Summary: In adapting the Near-Eastern Tale of Ahiqar for a section of his own work, the
author of the Vita Aesopi gave the name of Nektanebo to the anonymous Egyptian Pharaoh
of his model. Nektanebo II (360-343 BC), the last native ruler of Egypt, had become a legendary
personage: several narratives were circulating about him from Hellenistic times onwards,
and they were still quite popular at the time the Vita was composed (first/second c.
AD). The figure of Nektanebo, as depicted in those narratives, presented a series of striking
correspondences with the Pharaoh’s character in the Tale of Ahiqar. The author of the Vita
presumably noticed those correspondences and was thereby induced to choose Nektanebo
for the role of the Pharaoh in his own adaptation. The author also borrowed from the
aforementioned narratives a number of circumstantial details and introduced them into his
adaptation of Ahiqar, in order to lend appropriate local colouring to the setting and action
of his Egyptian episodes.