expression to a truly Apuleian longing for contact with the divine, his satirical characterisation simultaneously embodies tendencies that Plutarch and Apuleius may have censured in a true and mature philosopher, drawing attention to a contemporary Platonic debate on right and wrong ways to live a philosophical-religious life. By embodying moral defects from Plutarch's famous ethical writings, (61) Lucius' persona draws the attention of the reader to contemporary concerns about 'curing' moral 'diseases', a cure which lies in Plutarch's and in Apuleius' belief in a true, long-term commitment to philosophy. In this way, we can view Lucius' satirical performance as a form of self-expression, through which Apuleius points to serious truths.

Part Three: Satirical Self-Display as Vehicle for Polemics: Ideological Contrasts between Gellius and Apuleius

Against the background of the shared literary features and common cultural characteristics that shape their self-production, it is interesting to look at the things that distinguished Gellius and Apuleius from each other. Their shared education at Athens prepared both Gellius and Apuleius for a life of learning, but they made completely different choices to fashion this life of learning. Apuleius is the mystically inclined Middle Platonist, (62) who repeatedly emphasises his religious duties and initiations in various cults, and whose definition of the philosopher brings philosophy and religion together, in the vein of Plutarch. (63) Gellius, by contrast, tends to be polemical against the subtleties of philosophy and mocks various philosophers, including Plato nists. (64)

As opposed to Apuleius, for Gellius the highest ueritas is not embodied by Platonism or mystic cult, but by the Roman authorities from the preAugustan period, such as the poet Ennius or Cato the Elder, whom he particularly revered as the ideal orator-statesman. These authors form the core of Gellius' Roman cultural programme, in which exempla from Roman antiquitas embody an unassailable authority. In the Antonine Age, the writings of Cato the Elder were both admired and imitated in the highest imperial circles for the quality of their Latin and their exemplary moral and political content. Marcus Cornelius Fronto, the prominent orator, politician, and imperial teacher of eloquence, significantly called Cato orator idem et imperator summus (epist. ad Lucium Verum 2,20 p. 128,23 van den Hout), pointing to the paradigmatic combination of oratorical and military power embodied by the famous Censor, and he used Cato's writings for the rhetorical training of the future Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. (65)

Gellius' admiration for the moral authority of Cato emerges in several passages, especially in 13,24, where he praises the Censor's 'pure truth' (13,24,2 mera ueritas). As it is plausible that Gellius and Apuleius knew each other and reacted to each other in their literary works, it is significant that Gellius combines his reverence for Cato's mera ueritas with a sharp polemic against contemporary philosophers. (66) Gellius' programmatic quotations of the Ennian Neoptolemus (5,15,9 and 5,16,5) form an illuminating contrast with Apuleius' use of the same quotation in Apology 13,1:
   Gell. 5,16,5 illius Enniani Neoptolemi ... consilio utendum est,
   qui "degustandum" exphilosophia censet, "non in eam ingurgitandum."

   'we must follow the advice of that Neoptolemus in Ennius, who
   advises having a "taste" of philosophy, but not "gorging oneself
   with it".

   Apul. Apol. 13,1 Da igitur ueniam Platoni philosopho uersuum eius
   de amore, ne ego necesse habeam contra sententiam Neoptolemi
   Enniani pluribus philosophari,

   'So please forgive Plato the philosopher for his love poems!
   Otherwise I will need to act against the opinion of Neoptolemos in
   Ennius and 'philosophise at length'.'

Whereas Gellius' use of the quotation confirms his general dislike of the 'dangerous allurements' of deceitful Greek knowledge, such as treacherous dialectical subtleties and sophisms, (67) Apuleius rather seems to restrain himself (with difficulty), by quoting Ennius, from doing the thing to which he, being a Platonic philosopher, feels a natural propensity: philosophari--a propensity which becomes an object of self-satire in the Metamorphoses, when Apuleius assumes the satirical role of the asinus philosophans (Met. 10,33,4). (68)

Whereas Gellius wishes to restrict the use of philosophy to 'tasting' (degustandum), Apuleius' appropriately expresses his unbridled philosophical inclinations through Lucius' insatiable 'thirst for knowledge' (Met. 1,2 sititor nouitatis). On a more concrete level, Lucius also loves to drink lots of wine (cf. Met. 2,16,4 uino madens), and even performs in the role of a winebibbing ass (cf. 10,21,4). (69) This fictionalised satirical self-portrayal recalls Apuleius' self-fashioning at Florida 20, where he professes to have drunk the bowls of culture at Athens:
   ego et alias creterras Athenis bibi: poeticae commentam, geometriae
   limpidam, musicae dulcem, dialecticae austerulam, iam uero
   uniuersae philosophiae inexplebilem scilicet et nectaream,

   'but I have drunk other bowls at Athens: the specially made wine of
   poetry, the clear white of geometry, the sweet Muscat of music, the
   dry red of dialectics, and the never-sating nectar of universal

As La Rocca demonstrates, this enumeration is not a superficial boasting of his polymathy, but Apuleius' programmatic acknowledgement of his specific Platonic schooling. (70) Especially geometria and musica, but also dialectica, represented the exact sciences that the Middle Platonists considered 'propaedeutic disciplines' for the knowledge of the Good.

By contrast, such disciplines are put in a rather negative light by Gellius, who is aware of the traditional Roman lack of trust and understanding towards the mathematical arts of geometry and astronomy and the subtleties of dialectics. Gellius describes dialectics as 'forbidding and contemptible, as well as disagreeable and useless' (16,8,16 taetra et aspernabilis insuauisque et inutilis); it is to be learned with great caution, and only by 'little tastes' (libamenta). (71) With a programmatic statement (14,6,5), Gellius demonstrates his programmatic adherence to the ethical preoccupations embodied by the Socrates as we know him from Xenophon's Memorabilia, as opposed to the Platonic Socrates, who stands for an emphasis on dialectical subtleties and skills in deceptive argumentation (Gell. 14,3,5-6). (72) In terms of behaviour at the symposium, Gellius' cultural programme claims to offer the paradigm for correct, modest, and social conduct, in contrast with the drunken Platonic and Academic philosophers whose verbose rhetoric and immodest performance offend the rules for correct sympotic behaviour. (73)


Although Apuleius and Gellius drunk from the same bowls at Athens, they obviously had developed very different tastes and drinking habits. In a time characterised by a lively ongoing debate between different intellectuals and over different styles of philosophy, Gellius and Apuleius express themselves through two contrasting Latin ego-narratives, each of them telling an individual story of a Roman life of learning. Yet, the ego-narratives in the Attic Nights and the Metamorphoses stand for two different stories in a wider sense. They are symbolic expressions of Gellius' and Apuleius' bioi, behind which the Roman reader could recognise different logoi, two different exemplary lifestyles which offered competing paradigms for Roman intellectual self-fashioning. (74) Reading the works of these former fellow-students in tandem, we gain a fascinating picture of the clashes in the intellectual arena of the Antonine age, where Xenophontic ethics are pitted against Platonic lore, subtle, allusive brevity is pitted against enthralling, ear-pleasing rhetoric, (75) and Cato's moral truth is pitted against Osiris' true knowledge.


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University of Rostock

* I thank the audience at ICAN 2008 in Lissabon, the anonymous referees of AN, Ulrike Egelhaaf-Gaiser, Warren Smith, Stelios Panayotakis, and Friedemann Drews for many helpful suggestions which helped to improve the form and content of this paper.

(1) See Dunne--Moser (edd.) 2008; Moser 2006. On the use of 'biography' in antiquity cf. below, n. 74.

(2) See Zimmerman 2006; Keulen 2007, 27-42; Keulen 2009, 46-51; 58-65; 216.

(3) See Freudenburg 2010 (forthcoming) on persona and satiric self-representation in the context of Roman Satire, especially Horace. Instead of "a means of hiding what is real", Freudenburg views the poet's mask as "the very means of his 'self'-realization" (p. 272). On the satirist persona as paradigm for the ego-narrator in Latin fiction see Beck 1982 and Smith 1996.

(4) On self-irony as a seriocomic strategy in Apuleius see Graverini-Keulen 2009, especially p. 201 with n. 16 on the background from Roman satire; see Keulen 2009, 46 for a discussion of Gellius' mock self-ironic self-presentation against the background of Menippean Satire.

(5) On 'Gellius in der Forschung' see Pausch 2004, 147-150.

(6) Keulen 2009.

(7) For parallels in literary strategies of self-fashioning between Gellius and Apuleius see e.g. Keulen 2009, 2-3; 42; 64; 67 f.; 196.

(8) See Sandy 1993; Keulen 2004, 224. The idea that Gellius and Apuleius were fellowstudents was already suggested by Allinson 1963, who adds Lucian to their class.

(9) At the end of the Met., Osiris bids Lucius not to fear the slanders of detractors (maleuoli) which his industrious pursuit of knowledge had aroused in Rome (11,30,4). For Apuleius' rivals cf. Flor. 9,1 inuisoribus meis, with La Rocca 2005, 174-176. In his Praefatio, Gellius represents the learning transmitted by Noctes Atticae in terms of an exclusive religious initiation, associating the attitude of those not sufficiently able to appreciate his Noctes Atticae with perversity and envy (20 scaeuitas et inuidentia); see Graverini-Keulen 2009, 199; 211 f.

(10) For the topos of inuidia in Satire see Dickie 1983.

(11) The notion of 'literary community' comprises authors, patrons and audiences, in so far as they are drawn together by literary communication, see Nauta 2002, 31.

(12) On Fronto and his role in imperial patronage see Champlin 1980. Apuleius also wrote letters of recommendation (cf. Apol. 94).

(13) Cf. Gell. 19,13, where Fronto appears together with Postumius Festus; see Keulen 2009, 42 n. 20.

(14) For Gellius use of literary [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]-traditions see Pausch 2004, 76; 154 ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Socratic dialogue); 167 f. ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and the chreia); 228; see also Keulen 2009, 37; 244.

(15) See Keulen 2007, 23 on 'Milesiae', '(aniles) fabulae', and 'nugae' as mock selfdepreciatory programmatic terms by which Antonine authors refer to their own literary works in terms of recreational, playful intellectual activity; see also Graverini-Keulen 2009. See below, n. 75 for the attractive suggestion that the continuous flow of interconnected stories (Metamorphoses) and the interrupted sequence of separate commentarii (Noctes Atticae) are deliberately chosen by the authors/rivals Apuleius and Gellius as contrasting forms, reflecting a conscious polemical opposition.

(16) For symposiastic aspects of Noctes Atticae and Metamorphoses see Keulen 2004, 225 f.; Keulen 2009, 69-70; 158-159; Zimmerman 2008.

(17) For possible contacts and (mutual) influence between Gellius and Apuleius see Harrison 2000, 19; Holford-Strevens 2003, 23.

(18) See Dahlmann 1979; Holford-Strevens 2003, 23 n. 59.

(19) On fictionality in De Oratore see Meyer 1970. On Cicero's De Oratore as a form of Selbstverschriftlichung see Moser 2006, 237-253.

(20) See Keulen 2009, 67 f. Cf. Tac. Dial. 2,1 quos ... admodum iuuenis audiui with Mayer ad loc.

(21) Cic. de orat. 1,236 est plane oratoris mouere risum, uel quod ipsa hilaritas beneuolentiam conciliat ei, per quem excitata est, ... 'it is indeed clearly fitting for the orator to stir up laughter, either because cheerfulness by itself wins goodwill for the one who has excited it ...'

(22) Compare the observations in Marincic 2007, 183 on the possible disjunction in Achilles Tatius between the 'later' Clitophon, the self-confident erotosophistes, and the naive hero of his narrative.

(23) For Lucius' curiosity cf. e.g. Met. 1,2,6 isto accepto, sititor alioquin nouitatis, 'immo uero', inquam, 'impertite sermones non quidem curiosum, sed qui uelim scire uel cuncta uel certe plurima, 'when I heard that, my thirst for novelty being what it is, I asked, "please let me share your topics of conversation. Not that I'm nosy, it's just that I'm the sort of person who likes to know everything, or at least as much as I can"'; for the young Gellius' curiosity cf. 19,13,1 ego ibi adsistens ... sermones eorum, quos de litterarum diciplinis habebant, curiosius captabam, 'I, being near by ... eagerly listened to their conversations on literary subjects.'

(24) For a more detailed discussion of Gellius' satirical strategy in this chapter see Keulen 2009, 120-126.

(25) In later times, Roman political power even takes legal measures against the unbridled thirst for knowledge displayed by philosophers, astrologers and prophets; see Fogen 1997, 19. Compare the criticism of astrologers (Chaldaei) in Gell. 14,1 with the satirical portrayal of the seer (Chaldaeus) Diophanes in Apul. Met. 2,13-14.

(26) Whereas Gellius frequently represents himself in the role of a student of Platonic and Academic philosophers, his own ideological platform is not Platonism; as we will observe below (n. 64), he even attacks and satirises Platonists. See above, p. 92, on the satirical disjunction between the role of 'author' and of the 'younger self.

(27) Compare also Apuleius' satirical portrayal of the corrupt priests of the Dea Syria in Book 8 and 9 of the Met.

(28) Compare especially Lucian's Demonax, written in the same [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] tradition as Gellius' commentarii, and taking the form of a personal memory of an eyewitness and an avowal of a follower (cf. Lucian. Dem. 1; 2; 12; 67; see Cancik 1984, 120). On the Demonax see also Jones 1986, 90-98.

(29) Cf. Smith 2009, 57 f. and 71 f. on possible reactions of scepticism, shock and mockery to someone's conversion experience, in both Christian and pagan contexts.

(30) Cf. 19,10,1 pedibus tunc grauiter aegrum; cf. also 2,26,1; Keulen 2009, 41. Baldwin (1975, 332) discusses gout as a theme of satirical epigram, e.g. Anth. Pal. 11,403 (possibly by Lucian, who wrote a mock encomium called Tragodopodagra; cf. Anderson 1979, 150 n. 9), with as central theme that gout is the enemy of only the rich. Cf. also Anth. Pal. 11,414 (Hedylus), regarding gout as the limb-relaxing consequence of limb-relaxing Wine and Love. Baldwin (n. 55) also compares Noctes Atticae 4,13, where Gellius discusses an unlikely cure for the disease by listening to soothing music. For the connection between skoptic epigram, satire, and the symposium see Zimmerman 2008, esp. 140-147.

(31) Cf. Gell. 19,10,14 cum id plerique prolixius riderent; for laughter as the response of those present at the exposure of a would-be intellectual see Vardi 2001, 51 n. 63. See also Rives 2008, 37, who quotes the scene as an example of the role of grammatical learning as a key medium for the expression and affirmation of social status. Warren Smith draws my attention to the ending of Horace's Satire 1,7, where everyone is imagined as laughing at Horace's joke (l. 86 soluentur risu tabulae; cf. Plaza 2003 for a comparison between the ending of this satire and the Risus Festival in Apuleius' Met.).

(32) For the Gellian technique of having the 'exposer exposed' see Keulen 2009, 87; 283. One of the anonymous referees draws the attention to Menippean Satire, where the polymath is satirisable (and routinely satirised) for the very things that are used as tools/weapons of satire (deep, detailed antiquarian learning). For the Menippean dimension of Noctes Atticae see above, n. 4.

(33) Cf. Plaut. Poen. 8 qui non edistis, saturi fite fabulis. Significantly, Gellius uses the noun fabulus also in the sense of 'bean' in a Pythagorean connection (4,11,1); their choice of the same word in a similar context may point to a conscious mutual reference or allusion between the two former fellow-students. Keulen 2007, 467 points out that Apuleius' and Gellius' comparable references to the Pythagorean topic reflect contemporary satire (cf. Lucian, vit. auct. 6).

(34) On the parallel between Gellius and Athenaeus see Graverini-Keulen 2009, 210 n. 41.

(35) Cf. Gell. 1,9; 18,10, and see Dillon 2002, 34-37.

(36) Cf. Gell. 10,19,2 atque ibi Taurus isto ipso defensionis genere inritatior; for Taurus' irritation about the behaviour of students and his frustration about the position of philosophers see Keulen 2009, 64; 71 n.14; 211 n. 52; 213.

(37) For the topos of the 'conuiuium gone wrong' in Menippean Satire and Roman satire, see Keulen 2007, 465 f. on Apul. Met. 1,26,7 loquax et famelicum conuiuium.

(38) See above, p. 90. Apuleius in his role as Lucius the ass again stages himself in a subservient role at the dinner of a powerful person in 10,16, where the ass has to entertain the guests by his performance of human tricks, eating human food and drinking wine. He is significantly called parasitus (10,16,8) there.

(39) I owe this parallel to Warren Smith.

(40) On Gellius' self-referential use of the Ennian amicus minor (Noctes Atticae 12,4) as an image for his own symbouleutic role see Keulen 2009, 215-221; cf. Freudenburg 2010 (forthcoming), 279 with n. 31 on Horace's reworking of the Ennian portrait in picturing his relationship with Maecenas as his 'discreet lesser friend' (Serm. 2,6).

(41) See Rives 2008, 35-47 on Apuleius' use of quotations, lists and 'problems', displaying 'unthreatening' grammatical learning that serves to construct Apuleius' image as a socially respectable authority.

(42) E.g. Claudius Maximus in the Apology (see Rives 2008, 17 with n. 2); Severianus in Florida 9.

(43) See Harrison 2000, 98-99 on Apuleius' use of the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], adapting it to the particular context of defending himself against detractors; on this particular example from the Florida see La Rocca 2005, 144-152; Gaisser 2008, 28. For the programmatic topic of rivalry see above, p. 89.

(44) Cf. Gaisser 2008, 18: "In the Metamorphoses too, just as in the Apology and Florida, Apuleius' real aim is self-display."

(45) See especially the Conclusion in Payne 2007, 146-169; see p.147 f. on the paradigmatic role of Callimachus' Aetia and Iambi for the literary fabrication of a range of 'selves' and 'personae' as a strategy to attain immortality through the survival of one's literary work.

(46) At the same time, Apuleius' elaboration on the Musa iocosa--uita casta motif (Apol. 11) emphasises the distinction between the speaker in (fictional) poems and the identity of their author (see Tilg 2008, 111; 118 f.), and may be illustrative for the distinction that Apuleius expects his readers to draw between his 'role' of Lucius and his role in other contexts. As we have observed, Gellius creates a similar disjunction between his role of mature author and his immature 'former self.

(47) Compare the lucid observations of Tilg 2008 on Apuleius' literary programme of playfulness in the Apology, where 'charmingness' (lepos) represents the innocence of outspokenness (Apuleius associates e-loquentia and innocentia). In a similar way as in his erotic poetry (ludicra), Apuleius uses in the Met. a 'truthful' form of self-expression, as 'fiction' similarly becomes a means of 'telling the truth' in a playful way.

(48) Habermehl (2002, 312) views Apuleius' self-representation as Lucius as a refracted "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man". For significant parallels between Apuleius and Lucius see Harrison 2000, 217 f.; 228-230; Keulen 2007, 395; 428 f. A famous ancient reader of the Met. implies that Apuleius is telling his own experiences; cf. Aug. civ. 18,18,1 Apuleius in libris, quos asini aurei titulo inscripsit, sibi ipsi accidi-sse, ut accepto ueneno humano animo permanente asinus fieret.

(49) Beaujeu 1983, 395 n. 16 compares some passages in which Plutarch 'becomes' one of the protagonists staged in his dialogues: De defectu orac., Mor. 437a; De Pythiae orac., Mor. 395c.

(50) Kenney (2003, 180 f.) views the reference to the 'man from Madauros' as a marker of Apuleius' imprint on the Greek ass tale in his role as a philosophus Platonicus, since it was Madauros where he was evidently celebrated as such. On Apuleius' statues in Antiquity see Harrison 2000, 8; 117 (Madauros, Oea); Gaisser 2008, 13 (Carthage, Madau ros, Oea); 14, 25, 27-29 (Constantinople).

(51) For a different view see Harrison 2000, 230 f., who reads the reference to Madaurensem as metafictional.

(52) See Penwill 1990, 13 f.

(53) For a more detailed discussion of Gellius' anecdote in 14,2, focusing on his search for reliable knowledge as a young man, see Keulen 2009, 175-178; 221-229.

(54) For Gellius' polemic against the hackneyed doctrina of school teaching cf. Praef. 15 in scholis decantata, contrasting the new impulses embodied by Gellius' own teaching (see Keulen 2009, 29 n. 37 for a comparison with Apul. Met. 1,1,4 nullo magistro praeeunte). For the traditional Roman deprecation of theoretical (grammatical and rhetorical) 'school teaching' cf. Cic. de orat. 1,105 neque ex scholis cantilenam requirunt (note the significant contrast with the authority of the experienced Roman statesman); 1,23 repetam non (!) ab incunabulis ... puerilisque doctrina; 2,109 doctrinam redolet exercitationemque paene puerilem; 3,48. For a different discussion of this Roman sentiment see GraveriniKeulen 2009, 213 f.

(55) For the use of verbs like demulcere and permulcere (cf. Met. 1,1,1 permulceam) in contexts of conversion and persuasive influence of charismatic authority see Pausch 2004, 192 with n. 248; Keulen 2009, 147-148. Cf. Gellius' vignette of Demosthenes' 'conversion' to Callistratus--one of the so-called Srniaycoyoi ('demagogues')--as a teacher in 3,13 (3,13,4 demultus), which is in turn a mirror of Gellius' becoming sectator of the charismatic Favorinus (16,3,1 ita sermonibus usquequaque amoenissimis demulcebat).

(56) Apol. 55,9 At ego, ut dixi, multiiuga sacra et plurimos ritus et uarias cerimonias studio ueri et officio erga deos didici ('But as I say, I have learned numerous cults, manifold rites, and various ceremonies in my ardour for truth and my sense of duty towards the gods').

(57) For Lucius' anxiety and inhibition cf. 11,19,3 religiosa formidine retardabar; differebam; 11,22,6 "Quid ... iam nunc stas otiosus teque ipsum demoraris?"; 11,27,1 religiosum scrupulum. For his (over-)eagerness cf. 11,21,1 sollicitius; 11,21,2 accipiendorum sacrorum cupido gliscebat; 11,21,3 instantiam; 11,21,5 auiditati contumaciaeque; 11,22,5 solito constantius. Cf. 11,22,1 nec impatientia corrumpebatur obsequium meum.

(58) Cf. Apul. Apol. 64,7 on the transcendence of the supreme god: neque loco neque tempore neque uice ulla comprehensus eoque paucis cogitabilis, nemini effabilis, 'neither in place, nor in time, nor in function can he be defined, whence he is comprehensible to only a few, and nameable to none'.

(59) See Kenney 2003, 177: "His new 'religious awareness' is a pretty shallow affair". Walter Englert (2008) makes the connection with this Plutarchan passage to argue that Apuleius depicts Lucius' conversion as sincere but limited: "As a Platonist, Apuleius has written a text that encourages his readers to see that Lucius is only halfway to happiness. The reader, unlike Lucius, is encouraged to go beyond a literal and limited understanding of Isis and Osiris to a full Platonic understanding of the deeper truths they signify".

(60) Cf. Plato, Epist. 7, 344B.

(61) Throughout the Met., Lucius embodies moral flaws censured by Plutarch in his Moralia, most notably curiositas ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), but also (devious) modesty (compliancy, Sracoma); see Keulen 2007, 27-28; 31; 33.

(62) On Apuleius' religious outlook see Beaujeu 1983; cf. e.g. Apol. 55,8 sacrorum pleraque initia in Graecia participaui; Met. 3,15,4 sacris pluribus initiatus. See above, p. 103.

(63) Cf. Apol. 41,3 philosopho ..., qui se sciat ... omnium deum sacerdotem; see Habermehl 2002, 296 f. with n. 39, who rightly stresses the parallel with Plutarch. Cf. also Apol. 64,3 Ceterum Platonica familia nihil nouimus nisi festum et laetum et sollemne et superum et caeleste. Quin altitudinis studio secta ista etiam caelo ipso sublimiora quaepiam uesti<ga>uit et in extimo mundi tergo stetit, 'But then take us, the Platonic family! All we know of is splendid and fair, serious and lofty and heavenly! In its pursuit of the highest this school has even examined some parts beyond heaven itself, and only stopped at the outer surface of the cosmos.'

(64) For Gellius' explicit mockery of Platonists cf. e.g. 15,2, Gellius' satirical portrayal of a boastful Platonist, who urges all dinner guests to drink a lot of wine, quoting Plato's On the Laws to authorise his inducement to drunkenness. Cf. also 18,13,7 sophisma id genus ... a quodam dialectico ex Platonis diatriba per contumeliam propositum, 'a sophism of that kind ... proposed with insulting intent by a logician of the Platonic school'. There is an intriguing lemma to the missing chapter 8,8, in which Gellius is going to tell us what he experienced when he tried 'to interpret and, as it were, to reproduce in Latin certain passages of Plato' (quid mihi usu uenerit, interpretari et quasi effingere uolenti locos quosdam Platonicos Latina oratione). Cf. above, n. 26.

(65) See Keulen 2009, 246-252 with further examples from Fronto's correspondence with the imperial family. Gellius also frequently praises Cato's eloquence and rhetorical skills, e.g. in 1,23,1; 3,7,1; 6,3.

(66) Gell. 13,24,2 Haec mera ueritas Tusculani hominis, egere se multis rebus et nihil tamen cupere dicentis, plus hercle promouet ad exhortandam parsimoniam sustinendamque inopiam quam Graecae istorum praestigiae, philosophari sese dicentium umbrasque uerborum inanesfingentium,.... 'This simple frankness of the man from Tusculum, who says that he lacks many things, yet desires nothing, truly has more effect in inducing thrift and contentment with small means than the Greek sophistries of those who profess to be philosophers and invent vain shadows of words .'

(67) See Wallace-Hadrill 1988; Keulen 2009, 169 n. 44. The Ennian lines were famous in the Roman intellectual tradition; cf. Cic. de orat. 2,155; rep. 1,30; Tusc. 2,1.

(68) See Zimmerman 2006, 100 on the mocking use of philosophari and the connections of this passage with the speaker's posing as a satirist. For satirical use of philosophari see also Gell. 13,24,2, quoted above in n. 66.

(69) See above, n. 38. By contrast, in the last book of the Met., poor Lucius has to abstain from alcohol during the initiations; cf. 11,23,2 inuinius essem.

(70) See La Rocca 2005, 283-284. Compare the description of Pythagoras in Apul. Flor. 15,22 tot tamque multiiugis calicibus disciplinarum toto orbe haustis and 15,26 Plato ... pythagorissat in plurimis.

(71) For the symbolic meaning of exercising moderation in sympotic pleasure with regard to imbibing (Greek) doctrine see also Graverini-Keulen 2009, 213 with n. 44.

(72) Gell. 14,3,5-6 quod Xenophon ... negat Socraten de caeli atque naturae causis rationibusque umquam disputauisse, ac ne disciplinas quidem ceteras,..., quae ad bene beateque uiuendum non pergerent, aut attigisse aut comprobasse. [...] hoc autem ... Xenophon cum scripsit, Platonem uidelicet notat, in cuius libris Socrates physica et musica et geometrica disserit, '... that Xenophon ... asserts that Socrates never discussed the causes and laws of the heavens and of nature, and that he never touched upon or approved the other sciences, [...], which did not contribute to a good and happy life. [...] But when Xenophon wrote this ... he of course refers to Plato, in whose works Socrates discourses on physics, music and geometry.' See Keulen 2009, 189, and for further contrasts between Xenophontic and Platonic views treated by Gellius, see ibid. pp. 223-224.

(73) See Keulen 2009, 218 f. For drunken Platonic and Academic philosophers cf. Gell. 15,2; 2,22,25-26.

(74) For ancient biographical narratives as a symbolical form, conveying an ideological programme embodied by a Lebensform see Schirren 2005. Referring to ancient rhetorical theory on 'figured speech' (oratio figurata), Schirren (2005, 51-57: 'Fiktionalit,t und Bedeutungsebenen') analyses the communicative function of fictionalised biography as a 'symbolic form' that concretises an idea. For an illustration of ancient approaches to biography see p. 81-85, where Ps. Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Rhet. 8, 8) analyses Plato's Apology as a sophisticated example of figured speech, which embodies, on one level, a Werbeschrift for Plato's own Academy and, on another, an invective against the Athenian rulers who convicted Socrates.

(75) During the discussion at ICAN 2008, Thomas McCreight offered the attractive suggestion that Apuleius' Prologue and Gellius' Praefatio may also be read as polemical reactions to each other, since the continuous flow of interwoven stories (uarias fabulas conserere) from the Met. may be set in conscious opposition to the interrupted form of the short, independent anecdotes, notes and memoirs (commentarii) chosen by Gellius (cf. the opposing attitude implied by the Prologue's opening words, At ego tibi ... conseram, 'But I will interweave for you ...'). See also above, n. 15.

Wytse Keulen currently teaches Latin at the Universities of Rostock and Potsdam. His commentary on Apuleius' Metamorphoses Book i (Groningen Commentaries on Apuleius) appeared in 2007. His most recent publication is a monograph on Aulus Gellius, elucidating the Noctes Atticae in the context of Antonine literary culture and Roman intellectual traditions (Gellius the Satirist: Roman Cultural Authority in Attic Nights, Leiden: Brill 2009). He is organiser of a new international commentary project on the isis Book of Apuleius.
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Author:Keulen, Wytse
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Article Type:Critical essay
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Date:Jan 1, 2010
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