Thursday, February 19, 2009

AD: Fables of Bidpai to "The Seafarer."

Bidpai. India. AD 400. Fables. Panchatantra (Book of Five Chapters). Fables in Sanskrit for the edification of the Indian king’s sons.

Visakhadatta. India. AD 400. Play. Mudraraksasa (The Minister’s Signet Ring). Absence of any central female character. Clash between wily and loyal ministers in the government.

St. Augustine. Roman. 413/425. Treatise. The City of God. Apology for Christianity against the accusation that the Church was responsible for the decline of the Roman Empire.

Boethius. Roman. 524. Nonfiction. The Consolation of Philosophy. Written while in prison awaiting execution. Dialogue in alternating prose and verse with a majestic woman. Neo-Platonism, stoicism. Unreality of earthly fortunes. Highest good is happiness in God. Reconciles apparent contradiction between the existence of evil if God is all good and powerful and the existence of man’s free will if God has foreknowledge of everything.

Anonymous. British. 700. Poetry. “The Seafarer.” Alliterative. The joys and sorrows of life at sea and the pleasures of earth compared to those of Heaven.

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