Monday, March 31, 2014

Greeks Amalgamated Eastern Sage, Ahikar (Ahiqar), with Aesop


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1. Ahiqar, Aesop and the Vita -Author

There was a series of similarities between the figures of Ahiqar and Aesop, probably originating in a common repository of narrative motifs and gnomicmaterial widespread in the Eastern Mediterranean. These analogies facilitated comparison and rapprochement of the two heroes, as soon as Ahiqar’s story became known to the Greek world in early Hellenistic times. Both Ahiqar and Aesop were narrators of fables, using them for admonitory as well as censorious purposes. Ahiqar addressed such parables to his adoptive son, in order to teach him wisdom and correct behaviour (thus in the version of Elephantine) or to reprove him for his perfidy (thus in later versions). Correspondingly, Aesop employed his fables as a vehicle of political advice to the Samians or of blame against the Delphians and their insidious accusations. Further, both Ahiqar and Aesop appeared in the role of the innocent man falling victim to a treacherous scheme, unjustly persecuted and condemned on false charges. Thus, both underwent a kind of “death and resurrection” experience: Ahiqar was hidden in an underground crypt, much like a grave, until he was rehabilitated and returned to light again. Aesop was put to death, but his soul came back to life. In both cases, justice was restored in the end, and the people responsible for the hero’s persecution (respectively Nadin and the Delphians) were punished.






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