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Document Details :
Title: The making of a Syriac Fable
Subtitle: From Ephrem to Romanos
Author(s): PAPOUTSAKIS, E.
Journal: Le Muséon
Volume: 120 Issue: 1-2 Date: 2007
In the Hymn on Nativity VI, strophes 19-20, Ephrem launched the motif of the antagonism between the Lion and the Fox as a polemic against Julian the Apostate. He attacked the pagan emperor indirectly, by focusing on Herod the Great, who mirrored Julian. In the late fifth and early sixth centuries, the fable about the Lion and the Fox was recycled in the Syriac-speaking milieu to resurface in sixth-century Constantinople with Romanos the Melodist. Romanos, a bilingual Emesene who wrote in Greek but was familiar with earlier developments in his native Syriac literary tradition, received that motif from the anti-Chalcedonian poet Jacob of Serugh, and, well aware of its connotations, he aptly employed it in a subtle polemic against Justinian.