Magic in the Daily Life of a Roman
The North African Background of Apuleius's Trial for Sorcery
by Gil Renberg
In studies of magic in the ancient world, Apuleius's defense speech from his trial at Sabratha is often used to illustrate the place of magic in Roman society; after all, it is the only extant speech from any of the trials for magic in the ancient world. Surprisingly, however, Apuleius's four-hour speech sheds little light on the magical practices that were evidently popular in his culture. To learn about magic in Roman North Africa, one has to go to other sources -- some literary, the vast majority archaeological. Thus far, scholars who study magic have focused on other parts of the Roman Empire which are much richer sources of information, especially Egypt. This project, part of the Apuleius's Apologia Website, is an attempt to gather information about magic in the Rome's African frontier -- and, consequently, to enable the reader to return to Apuleius's speech with an increased understanding of what role magic played in Apuleius's world.
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