n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - wishful thinking or social reality?

Volume 47, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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In the <I>Apologia</I>, a speech in which Apuleius defends himself against the charges of magic and legacy hunting, the orator depicts his wife, Aemilia Pudentilla, as a highly-educated woman. There are many reasons why such a portrait of his wife would reflect favourably on the author and on his innocence of the crime of which he stands accused. Since this speech contains the only detail we know about Pudentilla, using this information about her as evidence for educated womanhood of her time could be suspect, and certainly needs to be examined carefully if it is to be utilized. The essential question which this article therefore attempts to answer is: would it have been possible, given the period and location, for Aemilia Pudentilla to have been the well-educated matron that Apuleius depicts for us in the speech?

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