followed this rifacimento, making it, however, the groundwork of an elaborate romance, interspersed with numerous episodes, of which the beautiful story of Cupid and Psyche is the most celebrated, and altering the dénouement to suit the religious revival of which he was an apostle.
The adventures of the youthful hero in the form of an ass are much the same in both romances, but in Apuleius he is restored to human shape by the aid of Isis, into whose mysteries he is initiated, and finally becomes her priestess. The book is a remarkable illustration of the contemporary reaction against a period of scepticism, of the general appetite for miracle and magic, and of the influx of oriental and Egyptian ideas into the old theology. It is also composed with a well-marked literary aim, defined by Kretzschmann as the emulation of the Greek sophists, and the transplantation of their tours de force into the Latin language. Nothing, indeed, is more characteristic of Apuleius than his versatility, unless it be his ostentation and self-confidence in the display of it. The dignified, the ludicrous, the voluptuous, the horrible, succeed each other with bewildering rapidity; fancy and feeling are everywhere apparent, but not less so affectation, meretricious ornament, and that effort to say everything finely which prevents anything being said well. The Latinity has a strong African colouring, and is crammed with obsolete words, agreeably to the taste of the time. When these defects are mitigated or overlooked, the Golden Ass will be pronounced a most successful work, invaluable as an illustration of ancient manners, and full of entertainment from beginning to end. The most famous and poetically beautiful portion is the episode of Cupid and Psyche, adapted from a popular legend of which traces are found in most fairy mythologies, which explains the seeming incongruity of its being placed in the mouth of an old hag. The allegorical purport he has infused into it is his own, and entirely in the spirit of the Platonic philosophy. Don Quixote’s adventure with the wine-skins, and Gil Blas’s captivity among the robbers, are palpably borrowed from Apuleius; and several of the humorous episodes, probably current as popular stories long before his time, reappear in Boccaccio.
Of Apuleius’s other writings, the Apology has been already mentioned. The Florida (probably meaning simply “anthology,” without any reference to style) consists of a collection of excerpts from his declamations, ingenious but highly affected, and in general perfect examples of the sophistical art of saying nothing with emphasis. They deal with the most varied subjects, and are intended to exemplify the author’s versatility. The pleasing little tract On the God of Socrates expounds the Platonic doctrine of beneficent daemons, an intermediate class between gods and men. Two books on Plato (De Platone et Ejus Dogmate) treat of his life, and his physical and ethical philosophy; a third, treating of logic, is generally considered spurious. The De Mundo is an adaptation of the Περὶ κόσμόυ wrongly attributed to Aristotle. Apuleius informs us that he had also composed numerous poems in almost all possible styles, and several works on natural history, some in Greek. In the preparation of these he seems to have attended more closely to actual anatomical research than was customary with ancient naturalists. Some other works—dealing with theology, the properties of herbs, medical remedies and physiognomy, are wrongly attributed to him.
The character of Apuleius, as delineated by himself, is attractive; he appears vehement and passionate, but devoid of rancour; enterprising, munificent, genial and an enthusiast for the beautiful and good. His vanity and love of display are conspicuous, but are extenuated by a genuine thirst for knowledge and a surprising versatility of attainments. He prided himself on his proficiency in both Greek and Latin. His place in letters is accidentally more important than his genius strictly entitles him to hold. He is the only extant example in Latin literature of an accomplished sophist in the good sense of the term. The loss of other ancient romances has secured him a peculiar influence on modern fiction; while his chronological position in a transitional period renders him at once the evening star of the Platonic, and the morning star of the Neo-Platonic philosophy.
APULIA (sometimes Appulia in manuscripts but never in inscriptions), the district inhabited in ancient times by the Apuli. Strictly a Samnite tribe (see Samnites) settled round Mount Garganus on the east coast of Italy (Strabo vi. 3. 11), the Apuli mingled with the Iapygian tribes of that part of the coast (Dauni, Peucetii, Poediculi) who, like the Messapii, had come from Illyria, so that the name Apulia reached down to the border of the ancient Calabria. Almost the only monument of Samnite speech from the district is the famous Tabula Bantina from Bantia, a small city just inside the Peucetian part of Apulia, on the Lucanian border. This inscription is one of the latest and in some ways the most important monument of Oscan, though showing what appear to be some southern peculiarities (see Osca Lingua). Its date is almost certainly between 118 and 90 B.C., and it shows that Latin had not even then spread over the district (cf. Lucania). Far older than this are some coins from Ausculum and Teate (later known as Teanum Apulum), of which the earliest belong to the 4th century B.C. Roman or Latin colonies were few, Luceria (planted 314 B.C.) in the north and Brundisium (soon after 268) being the chief. (See R. S. Conway, Italic Dialects, xxviii.-xxx. pp. 15 f.; and Mommsen’s introduction to the opening sections of C.I.L. ix.) (R. S. C.)
The wars of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. brought a great part of the pastures of the Apulian plain into the hands of the Roman state, and a tax was paid on every head of cattle and every sheep, at first to the tax farmer and later to the imperial procurator. It was under the Romans that the system of migration for the flocks reached its full development, and the practice is still continued; the sheep-tracks (tratturi), 350 ft. wide, leading from the mountains of the Abruzzi to the plain of Apulia date in the main at least from the Roman period, and are mentioned in inscriptions. The plain, however, which once served as winter grazing ground for a million sheep, now gives pasture to about one-half of that number. The shepherds, who were slaves, often gave considerable trouble; we hear that some 7000 of them, who had made the whole country unsafe, were condemned to death in 185 B.C. (Livy xxxix. 29). Sheep-farming on a large scale was no doubt detrimental to the interests of the towns. We hear of repeated risings, for the last time in the Social War. Even in the 4th century B.C. the then chief town of Apulia, Teate or Teanum Apulum (see above), suffered in this way. Luceria subsequently took its place, largely owing to its military importance; but under the Empire it was succeeded by Canusium.
The road system of Apulia, which touched all the important towns, consisted of three main lines, the Via Appia (see Appia, Via), the Via Traiana, and the coast road, running more or less parallel in an east-south-east direction. The first (the southernmost), coming east from Beneventum, entered Apulia at the Pons Aufidi, and ran through Venusia to Tarentum, and thence,
- The migration was made compulsory by Alphonso I. in 1442, and remained so until 1865. Since that time the tratturi have been to some extent absorbed by private proprietors.