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Scattered details of Aesop's life can be found in ancient sources, including Aristotle, Herodotus, and Plutarch. An ancient literary work called The Aesop Romance tells an episodic, probably highly fictional version of his life, including the traditional description of him as a strikingly ugly slave (δοῦλος) who by his cleverness acquires freedom and becomes an adviser to kings and city-states. Older spellings of his name have included Esop(e) and Isope. Depictions of Aesop in popular culture over the last 2500 years have included several works of art and his appearance as a character in numerous books, films, plays, and television programs.
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Aesop was probably a prisoner of war, sold into slavery in the early sixth century BCE, who represented his masters in court and negotiations and relied on animal stories to put across his key points. Such fables vividly reveal the strange superstitions of ordinary ancient Greeks, how they treated their pets, how they spoilt their sons and even what they kept in their larders. As these stories became well-known, 'Aesopic' one-liners were widely quoted at drinking-parties, and the collection eventually came to include more satirical tales of alien creatures - apes, camels, lions and elephants - which presumably originate in Libya and Egypt.
Aesop’s Fables is a collection of stories attributed to Aesop (c. 620-560 BCE), thought to have been a slave in ancient Greece. Aesop’s fables are generally short, feature animals talking and acting like humans, and are instructive, typically ending with a moral lesson.
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Passed down for thousands of years, Aesop’s Fables is a collection of moral stories by the famed storyteller from ancient Greece. Reprinted and translated thousands of times over the past two millennia, this collection represents some of the most widely known and famous children’s literature. Many of these fables bestow human traits upon animal characters and place them in human situations to highlight desirable and less desirable traits. Their intent, through the telling of these tales, is to teach readers important moral lessons such as Self-help is the best help” or Do not attempt too much all at once.”
Accompanied by beautiful color illustrations by renowned illustrator Milo Winter, this premiere collection of Aesop’s Favorite Fables is sure to ignite young imaginations and educate readers about virtue, kindness, integrity, problem-solving, happiness, and what it means to be human.
The fables of Aesop have become one of the most enduring traditions of European culture, ever since they were first written down nearly two millennia ago. Aesop was reputedly a tongue-tied slave who miraculously received the power of speech; from his legendary storytelling came the collections of prose and verse fables scattered throughout Greek and Roman literature. First published in English by Caxton in 1484, the fables and their morals continue to charm modern readers: who does not know
the story of the tortoise and the hare, or the boy who cried wolf?
This new translation is the first to represent all the main fable collections in ancient Latin and Greek, arranged according to the fables' contents and themes. It includes 600 fables, many of which come from sources never before translated into English.
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In a series of pithy, amusing vignettes, Aesop created a vivid cast of characters to demonstrate different aspects of human nature. Here we see a wily fox outwitted by a quick-thinking cicada, a tortoise triumphing over a self-confident hare and a fable-teller named Aesop silencing those who mock him. Each jewel-like fable provides a warning about the consequences of wrong-doing, as well as offering a glimpse into the everyday lives of Ancient Greeks.
The fables originally belonged to the oral tradition and were not collected for some three centuries after Aesop's death. By that time a variety of other stories, jokes and proverbs were being ascribed to him, although some of that material was from sources earlier than him or came from beyond the Greek cultural sphere. The process of inclusion has continued until the present, with some of the fables unrecorded before the Late Middle Ages and others arriving from outside Europe. The process is continuous and new stories are still being added to the Aesop corpus, even when they are demonstrably more recent work and sometimes from known authors.