Votes No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post. Tags: Animals - Education - Literature - Manuscripts - Paul Lunde - One of the most popular books ever written is the book the Arabs know as Kalila wa-Dimna, a bestseller for almost two thousand years, and a book still read with pleasure all over the world. It has been translated at least times into 50 different languages.
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Votes No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post. Tags: Animals - Education - Literature - Manuscripts - Paul Lunde - One of the most popular books ever written is the book the Arabs know as Kalila wa-Dimna, a bestseller for almost two thousand years, and a book still read with pleasure all over the world.
It has been translated at least times into 50 different languages. In this article, Paul Lunde biefly presents Kalila wa-Dimna origins and characterizes its content. We republish it with new illustrations and further readings. Manuscript dated circa CE, Syria. Kalila and Dimna was originally written in Sanskrit, probably in Kashmir, some time in the fourth century CE. Afraid to entrust his kingdom to sons unable to master the most elementary lessons, the king turned over the problem to his wise wazir, and the wazir wrote the Panchatantra, which concealed great practical wisdom in the easily digestible form of animal fables.
Six months later the princes were on the road to wisdom and later ruled judiciously. Two hundred years after that, a Persian shah sent his personal physician, Burzoe, to India to find a certain herb rumored to bestow eternal life upon him who partook of it. Burzoe returned with a copy of the Panchatantra instead, which he claimed was just as good as the miraculous herb, for it would bestow great wisdom on the reader.
The shah had Burzoe translate it into Pehlavi, a form of Old Persian, and liked it so much that he enshrined the translation in a special room of his palace. Called Kalila and Dimna, after the two jackals who are the main characters, the book was written mainly for the instruction of civil servants. It was so entertaining, however, that it proved popular with all classes, entered the folklore of the Muslim world, and was carried by the Arabs to Spain. There it was translated into Old Spanish in the 13th century.
In Italy it was one of the first books to appear after the invention of printing. Syrian manuscript. Later it was also translated into Greek and then that version into Latin, Old Church Slavic, German and other languages. In the 19th century it was translated into Hindustani, thus completing the circle begun 1, years before in Kashmir. Not all versions were simple translations.
The book was expanded, abridged, versified, disfigured and enhanced by a seemingly endless series of translators—to which I now add one more: me. In the middle of the swamp was a city called Aydazinun. The city enjoyed many natural advantages and its people were prosperous and could afford to enjoy themselves however they liked. Now there was a mouse in that city called Mahraz, and he ruled over all the other mice in the city and in the surrounding countryside.
He had three wazirs to advise him in his affairs. Although we have many comforts and good things in our lives, our fear of the cats has taken the savor out of everything. I wish all three of you would give me the benefit of your advice about how to solve this problem. What do you think we ought to do? In my opinion, we should emigrate from the city and dwell in the country for a year until the people of the city think that they can dispense with the cats who are eating them out of house and home.
Then we can safely return to the city and live forever without worrying about cats. This book of animal fables with a moral and a political message became, and still is, immensely popular, and was a landmark in the development of Arabic literary prose in the Golden Age of Islam.
And what about the difficulties we will experience? The wilderness is full of wild animals that like to eat mice, and they will do us a lot more harm than do the cats. The king should summon all the mice in the city and in the suburbs and order them to construct a tunnel in the house of the richest man in the city, and to store up enough food for ten days. Have them make doors in the tunnel that lead to every room in the house. Instead, we will concentrate on damaging his clothes, beds, and carpets.
And he will go get another cat. When he has done that, we will increase the amount of damage that we do, really tearing his clothes to pieces.
Again he will decide to get another cat. And then we will increase the damage threefold. That should make him stop and think. The more cats I get, the more mice there seem to he. So then he will try an experiment. He will get rid of one of the cats. Immediately, we will lessen the amount of damage that we do by a third. And he will get rid of another cat. And we will again decrease the amount of damage by a third. Then the light will dawn on him.
When he gets rid of the third cat, we will stop our destruction completely. Then the man will think that he has made a great discovery. Kalila visits the captive Dimna folio 56a ; b. Lion attacking a Bull folio 46b. So the king followed the advice of the third wazir and before very long not a cat remained in the city. Holsteiniano prodit, cum versione nova Latina. Resources and further readings Editions And Translations Thomas North, The morall philosophie of Doni drawne out of the auncient writers.
A worke first compiled in the Indian tongue, and afterwardes reduced into diuers other languages: and now lastly englished out of Italian by Thomas North, brother to the right Honorable Sir Roger North Knight, Lorde North of Kyrtheling. Published by Henry Denham in London, Penzer , The ocean of story, being C.
Ranelagh, The Past We Share. Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights. A search of Morocco through its stories and storytellers, Doubleday, New York, Abdallah Ibn al-Muqaffa, Kalilah et Dimnah. Edited by P. Louis Cheiko. Beirut: Imprimerie Catholique, , 3rd edition. Calila e Dimna. Madrid: Editorial Castalia, El libro de Calila e Digna.
Madrid Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Latham, J. Julia Ashtiany, et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , pp. Parker, Margaret. Miami, FL: Ediciones Universal, Penzol, Pedro. Madrid,: Impr. Perez, Shaw, Sandra. Wacks, David A.
Kalīla wa Dimna
Authorship[ edit ] This story has arrived to us through two manuscripts named as A and B. In the last part of the first one from the first third of the 15th century it is said that the book "was translated from Arabic to Latin , later it was Romanised by order of don Alfonso in ". The fact that Alfonso is called "infante" he was crowned in leads to set the date of composition in what would convert the book into the first prose-fiction work written in the Iberian Peninsula. Structure[ edit ] The main structure of the work is the narrative frame the conversation between the king Dabshalem and the alguacil-philosopher Burduben.
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