Greek Wisdom Literature and the Middle Ages

The Lost Greek Models and Their Arabic and Castilian Translations – Translated from Spanish by Joyce Greer

by Francisco R. Adrados (Author)
©2009 Monographs XIV, 396 Pages
Series: Sapheneia, Volume 14


In 13th-century Toledo, King Alfonso the Wise fostered the publication of Castilian translations of certain Arabic works that had in turn been translated from Greek and Pehlvi. In this book, which is the revised English version of the Spanish original published under the title of Modelos griegos de la sabiduría castellana y europea, the author studies four of these Castilian translations – the Libro de los Buenos Proverbios, Poridad de las Poridades or Secreto de secretos, Bocados de Oro and Historia de la Donzella Teodor – works of sapiential literature that had an enormous influence in all of Europe. Their Arabic models had been translated from Greek in Bagdad at the instigation of the great caliphs of the 9th century and also in the Fatamid court at Cairo in the 11th century.
The traditional view is that this literature is simply of oriental origin, but the author believes that the models were Greek Byzantine works discovered by the Arabs in Syria and Egypt in the 7th and 8th centuries. Their true origin is to be found in the Greek sapiential literature that developed around the figures of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Alexander in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine schools of philosophy; its influence can frequently be found reflected in authors of Christian literature. A detailed study of themes, vocabulary and expressions in the works themselves confirms these origins.


XIV, 396
ISBN (Hardcover)
Griechisch Übersetzung Spanisch Geschichte 1200-1300 Ancient Greek Language Arabic Literature Medieval Latin Study Literary Translation Study Weisheitsliteratur Spanish Literature Ancient Greek Literature
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2009. XIV, 396 pp., 1 table

Biographical notes

Francisco R. Adrados (Author)

The Author: Francisco Rodríguez Adrados is emeritus professor of Greek Philology at the Complutense University of Madrid, a member of the Royal Academies of the Spanish Language and of History and Honorary President of the Spanish Society of Classical Studies and director of journals and scientific projects associated with the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. He continues to work in Indoeuropean and general linguistics, in archaic and classical Greek literature and related areas, always suggesting a new approach in outlining great general perspectives. He has translated some of the principal authors of classical Greece (Aeschylus, Thucydides, Aristophanes, etc.). His vast bibliography includes Orígenes de la lírica griega, Fiesta, comedia y tragedia, Manual de Lingüística Indoeuropea, Evolución y estructura del verbo indoeuropeo, Historia de la fábula greco-latina, Historia de la lengua griega and Historia de las lenguas de Europa.


Title: Greek Wisdom Literature and the Middle Ages