Level 6 Reader | Metamorphoses Apuleii: Delira Aniculae
Metamorphoses Apuleii: Delira Aniculae (“The Ravings of a Little Old Woman”) is a Latin student edition of one major selection from Lucius
Apuleius Madaurensis’ Metamorphoses. Apuleius himself was a famous rhetorician in the 2nd-century AD and produced a number of works on various subjects. His most influential work is without a doubt his Milesian tale in eleven books, the Metamorphoses, which is generally considered to be the oldest example of a novel that has survived to this day in its entirety. This work has had a profound influence on fiction produced in Western literature in general and on significant authors, such as Boccaccio, Chaucer, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Andrew Lang, and C. S. Lewis.
The selection of this reader is a single story told by an old woman to a young bride who had been captured on her wedding day and held ransom by bandits. The plot of the story itself is one of the most compelling and entertaining ever told, and Apuleius’ wild and excessive style makes it delightful for those who understand it. That said, Apuleius’ prose is among the most difficult to read. His vocabulary is extremely varied and seemed bizarre even to a contemporary Roman audience. What is more, his sentence structure, while beautifully rhetorical and powerful, does not easily itself to the modern English mind. Therefore, while it is one of the most worthwhile reads from the ancient literature, it is a true challenge. Only very advanced students should even attempt it.
This edition is designed to allow students to read the original story with all the mystery that Apuleius originally meant it to have. There is no commentary, summary, or any other help that would undermine the suspense of the narrative. The only helps that are given are lexical, grammatical, or comprehension questions—and these are all given in Latin. A Latin-Latin dictionary is provided at the end for assistance with Apuleius’ difficult vocabulary.