Thursday, September 8, 2011
Apuleis - Apology English Translation
by H.E. Butler (1909)
[Excerpted by GZ]
[from this weird link that I can't figure out how to post properly] http://www.faculty.umb.edu/gary_zabel/Courses/Phil 281b/Philosophy of Magic/Arcana/Neoplatonism/Apologia Apuleii2.htm
For my part, Claudius Maximus, and you, gentlemen who sit beside him on the bench, I regarded it as a foregone conclusion that Sicinius Aemilianus would for sheer lack of any real ground for accusation cram his indictment with mere vulgar abuse; for the old rascal is notorious for his unscrupulous audacity, and, further, launched forth on his task of bringing me to trial in your court before he had given a thought to the line his prosecution should pursue. Now while the most innocent of men may be the victim of false accusation, only the criminal can have his guilt brought home to him. It is this thought that gives me special confidence, but I have further ground for self-congratulation in the fact that I have you for my judge on an occasion when it is my privilege to have the opportunity of clearing philosophy of the aspersions cast upon her by the uninstructed and of proving my own innocence. Nevertheless these false charges are on the face of them serious enough, and the suddenness with which they have been improvised makes them the more difficult to refute.
For you will remember that it is only four or five days since his advocates of malice prepense attacked me with slanderous accusations, and began to charge me with practice of the black art and with the murder of my step-son Pontianus. I was at the moment totally unprepared for such a charge, and was occupied in defending an action brought by the brothers Granius against my wife Pudentilla. I perceived that these charges were brought forward not so much in a serious spirit as to gratify my opponents' taste for wanton slander. I therefore straightway challenged them, not once only, but frequently and emphatically, to proceed with their accusation.
The result was that Aemilianus, perceiving that you, Maximus, not to speak of others, were strongly moved by what had occurred, and that his words had created a serious scandal, began to be alarmed and to seek for some safe refuge from the consequences of his rashness.
Therefore as soon as he was compelled to set his name to the indictment, he conveniently forgot Pontianus, his own brother's son, of whose death he had been continually accusing me only a few days previously. He made absolutely no mention of the death of his young kinsman; he abandoned this most serious charge, but -- to avoid the appearance of having totally abandoned his mendacious accusations -- he selected, as the sole support of his indictment, the charge of magic -- a charge with which it is easy to create a prejudice against the accused, but which it is hard to prove.
Even that he had not the courage to do openly in his own person, but a day later presented the indictment in the name of my step-son, Sicinius Pudens, a mere boy, adding that he appeared as his representative. This is a new method. He attacks me through the agency of a third person, whose tender age he employs to shield his unworthy self against a charge of false accusation. You, Maximus, with great acuteness saw through his designs and ordered him to renew his original accusation in person. In spite of his promise to comply, he cannot be induced to come to close quarters, but actually defies your authority and continues to skirmish at long range with his false accusations. He persistently shirks the perilous task of a direct attack, and perseveres in his assumption of the safe role of the accuser's legal representative.
As a result, even before the case came into court, the real nature of the accusation became obvious to the meanest understanding. The man who invented the charge and was the first to utter it had not the courage to take the responsibility for it. Moreover the man in question is Sicinius Aemilianus, who, if he had discovered any true charge against me, would scarcely have been so backward in accusing a stranger of so many serious crimes, seeing that he falsely asserted his own uncle's will to be a forgery although he knew it to be genuine: indeed he maintained this assertion with such obstinate violence, that even after that distinguished senator, Lollius Urbicus, in accordance with the decision of the distinguished consulars, his assessors, had declared the will to be genuine and duly proven, he continued -- such was his mad fury -- in defiance of the award given by the voice of that most distinguished citizen, to assert with oaths that the will was a forgery. It was only with difficulty that Lollius Urbicus refrained from making him suffer for it.
I rely, Maximus, on your sense of justice and on my own innocence, but I hope that in this trial also we shall hear the voice of Lollius raised impulsively in my defence; for Aemilianus is deliberately accusing a man whom he knows to be innocent, a course which comes the more easy to him, since, as I have told you, he has already been convicted of lying in a most important case, heard before the Prefect of the city. Just as a good man studiously avoids the repetition of a sin once committed, so men of depraved character repeat their past offence with increased confidence, and, I may add, the more often they do so, the more openly they display their impudence. For honour is like a garment; the older it gets, the more carelessly it is worn. I think it my duty, therefore, in the interest of my own honour, to refute all my opponent's slanders before I come to the actual indictment itself.
For I am pleading not merely my own cause, but that of philosophy as well, philosophy, whose grandeur is such that she resents even the slightest slur cast upon her perfection as though it were the most serious accusation. Knowing this, Aemilianus' advocates, only a short time ago, poured forth with all their usual loquacity a flood of driveling accusations, many of which were specially invented for the purpose of blackening my character, while the remainder were such general charges as the uninstructed are in the habit of leveling at philosophers. It is true that we may regard these accusations as mere interested vapourings, bought at a price and uttered to prove their shamelessness worthy of its hire.
It is a recognized practice on the part of professional accusers to let out the venom of their tongues to another's hurt; nevertheless, if only in my own interest, I must briefly refute these slanders, lest I, whose most earnest endeavour it is to avoid incurring the slightest spot or blemish to my fair fame, should seem, by passing over some of their more ridiculous charges, to have tacitly admitted their truth, rather than to have treated them with silent contempt. For a man who has any sense of honour or self-respect must needs -- such at least is my opinion -- feel annoyed when he is thus abused, however falsely. Even those whose conscience reproaches them with some crime, are strongly moved to anger, when men speak ill of them, although they have been accustomed to such ill report ever since they became evildoers. And even though others say naught of their crimes, they are conscious enough that such charges may at any time deservedly be brought against them. It is therefore doubly vexatious to the good and innocent man when charges are undeservedly brought against him which he might with justice bring against others. For his ears are unused and strange to ill report, and he is so accustomed to hear himself praised that insult is more than he can bear.
If, however, I seem to be anxious to rebut charges which are merely frivolous and foolish, the blame must be laid at the door of those, to whom such accusations, in spite of their triviality, can only bring disgrace. I am not to blame. Ridiculous as these charges may be, their refutation cannot but do me honour.
To begin then, only a short while ago, at the commencement of the indictment, you heard them say, `He, whom we accuse in your court, is a philosopher of the most elegant appearance and a master of eloquence not merely in Latin but also in Greek!' What a damning insinuation! Unless I am mistaken, those were the very words with which Tannonius Pudens, whom no one could accuse of being a master of eloquence, began the indictment. I wish that these serious reproaches of beauty and eloquence had been true. It would have been easy to answer in the words, with which Homer makes Paris reply to Hector:
which I may interpret thus: `The most glorious gifts of the gods are in no wise to be despised; but the things which they are wont to give are withheld from many that would gladly possess them.' Such would have been my reply.
I should have added that philosophers are not forbidden to possess a handsome face. Pythagoras, the first to take the name of `philosopher', was the handsomest man of his day. Zeno also, the ancient philosopher of Velia, who was the first to discover that most ingenious device of refuting hypotheses by the method of self-inconsistency, that same Zeno was -- so Plato asserts -- by far the most striking in appearance of all the men of his generation. It is further recorded of many other philosophers that they were comely of countenance and added fresh charm to their personal beauty by their beauty of character.
But such a defence is, as I have already said, far from me. Not only has nature given me but a commonplace appearance, but continued literary labour has swept away such charm as my person ever possessed, has reduced me to a lean habit of body, sucked away all the freshness of life, destroyed my complexion and impaired my vigour. As to my hair, which they with unblushing mendacity declare I have allowed to grow long as an enhancement to my personal attractions, you can judge of its elegance and beauty. As you see, it is tangled, twisted and unkempt like a lump of tow, shaggy and irregular in length, so knotted and matted that the tangle is past the art of man to unravel. This is due not to mere carelessness in the tiring of my hair, but to the fact that I never so much as comb or part it. I think this is a sufficient refutation of the accusations concerning my hair which they hurl against me as though it were a capital charge.
As to my eloquence -- if only eloquence were mine -- it would be small matter either for wonder or envy if I, who from my earliest years to the present moment have devoted myself with all my powers to the sole study of literature and for this spurned all other pleasures, had sought to win eloquence to be mine with toil such as few or none have ever expended, ceasing neither night nor day, to the neglect and impairment of my bodily health. But my opponents need fear nothing from my eloquence. If I have made any real advance therein, it is my aspirations rather than my attainments on which I must base my claim.
Certainly if the aphorism said to occur in the poems of Statius Caecilius be true, that innocence is eloquence itself, to that extent I may lay claim to eloquence and boast that I yield to none. For on that assumption what living man could be more eloquent than myself? I have never even harboured in my thoughts anything to which I should fear to give utterance. Nay, my eloquence is consummate, for I have ever held all sin in abomination; I have the highest oratory at my command, for I have uttered no word, I have done no deed, of which I need fear to discourse in public. I will begin therefore to discourse of those verses of mine, which they have produced as though they were something of which I ought to be ashamed. You must have noticed the laughter wit h which I showed my annoyance at the absurd and illiterate manner in which they recited them.
. . .
Are you not ashamed to produce such accusations with such violence before such a judge, to bring forward frivolous and self-contradictory accusations, and then in the same breath to blame me on both charges at once? Is it not a sheer contradiction to object to my wallet and staff on the ground of austerity, to my poems and mirror on the ground of undue levity; to accuse me of parsimony for having only one slave, and of extravagance in having three; to denounce me for my Greek eloquence and my barbarian birth? Awake from your slumber and remember that you are speaking before Claudius Maximus, a man of stern character, burdened with the business of the whole province. Cease, I say, to bring forward these empty slanders. Prove your indictment, prove that I am guilty of ghastly crimes, detestable sorceries, and black art-magic. Why is it that the strength of your speech lies in mere noise, while it is weak and flabby in point of facts?
I will now deal with the actual charge of magic. You spared no violence in fanning the flame of hatred against me. But you have disappointed all men's expectations by your old wives' fables, and the fire kindled by your accusations has burned itself away . I ask you, Maximus, have you ever seen fire spring up among the stubble, crackling sharply, blazing wide and spreading fast, but soon exhausting its flimsy fuel, dying fast away, leaving not a wrack behind? So they have kindled their accusation with abuse and fanned it with words, but it lacks the fuel of facts and, your verdict once given, is destined to leave not a wrack of calumny behind. The whole of Aemilianus' calumnious accusation was centred in thc charge of magic. I should therefore like to ask his most learned advocates how, precisely, they would define a magician.
If what I read in a large number of authors is true, namely, that magician is the Persian word for priest, what is there criminal in being a priest and having due knowledge, science, and skill in all ceremonial law, sacrificial duties, and the binding rules of religion, at least if magic consists in that which Plato sets forth in his description of the methods employed by the Persians in the education of their young princes? I remember the very words of that divine philosopher. Let me recall them to your memory, Maximus:
When the boy has reached the age of fourteen he is handed over to the care of men known as the Royal Masters. They are four in number, and are chosen as being the best of the elders of Persia, one the wisest, another the justest, a third the most temperate, a fourth the bravest. And one of these teaches the boy the magic of Zoroaster the son of Oromazes; and this magic is no other than the worship of the gods. He also teaches him the arts of kingship.
Do you hear, you who so rashly accuse the art of magic? It is an art acceptable to the immortal gods, full of all knowledge of worship and of prayer, full of piety and wisdom in things divine, full of honour and glory since the day when Zoroaster and Oromazes established it, high-priestess of the powers of heaven. Nay, it is one of the first elements of princely instruction, nor do they lightly admit any chance person to be a magician, any more than they would admit him to be a king. Plato -- if I may quote him again -- in another passage dealing with a certain Zalmoxis, a Thracian and also a master of this art has written that magical charms are merely beautiful words. If that is so, why should I be forbidden to learn the fair words of Zalmoxis or the priestly lore of Zoroaster?
But if these accusers of mine, after the fashion of the common herd, define a magician as one who by communion of speech with the immortal gods has power to do all the marvels that he will, through a strange power of incantation, I really wonder that they are not afraid to attack one whom they acknowledge to be so powerful. For it is impossible to guard against such a mysterious and divine power. Against other dangers we may take adequate precautions. He who summons a murderer before the judge comes into court with an escort of friends; he who denounces a poisoner is unusually careful as to what he eats; he who accuses a thief sets a guard over his possessions. But for the man who exposes a magician, credited with such awful powers, to the danger of a capital sentence, how can escort or precaution or watchmen save him from unforeseen and inevitable disaster? Nothing can save him, and therefore the man who believes in the truth of such a charge as this is certainly the last person in the world who should bring such an accusation.
But it is a common and general error of the uninitiated to bring the following accusations against philosophers. Some of them think that those who explore the origins and elements of material things are irreligious, and assert that they deny the existence of the gods. Take, for instance, the cases of Anaxagoras, Leucippus, Democritus, and Epicurus, and other natural philosophers. Others call those magicians who bestow unusual care on the investigation of the workings of providence and unusual devotion on their worship of the gods, as though, forsooth, they knew how to perform everything that they know actually to be performed. So Epimenides, Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Ostanes were regarded as magicians, while a similar suspicion attached to the `purifications' of Empedocles, the `demon' of Socrates and the `good' of Plato. I congratulate myself therefore on being admitted to such distinguished company.
I fear, however, Maximus, that you may regard the empty, ridiculous and childish fictions which my opponents have advanced in support of their case as serious charges merely because they have been put forward. `Why,' says my accuser, `have you sought out particular kinds of fish?' Why should not a philosopher be permitted to do for the satisfaction of his desire for knowledge what the gourmand is permitted to do for the satisfaction of his gluttony? `What,' he asks, `induced a free woman to marry you after thirteen years of widowhood?' As if it were not more remarkable that she should have remained a widow so long. `Why, before she married you, did she express certain opinions in a letter?' As if anyone should give the reasons for another person's private opinions. `But,' he goes on, `although she was your senior in years, she did not despise your youth.' Surely this simply serves to show that there was no need of magic to induce a woman to marry a man, or a widow to wed a bachelor some yea rs her junior. There are more charges equally frivolous. `Apuleius,' he persists, `keeps a mysterious object in his house which he worships with veneration.' As if it were not a worse offence to have nothing to worship at all. `A boy fell to the ground in Apuleius' presence.' What if a young man or even an old man had fallen in my presence through a sudden stroke of disease or merely owing to the slipperiness of the ground? Do you really think to prove your charge of magic by such arguments as these: the fall of a wretched boy, my marriage to my wife, my purchases of fish?
I should run but small risk if I were to content myself with what I have already said and begin my peroration. But since as a result of the length at which my accusers spoke, the water-clock still allows me plenty of time, let us, if there is no objection, consider the charges in detail. I will deny none of them, be they true or false. I will assume their truth, that this great crowd, which has gathered from all directions to hear this case, may clearly understand not only that no tru e incrimination can be brought against philosophers, but that not even any false charge can be fabricated against them, which -- such is their confidence in their innocence -- they will not be prepared to admit and to defend, even though it be in their power to deny it.
I will therefore begin by refuting their arguments, and will prove that they have nothing to do with magic. Next I will show that even on the assumption of my being the most consummate magician, I have never given cause or occasion for conviction of any evil practice. I will also deal with the lies with which they have endeavoured to arouse hostility against me, with their misquotation and misinterpretation of my wife's letters, and with my marriage with Pudentilla, whom, as I will proceed to prove, I ma rried for love and not for money. This marriage of ours caused frightful annoyance and distress to Aemilianus. Hence springs all the anger, frenzy, and raving madness that he has shown in the conduct of this accusation.
If I succeed in making all these points abundantly clear and obvious, I shall then appeal to you, Claudius Maximus, and to all here present to bear me out, that the boy Sicinius Pudens, my step-son, through whom and with whose consent his uncle now accus es me, was quite recently stolen from my charge after the death of Pontianus his brother, who was as much his superior in character as in years, and that he was fiercely embittered against myself and his mother through no fault of mine: that he abandoned his study of the liberal arts and cast off all restraint, and -- thanks to the education afforded him by this villanous accusation -- is more likely to resemble his uncle Aemi]ianus than his brother Pontianus.
I will now, as I promised, take Aemilianus' ravings one by one, beginning with that charge which you must have noticed was given the place of honour in the accuser's speech, as his most effective method of exciting suspicion against me as a sorcerer, the charge that I had sought to purchase certain kinds of fish from some fishermen. Which of these two points is of the slightest value as affording suspicion of sorcery? That fishermen sought to procure me the fish ? Would you have me entrust such a task to gold-embroiderers or carpenters, and, to avoid your calumnies, make them change their trades so that the carpenter would net me the fish, and the fisherman take his place and hew his timber? Or did you infer that the fish were wanted for evil purposes because I paid to get them? I presume, if I had wanted them for a dinner-party, I should have got them for nothing. Why do not you go farther and accuse me on many similar grounds ? I have often bought wine and vegetables, fruit and bread. The principles laid down by you would involve the starvation of all purveyors of dainties. Who will ever venture to purchase food from them, if it be decided that all provisions for which money is given are wanted not for food but for sorcery?
But if there is nothing in all this that can give rise to suspicion, neither the payment of the fishermen to ply their usual trade, to wit, the capture of fish -- I may point out that the prosecution never produced any of these fishermen, who are, as a matter of fact, wholly creatures of their imagination -- nor the purchase of a common article of sale -- the prosecution have never stated the amount paid, for fear that if they mentioned a small sum, it would be regarded as trivial, or if they mentioned a large sum it would fail to win belief, -- if, I say, there is no cause for suspicion on any of these grounds, I would ask Aemilianus to tell me what, failing these, induced them to accuse me of magic.
`You seek to purchase fish,' he says. I will not deny it. But, I ask you, is any one who does that a magician? No more, in my opinion, than if I should seek to purchase hares or boar's flesh or fatted capons. Or is there something mysterious in fish and fish alone, hidden from all save sorcerers only? If you know what it is, clearly you are a magician. If you do not know, you must confess that you are bringing an accusation of the nature of which you are entirely ignorant. To think that you should be so ignorant not only of all literature, but even of popular tales, that you cannot even invent charges that will have some show of plausibility! For of what use for the kindling of love is an unfeeling chilly creature like a fish, or indeed anything else drawn from the sea, unless indeed you propose to bring forward in support of your lie the legend that Venus was born from the sea?
I beg you to listen to me, Tannonius Pudens, that you may learn the extent of the ignorance which you have shown by accepting the possession of a fish as a proof of sorcery. If you had read your Vergil, you would certainly have known that very different things are sought for this purpose. He, as far as I recollect, mentions soft garlands and rich herbs and male incense and threads of diverse hues, and, in addition to these, brittle laurel, clay to be hardened, and wax to be melted in the fire. There are also the objects mentioned by him in a more serious poem.
Rank herbs are sought, with milky venom dark by brazen sickles under moonlight mown; sought also is that wondrous talisman, torn from the forehead of the foal at birth ere yet its dam could snatch it.
But you who take such exception to fish attribute far different instruments to magicians, charms not to be torn from new-born foreheads, but to be cut from scaly backs; not to be plucked from the fields of earth, but to be drawn up from the deep fields of ocean; not to be mowed with sickles, but to be caught on hooks. Finally, when he is speaking of the black art, Vergil mentions poison, you produce an entree; he mentions herbs and young shoots, you talk of scales and bones; he crops the meadow, you searc h the waves.
I would also have quoted for your benefit similar passages from Theocritus with many others from Homer and Orpheus, from the comic and tragic poets and from the historians, had I not noticed ere now that you were unable to read Pudentilla's letter which was written in Greek. I will, therefore, do no more than cite one Latin poet. Those who have read Laevius will recognize the lines.
Love-charms the warlocks seek through all the world: The `lover's knot' they try, the magic wheel, ribbons and nails and roots and herbs and shoots, the two-tailed lizard that draws on to love, and eke the charm that gods the whinnying mare.
You would have made out a far more plausible case by pretending that I made use of such things instead of fish, if only you had possessed the slightest erudition. For the belief in the use of these things is so widespread that you might have been believed. But of what use are fish save to be cooked and eaten at meals? In magic they seem to me to be absolutely useless. I will tell you why I think so.
Many hold Pythagoras to have been a pupil of Zoroaster, and, like him, to have been skilled in magic. And yet it is recorded that once near Metapontum, on the shores of Italy, his home, which his influence had converted into a second Greece, he noticed certain fishermen draw up their net. He offered to buy whatever it might contain, and after depositing the price ordered all the fish caught in meshes of the net to be released and thrown back into the sea. He would assuredly never have allowed them to slip from his possession had he known them to possess any valuable magical properties. For being a man of abnormal learning, and a great admirer of the men of old, he remembered that Homer, a poet of manifold or, rather I should say, absolute knowledge of all that may be known, spoke of the power of all the drugs that earth produces, but made no mention of the sea, when speaking of a certain witch, he wrote the line:
All drugs, that wide earth nourishes, shc knew.
Similarly in another passage he says:
Earth the grain-giver yields up to her its store of drugs, whereto many be healing, mingled in the cup, and many baneful.
But never in the works of Homer did Proteus anoint his face nor Ulysses his magic trench, nor Aeolus his windbags, nor Helen her mixing bowl, nor Circe her cup, nor Venus her girdle, with any charm drawn from the sea or its inhabitants. You alone within t he memory of man have been found to sweep as it were by some convulsion of nature all the powers of herbs and roots and young shoots and small pebbles from their hilltops into the sea, and there confine them in the entrails of fish. And so whereas sorcere rs at their rites used to call on Mercury the giver of oracles, Venus that lures the soul, the moon that knows the mystery of the night, and Trivia the mistress of the shades, you will transfer Neptune, with Salacia and Portumnus and all the company of Ne reids from the cold tides of the sea to the burning tides of love.
I have given my reasons for refusing to believe that magicians and fish have anything to do with one another. But now, if it please you, we will assume with Aemilianus that fish are useful for making magical charms as well as for their usual purposes. But does that prove that whoever acquires fish is ipso facto a magician? On those lines it might be urged that whoever acquires a sloop is a pirate, whoever acquires a crowbar a burglar, whoever acquires a sword an assassin. You will say that there is nothing in the world, however harmless, that may not be put to some bad use, nothing so cheerful that it may not be given a gloomy meaning. And yet we do not on that account put a bad interpretation on everything, though, for instance, you should hold that incense, cassia, myrrh, and similar other scents are purchased solely for the purpose of funerals; whereas they are also used for sacrifice and medicine.
But on the lines of your argument you must believe that even the comrades of Menelaus were magicians; for they, according to the great poet, averted starvation at the isle of Pharos by their use of curved fish-hooks. Nay, you will class in the same category of sorcerers seamews, dolphins, and the lobster; gourmands also, who sink whole fortunes in the sums they pay to fishermen; and fishermen themselves, who by their art capture all manner of fish.
`But what do you want fish for?' you insist. I feel myself under no necessity to tell you, and refuse to do so. But I challenge you to prove unsupported that I bought them for the purpose you assert; as though I had bought hellebore or hemlock or opium or any other of those drugs, the moderate use of which is salutary, although they are deadly when given with other substances or in too large quantities. Who would endure it if you made this a ground for accusing me of being a poisoner, merely because those drugs are capable of killing a man?
However, let us see what these fish were, fish so necessary for my possession and so hard to find, that they were well worth the price I paid for their acquisition. They have mentioned no more than three. To one they gave a false name ; as regards the other two they lied. The name was false, for they asserted that the fish was a sea-hare, whereas it was quite another fish, which Themison, my servant, who knows something of medicine as you heard from his own lips, bought of his own sugg estion for me to inspect. For, as a matter of fact, he has not as yet ever come across a sea-hare. But I admit that I search for other kinds of fish as well, and have commissioned not only fishermen but private friends to search for all the rarest kinds o f fish, begging them either to describe the appearance of the fish or to send it me, if possible, alive, or, failing that, dead. Why I do so I will soon make clear.
My accusers lied -- and very cunning they thought themselves -- when they closed their false accusation by pretending that I had sought for two sea-beasts known by gross names. That fellow Tannonius wished to indicate the nature of the obscenity, but failed, matchless pleader that he is, owing to his inability to speak. After long hesitation he indicated the name of one of them by means of some clumsy and disgusting circumlocution. The other he found impossible to describe with decency, and evaded the difficulty by turning to my works and quoting a certain passage from them in which I described the attitude of a statue of Venus.
He also with that lofty puritanism which characterizes him, reproached me for not being ashamed to describe foul things in noble language. I might justly retort on him that, though he openly professes the study of eloquence, that stammering voice of his often gives utterance to noble things so basely as to defile them, and that frequently, when what he has to say presents not the slightest difficulty, he begins to stutter or even becomes utterly tongue-tied. Come now! Suppose I had sa id nothing about the statue of Venus, nor used the phrase which was of such service to you, what words would you have found to frame a charge, which is as suited to your stupidity as to your powers of speech? I ask you, is there anything more idiotic than the inference that, because the names of two things resemble each other, the things themselves are identical?
Or did you think it a particularly clever invention on your part to pretend that I had sought out these two fish for the purpose of using them as magical charms? Remember that it is as absurd an argument to say that these sea-creatures with gross names were sought for gross purposes, as to say that the sea-comb is sought for the adornment of the hair, the fish named sea-hawk to catch birds, the fish named the little boar for the hunting of boars, or the sea-skull to raise the dead. My reply to these lyin g fabrications, which are as stupid as they are absurd, is that I have never attempted to acquire these playthings of the sea, these tiny trifles of the shore, either gratis or for money.
Further, I reply that you were quite ignorant of the nature of the objects which you pretended that I sought to acquire. For these worthless fish you mention can be found on any shore in heaps and multitudes, and are cast up on dry la nd by the merest ripple without any need for human agency. Why do you not say that at the same time I commissioned large numbers of fishermen to secure for me at a price striped sea-shells, rough shells, smooth pebbles, crabs' claws, sea-urchins' h usks, the tentacles of cuttlefish, shingle, straws, cordage, not to mention worm-eaten oyster-shells, moss, and seaweed, and all the flotsam of the sea that the winds drive, or the salt wave casts up, or the storm sweeps back, or the calm leaves high and dry all along our shores? For their names are no less suitable than those I mentioned above for the purpose of awakening suspicions.
You have said that certain objects drawn from the sea have a certain value for gross purposes on account of the similarity of their names. On this analogy why should not a stone be good for diseases of the bladder, a shell for the making of a will, a crab for a cancer, seaweed for an ague? Really, Claudius Maximus, in listening to these appallingly long-winded accusations to their very close you have shown a patience that is excessive and a kindness which is too long-suffering. For my part when they uttered these charges of theirs, as though they were serious and cogent, while I laughed at their stupidity, I marvelled at your patience.
However, since he takes so much interest in my affairs, I will now tell Aemilianus why I have examined so many fishes already and why I am unwilling to remain in ignorance of some I have not yet seen. Although he is in the decline of life and suffering from senile decay, let him, if he will, acquire ome learning even at the eleventh hour. Let him read the words of the philosophers of old, that now at any rate he may learn that I am not the first ichthyologist, but follow in the steps of authors, centuries my seniors, such as Aristotle, Theophrastus, Eudemus, Lycon, and the other successors of Plato, who have left many books on the generation, life, parts and differences of animals.
It is a good thing, Maximus, that this case is being tried before a scholar like yourself, who have read Aristotle's numerous volumes `on the generation, the anatomy, the history of animals', together with his numberless `Problems' and works by others of his school, treating of various subjects of this kind. If it is an honour and glory to them that they should have put on record the results of their careful researches, why should it be disgraceful to me to attempt the like task, especially since I shall attempt to write on those subjects both in Greek and Latin and in a more concise and systematic manner, and shall strive either to make good omissions or remedy mistakes in all these authors?
I beg of you, if you think it worth while, to permit the reading of extracts from my `magic' works, that Aemilianus may learn that my sedulous researches and inquiries have a wider range than he thinks. Bring a volume of my Greek works -- some of my friends who are interested in questions of natural history may perhaps have them with them in court -- take by preference one of those dealing with problems of natural philosophy, and from among those that volume in particular which treats of the race of fish . While he is looking for the book, I will tell you a story which has some relevance to this case.
The poet Sophocles, the rival and survivor of Euripides--for he lived to extreme old age -- on being accused by his own son of insanity on the ground that the advance of age had destroyed his wits, is said to have produced that matchless tragedy, his Oedipus Coloneus, on which he happened to be engaged at the time, and to have read it aloud to the jury without adding another word in his defence, except that he bade them without hesitation to condemn him as insane if an old man's poetr y displeased them. At that point -- so I have read -- the jury rose to their feet as one man to show their admiration of so great a poet, and praised him marvellously both for the shrewdness of his argument and for the eloquence of his tragic verse. And i ndeed they were not far off unanimously condemning the accuser as the madman instead.
Have you found the book? Thank you. Let us try now whether what I write may serve me in good stead in a law-court. Read a few lines at the beginning, then some details concerning the fish. And do you while he reads stop the water-clock. [...]
You hear, Maximus. You have doubtless frequently read the like in the works of ancient philosophers. Remember too that these volumes of mine describe fishes only, distinguishing those that spring from the union of the sexes from those which are spontaneously generated from the mud, discussing how often and at what periods of the year the males and females of each species come together, setting forth the distinction established by nature between those of them who are viviparous and tho se who are oviparous -- for thus I translate the Greek phrases zôiotoka and ôiotoka -- together with the causes of this distinction and the organic differences by which it is characterized, in a word -- for I would not weary you by discussing all the different methods of generation in animals -- treating of the distinguishing marks of species, their various manners of life, the difference of their members and ages, with many other points necessary for the man of science but out o f place in a law-court.
I will ask that a few of my Latin writings dealing with the same science may be read, in which you will notice some rare pieces of knowledge and names but little known to the Romans; indeed they have never been produced before today, but yet thanks to my toil and study they have been so translated from the Greek, that in spite of their strangeness they are none the less of Latin mintage. Do you deny this, Aemilianus? If so, let your advocates tell me in what Latin author they have ever before read such w ords as those which I will cause to be recited to you. I will mention only aquatic animals, nor will I make any reference to other animals save in connexion with the characteristics which distinguish them from aquatic creatures. Listen then to what I say. You will cry out at me saying that I am giving you a list of magic names such as are used in Egyptian or Babylonian rites. Selacheia, malacheia, malakostraka, chondrakantha, ostrakoderma, karcharodonta, amphibia, lepidôta, pholidôta, dermo ptera, steganopoda, monèrè, sunagelastika -- I might continue the list, but it is not worth wasting time over such trifles, and I need time to deal with other charges. Meanwhile read out my translation into Latin of the few names I have just given you. [...]
What do you think? Is it disgraceful for a philosopher who is no rude and unlearned person of the reckless Cynic type, but who remembers that he is a disciple of Plato, is it disgraceful for such an one to know and care for such learning or to be ignorant and indifferent? To know how far such things reveal the workings of providence, or to swallow all the tales his father and mother told him of the immortal gods?
Quintus Ennius wrote a poem on dainties: he there enumerates countless species of fish, which of course he had carefully studied. I remember a few lines and will recite them:
Clipea's sea-weasels are of all the best, for `mice' the place is Aenus; oysters rough in greatest plenty from Abydos come. The sea-comb's found at Mitylene and Ambracian Charadrus, and I praise Brundisian sargus: take him, if he's big. Know that Tarentum's small sea-boar is prime; the sword-fish at Surrentum thou shouldst buy; Blue fish at Cumae. What! Have I passed by Scarus? The brain of Jove is not less sweet. You catch them large and good off Nestor's home. Have I passed by the black-tail and the `thrush', the sea-merle and the shadow of the sea? Best to Corcyra go for cuttle-fish, for the acarne and the fat sea-skull the purple-fish, the little murex too, mice of the sea and the sea-urchin sweet.
He glorified many fish in other verses, stating where each was to be found and whether they were best fried or stewed, and yet he is not blamed for it by the learned. Spare then to blame me, who describe things known to few under elegant and appropriate n ames both in Greek and Latin.
Enough of this! I call your attention to another point. What if I take such interest and possess such skill in medicine as to search for certain remedies in fish? For assuredly as nature with impartial munificence has distributed and implanted many remedies throughout all other created things, so also similar remedies are to be found in fish. Now, do you think it more the business of a magician than of a doctor, or indeed of a philosopher, to know and seek out remedies? For the philos opher will use them not to win money for his purse, but to give assistance to his fellow men. The doctors of old indeed knew how to cure wounds by magic song, as Homer, the most reliable of all the writers of antiquity, tells us, making the blood of Ulyss es to be stayed by a chant as it gushed forth from a wound. Now nothing that is done to save life can be matter for accusation.
`But,' says my adversary, `for what purpose save evil did you dissect the fish brought you by your servant Themison?' As if I had not told you just now that I write treatises on the organs of all kind of animals, describing the place, number and purpose of their various parts, diligently investigating Aristotle's works on anatomy and adding to them where necessary. I am, therefore, greatly surprised that you are only aware of my having inspected one small fish, although I have actually inspected a very l arge number under all circumstances wherever I might find them, and have, moreover, made no secret of my researches, but conducted them openly before all the world, so that the merest stranger may, if it please him, stand by and observe me. In this I foll ow the instruction of my masters, who assert that a free man of free spirit should as far as possible wear his thoughts upon his face. Indeed I actually showed this small fish, which you call a sea-hare, to many who stood by.
I do not yet know what name to call it without closer research, since in spite of its rarity and most remarkable characteristics I do not find it described by any of the ancient philosophers. This fish is, as far as my knowledge extends, unique in one re spect, for it contains twelve bones resembling the knuckle-bones of a sucking-pig, linked together like a chain in its belly. Apart from this it is boneless. Had Aristotle known this, Aristotle who records as a most remarkable phenomenon the fact that the fish known as the small sea-ass alone of all fishes has its diminutive heart placed in its stomach, he would assuredly have mentioned the fact.
`You dissected a fish,' he says. Who can call this a crime in a philosopher which would be no crime in a butcher or cook? `You dissected a fish.' Perhaps you object to the fact that it was raw. You would not regard it as crimin al if I had explored its stomach and cut up its delicate liver after it was cooked, as you teach the boy Sicinius Pudens to do with his own fish at meals. And yet it is a greater crime for a philosopher to eat fish than to inspect them. Are augurs to be a llowed to explore the livers of victims and may not a philosopher look at them too, a philosopher who knows that he can draw omens from every animal, that he is the high-priest of every god? Do you bring that as a reproach against me which is one of the r easons for the admiration with which Maximus and myself regard Aristotle? Unless you drive his works from the libraries and snatch them from the hands of students you cannot accuse me. But enough! I have said a]most more on this subject than I ought.
See, too, how they contradict themselves. They say that I sought my wife in marriage with the help of the black art and charms drawn from the sea at the very time when they acknowledge me to have been in the midmost mountains of Gaetulia, where, I suppos e, Deucalion's deluge has made it possible to find fish! I am, however, glad that they do not know that I have read Theophrastus' `On beasts that bite and sting' and Nicander `On the bites of wild animals'; otherwise they would have accused me of poisonin g as well! As a matter of fact I have acquired a knowledge of these subjects thanks to my reading of Aristotle and my desire to emulate him. I owe something also to the advice of my master Plato, who rays that those who make such investigations as these ` pursue a delightful form of amusement which they will never regret.'
Since I have sufficiently cleared up this business of the fish, listen to another of their inventions equally stupid, but much more extravagant and far more wicked. They themselves knew that their argument about the fish was futile an d bound to fail. They realized, moreover, its strange absurdity (for who ever heard of fish being scaled and boned for dark purposes of magic?), they realized that it would be better for their fictions to deal with things of more common report, which have ere now been believed. And so they devised the following fiction which does at least fall within the limits of popular credence and rumour. They asserted that I had taken a boy apart to a secret place with a small altar and a lantern and only a few accom plices as witnesses, and there so bewitched him with a magical incantation that he fell in the very spot where I pronounced the charm, and on being awakened was found to be out of his wits. They did not dare to go any further with the lie. To complete the ir story they should have added that the boy uttered many prophecies.
For this we know is the prize of magical incantations, namely divination and prophecy. And this miracle in the case of boys is confirmed not only by vulgar opinion but by the authority of learned men. I remember reading various relations of the kind in t he philosopher Varro, a writer of the highest learning and erudition, but there was the following story in particular. Inquiry was being made at Tralles by means of magic into the probable issue of the Mithridatic war, and a boy who was gazing at an image of Mercury reflected in a bowl of water foretold the future in a hundred and sixty lines of verse. He records also that Fabius, having lost five hundred denarii, came to consult Nigidius; the latter by means of incantations inspired certain boys so that they were able to indicate to him where a pot containing a certain portion of the money had been hidden in the ground, and how the remainder had been dispersed, one denarius having found its way into the possession of Marcus Cato the philosopher. This coi n Cato acknowledged he had received from a certain lackey as a contribution to the treasury of Apollo.
I have read this and the like concerning boys and art-magic in several authors, but I am in doubt whether to admit the truth of such stories or no, although I believe Plato when he asserts that there are certain divine powers holding a position and possessing a character midway between gods and men, and that all divination and the miracles of magicians are controlled by them. Moreover it is my own personal opinion that the human soul, especially when it is young and unsophisticated, m ay by the allurement of music or the soothing influence of sweet smells be lulled into slumber and banished into oblivion of its surroundings so that, as all consciousness of the body fades from the memory, it returns and is reduced to its primal nature, which is in truth immortal and divine; and thus, as it were in a kind of slumber, it may predict the future.
But howsoever these things may be, if any faith is to be put in them, the prophetic boy must, as far as I can understand, be fair and unblemished in body, shrewd of wit and ready of speech, so that a worthy and fair shrine may be provided for the divine indwelling power (if indeed such a power does enter into the boy's body) or that the boy's mind when wakened may quickly apply itself to its inherent powers of divination, find them ready to its use and reproduce their promptings undulled and unimpaired b y any loss of memory. For, as Pythagoras said, not every kind of wood is fit to be carved into the likeness of Mercury.
If that be so, tell me who was that healthy, unblemished, intelligent, handsome boy whom I deemed worthy of initiation into such mysteries by the power of my spells. As a matter of fact, Thallus, whom you mentioned, needs a doctor rather than a magician. For the poor wretch is such a victim to epilepsy that he frequently has fits twice or thrice in one day without the need for any incantations, and exhausts all his limbs with his convulsions. His face is ulcerous, his head bruised in front and behind, his eyes are dull, his nostrils distended, his feet stumbling. He may claim to be the greatest of magicians in whose presence Thallus has remained for any considerable time upon his feet. For he is continually lying down, either a seizure or mere weariness causing him to collapse.
Yet you say that it is my incantations that have overwhelmed him, simply because he has once chanced to have a fit in my presence. Many of his fellow servants, whose appearance as witnesses you have demanded, are present in court. The y all can tell you why it is they spit upon Thallus, and why no one ventures to eat from the same dish with him or to drink from the same cup. But why do I speak of these slaves? You yourselves have eyes. Deny then, if you dare, that Thallus used to have fits of epilepsy long before I came to Oea, or that has frequently been shown to doctors. Do his fellow slaves, who are at your service, deny this?
I will confess myself guilty of everything, if he has not long since been sent away into the country, far from the sight of all of them, to a distant farm, for fear he should infect the rest of the household. They cannot deny this to be the fact. For the same reason it is impossible for us to produce him here today. The whole of this accusation has been reckless and sudden, and it was only the day before yesterday that Aemilianus demanded that we should produce fifteen slaves before you. The fourteen liv ing in the town are present today. Thallus only is absent owing to the fact that he has been banished to a place some hundred miles distant. However, we have sent a man to bring him here in a carriage.
I ask you, Maximus, to question these fourteen slaves whom we have produced as to where the boy Thallus is and what is the state of his health; I ask you to question my accuser's slaves. They will not deny that this boy is of revolting appearance, that h is body is rotten through and through with disease, that he is liable to fits, and is a barbarian and a clodhopper. This is indeed a handsome boy whom you have selected as one who might fairly be produced at the offering of sacrifice, whom one might touch upon the head and clothe in a fair white cloak in expectation of some prophetic reply from his lips! I only wish he were present. I would have entrusted him to your tender mercies, Aemilianus, and would be ready to hold him myself that you might question him. Here in open court before the judges he would have rolled his wild eyes upon you, he would have foamed at the mouth, spat in your face, drawn in his hands convulsively, shaken his head and fallen at last in a fit into your arms.
Here are fourteen slaves whom you bade me produce in court. Why do you refuse to question them? You want one epileptic boy who, you know as well as I, has long been absent from Oea. What clearer evidence of the falseness of your accus ations could be desired? Fourteen slaves are present, as you required; you ignore them. One young boy is absent: you concentrate your attack on him. What is it that you want? Suppose Thallus were present. Do you want to prove that he had a fit in my prese nce? Why, I myself admit it. You say that this was the result of incantation. I answer that the boy knows nothing about it, and that I can prove that it was not so. Even you will not deny that Thallus was epileptic. Why then attribute his fall to magic ra ther than disease? Was there anything improbable in his suffering that fate in my presence, which he has often suffered on other occasions in the presence of a number of persons?
Nay, even supposing I had thought it a great achievement to cast an epileptic into a fit, why should I use charms when, as I am told by writers on natural history, the burning of the stone named gagates is an equally sure and easy proof of the disease? F or its scent is commonly used as a test of the soundness or infirmity of slaves even in the slave-market. Again, the spinning of a potter's wheel will easily infect a man suffering from this disease with its own giddiness. For the sight of its rotations w eakens his already feeble mind, and the potter is far more effective than the magician for casting epileptics into convulsions.
You had no reason for demanding that I should produce these slaves; I have good reason for asking you to name those who witnessed that guilty ritual when I cast the moribund Thallus into one of his fits. The only witness you mention is that worthless boy , Sicinius Pudens, in whose name you accuse me. He says that he was present. His extreme youth is no reason why we should reject his sworn evidence, but the fact that he is one of my accusers does detract from his credibility. It would have been easier fo r you, Aemilianus, and your evidence would have carried much more weight, had you said that you were present at the rite and had been mad ever since, instead of entrusting the whole business to the evidence of boys as though it were a mere joke. A boy had a fit, a boy saw him. Was it also some boy that bewitched him?
At this point Tannonius Pudens, like the old hand he is, saw that this lie also was falling flat and was doomed to failure by the frowns and murmurs of the audience, and so, in order to check the suspicions of some of them by kindling fresh expectations, he said that he would produce other boys as well whom I had similarly bewitched. He thus passed to another line of accusation.
I might ignore it, but I will go out of my way to challenge it as I have done with all the rest. I want those boys to be produced. I hear they have been bribed by the promise of their liberty to perjure themselves. But I say no more. Only produce them. I demand and insist, Tannonius Pudens, that you should fulfil your promise. Bring forward those boys in whose evidence you put your trust; produce them, name them. You may use the time allotted to my speech for the purpose. Speak, I say, Tannonius. Why are you silent? Why do you hesitate? Why look round? If he does not remember what he has said, or has forgotten his witnesses' names, do you at any rate, Aemilianus, come forward and tell us what instructions you gave your advocate, and produce those boys. W hy do you turn pale? Why are you silent? Is this the way to bring an accusation? Is this the way to indict a man on so serious a charge? Is it not rather an insult to so distinguished a citizen as Claudius Maximus, and a false and slanderous persecution o f myself?
However, if your representative has made a slip in his speech, and there are no such boys to produce, at any rate make some use of the fourteen whom I have brought into court. If you refuse, why did you demand the appearance of such a housefull?
You have demanded fifteen slaves to support an accusation of magic; how many would you be demanding if it were a charge of violence? The inference is that fifteen slaves know something, and that something is still a mystery. Or is it nothing mysterious and yet something connected with magic? You must admit one of these two alternatives: either the proceeding to which I admitted so many witnesses had nothing improper about it, or, if it had, it should not have been witnessed by so many . Now this magic of which you accuse me is, I am told, a crime in the eyes of the law, and was forbidden in remote antiquity by the Twelve Tables because in some incredible manner crops had been charmed away from one field to another. It is then as myster ious an art as it is loathly and horrible; it needs as a rule night-watches and concealing darkness, solitude absolute and murmured incantations, to hear which few free men are admitted, not to speak of slaves. And yet you will have it that there were fif teen slaves present on this occasion. Was it a marriage? Or any other crowded ceremony? Or a seasonable banquet? Fifteen slaves take part in a magic rite as though they had been created quindecimvirs for the performance of sacrifice! Is it likely that I s hould have permitted so large a number to be present on such an occasion, if they were too many to be accomplices? Fifteen free men form a borough, fifteen slaves a household, fifteen fettered serfs a chain-gang. Did I need such a crowd to help me by hold ing the lustral victims during the lengthy rite? No! the only victims you mentioned were hens! Were they to count the grains of incense? Or to knock Thallus down?
You assert also that by promising to heal her I inveigled to my house a free woman who suffered from the same disease as Thallus; that she, too, fell senseless as a result of my incantations. It appears to me that you are accusing a w restler, not a magician, since you say that all who visited me had a fall. And yet Themison, who is a physician and who brought the woman for my inspection, denied, when you asked him, Maximus, that I had done anything to the woman other than ask her whet her she heard noises in her ears, and if so, which ear suffered most. He added that she departed immediately after telling me that her right ear was most troubled in that way.
At this point, Maximus, although I have for the present been careful to abstain from praising you, lest I should seem to have flattered you with an eye to winning my case, yet I cannot help praising you for the astuteness of your questions. After they ha d spent much time in discussing these points and asserting that I had bewitched the woman, and after the doctor who was present on that occasion had denied that I had done so, you, with shrewdness more than human, asked them what profit I derived from my incantations They replied, `The woman had a fit.' `What then?' you asked, `Did she die?' `No,' they said. `What is your point then? How did the fact of her having a fit profit Apuleius?'
That third question showed brilliant penetration and persistence. You knew that it was necessary to submit all facts to stringent examination of their causes, that often facts are admitted while motives remain to seek, and that the representatives of lit igants are called pleaders of causes, because they set forth the causes of each particular act. To deny a fact is easy and needs no advocate, but it is far more arduous and difficult a task to demonstrate the rightness or wrongness of a given action. It i s waste of time, therefore, to inquire whether a thing was done, when, even if it were done, no evil motive can be alleged. Under such circumstances, if no criminal motive is forthcoming, a good judge releases the accused from all further vexatious inquir y.
So now, since they have not proved that I either bewitched the woman or caused her to have a fit, I for my part will not deny that I examined her at the request of a physician; and I will tell you, Maximus, why I asked her if she had noises in her ears. I will do this not so much to clear myself of the charge which you, Maximus, have already decided to involve neither blame nor guilt, as to impart to you something worthy of your hearing and interesting to one of your erudition. I will tell you in as few words as possible. I have only to call your attention to certain facts. To instruct you would be presumption.
The philosopher Plato, in his glorious work, the Timaeus, sets forth with more than mortal eloquence the constitution of the whole universe. After discoursing with great insight on the three powers that make up man's soul, and showing with the utmost clearness the divine purpose that shaped our various members, he treats of the causes of all diseases under three heads. The first cause lies in the elements of the body, when the actual qualities of those elements, moisture and cold and their two opposites, fail to harmonize. That comes to pass when one of these clements assumes undue proportions or moves from its proper place. The second cause of disease lies in the vitiation of those components of the body which, though formed out of t he simple elements, have coalesced in such a manner as to have a specific character of their own, such as blood, entrails, bone, marrow, and the various substances made from the blending of each of these. Thirdly, the concretion in the body of various jui ces, turbid vapours, and dense humours is the last provocative of sickness.
Of these causes that which contributes most to epilepsy, the disease of which I set out to speak, is a condition when the flesh is so melted by the noxious influence of fire as to form a thick and foaming humour. This generates a vapour, and the heat of the air thus compressed within the body causes a white and eruptive ferment. If this ferment succeeds in escaping from the body, it is dispersed in a manner that is repulsive rather than dangerous. For it causes an eczema to break out upon the surface of the skin of the breast and mottles it with all kinds of blotches. But the person to whom this happens is never again attacked with epilepsy, and so he rids himself of a most sore disease of the spirit at the price of a slight disfigure ment of the body.
But if, on the other hand, this dangerous corruption be contained within the body and mingle with the black bile, and so run fiercely through every vein, and then working its way upwards to the head flood the brain with its destructive stream, it straightway weakens that royal part of man's spirit which is endowed with the power of reason and is enthroned in the head of man, that is its citadel and palace. For it overwhelms and throws into confusion those channels of divinity and paths of wisdom. During sleep it makes less havoc, but when men are full of meat and wine it makes its presence somewhat unpleasantly felt by a choking sensation, the herald of epilepsy. But if it reaches such strength as to attack the heads of men when they are wide awake, then their minds grow dull with a sudden cloud of stupefaction and they fall to the ground, their bodies swooning as in death, their spirit fainting within them. Men of our race have styled it not only the `Great sickness ' and the `Comitial sickness', but al so the `Divine sickness', in this resembling the Greeks, who call it hieranosos, the holy sickness. The name is just; for this sickness does outrage to the rational part of the soul, which is by far the most holy.
You recognize, Maximus, the theory of Plato, as far as I have been able to give it a lucid explanation in the time at my disposal. I put my trust in him when he says that the cause of epilepsy is the overflowing of this pestilential humour into the head. My inquiry therefore was, I think, reasonable when I asked the woman whether her head felt heavy, her neck numb, her temples throbbing, her ears full of noises. The fact that she acknowledged these noises to be more frequent in her ri ght ear was proof that the disease had gone home. For the right-hand organs of the body are the strongest, and therefore their infection with the disease leaves small hope of recovery. Indeed Aristotle has left it on record in his Problems that whenever i n the case of epileptics the disease begins on the right side, their cure is very difficult. It would be tedious were I to repeat the opinion of Theophrastus also on the subject of epilepsy. For he has left a most excellent treatise on convulsions. He ass erts, however, in another book on the subject of animals ill-disposed towards mankind, that the skins of newts -- which like other reptiles they shed at fixed intervals for the renewal of their youth -- form a remedy for fits. But unless you snatch up the skin as soon as it be shed, they straightway turn upon it and devour it, whether from a malign foreknowledge of its value to men or from a natural taste for it.
I have mentioned these things, I have been careful to quote the arguments of renowned philosophers, and to mention the books where they are to be found, and have avoided any reference to the works of physicians or poets, that my adversaries may cease to wonder that philosophers have learnt the causes of remedies and diseases in the natural course of their researches.
Well then, since this woman was brought to be examined by me in the hope that she might be cured, and since it is clear both from the evidence of the physician who brought her and from the arguments I have just set forth that such a course was perfectly right, my opponents must needs assert that it is the part of a magician and evildoer to heal disease, or, if they do not dare to say that, must confess that their accusations in regard to this epileptic boy and woman are false, absurd, and indeed epileptic.
Yes, Aemilianus, if you would hear the truth, you are the real sufferer from the falling sickness, so often have your false accusations failed and cast you helpless to the ground. Bodily collapse is no worse than intellectual, and it is as important to keep one's head as to keep one's feet, while it is as unpleasant to be loathed by this distinguished gathering as to be spat upon in one's own chamber. But you perhaps think yourself sane because you are not confined within doors, but f ollow the promptings of your madness whithersoever it lead you: and yet compare your frenzy with that of Thallus; you will find that there is but little to choose between you, save that Thallus confines his frenzy to himself, while you direct yours agains t others; Thallus distorts his eyes, you distort the truth; Thallus contracts his hands convulsively, you not less convulsively contract with your advocates; Thallus dashes himself against the pavement, you dash yourself against the judgement-seat. In a w ord, whatever he does, he does in his sickness erring unconsciously; but you, wretch, commit your crimes with full knowledge and with your eyes open, such is the vehemence of the disease that inspires your actions. You bring false accusations as though th ey were true; you charge men with doing what has never been done; though a man's innocence be clear to you as daylight, you denounce him as though he were guilty.
Nay, further, though I had almost forgotten to mention it, there are certain things of which you confess your ignorance, and which nevertheless you make material for accusation as though you knew all about them. You assert that I kept something mysterious wrapped up in a handkerchief among the household gods in the house of Pontianus. You confess your ignorance as to what may have been the nature or appearance of this object; you further admit that no one ever saw it, and yet you asse rt that it was some instrument of magic. You are not to be congratulated on this method of procedure. Your accusation reveals no shrewdness, and has not even the merit of impudence. Do not think so for a moment. No! It shows naught save the ill-starred ma dness of an embittered spirit and the pitiable fury of cantankerous old age.
The words you used in the presence of so grave and perspicacious a judge amounted to something very like this. `Apuleius kept certain things wrapped in a cloth among the household gods in the house of Pontianus. Since I do not know what they were, I therefore argue that they were magical. I beg you to believe what I say, because I am talking of that of which I know nothing.' What a wonderful argument, in itself an obvious refutation of the charge. `It must have been this, because I do not know what it wa s.' You are the only person hitherto discovered who knows that which he does not know. You so far surpass all others in folly, that whereas philosophers of the most keen and penetrating intellect assert that we should not trust even the objects that we see, you make statements about things which you have never seen or heard.
If Pontianus still lived and you were to ask him what the cloth contained, he would reply that he did not know. There is the freedman who still has charge of the keys of the place; he is one of your witnesses, but he says that he has never examined these objects, although, as the servant responsible for the books kept there, he opened and shut the doors almost daily, continually entered the room, not seldom in my company but more often alone, and saw the cloth lying on the table unprotected by seal or co rd. Quite natural, was it not? Magical objects were concealed in the cloth, and for that reason I took little care for its safe custody, but left it about anyhow for any one to examine and inspect, if he liked, or even to carry it away! I entrusted it to the custody of others, I left it to others to dispose of at their pleasure!
What credence do you expect us to give you after this? Are we to believe that you, on whom I have never set eyes save in this court, know that of which Pontianus, who actually lived under the same roof, was ignorant? Or shall we believe that you, who hav e never so much as approached the room where they were placed, have seen what the freedman never saw, although he had every opportunity to inspect them during the sedulous performance of his duties?
Suppose that what you never saw was such as you say. Yet, you fool, if this very day you had succeeded in getting that handkerchief into your hands, I should deny the magical nature of whatever you might produce from it.
I give you full leave; invent what you like, rack your memory and your imagination to discover something that might conceivably seem to be of a magical nature. Even then, should you succeed in so doing, I should argue the point with yo u. I should say that the object in question had been substituted by you for the original, or that it had been given as a remedy, or that it was a sacred emblem that had been placed in my keeping, or that a vision had bidden me to carry it thus. There are a thousand other ways in which I might refute you with perfect truth and without giving any explanation which is abnormal or lies outside the limits of common observation. You are now demanding that a circumstance, which, even if it were proved up to the hilt, would not prejudice me in the eyes of a good judge, should be fatal to me when, as it is, it rests on vague suspicion, uncertainty, and ignorance.
You will perhaps, as is your wont, say, `What, then, was it that you wrapped in a linen cloth and were so careful to deposit with the household gods?' Really, Aemilianus! Is this the way you accuse your victims? You produce no definite evidence yourself, but ask the accused for explanations of everything.' `Why do you search for fish?' `Why did you examine a sick woman?' `What had you hidden in your handkerchief?' Did you come here to accuse me or to ask me questions? If to accuse me, prove your charges yourself; if to ask questions, do not anticipate the truth by expressing opinions on that concerning which your ignorance compels you to inquire.
If this precedent is followed, if there is no necessity for the accuser to prove anything, but on the contrary he is given every facility for asking questions of the accused, there is not a man in all the world but will be indicted on some charge or othe r. In fact, everything that he has ever done will be used as a handle against any man who is charged with sorcery. Have you written a petition on the thigh of some statue? You are a sorcerer! Else why did you write it? Have you breathed silent prayers to heaven in some temple? You are a sorcerer! Else tell us what you asked for? Or take the contrary line. You uttered no prayer in some temple! You are a sorcerer! Else why did you not ask the gods for something? The same argument will be used if you have ma de some votive dedication, or offered sacrifice, or carried sprigs of some sacred plant. The day will fail me if I attempt to go through all the different circumstances of which, on these lines, the false accuser will demand an explanation. Above all, wha tever object he has kept concealed or stored under lock and key at home will be asserted by the same argument to be of a magical nature, or will be dragged from its cupboard into the light of the law-court before the seat of judgement.
I might discourse at greater length on the nature and importance of such accusations, on the wide range for slander that this path opens for Aemilianus, on the floods of perspiration that this one poor handkerchief will cause his innocent victims. But I will follow the course I have already pursued. I will acknowledge what there is no necessity for me to acknowledge, and will answer Aemilianus' questions. You ask, Aemilianus, what I had in that handkerchief.
Although I might deny that I had deposited any handkerchief of mine in Pontianus' library, or even admitting that it was true enough that I did so deposit it, I might still deny that there was anything wrapped up in it. If I should take this line, you ha ve no evidence or argument whereby to refute me, for there is no one who has ever handled it, and only one freedman, according to your own assertion, who has ever seen it. Still, as far as I am concerned I will admit the cloth to have been full to burstin g. Imagine yourself, please, to be on the brink of a great discovery, like the comrades of Ulysses who thought they had found a treasure when they stole the bag that contained all the winds. Would you like me to tell you what I had wrapped up in a handker chief and entrusted to the care of Pontianus' household gods? You shall have your will.
I have been initiated into various of the Greek mysteries, and preserve with the utmost care certain emblems and mementoes of my initiation with which the priests presented me. There is nothing abnormal or unheard of in this. Those of you here present who have been initiated into the mysteries of father Liber alone, know what you keep hidden at home, safe from all profane touch and the object of your silent veneration. But I, as I have said, moved by my religious fervour and my desire to know the truth, have learned mysteries of many a kind, rites in great number, and diverse ceremonies. This is no invention on the spur of the moment; nearly three years since, in a public discourse on the greatness of Aesculapius delivered by me during the first days of my residence at Oea, I made the same boast and recounted the number of the mysteries I knew. That discourse was thronged, has been read far and wide, is in all men's hands, and has won the affections of the pious inhabitants of Oea not so much through any eloquence of mine as because it treats of Aesculapius.
Will anyone, who chances to remember it, repeat the beginning of that particular passage in my discourse? [...] You hear, Maximus, how many voices supply the words. I will order this same passage to be read aloud, since by the courteous expression of your face you show that you will not be displeased to hear it.
Can anyone, who has the least remembrance of the nature of religious rites, be surprised that one who has been initiated into so many holy mysteries should preserve at home certain talismans associated with these ceremonies, and should wrap them in a linen cloth, the purest of coverings for holy things? For wool, produced by the most stolid of creatures and stripped from the sheep's back, the followers of Orpheus and Pythagoras are for that very reason forbidden to wear as being unhol y and unclean. But flax, the purest of all growths and among the best of all the fruits of the earth, is used by the holy priests of Egypt, not only for clothing and raiment, but as a veil for sacred things.
And yet I know that some persons, among them that fellow Aemilianus, think it a good jest to mock at things divine. For I learn from certain men of Oea who know him, that to this day he has never prayed to any god or frequented any temple, while if he ch ances to pass any shrine, he regards it as a crime to raise his hand to his lips in token of reverence. He has never given first fruits of crops or vines or flocks to any of the gods of the farmer, who feed him and clothe him; his farm holds no shrine, no holy place, nor grove. But why do I speak of groves or shrines? Those who have been on his property say they never saw there one stone where offering of oil has been made, one bough where wreaths have been hung. As a result, two nicknames have been given him: he is called Charon, as I have said, on account of his truculence of spirit and of countenance, but he is also -- and this is the name he prefers -- called Mezentius, because he despises the gods. I therefore find it the easier to understand that he should regard my list of initiations in the light of a jest. It is even possible that, thanks to his rejection of things divine, he may be unable to induce himself to believe that it is true that I guard so reverently so many emblems and relics of mysteri ous rites.
But what Mezentius may think of me, I do not care a straw; to others I make this announcement clearly and unshrinkingly: if any of you that are here present had any part with me in these same solemn ceremonies, give a sign and you shall hear what it is I keep thus. For no thought of personal safety shall induce me to reveal to the uninitiated the secrets that I have received and sworn to conceal.
. . .
I have, I think, Maximus, said enough to satisfy the most prejudiced of men and, as far as the handkerchief is concerned, have cleared myself of every speck of guilt. I shall run no risk in passing from the suspicions of Aemilianus to the evidence of Crassus, which my accusers read out next as if it were of the utmost importance.
You heard them read from a written deposition, the evidence of a gorging brute, a hopeless glutton, named Junius Crassus, that I performed certain nocturnal rites at his house in company with my friend Appius Quintianus, who had taken lodgings there. Thi s, mark you, Crassus says that he discovered (in spite of the fact that he was as far away as Alexandria at the time!) from finding the feathers of birds and traces of the smoke of a torch. I suppose that while he was enjoying a round of festivities at Al exandria -- for Crassus is one who is ready even to encroach upon the daylight with his gluttonies -- I suppose, I say, that there from his reeking-tavern he espied, with eye keen as any fowler's, feathers of birds wafted towards him from his house, and s aw the smoke of his home rising far off from his ancestral rooftree. If he saw this with his eyes, he saw even further than Ulysses prayed and yearned to see. For Ulysses spent years in gazing vainly from the shore to see the smoke rising from his home, w hile Crassus during a few months' absence from home succeeded, without the least difficulty, in seeing this same smoke as he sat in a wine-shop! If, on the other hand, it was his nose that discerned the smoke, he surpasses hounds and vultures in the keenn ess of his sense of smell. For what hound, what vulture hovering in the Alexandrian sky, could sniff out anything so far distant as Oea? Crassus is, I admit, a gourmand of the first order, and an expert in all the varied flavours of kitchen-smoke, but in view of his love of drinking, his only real title to fame, it would have been easier to reach him at Alexandria for the fumes of his wine rather than the fumes of his chimney.
Even he saw that this would pass belief. For he is said to have sold this evidence before eight in the morning while he was still fasting from food and drink! And so he wrote that he had made his discovery in the following manner. On his return from Alexandria he went straight to his house, which Quintianus had by this time left. There in the entrance-hall he came across a large quantity of birds' feathers: the walls, moreover, were blackened with soot. He asked the reason of this fro m the slave whom he had left at Oea, and the latter informed him of the nocturnal rites carried out by myself and Quintianus.
What an ingenious lie! What a probable invention! That I, had I wished to do anything of the sort, should have done it there rather than in my own house! That Quintianus, who is supporting me here today, and whom I mention with the greatest respect and h onour for the close love that binds him to me, for his deep erudition and consummate eloquence, that this same Quintianus, supposing him to have dined off some birds or, as they assert, killed them for magical purposes, should have had no slave to sweep u p the feathers and throw them out of doors! Or further that the smoke should have been strong enough to blacken the walls and that Quintianus should have suffered such defacement of his bedroom for as long as he lived there! Nonsense, Aemilianus! T here is no probability in the story, unless indeed Crassus on his return went not to the bedroom, but after his fashion made straight for the kitchen.
And what made his slave suspect that the walls had been blackened by night in particular? Was it the colour of the smoke? Does night smoke differ from day smoke in being darker? And why did so suspicious and conscientious a slave allow Quintianus to leav e the house before having it cleaned? Why did those feathers lie like lead and await the arrival of Crassus for so long? Let not Crassus accuse his slave. It is much more likely that he himself fabricated this mendacious nonsense about feathers and soot, being unable even in his evidence to divorce himself further from his kitchen.
And why did you read out this evidence from a written deposition? Where in the world is Crassus? Has he returned to Alexandria out of disgust at the state of his house? Is he washing his walls? Or, as is more likely, is the glutton fe eling ill after his debauch? I myself saw him yesterday here at Sabrata belching in your face, Aemilianus, in the most conspicuous manner in the middle of the market-place. Pray, Maximus, ask your slaves whose duty it is to keep you informed of people's n ames -- although, I admit, Crassus is better known to the keepers of taverns -- yet ask them, I say, whether they have ever seen Junius Crassus, a citizen of Oea, in this place. They will answer `yes'. Let Aemilianus then produce this most admirable young man on whose testimony he relies.
You notice the time of day. I tell you that Crassus has long since been snoring in a drunken slumber or has taken a second bathe and is now evaporating the sweat of intoxication at the bath that he may be equal to a fresh drinking bout after supper. He p resents himself in writing only. That is the way he speaks to you, Maximus. Even he is not so dead to sense of shame as to be able to lie to your face without a blush. But there is perhaps another reason for his absence. He may have been unable to abstain from drunkenness sufficiently long to keep sober against this moment.
Or it may be that Aemilianus took good care not to subject him to your severe and searching gaze, lest you should damn the brute with his close-shaven cheeks and his disgusting appearance by a mere glance at his face, when you saw a young man with his features stripped of the beard and hair that should adorn them, his eyes heavy with wine, his lids swollen, his <...> grin, his slobbering lips, his harsh voice, his trembling hands, his breath reeking of the cook-shop. He has long since devoured his fortune; nothing is left him of his patrimony save a house that serves him for the sale of his false witness, and never did he make a more remunerative contract than he has done with regard to this evidence he offers today. For he sold Aemilianus his dru nken fictions for 3,000 sesterces, as every one at Oea is aware.
We all knew of this before it actually took place. I might have prevented the transaction by denouncing it, but I knew that so foolish a lie would be prejudicial to Aemilianus, who wasted his money to secure it, rather than to myself, who treated it with the contempt it deserved. I wished not only that Aemilianus should lose his money, but that Crassus should have his reputation ruined by his disgraceful perjury. It was but the day before yesterday that the transaction took place in t he most open manner at the house of Rufinus, of whom I shall soon have something to say. Rufinus and Calpurnianus acted as middlemen and entreated him to comply to their wishes. The former carried out the task with all the more readiness because he was certain that his wife, at whose misconduct he knowingly connives, would be sure to recover from Crassus a large proportion of his fee for perjury.
I noticed that you also, Maximus, as soon as this written evidence was produced, suspected with your usual acuteness that they had formed a league and conspiracy against me; and I saw from your face that the whole affair excited your disgust. Fina lly my accusers, in spite of their being paragons of audacity and monsters of shamelessness, noticed that Crassus' evidence smelled after faex and did not dare to read it out in full or to build anything upon it. I have mentioned these facts not be cause I am afraid of these dreadful feathers and stains of soot -- least of all with you to judge me -- but that Crassus might meet with due punishment for having sold mere smoke to a helpless rustic like Aemilianus.
And after all this, they have also come up, on reading Pudentilla's letters, concerning the manufacture of a seal. This seal, they assert, I had fashioned of the rarest wood by some secret process for purposes of the black art. They add that, although it is loathly and horrible to look upon, being in the form of a skeleton, I yet give it especial honour and call it in the Greek tongue, basileus, my king. I think I am right in saying that I am following the various stages of their accusation in due order and reconstructing the whole fabric of their slander detail by detail.
Now how can the manufacture of this seal have been secret, as you assert, when you are sufficiently well acquainted with the maker to have summoned him to appear in court? Here is Cornelius Saturninus, the artist, a man whose skill is famous among his to wnsfolk and whose character is above reproach. A little while back, in answer, Maximus, to your careful cross-examination, he explained the whole sequence of events in the most convincing and truthful manner. He said that I visited his shop and, after loo king at many geometrical patterns all carved out of boxwood in the most cunning and ingenious manner, was so much attracted by his skill that I asked him to make me certain mechanical devices and also begged him to make me the image of some god to which I might pray after my custom. The particular god and the precise material I left to his choice, my only stipulation being that it should be made of wood. He therefore first attempted to work in boxwood. Meanwhile, during my absence in the country, Sicinius Pontianus, my step-son, wishing it to be made for me, procured some ebony tablets from that excellent lady Capitolina and brought them to his shop, exhorting him to make what I had ordered out of this rarer and more durable material: such a gift, he said, would be most gratifying to me. Our artist did as Pontianus suggested, as far as the size of the ebony tablets permitted. By careful dove-tailing of minute portions of the tablets he succeeded in making a small figure of Mercury.
You heard all the evidence just as I repeat it. Moreover, it receives exact confirmation from the answers given to you in cross-examination by Capitolina's son, a youth of the most excellent character, who is here in court today. He s aid that Pontianus asked for the tablets, that Pontianus took them to the artist Saturninus. Nor does he deny that Pontianus received the completed signet from Saturninus and afterwards gave it me.
All these things have been openly and manifestly proved. What remains, in which any suspicion of sorcery can lie concealed? Nay, what is there that does not absolutely convict you of obvious falsehood? You said that the seal was of secret manufacture, wh ereas Pontianus, a distinguished member of the equestrian order, gave the commission for it. The figure was carved in public by Saturninus as he sat in his shop. He is a man of sterling character and recognized honesty. The work was assisted by the munifi cence of a distinguished married lady, and many both among the slaves and the acquaintances who frequented my house were aware both of the commission for the work and its execution. You were not ashamed falsely to pretend that I had searched high and low for the requisite wood through all the town, although you know that I was absent from Oea at that time, and although it has been proved that I gave a free hand as to the material.
Your third lie was that the figure which was made was the lean, eviscerated frame of a gruesome corpse, utterly horrible and ghastly as any ghost. If you had discovered such definite proof of my sorceries, why did you not insist on my producing it in court? Was it that you might have complete freedom for inventing lies in the absence of the subject of your slanders? If so, the opportunity afforded you for mendacity has been lost you, thanks to a certain habit of mine which comes in mo st opportunely. It is my wont wherever I go to carry with me the image of some god kept among my books and to pray to him on feast days with offerings of incense and wine and sometimes even of victims. When, therefore, I heard persistent though outrageous ly mendacious assertions that the figure I carried was that of a skeleton, I ordered some one to go and bring from my house my little image of Mercury, the same that Saturninus had made for me at Oea. You here, give it them! Let them see it, hold it, exam ine it. There you see the image which that scoundrel called a skeleton. Do you hear these cries of protest that arise from all present? Do you hear the condemnation of your lie? Are you not at last ashamed of all your slanders? Is this a skeleton, this a ghost, is this the familiar spirit you asserted it to be? Is this a magic symbol or one that is common and ordinary?
Take it, I beg you, Maximus, and examine it. It is good that a holy thing should be entrusted to hands as pure and pious as yours. See there, how fair it is to view, how full of all a wrestler's grace and vigour! How cheerful is the god's face, how comel y the down that creeps on either side his cheeks, how the curled hair shows upon his head beneath the shadow of his hat's brim, how neatly the tiny pair of pinions project about his brows, how daintily the cloak is drawn about his shoulders! He who dares call this a skeleton, either never sees an image of a god or if he does ignores it. Indeed, he who thinks this to represent a ghost is evoking ghosts.
But in return for that lie, Aemilianus, may that same god who goes between the lords of heaven and the lords of hell grant you the hatred of the gods of either world and ever send to meet you the shadows of the dead with all the shade s, with all the fiends, with all the spectrets, with all the ghosts of all the world, and thrust upon your eyes all the terror that walks by night, all the dread dwellers in the tomb, all the horrors of the sepulchre, although your age and characte r have brought you near enough to them already.
But we of the family of Plato know naught save what is bright and joyous, majestic and heavenly and of the world above us. Nay, in its zeal to reach the heights of wisdom, the Platonic school has explored regions higher than heaven itself and has stood t riumphant on the outer circumference of this our universe. Maximus knows that I speak truth, for in his careful study of the Phaedrus he has read of the `place being builded on heaven's back.' Maximus also clearly understands -- I am now going to reply to your accusation about the name -- who he is whom not I but Plato was first to call the `King'. `All things,' he says, `depend upon the King of all things and for him only all things exist.' Maximus knows who that `King' is, even the cause and reason and primal origin of all nature, the lord and father of the soul, the eternal saviour of all that lives, the unwearying builder of his world. Yet he builds without labour, yet he saves without care, he is father without begetting, he knows no limitation of sp ace or time or change, and therefore few may conceive and none may tell of his power.
I will even go out of my way to aggravate the suspicion of sorcery; I will not tell you, Aemilianus, who it is that I worship as my king. Even if the proconsul should ask me himself who my god is, I am dumb.
About the name I have said enough for the present. For the rest I know that some of my audience are anxious to hear why I wanted the figure made not of silver or gold, but only of wood, though I think that their desire springs not so much from their anxi ety to see me cleared of guilt as from eagerness for knowledge. They would like to have this last doubt removed, even although they see that I have amply rebutted all suspicion of any crime. Listen, then, you who would know, but listen with all the sharpn ess and attention that you may, for you are to hear the very words that Plato wrote in his old age in the last book of the Laws.
The man of moderate means when he makes offerings to the gods should do so in proportion to his means. Now, earth and the household hearths of all men are holy to all the gods. Let no one therefore dedicate any shrines to the gods over and above these.
He forbids this with the purpose of preventing men from venturing to build private shrines; for he thinks that the public temples suffice his citizens for the purposes of sacrifice. He then continues,
Gold and silver in other cities, whether in the keeping of private persons or of temples, are invidious possessions; ivory taken from a body wherefrom the life has passed is not a welcome offering; iron and bronze are instruments of war. Whatsoever a man dedicates, let it be of wood and wood only, or if it be of stone, of stone only.
The general murmur of assent shows, Maximus, and you, gentlemen, who have the honour to assist him, that I am adjudged to have made admirable use of Plato, not only as a guide in life, but as an advocate in court, to whose laws, as you see, I obey.
. . .
I have done with this. I come now to the very heart of the accusation, to the actual motive for the use of magic. I ask Rufinus and Aemilianus to answer me and tell me -- even assuming that I am the most consummate magician -- what I had to gain by persuading Pudentilla to marry me by means of my love philtres and my incantations.
I am well aware that many persons, when accused of some crime or other, even if it has been shown that there was some real motive for the offence, have amply cleared themselves of guilt by this one line of defence, that the whole record of their lives re nders the suspicion of such a crime incredible and that even though there may have been strong temptation to sin, the mere fact of the existence of the temptation should not be counted against them. We have no right to assume that everything that might ha ve been done actually has been done. Circumstances may alter; the one true guide is a man's character; the one sure indication that a charge should be rejected or believed is the fact that through all his life the accused has set his face towards vice or virtue as the case may be.
I might with the utmost justice put in such a plea for myself, but I waive my right in your favour, and shall think that I have made out but a poor case for myself, if I merely clear myself of all your charges, if I merely show that there exists not the slightest ground for suspecting me of sorcery. Consider what confidence in my innocence and what contempt of you is implied by my conduct. If you can discover one trivial reason that might have led me to woo Pudentilla for the sake of some personal advantage, if you can prove that I have made the very slightest profit out of my marriage, I am ready to be any magician you please -- the great Carmendas himself or Damigeron or Moses , or Jannes or Apollobex or Dardanus himself or any sorcerer of note from the time of Zoroaster and Ostanes till now.
See, Maximus, what a disturbance they have raised, merely because I have mentioned a few magicians by name. What am I to do with men so stupid and uncivilized? Shall I proceed to prove to you that I have come across these names and many more in the course of my study of distinguished authors in the public libraries? Or shall I argue that the knowledge of the names of sorcerers is one thing, participation in their art another, and that it is not tantamount to confessing a crime to have one's brain well stored with learning and a memory retentive of its erudition? Or shall I take what is far the best course and, relying on your learning, Maximus, and your perfect erudition, disdain to reply to the accusations of these stupid and unculti vated fellows? Yes, that is what I will do. I will not care a straw for what they may think. I will go on with the argument on which I had entered and will show that I had no motive for seducing Pudentilla into marriage by the use of love philtres . . .
What is there left, Aemilianus, that in your opinion I have failed to refute? What had I to gain by my magic that should lead me to attempt to win Pudentilla by love-philtres? What had I to gain from her? A small dowry instead of a large one? Truly my incantations were miraculous. That she should refund her dowry to her sons rather than leave it in my possession? What magic can surpass this? That she should at my exhortation present the bulk of her property to her sons and leave me no thing, although before her marriage with myself she had shown them no special generosity? What a criminal we of love-philtres! Or perhaps I had better call it a generous action which has not received its deserts! By her will, which she drew up in a fit of violent irritation against her son, she leaves as her heir that same son with whom she had quarrelled, rather than myself to whom she was devoted! For all my incantations it was only with difficulty that I persuaded her to this.
Suppose that you were pleading your case, not before Claudius Maximus, a man of the utmost fairness and unswerving justice, but before a judge of depraved morals and of ferocious temper, one in fact who naturally inclined to the side of the accuser and w as only too ready to condemn the accused! Give him some hint to follow! Give him even the slightest reasonable opportunity for declaring in your favour! At least invent something, devise some suitable reply to questions such as have been put to you.
Nay, since every action must necessarily have some motive, answer me this, you who say that Apuleius tried to influence Pudentilla's heart by magical charms, answer me this! What did he seek to get from her by so doing? Was he in love with her beauty? Yo u say not! Did he covet her wealth? The evidence of the marriage settlement denies it, the evidence of the deed of gift denies it, the evidence of the will denies it! It shows not only that I did not court the generosity of my wife, but that I even repulsed it with some severity. What other motive can you allege? Why are you struck dumb? Why this silence? What has become of that ferocious utterance with which you opened the indictment, couched in the name of my step-son? `This is the man, most excellent Maximus, whom I have resolved to indict before you.'
Why did you not add `He whom I indict is my teacher, my step-father, my mediator'? But how did you proceed? `He is guilty of the most palpable and numerous sorceries.' Produce one of these many sorceries or at least some doubtful ins tance from those which you style so palpable.
Nay, see whether I cannot reply to your various charges with two words to each. `You clean your teeth.' Excusable cleanliness. `You look into mirrors.' Philosophers should. `You write verse.' 'Tis permitted. `You examine fish.' Following Aristotle. `You worship a piece of wood.' So Plato. `You marry a wife.' Obeying law. `She is older than you.' Nothing commoner. `You married for money.' Take the marriage-settlement, remember the deed of gift, read the will!
If I have rebutted all their charges, word by word, if I have refuted all their slanders, if I am beyond reproach, not only as regards their accusations but also as regards their vulgar abuse, if I have done nothing to impair the honour of philosophy, which is dearer to me than my own safety, but on the contrary have smitten my adversary hip and thigh and vanquished him at all points, if all my contentions are true, I can await your estimate of my character with the same confidence with which I await the exercise of your power; for I regard it as less serious and less terrible to be condemned by the proconsul than to incur the disapproval of so good and so perfect a man.