Panchatantra (pŭnˌchətŭnˈtrə) [key] [Sanskrit, = five treatises], anonymous collection of animal fables in Sanskrit literature, probably compiled before A.D. 500 (see Bidpai). The work, derived from Buddhistic sources, was intended as a manual for the instruction of sons of the royalty. The fables are in prose, with interspersions of aphoristic verse. The stories in the Panchatantra appear to have entered European literature circuitously through an Arabic version (c.A.D. 750) of the translation into Syriac of the Pahlavi (literary Persian) translation (c.A.D. 550) from the original. A variant spelling is Pancatantra.

See the translation from the Sanskrit by A. W. Ryder (1925, repr. 1956).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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