appendix: text and translation of the Sp.Add.






(Apul. Met. 10,21) ONCE AGAIN

text published in: W.H. Keulen, R.R. Nauta, S. Panayotakis (edd),
Lectiones scrupulosae. Essays on the text and interpretation of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses in honour of Maaike Zimmerman,
Ancient Narrative, Supplementum 6) Barkhuis Publishing;
Groningen 2006 (ISBN 90 77922 164), 266-279

Among the many controversial issues which are raised by the study of the MSS containing works of Apuleius, the problem of the so-called spurcum additamentum (‘filthy addition’, from here: sp.add.), a section of 81 words in Met. 10,21,[1] stands out. It does so for several reasons: first, the problem involves a considerable piece of text, rather than a single word or phrase. Second, it describes sexual organs and is thus often called pornographic, as such forming a unique part of the novel. And finally, the scholarly debate on this piece of text has been going on for centuries. Meanwhile, however, a communis opinio has gradually taken shape, namely the view that the debated section is, really, an addition written not by Apuleius, but by an erudite medieval author who was familiar with Apuleian diction.

In her extensive commentary on Met. 10, Maaike Zimmerman inevitably has to deal with the sp.add. She does so in an appendix to the actual commentary.[2] Here she discusses the manuscript situation and the origin and date of the sp.add., along with the various theories as to these issues. The final theory she discusses would suggest that the author, with his special knowledge of anatomy and medical technical terms, must be placed in the context of the flourishing medical studies in 11th century southern Italy. In a short conclusion, she states that there can be no doubt about the medieval origin of the sp.add. and that it has no place in the text of the Met. itself but only in the apparatus criticus.

[top of p. 267]More recently still, the question was also discussed by Juan Martos in his monumental bilingual edition of the Met., also in an appendix,[3] and with similar conclusions, although Martos seems less inclined to point out a specific medieval date for the fragment.

By now one would expect the debate to settle down, as the matter seems more or less sorted out. But in the same year in which Martos’ edition was published, Ephraim Lytle published a paper on the sp.add.,[4] in which he takes a different position, in fact the very opposite of that of Zimmerman and Martos: according to Lytle the sp.add. is genuinely Apuleian, as it shows clearly Apuleian characteristics, and has been unduly excluded from the text on account of misunderstandings or even moral scruples. So the debate on this curious piece of text seems to be open once again.[5]

Since this is not a matter of mere technical relevance for specialists of textual criticism, but, rather a larger issue of some consequence for our image of the author Apuleius and his literary strategies, it seems necessary to take up the challenge and review the arguments. In the following pages I will summarize the main lines of Lytle’s paper and discuss the points it raises. Since the present paper is offered to  Maaike Zimmerman, with whom I had the pleasure to work jointly in the Groningen Apuleius Group for many years, it will not come as a surprise that her conclusions are, in the end, also mine. I will argue that Lytle has reopened the debate on insufficient grounds, and that the sp.add. is to be relegated once again from the light of day of the main text to a modest retreat in the apparatus criticus.


The recent defence

From the very opening words of his paper, Lytle shows his disagreement with the general view of the sp.add.: the designation ‘spurcum additamentum’ is called ‘modern and unwarranted’ (Lytle, 349). The first, of course, is true, since the name turned up only in the debate about the passage between the earliest editors of the text, such as Elmenhorst (1621), Floridus (1688) and Oudendorp (1786), but the second element implies a rather positive aes[top of p.268]thetic judgment. It remains fair to say that for most readers, the description of a woman handling the sexual organ of an ass will be pornographic, and therefore spurcum does not seem not such a bad term after all.[6]

After a brief survey of previous scholarship on the problem, L. leaves no doubt about his position. He states that the arguments against the ancient authorship of the sp.add. ‘are all misleading and based largely on stylistic or philological grounds’ (p.350): the piece has unjustly been considered unauthentic a priori and separated from the rest of the narrative, which has resulted in ‘miscomprehension not only of the additamentum, but of the entire scene in which it is embedded’ (p.350). What L. proposes to do is to show ‘that the additamentum preserves a vital gap in a scene that parallels directly the difficult breeding of an ass with a mare.’ (p.350). Specifically, L. adds, ‘it is my firm contention that Apuleius firmly roots his narrator in a wealth of carefully observed animal behaviour that an ancient audience would be intimately familiar with.’ (p.350-1).

Lucius the ass consistently presents his asinine behaviour in anthropomorphic terms. According to L., Lucius’ views often do not coincide with the knowledge of ancient readers, and this reflects a conscious strategy by Apuleius: the author wishes his readers to visualize a different tale underneath what is told by Lucius. In L.’s terms, there is a disjunction between ‘narration’ and ‘underlying narrative’, that becomes stronger and reaches a climax in book 10. (p.351) To support this claim, L. next analyzes a number of passages from Met. 1-9, in which Lucius’ descriptions show some ironical or funny contrast with what could be called ‘ancient reality’. All of this clearly shows that Lucius the ass is an ‘unreliable narrator’. One may note, meanwhile, that this important point concerning Lucius has become almost universally accepted in Apuleian scholarship since Winkler 1985.

On reaching the actual sp.add., L. briefly describes the context before and after the section, and concludes as follows: ‘The scene is based upon the breeding of quadrupeds, more particularly donkeys with mares, but with the obvious necessary substitutions made for a narrative in which Lucius’ partner is, in fact, a woman who is taking both the role of the mare and the role of the "handler" or "steerer," in breeding barn parlance, as she leads Lucius, the donkey, into a union for which he is physiologically incapable of rousing [top of p.269]himself. Overlaid on this reality we have a typically outrageous narration by Lucius, couched in the vocabulary of romantic love.’ (p.355).

Much is made of the woman applying perfume to the  nostrils of the ass,[7] and of Lucius using wine and ointment to stimulate himself.[8] For, according to L., ‘olfactory stimulation’ and stimulation of the genitals are well-known elements from texts about breeding quadrupeds such as Varro RR 2,7,8 and Columella 6,27,10, while the soothening effect of wine on unruly mules is mentioned by Pliny Nat. 8,173.

In these and other technical texts about breeding, a crucial role is that of the handler, who washes the male’s genitals and physically manipulates them to arouse the animal. Now it is these two elements which are missing from the accepted text of Met. 10,21, L. argues, and which are supplied by the sp.add.: the opening sentences (1-2) focus on the woman cleaning the penis, and its stimulation is clearly implied in (3). Lucius’ washing is said to be demanded not only by the parallels from the texts on breeding, but also by the frequent earlier references to Lucius’ dirtiness, of which some examples are given (p. 358).

Apart from texts about quadrupeds, L. also invokes other passages, such as Columella 8,5,11 on the production of eggs from hens, a passage which is said to show remarkable parallels with the sp.add., such as the focus on comfortable nesting boxes and cleanliness.

As to the sp.add. itself, L. observes that the sensory details of cleaning are Apuleian and he offers a new interpretation of the difficult words in the beginning of (2): Dein, digitis, hypate lichanos mese paramese et nete, hastam mihi inguinis nivei spurci<ti>ei pluscule excorians emundavit.[9] The passage is crucial, not so much for our understanding of a technical aspect, but for the question of authorship of the section. In Greek, the words denote the strings of the lyre, but here they are commonly taken as terms for the five fingers (digitis), their incorrect use in Latin being explained by scholars as based on a misinterpretation of Boethius’ De institutione musica 1,20.[10]

[top of p.270]Now, here L. comes up with a creative suggestion: these terms refer not to the fingers, but rather to the names of the notes corresponding to the different strings. Thus, Lucius in a way sings some sort of ‘do re mi fa sol’, suggestive of the rising of his sexual pitch (p.359). According to L. the use of this Greek vocabulary is not inappropriate here or uncharacteristic of Apuleius’ general practice, notably his clustering of derivations from Greek such as in 8,24 or 10,18[11] (p.361).

Weighing the evidence, L. suggests that ‘the only genuine consideration should be the content of the additamentum itself’ (p. 362). Towards the end of the paper, L. repeats some of his arguments, pleading once more for the narrative necessity of the washing and stimulation of the male, and hence in favour of retaining the sp.add. In addition, he points out that Apuleius in the course of the novel repeatedly draws the reader’s attention to Lucius’ being hugely endowed (e.g. 8,25), and that a certain ‘adoration’ of his phallus ‘is called for by the narrative, and even desired by the reader’ (p.363). To exclude this ‘pornographic’ text from the narrative means, L. concludes with Winkler, to ‘castrate the text at its most graphic moment.’[12]


Textual evidence and idiom

It usually seems sympathetic if a particular piece of Greek or Latin text transmitted in the manuscripts is defended as the authentic work of a well-known ancient author. The resulting image of such an author invariably becomes more complex and varied, thereby gaining further interest. But as much as one would like to see the intriguing section that is the sp.add. established as genuinely written by Apuleius, the case for it should be made on account of solid arguments. It is here that L.’s paper shows some deficiencies. His argument shows a deplorable lack of attention for the philological side of the matter, not only concerning the manuscript tradition but also in the field of Latin idiom. Instead L. singles out one particular theme, animal [top of p.271] breeding, to provide the basic narrative frame, taking this as the starting point for far-reaching conclusions as to the narrative and the authenticity of the sp.add. Other possibly relevant elements of the narrative are downplayed or disregarded.

Let me start with the manuscript situation.[13] As all editors show, and as L. has to acknowledge, there is no trace of the sp.add. in the manuscript Laur. 68,2, commonly known as F, which is generally seen as our main witness for the constitution of the text of the Met. The sp.add. is to be found in φ (Laur. 29,2), and, moreover, only written in the margin by a scholar known by name, Zanobi da Strada. It is, therefore, literally ‘marginal’. In a still less important manuscript (Laur. 54,32, known as L1), the passage in question was added by none other than Boccaccio. Both men independently must have copied the passage from another manuscript at Monte Cassino, where these lines had probably been written in the margin as well. All later witnesses that have the sp.add. are clearly dependent of either φ or L1. The textually corrupt state of the sp.add. suggests that the source by Da Strada and Boccaccio was badly legible and dated not from their own time. The most likely conclusion is that the sp.add. represents the addition by some medieval source, which came to be copied as a curiosum in the margin of some of our late MSS.  

In the light of the situation in the MSS, one wonders how a defence of the sp.add. as an authentic text would seem possible in the first place. The evidence of the MSS for these lines is so weak that one would need to resort to special theories to explain its absence in our main witness F. In fact, this is what L. ultimately does. At the start of the paper, he makes rather lightly of its absence in F; the fact that the passage turns up somewhere in the MSS seems to suffice for his purpose. This implies a serious underrating of the vital importance of F for our text. But worse is yet to come: in his later discussion of the Greek words hypate lichanos mese paramese et nete, L. offers a tentative explanation for the absence of the sp.add. in F: words of Greek origin are often confused in our MSS and even F is often uncertain in such places; this brings L. to the suggestion that the difficult Greek of the sp.add. may have become incomprehensible to a fourth century editor, with the subsequent omission of the passage as a result (p.361 n.27).

[top of p.272]This explanation is unacceptable. If words of Greek colour are regularly confused in our MSS of Apuleius, that does not mean that passages containing such words could have been freely or easily excluded in late antiquity and the medieval period. On the contrary, the presence of several such obscured passages in F clearly testifies that early editors and scribes took great pains to retain transmitted words even if their sense had become vague or incomprehensible to them.

For reasons of principle, it may be said that the burden of proof lies with those who defend the authenticity of the sp.add. rather than those who exclude it on the basis of its absence in our main MS. L.’s paper repeatedly suggests the opposite, claiming that the section has unjustly and too quickly been ‘omitted’ from the text.[14] Against Lytle, I would therefore propose to uphold the general notion that any discussion about ancient texts should, ultimately, rely on a firmly philological basis, notably that of the evidence of our MSS.

Next, some individual points concerning the idiom of the passage may be discussed. Here too, L.’s defence of Apuleian authorship is not convincing. His most remarkable point of idiom concerns the Greek words hypate lichanos mese paramese et nete, taken as ‘do re mi fa sol’. L.’s solution seems ingenious and would indeed avoid the necessity of dating these Latinised words well after Boethius and hence much later than Apuleius himself. But some problems remain  here. First, L. passes over in silence how the Greek words for strings of the lyre could have been taken simply for their respective sounds. The transition might seem relatively easy in Greek, but if the words are isolated from their context, as they are here, such a shift in sense makes the Latin extremely hard to follow. The rest of the sp.add. does not evoke sounds or singing, and such a reference would not come in naturally within references to, as L. argues, animal breeding. Thus it seems hard to see how a Roman reader could have interpreted the words as referring to sounds. The fact that no previous editor has ever taken the words in this sense may also seem relevant here.

I would also like to point out that L. all too easily supposes a syntactical complexity in assigning the debated words to a parenthesis. The Latin words themselves do not show any further syntactical or other sign to the reader that a parenthesis is to be assumed here, for instance through the presence of a finite verb that does not fit the main clause. Generally speaking, Apuleius [top of p. 273]employs parenthesis relatively sparingly and with specific narrative effects, notably to make the narrator directly address the audience for a moment.[15] Here, the alleged parenthesis would seem no more than a lyrical reflection of the narrating ass directed to himself.

Finally, there is the preceding word digitis, which L. does not further explain. Why would the writer of these lines have added a plain reference to fingers in the first place? The action of cleaning the ass’s penis certainly does not require this detail, nor does it give the scene any special nuance. If, however, the five Greek words refer to the five fingers of the woman, as even the word order obviously suggests, one might say that they are functional, adding a graphical and even obscene touch with the suggestion of the various fingers that are all handling the animal’s organ.

The case for L.’s new, musical interpretation of the debated Greek words, as clever as it is, remains weak, and the commonly held notion that it is the fingers that are specified here makes the best sense. Inevitably, this then automatically pleads against Apuleian authorship, given the link with Boethius that would explain the erroneous use of the words, as mentioned above.

Other arguments based on the idiom also remain open to questions and objections. It would require a full philological commentary in English on the sp.add. to discuss all relevant issues,[16] but there is no room for this within the bounds of a paper such as this. Therefore, I merely select one or two further issues in L.’s interpretation, in which the clarity of the Latin and the Apuleian authorship are too easily assumed.

First, Lucius’ filth and his member. If we follow L.’s rendering, we should combine the words inguinis niuei (‘snow-white groin’) and take spurci<ti>ei pluscule (‘much filth’) as genitive depending on emundauit, replacing a normal ablative of separation.[17] However, the exact function of [top of p.274] niuei seems doubtful. How could the member of an ass, a dirty one at that, be called ‘snow-white’? Alternatively, we might take the adjective with spurci<ti>ei (‘white dirt’) and read it as a comical, paradoxical reference to the smegma which the woman may be expected to clean.[18] Pluscule comes in for some additional doubt. Scholars seem to agree that the form must represent plusculae, but a case could perhaps be made for the adverb, to be taken closely with excorians ‘skinning a little’.[19]

Concerning Graecisms in the sp.add., L. quotes a private letter by L. Richardson jr., who claims that he founds ‘only the following: orchium, pygam, cephalum, orchibus, priapo, anth’. This however amounts to six additional Graecisms, not counting the debated five words hypate lichanos mese paramese et nete. The fact that Latin speakers often use Greek for both musical and medical terms and for sexual organs (Lytle, 360), hardly justifies the rather excessive piling up of Graecisms here, which makes the passage almost impossible for any reader to understand at first sight.

Finally, some minor issues. The curious words pando et repando are generally taken as nouns referring to the oscillating erect penis, obscenely moving up and down. L. however, renders ‘with it growing out, and out some more’ (p.358) without further discussion.[20] And whose belly (uentrem) is it that is touched by the erect penis? Scholars (e.g. Zimmerman 2000, 434) mostly think it’s the woman’s, according to L. it is the ass’s own belly. Technically, that may seem plausible, but it would have earned some discussion; perhaps the issue should best be left open (‘touched the belly’). The final sentence poses a another lexical problem with genius in the sense of mentula,[21] which seems to be the result of an error[22] and a major textual [top of p.275]problem in inter anth. teneras,[23] quickly passed over by L., who renders ‘in the midst of such sweet flowers’.[24]

Other issues might still be added,[25] but the general point is clear: on close scrutiny, the idiom in this passage poses so many problems that it is difficult to imagine Apuleius is its author. In fact, the passage is often so hard to understand that it seems to exclude any clear and well-defined interpretation such as the one proposed by L. One may even wonder whether it would have been readily intelligible to the average ancient reader of Apuleius’ novel. It seems that L. has simply been too quick to reaffirm the passage as genuine.

[top of p.276]Themes  

Until now, I have tried to reassert the traditional view that the sp.add. can safely be discarded on account of philological and lexical considerations.[26] Finally, I add some brief observations about its content and the author’s narrative strategy, although these remarks are bound to be somewhat more subjective.

The sp.add. is a clever piece of text, and it is evidently not the work of a simple scribe. It shows some characteristics which make it seem Apuleian to a certain extent. The flowery language, the use of Graecisms, the recherché and perhaps over-precise use of words are all reminiscent of Apuleian style, whereas the focus on the ass and his sensations, and the comical and sexual elements do recall many passages of the Met. But there is something strange about these lines, which most readers and scholars of the text perceive as distinctly different from the rest of the novel.[27] This is not merely due to the textual and stylistical difficulties, but also to the explicit references to sexual organs. Clearly, there are several passages in the novel which imply sexual tension and erotic atmosphere,[28] and the size of Lucius’ member is referred to more than once elsewhere,[29] but most readers will admit that Apuleius carefully avoids direct obscenity or blunt references to sexual organs: his texts (both the Met. and his speeches) are suggestive rather than explicit in this area. It is precisely here that the sp.add. strikes a different note and thus seems to fall short as a piece of Apuleian writing.

As far as animal breeding is concerned, L. may well have made a valuable new point in his references to this practice. The technical aspect of handling animals may well have been hinted at by Apuleius in the passage 10,21-22.[30] But there is no reason to assume that, by consequence, all as[top of p.277]pects of a breeding scene would have to be found in Apuleius’ text and therefore plead for the sp.add. As it stands, the accepted text of 10,21-22 without the sp.add., may be said to contain a number of possible allusions to breeding, which add to the fun of the whole passage. In a way, one might argue, Apuleius would even have spoiled it if he had lingered much longer over such technical detail.

For Apuleius’ narrative, the sp.add. is not necessary at all, even if writings about animal breeding are accepted as one of the possible intertexts of 10,21. The sp.add. disturbs the careful balance, the habitual, prudent avoidance of explicit references to sexual organs, and the gradual build-up of the passage, thus reducing the overall effect of the whole scene rather than strengthening it.

In the end, such issues of broader, thematic relevance and general style must partly remain a matter of taste. Certainly, every scholar is free to speculate about what Apuleius would or could have done or, conversely, avoided, and in this sense, L.’s interesting and thought-provoking paper is to be welcomed.

But in discussions of such essential notions as the authenticity of a passage, I would reaffirm the traditional view that textual and lexical considerations should come first and be held as the proper basis for further research. It is to be hoped that the future debate of the sp.add., even if its focus will be on specific lines of interpretation, will take such evidence as its starting point.



For the sake of clarity, the accepted Latin text of Mariotti 1956, as printed by Zimmerman 2000, 434 and Martos 2003, clii (without critical signs, and reading intus in (4) instead of inter, apparently a misprint) follows here (A1). The Latin text is followed by (A2) an English translation by the author of this paper, based on the one given by Zimmerman, 434 but adapted in a number of places.

Under (B) one may find the text (B1) and translation (B2) as given by Lytle 2003, 357-8.

(A1) (1) Et ercle orcium pigam perteretem Hyaci fragrantis et Chie rosacee lotionibus expiauit. (2) Ac dein digitis, hypate licanos mese paramese et [top of p.278] nete, hastam mihi inguinis niuei spurci<ti>ei pluscule excoria<n>s emundauit. (3) Et cum ad inguinis cephalum formosa mulier concitim ueniebat ab orcibus, ganniens ego et dentes ad Iouem eleuans Priapo<n> frequenti frictura porrixabam ipsoque pando et repando uentrem sepiuscule tactabam. (4) Ipsa quoque, inspiciens quod genius inter antheras excreuerat modicum illud morule, qua lustrum sterni mandauerat, anni sibi reuolutionem autumabat.  

(A2) (1) And by Hercules, she cleansed the fine round pouch of my balls with perfumed wine and rosewater of Chios. (2) And then with her fingers, thumb, forefinger, middle finger, ring finger and little finger, she slightly skinned the shaft of my organ and cleaned it of its snow-white dirt. (3) And when she reached the top of my organ, the beautiful woman, rapidly coming there from by balls, I brayed and lifted my teeth to Jove, stretched out my Priapean member as a result of the frequent friction, and by moving it up and down I often touched the belly. (4) She too, observing what kind of genital had grown among her mixtures, affirmed that this small bit of delay, during which she had ordered our place of debauchery to be prepared, to her was the orbit of a year.  

(B1) Et, Hercule, orchium pygam perteretem hyacinthi fragrantis et Chiae rosaceae lotionibus expurgavit [expiavit]. Dein, digitis, hypate lichanos mese paramese et nete, hastam mihi inguinis nivei spurci<ti>ei pluscule excorians emundavit. Et cum ad inguinis cephalum formosa mulier conatim veniebat ab orchibus, ganniens ego et dentes ad iovem elevans, priapo, frequenti frictura porrixabam, ipsoque pando et repando ventrem saepiuscule tractabam [tactabam]. Ipsa quoque, inspiciens quod genius inter anth. teneras excreverat, modicum morule qua lustrum sterni mandaverat anni sibi revolutionem autumabat.  

(B2) And, by Hercules, she cleaned the hairless base of my balls with washes of fragrant hyacinth and Chiote roses. Then with her fingers - do re mi fa sol! - she cleaned for me the shaft of my snow-white groin, scouring away much filth. And when this lovely woman was coming up from my balls to the end of my cock in her efforts, whinnying and lifting my teeth heavenward, I swelled with a hard-on from the constant rubbing and, with it growing out, and out some more, I caressed my belly with it repeatedly. [top of p. 279]Seeing what a member had grown in the midst of such sweet flowers, the modicum of delay in which she had instructed that the breeding stall be made ready seemed to her to have lasted as long as a year.


Herrman, L. 1951. ‘Le fragment obscène de l’Âne d’or (X,21)’, Latomus 10, 329-32.  

Harrison, S.J. 2000. Apuleius, A Latin Sophist, Oxford: Oxford University Press.  

Harrison, S.J. 2001 (ed.). Apuleius, Rhetorical works, translated by S.J. Harrison, J.L. Hilton and V.J.C. Hunink, Oxford: Oxford University Press.  

Hunink, Vincent. 2002. ‘The date of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses’, in: Pol Defosse (ed.), Hommages à Carl Deroux, II Prose et linguistique, Médicine, Bruxelles: Editions Latomus, 224-235.  

Hunink, Vincent. 2003. Apuleius, de gouden ezel. Metamorfosen, vertaald en toegelicht, Amsterdam: Athenaeum - Polak & Van Gennep.  

Lytle, Ephraim. 2003. ‘Apuleius’ Metamorphoses and the spurcum additamentum (10.21)’, Classical Philology 98, 349-65.  

Mariotti, Scevola, 1956. ‘Lo spurcum additamentum ad Apul. Met. 10,21’, Studi Italiani di filologia 27, 229-250.  

Martos, Juan. 2003. Apuleyo de Madauros, Las metamorfosis o El asino de oro, volomen I, (libros 1-3), introducción, texto latino, traducción y notas, Madrid: Consejo superior de investigaciones científicas.  

Pennisi, Giuseppe. 1970. Apuleio e ‘l’additamentum’ a "metamorphoses" X,21, Messina: Peloritana editrice.  

Pizzica, Maurizio. 1981. ‘Ancora sull’ additamentum ad Apul. Met. X 21’, in: M. Simonetti, G. Simonetti (eds.), Letterature comparate: problemi e metodo, studi in onore di Ettore Paratore, Bologna: Pàtron, vol II., 763-72.  

Winkler, J.J. 1985. Auctor & actor; a narratological reading of Apuleius’s ‘The Golden Ass’, Berkeley/Los Angeles/Oxford: University of California Press.  

M. Zimmerman, Apuleius Madaurensis, metamorphoses Book X, text, introduction and commentary, (Groningen commentaries on Apuleius), Groningen 2000.



    [1] For the text of the Spurcum Additamentum (Latin and English), see the appendix  to this paper.

    [2] Zimmerman 2000; 433-9.

    [3] Martos 2003, cli-cliv.

    [4] Lytle 2003.

    [5] Lytle certainly is not the first scholar to contend that the sp.add. is authentic. Among its 20th century defenders may be mentioned notably Herrman 1951; Pennisi 1970; and Pizzica 1981.

    [6] Similar objections to the term were raised by Winkler 1985,193, also quoted by Lytle 2003,350.

    [7] de stagneo uasculo multo sese perungit oleo balsam<in>o meque indidem largissime perfricat, sed multo tanto impensius cura etiam nares perfundit meas (Met. 10,21)

    [8] nam et uino pulcherrimo atque copioso memet madefeceram et ung<u>ento fraglantissimo prolubium libidinis suscitaram (Met. 10,21)

    [9] This is the text as read by Lytle. Cf. appendix.

    [10] In this passage, Boethius remarks that the third string, lichanos, is also used for the index finger. The author of the sp.add. then seems to have used the other terms found in this context for a piece of verbal pyrotechnics on fingers, being either ignorant of their real sense in Greek or consciously trying to impress readers with a piece of lexical fraud. It goes without saying that a misrepresentation of a text by Boethius (ca.480-525) would definitely exclude authorship of the passage by Apuleius himself. For this standard view, see notably Mariotti 1956, 236; Zimmerman 2000, 438 and Martos 2003, cliv.

    [11] The obvious point that this cluster of Greek words in the sp.add. in 10,21, coming only two pages after 10,18 could rather argue against its authenticity, does not occur to L.

    [12] Lytle 2003,364 quoting Winkler 1985, 192-3.

    [13] For convenient summaries of the state of affairs, cf. notably Zimmerman 2000, 433-434 and Martos 2003, cli-clii. For some rather vague pictures of the situation in φ and L1, cf. images added after Pennisi 1970, 8.

    [14] Cf. notably Lytle 2003, 349-50; 358 n.18; 364.

    [15] Examples from book 10: 10,1 (236,14) (hoc enim mihi uidebatur); 10,24 (256,4-5) (hoc enim nomen sola sciebat); 10,28 (259,21-22) minus quidem quam merebatur, sed quod dignus cruciatus alius excogitari non poterat. On the function of parenthesis in Apuleius’ Met. see Zimmerman 2000, 310-1 on 10,24.

    [16] There are no such notes in Zimmerman 2000, who merely refers to Mariotti 1956, 232-46 (in Italian). Extensive lexical notes may also be found in Pennisi 1970, 144-201 (equally in Italian), but these analyses seem less reliable, since the author wishes to prove the authenticity of the piece.

    [17] This interpretation closely follows the explanations by Mariotti 1956, 237-8. Cf. also Martos 2003, clii ‘la blanqueada lanza de mi verga’.

    [18] Thus e.g. Zimmerman 2000, 434 ‘whitish dirt’.

    [19] Admittedly, Apuleius only has forms of the adjective plusculus, the adjective pluscule being not attested before the 11th century. The electronic Cetedoc Index of Latin forms lists only three occurrences of pluscule: in Lambertus Tuitiensis Miracula Heriberti Coloniensis, in Sigebertus Gemblacensis, Liber decennalis (both 11th cent.) and in Philippus de Haruengt, Vita Foillani (12th cent.) But the adverb would not seem an impossible coinage for Apuleius himself or for a later medieval source familiar with his style. By all means, an adverb fits the sense and structure of the sentence rather well.

    [20] He apparently considers repando as a reinforcement of pando rather than as its opposite, and he is perhaps taking both words as adverbs.

    [21] The word is inexactly rendered by Zimmerman 2000, 434 who translates inspiciens quod genius inter antheras excreuerat as ‘when she saw what came out of my penis’. The obvious sense here is simply ‘penis’.

    [22] The most likely explanation is provided by Mariotti 1956, 243-4. The sense is strange to both classical and medieval use. The solution may be a medieval gloss (CGIL IV, 588,32f. genium genitale naturale nomen uirgo) in which two other glosses have been conflated (genitale naturale and genium numen uigor). MSS containing the erroneous gloss come from Monte Cassino and date from the 10th or 11th century. If the author of the sp.add. has used this gloss, as Mariotti thinks, we would have a further indication of its date and origin. The objections against this view of Mariotti, as given by Pennisi 1970,190-1 and Pizzica 1981,770-1 remain unconvincing and do not sufficiently explain the sense mentula here.

    [23] Cf. Pennisi 1970, 192: ‘È il locus desperatus dell’ additamentum’; the reading inter anth. teneras (which L. maintains) ‘non significa nulla’.

    [24] This is both inexact (tener does not equate dulcis or suauis) and speculative (anth. simply - or as anth<as> - taken as Greek νθη, a suggestion remounting to Oudendorp). It also remains obscure to me which ‘flowers’ could possibly be meant in this context. This is not to say that Mariotti’s antheras ‘preparati usati della donna  per le frictiones’ (Mariotti 244) is entirely satisfying, but readers may expect at least some amount of textual discussion to accompany new interpretations.

    [25] I merely mention some elements that seem to require further discussion: what is the function of the rather bleak and inconspicuous adjective formosa in formosa mulier, particularly since tam formonsae mulieris is to follow shortly in 10,21 (253,9)? The verb gannire ‘to whimper, to snarl’ is used mainly of dogs (OLD s.v. 1) but is it acceptable as a sound of asses? Here too, it is rather suspect that dulces gannitus of the woman will occur shortly in 10,22 (253,22). Mariotti 1956,240 may be right in assuming that it is this very word in 10,22 that has inspired the writer of the sp.add. Furthermore, on a note of animal breeding: in dentem eleuans we may observe that the ass has become all but calm; indeed he seems almost out of control; apparently, the soothening effect of wine, as adduced by Lytle, 357, has been limited, and moreover, there seems to have been no need to stimulate the lusty animal in the first place. Finally, little attention has been paid by scholars to the ultimate clauses of the sp.add. on a saying by the woman (modicum illud morule... autumabat). Only after some extensive kissing, the woman will be quoted as uttering some words of love in 10,22 (253,3-6). It seems less convincing if she were to speak twice during this short scene.

    [26] Pace Lytle, 350 who argues that arguments against its authenticity ‘are all misleading and based largely on stylistic or philological grounds’ (p.350)

    [27] On a truly subjective note, I shall perhaps be allowed to mention my personal experience as a translator of the entire text (see Hunink 2003). On reaching the discussed passage at the end of book 10, so near the end of the novel, I considered including the passage, but after carefully rereading it, I felt little hesitation to exclude it as clearly un-Apuleian.

    [28] Perhaps most famously 2,7-10; 16-17 (Lucius and Fotis) and 10,22 (the ass and the condemned woman).

    [29] Cf. particularly 3,24 (70,17-8) mihi iam nequeunti tenere Fotidem natura crescebat.

    [30] For that matter, other passages might equally be brought into the discussion. Thus in 2,16 Lucius (not yet changed into an ass) is given flowers and much wine by Fotis before they have sex.



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