Other Roman Writers of Jesus’s Day Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein Many Roman writers of Jesus’s day who showed the Hellenistic influence were wonderful craftsmen, and their works have found a niche in our psyche in the modern period through being reworked in one way or another. In their originals, however, they show a worldliness that was missing from the Hellenic myths we studied earlier, and they display yet another side of human consciousness in their appeal because most of them utilize romance and in some cases magical paraphernalia. Most of the tales of lovers from this period were recorded by the poet Ovid. As Hamilton points out, Ovid tells the tales prettily, but it’s clear he believes none of the magic in them. The more important ones are as follows: “Pyramus and Thisbe”—retold by Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “Orpheus and Euridyce”—yet another trip underground, with a story that has been used by a number of writers since the Renaissance. “Pygmalion and Galatea”—the basis for Shaw’s play Pygmalion, and of course, that became the basis for the musical My Fair Lady. “Baucis and Philemon”—a tale of entertaining “angels unaware.” “Endymion”—this story of a shepherd beloved and put to eternal sleep by the goddess of the moon was retold by the poet Keats, among other later writers. The story of “Cupid and Psyche” appears in The Golden Ass by Lucius Apuleius. The book is a rather raunchy look at Roman lust, bestiality, and the transplanted cult of the Egyptian goddess Isis, which made a comeback during the Roman period, but it also contains the beautiful story of the love between the god of love Cupid and the human woman Psyche, whose name means “soul.” Thus, it is on one level an allegorical tale of how the soul must undergo trials and tribulations in its seeking of divine love. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily