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The Revolt of the Mice

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The tale of the war of the mice against the cat has a history of several thousands of years. First known from ancient Egypt, it was wide-spread in Classical antiquity, would remain popular in the Near East until modern times, and also was widely known in Europe in medieval and early modern times in paintings, prints, songs, and mock-epics. In China the most popular tale on the antagonism of mice and cats was the tale of their underworld court case. Starting from the first half of the nineteenth century, some versions of that tale also include an account of the war between the two species. Only one stand-alone treatment of the theme is known from an edition of the 1920s. In Japan the theme of the war of the mice against the cats also makes its first appearance in print in the first half of the nineteenth century. No direct foreign influence can be discerned in the emergence of this theme in either country.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 31, 2018

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