The 14th century Συναξάριον τοῦ τιμημένου Γαδάρου (in English: the Tale of the heroic donkey) could be described as an aitiological story. In medieval Greek there was a synonymous word, νικóν (nikón), which alternatively to the more common word γάδαρος (ghádharos) meant donkey. The word νικóν recalls the verb (nikó) and even reminds us of the homophonous participe derived from the same verb. The tale explains how the word νικóν came into being.
Due to a fatal error in the editio princeps by W. Wagner (Carmina Graeca medii aevi, 1874) the pointe of the Tale is not intellegible in the printed text. K. Tsantsanoglu in 1971 realised the problems of Wagner's edition, but his article did not lead to a re-evaluation of this fine piece of late-Byzantine literature.
The present article offers: a new edition of the Tale of the heroic donkey, based on a completely new reading of the single manuscripts that preserves it; a new reading of the texts, focussing on questions of rhetorics and literary genre; a full glossary, based on the new edition.