View More View Less
  • 1 Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $25.00

1 year subscription (Individual Only)

USD  $532.00

There is hardly any ancient work as complex and multi-layered as Apuleius’ novel Metamorphoses. Whether we regard it as a mere sophisticated literary entertainment, or a religious lesson disguised as fabula Graecanica, it certainly offers many angles of research. The aim of the paper is to examine one of its most significant aspects, namely its multicultural character. Although modelled on a Greek narrative and taking place in completely Greek environments following the Greek literary tradition, it undeniably possesses an air of Romanness. The author lets his characters fluctuate somewhere between Roman and Greek, urban and provincial, local and imperial, barbarian and sophisticated. In many places, Lucius, Apuleius’ alter ego, refers to the relationships between different cultures, especially Greek and Roman, not to forget African with respect to Apuleius’ origins. But we have to look even further and see the novel as a fictitious world of its own, playing on readers’ expectations, prejudices, as well as historical and cultural background. To understand the novel, one must try to uncover these subtle nuances reflecting the tastes of its readership. The paper tries to answer the question how Apuleius treats his target audience which was, no doubt, composed of a very multifarious mass of people, without losing sight of the famous Quis ille? – a paradigm of Apuleius’ approach in this novel, in which the questions asked never seem to expect any answers, and even if so, not just one is tenable.