A Provincial's View of Rome

In: Other Topics

Submitted By bewul
Words 1690
Pages 7
Even though his work is ultimately fiction, Apuleius’ The Golden Ass clearly depicts many of the realities of Roman life during the Pax Romana. What one can gather from the different stories that play out during the adventures of Lucius is that the Roman Empire was far from a highly disciplined and law-abiding society. Instead, it was filled with a population that was reckless in its treatment of others, whether it is theft or a seemingly unquenchable desire for personal satisfaction. At the same time, the writing style of Apuleius makes the reader find the humor and comical relief in every situation. Even though life as a Roman provincial may have been filled with a careless attitude, bringing with that both the good and bad consequences, Apuleius makes it clear in the final chapters of his piece that there is a need for change.
The piece by Apuleius illustrates society during this time as one that is ruled by unlawful and unethical actions throughout. Initially, one can see that Lucius himself is driven by a need to satisfy his own desires, regardless of the consequences. Whether it is to engage in sexual encounters, or fulfill his curiosity about the magic powers of women, Lucius focuses solely on himself. Lucius is a reflection of society as a whole, and once he is turned into an ass, he sees that society is filled with destructive people. In Books 3 and 4, the bandits present an example of exactly what is wrong with society. Even though all communities have theft, it is clear that these men do not consider anyone but themselves, and what they are out to get.
Even though the bandits are depicted as evil men, rightly so, Apuleius also critiques a bigger social problem that is the cause for these bandits. In Book 4, the bandits take a young girl hostage, and explain to her that she will not be harmed. Their reasoning for the kidnapping is simply the fact that…...

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