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Socrate dans le De Magia d'Apulée: représentations, apparences et reflets

Abstract : When Apuleius refers to Socrates, whether in the Metamorphoses or in the defense speech given in front of Claudius Maximus, the Apology or De magia, he modifies and inverts the characterization of the figure of Athenian philosopher as depicted by the first Socratics, especially Plato. Hence, Apuleius, philosophus Platonicus in his own words, must reconcile his philosophical affiliation with the Roman judicial practice : Socrates therefore is alternately an assumed model, but also condemned as ineffective, as Cicero does in De oratore. The Socratic figure remains nevertheless underlying in all the reasoning through the use of the principle of καλοκἀγαθία : if an aesthetic and thus ethical parallel can be drawn between the beauty of the speeches and their veracity, that is to say here the innocence of the accused, Apuleius nonetheless presents himself with deteriorated features, thus suggesting that appearance cannot forgo further interpretation. This connection between surface and depth is found also in the anecdote relating to the philosophical use of the mirror made by Apuleius following Socrates himself : the reference to the Athenian philosopher allows at the same time a definition of self, whether as philosophus, magus or poeta, and a spiritual practice. Because of its unstable nature, an examination of the reflection brings into question the likeness of the subject to his image, transforming a sensory vision to an intellectual perception. Socrates in the De magia therefore enables readers to accurately perceive themselves and the world around them by teaching the proper use of words and images.
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Contributor : Mélanie Lucciano <>
Submitted on : Monday, December 21, 2020 - 6:54:57 PM
Last modification on : Friday, March 19, 2021 - 8:02:22 PM

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Mélanie Lucciano. Socrate dans le De Magia d'Apulée: représentations, apparences et reflets. Philosophie antique, problèmes, renaissances, usages, n°20, Vrin, pp.183-212, 2020, Nouvelles figures de Socrate, 978-2-7116-2977-0. ⟨hal-03085516⟩

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