Book Club | August 2021: Apuleius Metamorphoses VII–XI

Wordcloud: Roman man feeding donkey

I was harnessed to what seemed the largest wheel of the mill: my head was covered with a sack and I was at once given a shove along the curving track of its circular bed. In a circumscribed orbit, ever retracing my steps, I travelled on that fixed path, however I’d not completely lost my intellect and cunning, and made it look as though, as an apprentice to the trade, I was a very slow learner.
—from Book IX, translated by A.S. Kline

Our Book Club selection for August 2021 concludes Lucius Apuleius’ Metamorphoses, also known as Transformations, or The Golden Ass. We will read Books VII–XI ( chapter titles taken from Kline’s translation):

  • Book VII – Hard times
  • Book VIII – The tale of Thrasyllus and Charite, the eunuchs
  • Book IX – The mill, the tale of Arete and Philesitherus
  • Book X – The wicked stepmother, the condemned woman
  • Book XI – The vision of Isis, the rites, initiation

In Robert Graves’ translation, this corresponds to Chapters X–XIX. 

You can read any translation you like. Here are links to some free online versions:

Translation by A.S. Kline at Poetry in Translation

Translation by H.E. Butler (1910) Volume II (Books VII–IX) at

Translation by William Adlington (1566), revised by S. Gaselee (1922) on (parallel text)

Translation by William Adlington (1566) with original spelling, at Project Gutenberg

The Latin version is available at Perseus.

We will start and continue discussion in the Forum, and meet via Zoom on Tuesday August 31 at 11 a.m. EDT; the link will be posted in the Forum on the day.

Happy readings!