The Golden Ass

by Lucius Apuleius

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Characters Discussed

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Lucius (LEW-shee-uhs), a traveler who is turned into an ass, in which form he has several adventures before becoming a man again.


Charites (KAY-rih-teez), a Greek lady abducted from her wedding by the thieves who stole Milo’s gold.


Lepolemus (leh-POH-leh-muhs), her resourceful husband. He joins the robbers who stole his wife, makes them drunk and chains them, rescues his wife, and causes the robbers to be killed.


Thrasillus (thrah-SIH-luhs), Lepolemus’ friend, in love with Charites, who blinds him with a pin while he is drunk.


Milo (MI-loh), a rich usurer robbed by thieves who use Lucius (now an ass) to carry their stolen gold.


Pamphile (PAM-fih-lee), his wife, a witch who turns herself into an eagle.


Fotis (FOH-tihs), her buxom and lusty maid, who grants her favors to Lucius and then turns him into an ass.


Aristomenes (a-rihs-TO-meh-neez), a merchant who tells Lucius of Socrates’ misfortune.


Socrates (SOK-ruh-teez), Aristomenes’ good friend. Beaten and robbed, he is cared for by Aristomenes. At midnight, two hags cut his throat and substitute a sponge for his heart, which they steal. The next day, he dies when the sponge drops out of his severed throat.


Byrrhaena (bih-REE-nuh), Lucius’ cousin, a rich gentlewoman.


Cupid (KYEW-pihd), a young god, the son of Venus, who, envious of Psyche’s beauty, sends Cupid to make her fall in love with a monster. Instead he takes Psyche for his wife.


Psyche (SI-kee), beauteous young wife of Cupid. Urged by her jealous sisters, she looks upon her sleeping husband’s face and he, influenced by Venus, deserts her. Pitied by Jupiter, the pregnant girl becomes immortal, united to Cupid forever.

Queen Isis

Queen Isis (I-sihs), who provides for Lucius to eat roses so that he may return to human form.

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