In Apuleius’ The Golden Ass, the differentiations between men and women, and their respective relationships with the magical craft is astounding. While men seem to always be the innocent bystanders, or victims of, ill-intended enchantment, women are the malevolent casters of magic. While men are killed, maimed, disfigured, and subjected to much mental anguish through enchantment, women are the ones who subject men to their sufferings by enchanting, transforming, or causing harm to men. Furthermore, the examples of men using witchcraft in The Golden Ass are treated quite differently than women employing witchcraft. When Lucius turns himself into an ass, he blames Photis, the maid of the witch Pamphile, rather than his own stupidity and ill-conceived curiosity. Even Isis, who proclaims to be the Queen of Heaven and the source of Lucius’s redemption, is not safe from the same marginalization that the more wicked witches in the beginning novel are subjected to. The purpose of this paper is to examine the concepts of power and gender in The Golden Ass, paying attention to how witchcraft and witches are used to do so, and how this is a reflection of Roman culture.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 12-1-2011


Erik Liddell

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Languages, Cultures, and Humanities

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Language and Cultural Studies, Anthropology, and Sociology

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Foreign Languages and Humanities