Aesop's Fables: A New Translation
Aesop (c620-560 BC), known only for the genre of fables ascribed to him, was by tradition a slave who was a contemporary of Croesus and Peisistratus in the mid-sixth century BC in ancient Greece. The various collections that go under the rubric Aesop's Fables are still taught as moral lessons and used as subjects for various entertainments, especially children's plays and cartoons. Most of what are known as Aesopic fables is a compilation of tales from various sources, many of which originated with authors who lived long before Aesop. Aesop himself is said to have composed many fables, which were passed down by oral tradition. Socrates was thought to have spent his time turning Aesop's fables into verse while he was in prison. Demetrius Phalereus, another Greek philosopher, made the first collection of these fables around 300 BC. This was later translated into Latin by Phaedrus, a slave himself, around 25 BC. The fables from these two collections were soon brought together and were eventually retranslated into Greek by Babrius around A. D. 230. Many additional fables were included, and the collection was in turn translated to Arabic and Hebrew, further enriched by additional fables from these cultures.
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