Kalila and Dimna

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kalila and Dimna


a didactic literary work in Arabic and Persian. Kalila and Dimna goes back to the Indian Panchatantra, which was translated into Pahlavi in the sixth century and called Kalila and Dimna (after the two jackals that appear in the first chapter).

An Arabic version was produced in the eighth century by the Persian writer ibn al-Muqaffa; subsequently, it was often put into verse. Persian versifications include a tenth-century version by Rudaki (of which only fragments remain), a version by Nasral-lah Abu al-Maali in 1144, and one by Hoseyn Vaiz Kashifi in the 16th century, The Lights of Canopus.

In 1081, Simeon the son ofSeph translated the Syriac version of Kalila and Dimna into Greek under the title Stephanites kai Ichnelates (The Crowned and the Tracker, an erroneous reading of the Arabic names Kalila and Dimna); subsequently, an Old Church Slavonic version was made from the Greek version. In the 13th century the Arabic version was translated into Spanish and Hebrew. Other translations followed: Latin (14th century), German (1470), and later French, English, and (in 1762) Russian. There are also translations into Turkish, Uzbek, Tatar, Malayan, and other Eastern languages.

Stories from Kalila and Dimna have repeatedly been used in other literary works.


Kniga Kalîlah i Dimnah. Moscow, 1889. (Translated from Arabic by M. O. Attai and M. V. Riabinina.)
Kalila iDimna. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from Arabic by I. Iu. Krach-kovskii and I. P. Kuz’min, with an introduction and commentary byI. Iu. Krachkovskii.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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