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Paideia at Play

Paideia at Play

edited by Werner Riess
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Barkhuis
Pages: 302
  • Book Info
    Paideia at Play
    Book Description:

    Paidea, the yearning for, and display of knowledge, reached its' height as a cultural concept in the works of the Second Sophistic, an elite literary and philosophical movement seeking to ape the style and achievements of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. A crucial element in the display of paidea was an ability to mix the witty and playful with the serious and instructive. The Second Sophistic is known as a Greek phenomenon, but these essays ask how the Latin author Apuleius fitted into this framework, and created a distinctively latin expression of paidea, focusing on the elements of playfulness at its heart.

    eISBN: 978-94-91431-46-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. IX-XXII)

    The idea of education and learning (paideia) was central to ancient Greek thought.¹ With Plato and Isocrates, at the latest, the yearning for knowledge became the hallmark of civic identity. As early as Hellenistic times, the ideal of thepepaideumenos, the learned and cultivated man who put his intellectual gifts at the service of thepolis, found wide-spread expression all over the Greek-speaking world.² With the incorporation of the Greek East into the Roman Empire, the concept ofpaideiaunderwent profound changes and served new purposes. By the second century CE, the so-called age of the Second Sophistic,paideiabecame...


    • The Sophist at Play in Court: Apuleius’ Apology and His Literary Career
      (pp. 3-16)
      Stephen J. Harrison

      The literary learning of Apuleius’Apologyhas never been in doubt: the standard commentaries and accounts consistently pick this out as one of the speech’s key features, and it is a constant note in the other contributions to this volume which concern theApology.² Following in this tradition, this paper surveys the depth and variety of Apuleian literary learning in the speech, and confirms that Apuleius is concerned to present himself as the master of literarypaideiaboth Greek and Latin. Its new contribution is to contend that this self-display as learned author and reader is intended to promote not...

    • Legal Strategy and Learned Display in Apuleius’ Apology
      (pp. 17-50)
      James B. Rives

      Over the years, many scholars have expressed surprise and even disbelief that Apuleius’Apologycontains so much material that seems so little to the point. The variety and length of what are apparently digressions are indeed striking on even the most cursory glance: anecdotes, quotations, erudite disquisitions, displays of learning of every sort are piled on top of each other with an exuberance that seems entirely out of keeping with a serious court case. The usual approach to this material has been to dismiss it as entirely gratuitous, with no other purpose than to show off Apuleius’ erudition.¹ Others, in...

    • Apuleius Socrates Africanus? Apuleius’ Defensive Play
      (pp. 51-74)
      Werner Riess

      This paper seeks to redefine thecommunis opiniothat Apuleius regarded himself as a second Socrates, aSocrates Africanus.¹ While the similarities between Apuleius’ speech in his own defense, the so-calledApology,² and the defense speech of Socrates, as it is rendered in literary form mainly by Plato and Xenophon, are indeed striking, there are also considerable deviations from the Platonic and Xenophontic models.

      In this article, I will compare these similarities and contrast the differences. I will argue that the dissimilarities not only stem from the totally different context in which Apuleius’ trial took place, but also from Apuleius’...

    • Homer in Apuleius’ Apology
      (pp. 75-88)
      Vincent Hunink

      For many Greek authors that belong to the Second Sophistic, Homer counted as one of the most important ancient authorities: he was simply the Poetpar excellence.¹ Things were hardly different for the Latin authors of the second century CE, who may be considered the Latin representatives of the same movement, notably Apuleius of Madauros. Throughout his works references and allusions to Homer abound.

      The present contribution focuses on one of Apuleius’ so-called ‘minor works’: the lengthy speechPro se de magia, commonly known as theApology—while also paying attention to the collection of various epideictic rhetorical fragments entitled...

    • The “Riches” of Poverty: Literary Games with Poetry in Apuleius’ Laus Paupertatis (Apology 18)
      (pp. 89-104)
      Thomas D. Mccreight

      In this paper I focus on Apuleius’ original treatment of the ancient Greco-Roman literary portrait of the “poor” philosopher.¹ Greek literature had a rich tradition, too extensive to be reviewed here, that viewed poverty as dangerous and morally suspect because it left one dependent on another’s good will and, if severe enough, prompted criminal conduct.² This is alluded to already in Hesiod and developed further in archaic poetry. In the fifth century and especially after Socrates,³ and later elaborated most fully by the Cynics, a contrasting philosophical tradition developed praising the independence and courage that poverty both provided and encouraged.⁴...

    • Eloquentia ludens – Apuleius’ Apology and the Cheerful Side of Standing Trial
      (pp. 105-132)
      Stefan Tilg

      In this paper I make an attempt to work out Apuleius’ idea of literary play in theApologyby focussing on passages that refer in a self-conscious way to eloquence in its various forms from poetry to philosophy and oratory. In particular, I want to show that Apuleius, near the outset of his speech (chs. 5–13), develops a rhetorical programme that underlies the whole of hisApology, and possibly even a larger part of his œuvre. This programme is characterized by the notions of outspokenness, cheerfulness, and charm. Thus, it is perfectly suited to an accomplished sophistic defendant in...


    • Cenatus solis fabulis? A Symposiastic Reading of Apuleius’ Novel
      (pp. 135-156)
      Maaike Zimmerman

      In his novel, Apuleius does not address a mass audience, as he does in theFlorida, theDe deo Socratis, or theApology. Novels, though they may sometimes have been read aloud to a small circle,² belonged to the sphere of private reading;³ Schmitz for this reason explicitly excludes the novels from his study ofBildung und Machtin the Second Sophistic.⁴ In his novel, Apuleius has the opportunity to enter—and to have his audience enter—into a more intricate intertextual and interdiscursive relationship with the cultural capital which he on the one hand possesses and applies, and which...

    • A Festival of Laughter: Lucius, Milo, and Isis Playing the Game of Hospitium
      (pp. 157-174)
      Robert E. Vander Poppen

      The world of the second century CE, the world in which Apuleius of Madauros lived, and the world that served as the backdrop for hisMetamorphoses, was one characterized by a cosmopolitan and international spirit that fostered extensive trade in ideas and goods. The world of the Second Sophistic was a world where individuals such as Herodes Atticus, Dio Chyrsostom, and Philopappus of Commagene forged connections across the Greek and Roman divide, making friends and holding magistracies at the highest levels of society.¹ Given his pan-Mediterranean travel and elite connections in Roman Africa, Apuleius himself can be added to this...

    • Social Commentary in the Metamorphoses: Apuleius’ Play with Satire
      (pp. 175-194)
      Elizabeth M. Greene

      TheMetamorphosesof Apuleius uses a variety of literary echoes to present a playful telling of the foibles and follies of a man transformed into an ass, yet at the same time, it has been suggested that we can also find a historical reality in the novel.¹ It seems then that the novel can be read on two levels simultaneously: on the one hand as a purely literary achievement that seeks to entertain the reader through laughter and mockery, and on the other hand as a serious reflection on aspects of historical reality, like for instance social disparity. It is...

    • Playing with Elegy: Tales of Lovers in Books 1 and 2 of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses
      (pp. 195-214)
      Amanda G. Mathis

      In the brief prologue to hisMetamorphoses, the narrator makes it clear to his reader that his novel will be a literary game, involving changes of both language and style in a manner best described as that of a ‘circus rider’ (iam haec equidem ipsa vocis immutatio desultoriae scientiae stilo quem accessimus respondet, ‘Now, in fact, this very change of language corresponds to the style which we have undertaken—that of the skill of a circus rider,’Met. 1,1,6). Immediately after this programmatic statement, he makes a bid for his reader’s attention—lector intende(Met. 1,1,6)—and the imperative is...

    • Vigilans somniabar: Some Narrative Uses of Dreams in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses
      (pp. 215-234)
      David P.C. Carlisle

      The final book of theMetamorphosespresents the most difficult interpretive problem in the work.¹ At the start of this book, Lucius’ life is turned around by an epiphany of the goddess Isis, who comes to him in answer to a prayer. A thorough interpretation of the novel requires that some account be given for Lucius’ conversion and its relationship to the books that precede it: if it is taken seriously, and Lucius is believed to have achieved a truly blessed union with the divine, the meaning is drastically different from one in which Lucius is seen as a fool,...

    • Apuleian Ecphraseis: Depiction at Play
      (pp. 235-250)
      Niall W. Slater

      The surface narrative playfulness of Apuleius’s novel,The Golden Ass, has never been in doubt; even those who find sober meaning and revelation at the end of the journey acknowledge the play inherent in the tale of an ass. On the linguistic level, the constant metamorphic play of archaism and innovation is equally obvious. Whitmarsh has recently argued that the genre of the novel itself, at least in its Greek incarnation, particularly demonstrates the blend of tradition and innovation characteristic of the Second Sophistic.¹ Yet at first glance, the world ofThe Golden Assdoes not seem to be the...

  7. Abstracts
    (pp. 251-258)
  8. List of Contributors
    (pp. 259-262)
  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 263-280)
  10. Indices

    • Index locorum
      (pp. 281-293)
    • General Index
      (pp. 293-302)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 303-303)