This method for teaching children to read finds its origins in classical antiquity in nearly all its elements: the thorough learning of the alphabet at the outset, followed by most or all basic syllables; the introduction of monosyllabic and polysyllabic words (as in Dixons work, the breaks between syllables were clearly marked); exercises in reading by means of single sentences and anecdotes chosen for their high moral content; and more advanced reading that involved, above all, selections from Homer's Iliad or Odyssey (the latter less frequently); fables (of Aesop or Babrius
) were sometimes included.
Among the topics are Diomedes' foot wound and Homeric reception of myth, a diachronic metapoetics of reception: Homeric kleos and Biblical zera, the professional mourner and singer of spells: a diachronic approach to Euripides' Bacchae, splitting the inheritance of spite: Dio and Babrius
on iambic poetics, cultural change and the Greek perception of it: exegi monumentum aere perennius (Horace, Odes 3.30.1), and diachronic parameters of Athenian pederasty.
and Phaedrus, xxxiv: West, East Face of Helicon, 502-4.
's retelling at 131, the young man's words, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], exactly echo (or even model, if Babrius
uses a traditional diction and scenario) those of the first figure on the vase.
(14) If we delve back as far as we can, however, the earliest version of this pattern of fable in question is found in Babrius
' Mythiambi Aesopei, which is also the earliest surviving collection of Aesopic tales, and dates between the late first and early second century CE.
9,4-5 (elephants), Babrius
80,3-4 (camels), Lucian Pisc.
But in the subsequent discus-sion, Page argued that there was no antithesis and that the words meant 'follow where the fox leads', as in Babrius
' fable 95.
Much of his work has focused on Hellenistic poetry (especially that of Callimachus); he has also written on Babrius
, Gregory of Nazianzus, Ovid, Juvenal, and Colluthus and has investigated linguistic usage, theophany, the relationship of the Cynics to early Christianity, polar bears in antiquity, and E.M.
Perry points out in the "Introduction" to his edition of Babrius
and Phaedrus, is not the actual Thracian slave manumitted circa the sixth century B.C.E., but the body of apologues traditionally attributed to this near mythic figure on the basis of his renown as a storyteller.
The sixth century BC date of these instances is, however, debatable not only because of the question surrounding the historicity of Aesop himself, let alone his actual authorship of the fables in question, but because the present text of these and many other fables of the corpus stems from the hand of the otherwise unknown hellenized Roman Valerius Babrius
, who lived and worked in the second century An.
The translation is (slightly adapted) from Babrius
and Phaedrus, ed.
A similar extension of range marks the work of the Hellenized Roman Babrius
, writing in the 2nd century AD.