Magic in Apuleius’ Apologia: Understanding the charges and the forensic strategies in Apuleius’ speech

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the growing interest in Apuleius’ Apologia or Pro se de magia, a speech he delivered in AD 158/159 to defend himself against the charge of being a magus, the only comprehensive study on this speech and magic to date is that by Adam Abt (1908). The aim of this volume is to shed new light on the extent to which Apuleius’ speech reveals his own knowledge of magic, and on the implications of the dangerous allegations brought against Apuleius. By analysing the Apologia sequentially, the author does not only reassess Abt’s analysis but proposes a new reconstruction of the prosecution’s case, arguing that it is heavily distorted by Apuleius. Since ancient magic is the main topic of this speech, an extensive discussion of the topic is provided, offering a new semantic taxonomy of magus and its cognates. Finally, this volume also explores Apuleius’ forensic techniques and the Platonic ideology underpinning his speech. It is proposed that a Platonising reasoning – distinguishing between higher and lower concepts – lies at the core of Apuleius’ rhetorical strategy, and that Apuleius aims to charm the judge, the audience and, ultimately, his readers with the irresistible power of his arguments.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherWalter de Gruyter GmbH
Number of pages302
ISBN (Electronic)9783110617528
ISBN (Print)9783110616590
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameBeiträge zur Altertumskunde
PublisherDe Gruyter

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. All rights reserved.


  • Apuleius
  • Rhetoric
  • Magic
  • Latin literature
  • Law


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