The ancient Greek animal fables of Aesop are familiar to many; indeed, one often equates "fable" and "Aesop". Yet there is a rich tradition of fables in the ancient Orient, which came to the Arab world and then also interested the Greek Mediterranean world. The learned Symeon Seth worked at the Byzantine court in the 11th century. In addition to writings on natural history, astronomy and medicine, he produced two influential works: an "A and O of Eating and Drinking" and a Greek version of the old Indian collection of fables "Kalila wa-Dimna", which came to Byzantium via Arabia. In dialogues and fables, a king is told what is best for a prosperous coexistence.
The first bilingual edition of Symeon Seth's book of fables has now been published by Kai Brodersen, Professor of Ancient Culture at the University of Erfurt. It makes it possible to read, in original text and translation, a work that had an enormous influence on modern concepts of the good social life.