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The cultural context of the translation of Calila E Dimna

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Chapter Summary

This chapter locates the translation of Kalīla into Castilian in its political and cultural context, focusing on the importance of translation in the development of the emergent Castilian literature and culture of the late Middle Ages. It demonstrates that one of the chief reasons for the successful reception of Calila is that its moral didactic program was compatible with the experience of Christian Castilian audiences, despite the work's origin in a Muslim, Arabic milieu. The study of Calila e Dimna in the cultural and political context of its translation touches on some of the most fundamental problems of the study of medieval Iberia. One of the reasons that Calila has been so portable across cultures is that it does not promote an ethical or moral system specific to any one religion or culture.

Keywords: Calila e Dimna; Christian Castilian audiences; Kalīla; medieval Iberia



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