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Why does Apuleius reference Pythagoras at the opening of the Metamorphoses' final book? Drawing on Pythagoreanism's importance to Plutarch and Apuleius, I suggest that Pythagoras signals Book 11's overarching theme and tone. Thematically, Apuleius uses Pythagorean metempsychosis to connect Lucius' quest for recognition as a human in asinine "form" (figura) with his later inability to access Isiac wisdom hidden by hieroglyphic animal "characters" (figurae). Tonally, Apuleius builds on the ambiguity of parody and sincerity in Pythagoras' speech in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Couched in a set of Egyptian and Pythagorean topoi, Lucius' reinterpretation of his metamorphic adventures hovers between profundity and absurdity.