Anonymous, The Middle English Seven Sages of Rome

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Though rarely treated in Anglophone scholarship,

The Seven Sages of Rome

was a medieval multilingual bestseller, one of the most popular narratives in premodern literature. Versions of

The Seven Sages

frame story and inset tales appear in almost every European language in the medieval period, variously titled

The Seven Wise Masters,Historia Septem Sapientum, Roman des Sept Sages, The Book of Sindbād, Dolopathos,


Syntipas the Philosopher,

among others. Part of the broad tradition of wisdom literature, or “mirror for princes”, the inset stories in

The Seven Sages

are designed to function as moral parables, while the premise of the frame, a storytelling contest used to adjudicate an accusation of rape, works as metatextual “proof” of the power of such narratives. In the frame…

3825 words

Citation: Bonsall, Jane. "The Middle English Seven Sages of Rome". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 April 2024 [, accessed 26 May 2024.]

41307 The Middle English Seven Sages of Rome 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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