Eros and Psyche : an Amazigh tale became a Greek myth


The Adventures of Eros (love) and Psyche (soul), also known as Cupid and Psyche or Amor and Psyche are narrated in a novel entitled Metamorphoses, written by Apuleius (Afulay), an amazigh (Berber) born in Madaurus, Numidia in 125 AD. At first, the transmission of the work is limited to North Africa (Numidia) before falling into oblivion during eight centuries. It reappears in Europe from the 14th to the 15th centuries, interpreted in allegorical form in many literary, musical, pictorial and scenic works. This allegorical reading, with Platonic resonances, transformed the story of Apuleius to a Greek myth, and therefore an Indo-European one.

Despite the imposing mass of philological works, literature and folklore devoted to this myth, we continue to wonder about the sources of Apuleius. Literary and philological studies want to only see an author’s creation. Folklorists want to only see a Greek folk tale Apuleius had heard during his travels in Greece. All these analyzes err by at least two aspects:

1 ) the willful ignorance or under-utilization of the North African oral literature

2 ) the eviction of the Amazigh (Berber) culture of Apuleius, even though he, in another of his works (Apology) takes pride in his African ancestry. In his work Apology, he wrote that he was “half-Numidian and halfGaetulian”, his way to explain he is twice Amazigh. Saint Augustine also refers to the origin of Apuleius in his quote: ” For us Africans, Apuleius is the greatest”

By restoring these two Fundamental Truths, and by taking into account the fact that we have never found any trace of this myth, neither in Greece nor anywhere else before Apuleius, the goal is to show that the story of Eros and Psyche is an Amazigh tale probably heard by the author in his native Numidia, from where he was inspired to create a literary work, which became one of the treasures of ancient culture.

This is the topic that will be presented by Nedjima Plantade at a conference organized by Tamazgha Saturday, May 24 at 14h in Paris .

Nedjima Plantade is an anthropologist. She submitted a doctoral thesis entitled ” Female Magic and sexuality in Kabylia : ethnopsychiatric study ” under the direction of Georges Devereux, EHESS in 1984. She is the author of two books; “Women’s war. Magic and Love in Algeria . ” ( The Box Documents, Paris , 1988) and ” The honor and bitterness. Ordinary fate of a Kabyle woman ” ( Baland , 1993). She is also author of several articles on the rites and beliefs Amazigh , particularly in Kabylia.


read more:

– Conférence-débat avec Nedjima Plantade Anthropologue Eros et Psyché : un conte amazigh devenu un mythe grec.

– Fiabe del Nordafrica, La fiaba nordafricana come elemento di conoscenza della società
e come veicolo di lingue e culture by Vermondo Brugnatelli

– Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis on wikipedia

– Cupid and Psyche on wikipedia

– Apuleius, Amazigh Philosopher and World Advocate

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