Tuesday, February 17, 2009

AD: Golden Ass to The Little Clay Cart

Apuleius, Lucius. Roman. AD 100. Romance; satire. The Golden Ass. Takes a magic potion expecting to be turned into an owl; becomes an ass instead and wanders through Greece. He passes through the hands of owners who mistreat him. Interspersed are stories of intrigue, witchcraft, love. Most famous story is that of Cupid and Psyche.

Ch’u Yuan. Chinese. AD 100. Poetry. The Elegies of Ch’u. Sings of his misfortunes at court. Lush imagery; emotionalism. Shaministic religious practices.

Aurelius, Marcus. Roman. AD 171-180. The Meditations. Emperor of Rome from 161-180 A.D. At 50 began composing notes for his own benefit. Aimed at moral improvement. Paganism’s last moral pronouncements.

Kalidasa. India. AD 200. Narrative poem. Raghuvamsa. Life of Rama, hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana.

King Shudraka. India. 200. Play. The Little Clay Cart. Sanskrit. Villain smothers heroine, accuses hero. Heroine recovers to save hero from execution.

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