The Motif of Wisdom in the Byzantine ‘Book of Syntipas the Philosopher’

  • Ida Toth (Autor/in)


The Book of Syntipas the Philosopher’ (‘BSP’) was translated from Syriac into Greek during the last decades of the 11th century. The prologue implicitly situates this work within didactic court literature. Much of the ‘BSP’ unfolds in a manner common to all Eastern versions, with two distinctive sections – the Ten Ethical Chapters and the Twenty Questions and Answers on Kingship, Morality, and Fate–being more elaborate than in any other surviving tradition. Their topics additionally emphasise the didactic character of this work by elabo­rating on the importance of philosophical instruction and ethical life. This paper focuses on the motif of wisdom and examines its impact on the architecture, narrative motivation, and character formation of the ‘BSP’. It also considers possible resonances of this topos for Byzantine reading audiences.

Keywords Syntipas; Greek; Byzantine; Frame; Subplots