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THE GOLDEN ASS, OR METAMORPHOSES

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.

by Apuleius, translated by E. J. Kenney
1998 by E. J. Kenney

[Librarian's Note:  Warning to all readers: There are many instances of graphic sexuality, sexual sadism and misogynistic attacks on women in this book. Make no mistake about it -- This "classic" should be judged by modern readers applying modern standards of morality, rather than excusing these literary excesses as the fruits of an ancient age. The anti-woman ideas presented in it are as dangerous today as they ever were.]

"At that moment, I remember, I saw the earth opening and the depths of Hell, and Cerberus hungering for me; and I realized that it wasn't in pity that dear old Meroe had spared my life, but in a spirit of sadism, saving me for the cross."
***
"There was nothing I looked at in the city that I didn't believe to be other than what it was: I imagined that everything everywhere had been changed by some infernal spell into a different shape -- I thought the very stones I stumbled against must be petrified human beings. I thought the birds I heard singing and the trees growing around the city walls had acquired their feathers and leaves in the same way, and I thought the fountains were liquefied human bodies. I expected statues and pictures to start walking, walls to speak, oxen and other cattle to utter prophecies, and oracles to issue suddenly from the very sky or from the bright sun."
***
"While they were voraciously dispatching everything in sight they started to deliberate about our punishment and their revenge. As usual in such an unruly crowd there was lively disagreement. One wanted the girl to be burned alive, another said she should be thrown to the beasts, a third thought she should be crucified, and a fourth was all for torturing her to death; the one point on which they were unanimous was that die she must. Then, when the hubbub had died down, one quietly took up the running. 'It is repugnant,' he said, 'both to our principles as professionals and our humanity as individuals, not to mention my own ideas of moderation, to allow you to punish this crime more savagely than it merits. Rather than invoking the beasts or the cross or fire or torture, or even giving her a quick death, if you will be guided by me you will grant the girl her life -- but in the form that she deserves. You won't, I'm sure, have forgotten what you've already decided to do with that bone-idle ass that does nothing but eat; deceitful too, shamming lame and aiding and abetting the girl's escape. My proposal therefore is that tomorrow we slaughter him, remove his insides, and sew the girl up in his belly naked -- since he prefers her company to ours -- with just her head showing and the rest of her hugged tight in his bestial embrace. Then we'll leave this dainty dish of stuffed donkey on some rocky crag to cook in the heat of the sun. In that way both of them will undergo all the punishments to which you have so justly sentenced them. The ass will die as he richly deserves; the girl will be torn by beasts when the worms gnaw her, she will be roasted when the blazing sun scorches the ass's belly, and she will be gibbeted when the dogs and vultures drag out her entrails. And think of all her other sufferings and torments: to dwell alive in the belly of a dead animal, to suffocate in an intolerable stench, to waste away and die of prolonged fasting, and not even to have her hands free to compass her own death.'"
***
"In the hall of my house I shall dedicate a picture of this flight of ours. People will come to see it, and the artless story of 'The Princess who escaped from Captivity on the back of an Ass' will be told around the world and immortalized in the pages of the learned. You too will join the catalogue of the Wonders of Old, and your true example will lead us to believe that Phrixus really did make his crossing on the ram, that Arion rode the dolphin, and that Europa perched on the bull."

-- "The Golden Ass," by Apuleius

 

[Fat Cowboy] Did you ever see a catfish riding on a yellow jackass before?
[Toothless Cowboy] Not that I can remember.
[Dr. Lao] No touch. Him Golden Ass of Apuleius. Him very mean.

-- Seven Faces of Dr. Lao -- Illustrated Screenplay & Screencap Gallery, directed by George Pal

***

"The true name of Satan, the Kabalists say, is that of Yahveh reversed; for Satan is not a black god, but the negation of God. The Devil is the personification of Atheism or Idolatry.

For the Initiates, this is not a Person, but a Force, created for good, but which may serve for evil. It is the instrument of Liberty or Free Will. They represent this Force, which presides over the physical generation, under the mythologic and horned form of the God PAN; thence came the he-goat of the Sabbat, brother of the Ancient Serpent, and the Light-bearer or Phosphor, of which the poets have made the false Lucifer of the legend.

Gold, to the eyes of the Initiates, is Light condensed. They style the sacred numbers of the Kabalah "golden numbers," and the moral teachings of Pythagoras his "golden verses." For the same reason, a mysterious book of Apuleius, in which an ass figures largely, was called "The Golden Ass."

The Pagans accused the Christians of worshipping an ass, and they did not invent this reproach, but it came from the Samaritan Jews, who, figuring the data of the Kabalah in regard to the Divinity by Egyptian symbols, also represented the Intelligence by the figure of the Magical Star adored under the name of Remphan, Science under the emblem of Anubis, whose name they changed to Nibbas, and the vulgar faith or credulity under the figure of Thartac, a god represented with a book, a cloak, and the head of an ass. According to the Samaritan Doctors, Christianity was the reign of Thartac, blind Faith and vulgar credulity erected into a universal oracle, and preferred to Intelligence and Science.

-- "Morals and Dogma," by Albert Pike

I'm The Only One That Can Show the Real Corinthian!, by Tara Carreon
The Republic, by Plato
Seven (7) Faces of Dr. Lao -- Illustrated Screenplay & Screencap Gallery, directed by George Pal
On the Nature of the Universe, by Lucretius
Lucretius, Sage of the First Millennium, by Charles Carreon

Table of Contents:

The Golden Ass or Metamorphoses