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Syntipas (the Greek form of Sindibad or Sendabar) was an Indian philosopher supposed to have lived about 100 B.C., and the reputed author of a collection of tales known generally in Europe as The Story of the Seven Wise Masters.
They enjoyed immense popularity, and appeared in many Oriental and Western languages. A Greek translation (probably from a Syriac version), the earliest specimen of Romaic prose (nth century), is extant under the title of The most pleasing Story of Syntipas the Philosopher. It is preceded by an introduction in iambic verse by a certain Michael Andreopulos , who states that it was executed by order of Michael, probably the duke of Melitene in Armenia. The translator is evidently a Christian, although he has generally preserved the Oriental coloring.
The main outline is the same in the different versions, although they vary in detail and include different stories. A certain prince, who had taken a vow of silence for a time on the advice of his tutor, was tempted by his stepmother. Her advances having been rejected, she accused him to his father, who decided to put him to death. The device of the Arabian Nights is introduced by the wise men of the court, who in turn relate stories to dissuade the king from over-hasty punishment, each story being answered by the queen, who desires instant action to be taken. When the period of silence is over the prince speaks and establishes his innocence. In the Greek version the king is a king of Persia, named Cyrus, and Syntipas himself is the prince's tutor (text in A. Eberhard , Fabulae Romanenses, i., 1872, " Teubner Series").
For a discussion of the whole subject, see D. Comparetti, Ricerche intorno al libra di Sindibad (1869; Eng. trans. by H. C. Coote, Folk-Lore Society, 1882); W. A. Clouston, The Book of Sindibad (from the Persian and Arabic, 1884; from the Syriac, by H. Gollancz, 1897); J. C. Dunlop, History of Prose Fiction (new ed., 1888), vol. ii.; C. Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Lilt. (2nd ed., 1897). Sixty-two Aesopic fables, also translated from Syriac into Greek, are attributed to this same Syntipas (ed. C. F. Matthai, 1781).
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