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Apuleius — Ἀλκίνοος, Alcinous:
Metamorphoseos, sive lusus Asini libri XI.

 

Apuleius & Alcinous: Metamorphoseos, sive lusus Asini libri XI

 

Apuleius & Alcinous: Metamorphoseos, sive lusus Asini libri XI

 

Apuleius & Alcinous: Metamorphoseos, sive lusus Asini libri XI

 

Apuleius & Alcinous: Metamorphoseos, sive lusus Asini libri XI

 

Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis — Ἀλκίνοος, Albinus:

L. APVLEI Metamorphoseos, siue lusus Asini libri XI. | Floridorū IIII. De Deo Socratis I. De Philosophia I. | Asclepius Trismegisti dialogus eodē Apuleio îterprete. | Eiusdem Apuleij liber de Dogmatis Platonicis. || Eiusdē liber de Mundo, quē magna ex parte ex lib. Ari|stotelis eiusdē argumenti in latinum traduxit. hic sa-|nè liber mutilatus ante nostram impressionem circun-|ferebatur. eum nos fidem antiquissimi codicis secuti, re|stituimus. multos aut, & quidē insigneis errores commi|sit Apuleius in uertendo hoc libro, quos omneis indica|uit Petrus Alcyonius graeca, & latina literatura præ-|stantissimus, & philosophus clarissimus cum librum | illum latinitate donaret. Apologiæ II. || Isagogicus liber Platonicæ philosophiæ per Alcinoū philo|sophum, græce impressus. nam commodius uisi sumus | facere, si hunc librū græcum imprimeremus, ʠ/ latinū, | cum inepta tralatione cuiusdam Episcopi Tiropiensis | barbarus esset.
Kolophon fol. 44r: VENETIIS IN AEDIBVS | ALDI, ET ANDREAE | SOCERI MEN|SE MAIO | M.D.XXI. Verso Signet 6.

Venedig: Aldus Manutius / Andreas Torresanus, 1521.

Octavo. 158 x 91 mm. 266 (recte 264), [28] Blätter. – Lagenkollation: a-z8, A-I8; 1-38, 44. – Wasserzeichen: Gegenmarke „A“; keines. ❦ Werden nach den Formatangaben Maße in Millimetern genannt, beziehen sich diese auf die Blattgrößen, Höhe vor Breite, i. A. gemessen in den Buchblockmitten. Auf dem Titel das Holzschnitt-Signet 3; auf dem letzten Blatt verso das Holzschnitt-Signet 6.
Inhalt: fol. a1r: Titel — fol. a1v: Testimonia Graeca — fol. a2r: Franciscus Asulanus: Epistula Francisco Rubrio — fol. a3r: Apuleius: Metamorphoseos sive lusus Asini libri XI — fol. 130v: Idem: Floridum libri IIII — fol. 149v: Idem: De deo Socratis — fol. 161v: Idem: De philosophia — fol. 173r: Hermes Trismegistus: Asclepius, Apuleio interprete — fol. 192v: blank — fol. 193r: Apuleius: Vita, instituta, et dogmata Platonis — fol. 201r: Franciscus Asulanus: Epistula lectori — fol. 201v: Apuleius: De mundo — fol. [215]r: Idem: Apologiae — fol. 11r: Alcinous: Ad Platonis dogmata — fol. 44r: Kolophon — fol. 44v: Signet.

Handgefertigter, blind- und schwarzgeprägter dunkelroter Maroquinband des 20. Jh. (164 x 100 x 51 mm) auf drei Doppelbünden, handgestochene Kapitale in gelber und ockerfarbener Seide, Spiegel aus Marmorpapier, fliegende Vorsätze aus handgeschöpftem Barcham-Green-Bütten. ❦ Werden innerhalb der Einbandbeschreibungen die Einbandgrößen angeführt, so steht Höhe vor Breite vor Dicke.
An dieser Stelle befindliche bibliographische Angaben beziehen sich auf den Buchbinder bzw. den Einband.

Editio princeps des Ἀλκίνοος-Textes.
¶ Apuleius wurde um 125 zu Madaura in Nordafrika geboren, nach Studium der Rhetorik und Philosophie in Karthago und Athen - er beherrschte sowohl die punische wie die lateinische und griechische Sprache - war er als Anwalt und Rhetor in Rom tätig, dann in seiner Heimat als Provinzialpriester des Kaiserkults und Wanderredner. Auf Reisen durch Griechenland und Asien ließ er sich in die Mysterien einweihen.
¶ Seine um 170 verfaßten und immer noch mit Vergnügen lesbaren „Metamorphosen“, eine Bearbeitung der Verwandlungen des Lukios von Patrai, sind der erste vollständig überlieferte antike Roman und, wie Merkelbach in „Roman und Mysterium in der Antike“ schreibt, selbst ein Mysterientext. In ihm wird neben einer Fülle von Abenteuern das berühmte Märchen von Amor und Psyche erzählt; den Abschluß bildet eine Verherrlichung der Mysterien der Isis und des Osiris.
¶ In der Apologie verteidigt er sich im Zusammenhang mit seiner Heirat gegen den Vorwurf der Zauberei. Seine philosophischen Schriften stehen in der Tradition des Platonismus, so berührt sich „De Deo Sokratis“, worin eine Dämonenlehre enthalten ist, inhaltlich mit Plutarchs Schrift zu diesem Thema. Insgesamt zeigt sein Stil Raffinement wie Anschaulichkeit.
¶ Der „Asclepius“, eine für den Neoplatonismus der Renaissance grundlegende hermetische Schrift, ist uns, bis auf griechische Fragmente bei z. B. Laktanz und eine erst im 20. Jh. entdeckte koptische Fassung, nur in der vorliegenden lateinischen Übertragung überliefert, die hier noch Apuleius zugeschrieben wird, sicherlich aber, da von Augustinus in „De civitate Dei“ zitiert, vor 400 entstanden sein muß.
¶ Ἀλκίνοος (Alcinoos, Alcinous, Alkinoos, Albinus), ein Platoniker des zweiten Jahrhunderts, war Schüler des Gaius und Lehrer Galens; seine Einführung in die platonische Philosophie, die in einem Manuskript unter dem in der Aldine angeführten Verfassernamen überliefert ist, vermischt platonisches Gedankengut mit der Logik und Noetik des Aristoteles, und fügt Neuplatonisches hinzu; cf. Sandys I,328.
¶ Der Ἀλκίνοος-Text ist gesetzt in der schönen vierten griechischen Aldus-Type; cf. Nicolas Barker: Aldus Manutius and the Development of Greek Script & Type in the Fifteenth Century, p. 59 sqq. & ill. 25-27.

Erste Lage leicht wasserrandig oder fleckig, bzw. fingerfleckig, sonst nur minimal fleckig; in der zweiten Hälfte ein kleiner, fast unmerklicher Wurmgang im unteren weißen Rand innen. Wenige Anstreichungen und Marginalien v. a. H. Verblaßter Besitzeintrag auf Titel. Sonst schönes, breitrandiges wie auch frisches Exemplar des seltenen Druckes.

Editio princeps of Alcinous. Modern blindstamped morocco, three raised bands. First quire slightly dampstained in margins, some old annotations or unterlining, otherwise a fine crisp copy. The most important work of the great Platonist, Apuleius of Madura, second century e.v., the ’Metamorphoses’ is the only surviving example of a Latin novel with the exception of the ’Satyricon’ of Petronius. Bound with is a summary of Platonic philosophy by Albinus or Alcinous, second century e.v., a pupil of Gaius and a teacher of Galen. The work contains an amalgam of Platonism with Peripathetic and Stoic elements; specifically Neoplatonis doctrines are merely hinted at. With preface of Asulanus to Francesco Rubrio, French legate of Francis I at Venice. The publisher comments upon the quality of the edition and the teaching of Platonism at the universities of Turin and Padua and at Venice.

Renouard 91,8 – Adams A1362 – Schweiger II,i,9 – Hoffmann II,209 – Ebert 858 („M. neuen Vbess. Schöne Exx. sind selt.“) – BM STC ital 35 – zu Alcinous: Hoffmann I,109.

 

„In qua praecipuum animal homines sumus, quamquam plerique se incuria verae disciplinae ita omnibus erroribus ac piacularibus depravaverint, sceleribus inbuerint et prope exesa mansuetudine generis sui inmane efferarint, ut possit videri nullum animal in terris homine postremius.“ — De deo Socratis, III. Auf deutsch.„Auf dieser sind wir Menschen das herausragende Lebewesen, obschon die meisten sich in Unbekümmertheit um die wahre Lehre sodurch alle möglichen Irrtümer und Entsühnung erfordernde Taten entwürdigt [entstellt] und mit Verbrechen besudelt haben und, nach fast gänzlicher Ausrottung der kultivierten Milde ihres Geschlechts, entsetzlich verwildert sind, daß es den Anschein erwecken kann, daß kein Lebewesen auf Erden niedriger steht als der Mensch.“ (Übersetzung: Matthias Baltes)

„Per omnia vectus elementa remeavi, nocte media vidi solem candido coruscantem lumine, deos inferos et deos superos accessi coram et adoravi de proximo.“ Mir deucht, die alten Mysterien besaßen ihren Sinn, mehr jedenfalls als die neuzeitlichen Religionen und Yogas.

APULEIUS, LUCIUS, Platonic philosopher and rhetorician, was born at Madaura in Numidia about A. D. 125. As the son of one of the principal officials, he received an excellent education, first at Carthage and subsequently at Athens. After leaving Athens he undertook a long course of travel, especially in the East, principally with the view of obtaining initiation into religious mysteries. Having practised for some time as an advocate at Rome, he returned to Africa. On a journey to Alexandria he fell sick at Oea (Tripoli), where he made the acquaintance of a rich widow, Aemilia Pudentilla, whom he subsequently married. The members of her family disapproved of the marriage, and indicted Apuleius or a charge of having gained her affections by magical arts. He easily established his innocence, and his spirited, highly entertaining, but inordinately long defence (Apologia or De Magia) before the proconsul Claudius Maximus is our principal authority for his biography. From allusions in his subsequent writings, and the mention of him by St Augustine, we gather that the remainder of his prosperous life was devoted to literature and philosophy. At Carthage he was elected provincial priest of the imperial cult, in which capacity he occupied a prominent position in the provincial council, had the duty of collecting and managing the funds for the temples of the cult, and the superintendence of the games in the amphitheatre. He lectured on philosophy and rhetoric, like the Greek sophists, apparently with success, since statues were erected in his honour at Carthage and elsewhere. The year of his death is not known.

The work on which the fame of Apuleius principally rests has little claim to originality. The Metamorphoses or Golden Ass (the latter title seems not to be the author’s own, but to have been bestowed in compliment, just as the Libri Rerum Quotidianarum of Gaius were called Aurei) was founded on a narrative in the Metamorphoses of Lucius of Patrae, a work extant in the time of Photius. From Photius’s account (impugned, however, by Wieland and Courier), this book would seem to have consisted of a collection of marvellous stories, related in an inartistic fashion, and in perfect good faith. The literary capabilities of this particular narrative attracted the attention of Apuleius’s contemporary, Lucian, who proceeded to work it up in his own manner, adhering, as Photius seems to indicate, very closely to the original, but giving it a comic and satiric turn. Apuleius 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 selfconfidence 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 Bias’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 axe 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 κόσμου 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.

Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, Volume 2. Cambridge: University Press, 1910. pp. 234-235.