Apuleius: Roman Provincial Life

In the second century A.D. North Africa played an important role in imperial Roman life

Study of latin literature commonly ends with Tacitus and Juvenal, in the 120’s a.d. Interest does not revive until one comes to much later writers such as Ammianus Marcellinus and—of course—the Latin Fathers of the Church. It is not by chance that Tertullian, the first great Christian writer who used Latin, was a native of Roman Africa—as was the man who may be regarded as the greatest of them all, Augustine. In fact, in the neglected period just after Tacitus and Juvenal, the two writers who dominated Latin literature were both Africans—Cornelius Fronto of Cirta, or Constantine in Algeria, the orator and teacher of Marcus Aurelius, and Apuleius of Madauros, author of the Golden Ass or Metamorphoses. By the mid-second century the African provinces were reaching their apogee. The greatest exponent of Roman jurisprudence was Salvius Julianus, from Hadrumetum (Sousse in Tunisia), and the most distinguished soldier of the day was Q. Lollius Urbicus, whose home was near Constantine, best remembered as the builder of the Antonine Wall in Scotland.

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