The "Entertaining Tale" is an engaging, high-spirited fable in a genre that runs from Aesop to Orwell's "Animal Farm" and the musical "The Lion King". All the animals come together to debate their merits in a state of truce; but just like humans and human kingdoms, all they can do is boast and hurl insults at each other, until the truce is dissolved and the beasts revert to nature. The "Tale" carries an unexpected sting: in the final battle, it is the peace-loving tame animals that win out. A political moral here? Perhaps. The editors, Nick Nicholas and George Baloglou, have done a wonderful job. From contrasting backgrounds, and based on different continents, they have been brought together in what amounts to a stupendous labour of love. The "Tale" is presented (bravely, but with good justification) translated into fluent English blank verse, with the original Greek text alongside. The introduction and commentary cover everything that the specialist longs to see covered adequately in a text of this sort, while being at the same time fully accessible and informative to the layman. Indeed, after the heroic epic of Digenes Akrites, this is the only text in medieval vernacular Greek to benefit from a scholarly bilingual edition to date. The publishers are to be congratulated for taking it on. It deserves a wide readership, as well as the gratitude of specialists.



- Roderick Beaton, Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature, King's College London, Author of The Medieval Greek Romance (2nd ed. revd, 1996)



Additional (back cover) comments by Judith Herrin, Manolis Papathomopoulos, and Patrick Murphy here