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Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche

4. The Greek Original(s) of Apuleius' Golden Ass

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the sources that Apuleius' used for his Metamorphoses, focusing in particular on: (i) the two main sources for Apuleius' text – a Greek original by the otherwise unknown 'Lucius of Patrae' and an abridged version of this text written by a contemporary of Apuleius, Lucian of Samosata; (iii) the key differences between Apuleius' Metamorphoses and Lucian's text, including the addition of (relatively) standalone stories within the main narrative – one of which is the story of Cupid and Psyche; and (iv) the thematic links between these 'standalone' stories and the surrounding narrative.


In this course, Professor Costas Panayotakis (Glasgow University) explores the story of Cupid and Psyche in Apuleius' Metamorphoses. In the first module, we provide a brief introduction to Apuleius and his Metamorphoses, before turning in the second and third modules to the genre of the Metamorphoses, its title(s) – including its more famous 'unofficial' title, The Golden Ass – and its overarching structure. After that, in the fourth module, we think about the Greek original on which Apuleius' text is based, before turning in the fifth module to consider the (unusual) final book of the novel, in which Lucius becomes a priest of Isis. In the sixth module, we think about some of the many literary allusions in Apuleius' text – including the echoes of Virgil, Ovid and Greek Tragedy. Finally, in the seventh and eighth modules, we go through two sections of the set text line by line, providing close reading and analysis – 5.11 and 5.22-23.


Costas Panayotakis is Professor of Latin at Glasgow University. His research interests are on Latin fiction, especially of the Neronian period, and on Roman comic theatre of the Republic. He is currently working on a critical edition of the fragments of Fabula Atellana and a translation and commentary on the sententiae of the Syrian mime-writer Publilius.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Panayotakis, C. (2021, February 19). Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche - The Greek Original(s) of Apuleius' Golden Ass [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Panayotakis, C. "Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche – The Greek Original(s) of Apuleius' Golden Ass." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 19 Feb 2021,

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