The anonymous author of a late-antique treatise on herbal therapies known as the Herbarius is traditionally called “Pseudo-Apuleius”; less commonly, he is given the name “Apuleius Barbarus” or “Apuleius Platonicus”, the latter being attested in the manuscript tradition through a prefatory letter that the author addressed to his fellow citizens (Apuleius Platonicus ad cives suos). The origin of the formula “Pseudo-Apuleius” as a means of refering to this author is Howald and Sigerist’s edition, which was entitled Pseudoapulei Herbarius.
The Herbarius is not the only work falsely attributed to Apuleius of Madaura, the famous North African philosopher, rhetorician, and scholar of the 2nd c. AD. Other texts with a similar focus reproduce the same formula of false attribution, e.g. the treatises De herbis Gallieni et Apulei et Chironis and De remediis salutaribus; a collection of excerpta from Pliny’s Natural History transmitted by codex Paris BnF lat. 10318; or the Sphaera Apulei, a numerological table that allowed one to calculate if a sick person would recover or perish.
Taking for granted that the attribution was initially made to increase the work’s apparent authority through a connection to an established auctor, yet numerous hypotheses have been advanced to explain why this type of work might first have been attributed to Apuleius, but they have generally been weak or lacking in any real foundation; among the more tenable - and deserving of special attention - is Voigts’ theory that emphasizes the connection between Apuleius and Aesculapius, the tutelary deity of medicine. [D. Paniagua; tr. C. L. Caterine].