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(ē`səp, ē`sŏp), legendary Greek fabulist. According to Herodotus, he was a slave who lived in Samos in the 6th cent. B.C. and eventually was freed by his master. Other accounts associate him with many wild adventures and connect him with such rulers as Solon and Croesus. The fables called Aesop's fables were preserved principally through BabriusBabrius
, fl. 2d cent.?, Greek fabulist, versifier of the fables of Aesop. Many of the medieval prose collections of Aesop were based on Babrius. He may have been a Hellenized Roman.
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, PhaedrusPhaedrus
, fl. 1st cent. A.D., Latin writer, a Thracian slave, possibly a freedman of Augustus. He wrote fables in verse based largely on those of Aesop. The prose collections of fables that were popular throughout Western Europe in the Middle Ages were probably derived from Phaedrus.
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, Planudes MaximusPlanudes Maximus
or Maximus Planudes,
c.1260–c.1330, Byzantine scholar, an exceptionally learned monk. His edition of the Greek Anthology was long the standard. His prose collection of Aesop's Fables is outstanding.
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, and La FontaineLa Fontaine, Jean de
, 1621–95, French poet, whose celebrated fables place him among the masters of world literature. He was born at Château-Thierry to a bourgeois family. A restless dilettante as a youth, he settled at last in Paris.
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's verse translations. The most famous of these fables include "The Fox and the Grapes" and "The Tortoise and the Hare." See fablefable,
brief allegorical narrative, in verse or prose, illustrating a moral thesis or satirizing human beings. The characters of a fable are usually animals who talk and act like people while retaining their animal traits.
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Greek author of fables in the sixth century B.C. According to legend, Aesop was a Phrygian freedman who was employed at the court of the Lydian king Croesus and died a violent death in Delphi. Biographical information on Aesop is drawn from legend.

Aesop has been credited with supplying the themes of most of the fables known in antiquity. Short written versions of these fables were collected in the fourth and third centuries B.C.; more than 300 fables with short “morals” appear in many later manuscripts ranging in time from the tenth to the 15th century. Ideologically, Aesop’s fables are skeptical and pessimistic; their protagonists—mainly animals—are avowedly conventional figures, the narrative is concise and straightforward, and the language is simple and close to the colloquial. Aesop’s fables are the basic source of themes for the European literary fable from Phaedrus and Babrius to La Fontaine and I. A. Krylov.


Aesopica, vol. 1. Edited by B. E. Perry. Urbana, 1952.
In Russian translation:
Basni Esopa. Moscow, 1968.


Gasparov, M. L. Antichnye literaturnye basni, Moscow, 1971.
Nøjgaard, M. La Fable antique, vol. 1. Copenhagen, 1964.



semi-legendary fabulist of ancient Greece. [Gk. Lit.: Harvey, 10]


?620--564 bc, Greek author of fables in which animals are given human characters and used to satirize human failings


References in periodicals archive ?
It is not just the motto inscribed above the logo of the Progressive Labor Party that tells one its objective is "communism," but also the Aesopian use of the clenched fist as its graphic logo.
We know from Liu Xie that hinting in highly aestheticized classical Chinese poetry could have a sharply political use; on the other hand, Losev quotes Anton Chekhov's praise of an Aesopian story by Shchedrin, in which his aesthetic pleasure at the piece's daring is palpable: "A charming piece.
It is unfortunate that I cannot find the Aesopian fable which might have served as the inspiration for these two lines of verse, but from theses we can at least affirm that some of Socrates' versifying was done on the basis of fables bearing on unjust convictions and virtue in general.
But while the Aesopian Greek hares are told they must tighten their belts and make do with less health and education, the fact that the Greek arms imports continue to grow -- importing German weapons and "defence" systems (against what threat?
Stripped of Aesopian verbiage, this means, "Charity starts at home.
The protagonist of this Aesopian form here is the wily spider, Ananse.
This lively picturebook taps into that age old Aesopian theme: one creature's favourite food may be highly unappetising for another.
This vision represented a dramatic departure from 'non-racialism', even though expressed in an Aesopian way.
Lioudmila Savinitch, who analysed the use of Aesopian language in the Russian press of the 19th century defines the Aesopian language as
The aristocratic hog is here superimposed over the stock character of Aesopian fables, the non-industrious braggart.