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Aesop’s Fablesor the Aesopicais a collection of fables credited to Aesopa slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between and BCE.
Of diverse origins, the stories associated with his name have descended to modern times through a number of sources and continue to be reinterpreted in different verbal registers and in popular as well as artistic media.
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 fabwln sphere.
The process of inclusion aesip continued until the present, with some of the fables unrecorded before the later Middle Ages and others arriving from outside Europe.
Aesop’s Fables – Wikipedia
The process is continuous and new stories are still being added to the Aesop corpus, even aesoop they are demonstrably more recent work and sometimes from known authors. Manuscripts in Latin and Greek were important avenues of transmission, although poetical treatments in European faabeln eventually formed another. On the arrival of printing, collections of Aesop’s fables were among the earliest books in a variety of languages. Through the means of later collections, and translations or adaptations of them, Aesop’s reputation as a fabulist was transmitted throughout the world.
Initially the fables were addressed to adults and covered religious, social and political themes. They were also put to use as ethical guides and from the Renaissance onwards were particularly used for the education of children. Their ethical dimension was reinforced in the adult world through depiction in sculpture, painting and other illustrative means, as well as adaptation to drama and song.
In addition, there have been reinterpretations of the meaning of fables and changes in emphasis over time. Apollonius of Tyanaa 1st-century CE philosopheris recorded as having said about Aesop:. Then, too, he was really more attached to truth than the poets are; for the latter do violence to their own stories in order to make them probable; but he by announcing a story which everyone knows not to be true, told the truth by the very fact that he did not claim to be relating real events.
Nonetheless, for two main reasons — because numerous morals within Aesop’s attributed fables contradict each other, and because ancient accounts of Aesop’s life contradict faveln other — the modern view is that Aesop was not the originator of all those fables attributed to him. In Classical times there were various theorists who tried to differentiate these fables from other kinds of narration.
They had to be short and unaffected;  in addition, they are fictitious, useful to life and true to nature. Typically they might begin with a contextual introduction, followed by the story, often with the moral underlined at the end. Setting the context was often necessary as a guide to the story’s interpretation, as in the case of the political meaning of The Frogs Who Desired a King and The Frogs and the Fabeeln.
Sometimes the titles given later to the fables have become proverbial, as in the case of killing the Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs or the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.
In fact some fables, such as The Young Man and the Swallowappear to have been invented as illustrations of already existing proverbs. One theorist, indeed, went so far as fabeon define fables as extended proverbs. Other fables, also verging on this function, are outright jokes, as in the case of The Old Woman and fzbeln Doctoraimed at greedy practitioners of medicine.
The contradictions between fables already mentioned and alternative versions of much the same fable — as in the case of The Woodcutter and the Treesare best explained by the ascription to Aesop of all examples of the genre. Some are demonstrably of Aedop Asian origin, others have analogues further to the East. Modern scholarship reveals fables and proverbs of Aesopic form existing in both ancient Sumer and Akkadas early as the third millennium BCE.
There is some debate over whether the Greeks learned these fables from Indian storytellers or the other way, or if the influences were mutual. Loeb editor Ben E.
Perry took the extreme position in his book Babrius and Phaedrus that. Although Aesop and the Buddha were near contemporaries, the stories of neither were recorded in writing until some centuries after their death. Few disinterested scholars would now be prepared to faebln so absolute a stand as Perry about their origin in view of the conflicting and still emerging evidence.
When and how the fables arrived in and travelled from ancient Greece remains uncertain. Some cannot be dated any earlier than Babrius and Phaedrusseveral centuries after Aesop, and yet others even later. The earliest mentioned collection was by Demetrius of Phaleruman Athenian aedop and statesman of the 4th century BCE, who compiled the fables into a set of ten books for the use of orators.
A follower of Aristotle, he simply catalogued all the fables that earlier Greek writers had used in isolation as exempla, putting them into prose. At least it was evidence of what was attributed to Aesop by others; but this may have included any ascription to him aeso; the oral tradition in the way of animal fables, fictitious anecdotes, etiological or satirical myths, possibly even any proverb or joke, that these writers transmitted. It is more a proof of the power of Aesop’s name to attract such stories to it than evidence of his actual authorship.
In any case, although the work of Demetrius was mentioned frequently for the next twelve centuries, sesop was considered the official Aesop, no copy now survives. Present day collections evolved from the later Greek version of Babriusof which there now exists an incomplete manuscript of some xesop in choliambic verse.
Current opinion is that he lived in the 1st century CE. Further light is thrown on the entry of Oriental stories into the Aesopic canon by their appearance in Jewish commentaries on the Talmud and in Midrashic literature from the 1st century CE. There is a comparative list of these on the Jewish Encyclopedia website  of which twelve resemble those that are common to both Greek and Indian sources, six are parallel to those only in Indian sources, and six others in Greek only.
Where similar fabelh exist in Greece, India, and in the Talmud, the Talmudic form approaches more nearly the Indian. Thus, the fable ” The Wolf and the Crane ” is told in India of a lion and faveln bird. When Joshua ben Hananiah told that fable to the Jews, to prevent their rebelling against Rome and once more putting their heads into the lion’s jaws Gen. The first extensive translation of Aesop into Latin iambic trimeters was performed by Phaedrusa freedman of Augustus in the 1st century CE, although at least one fable had already been translated by the poet Ennius two centuries before, and others are referred to in the work of Horace.
The rhetorician Aphthonius of Antioch wrote a technical treatise on, and converted into Latin prose, some forty of these fables in It is notable as illustrating contemporary and later usage of fables in rhetorical practice. Teachers of philosophy and rhetoric often set the fables of Aesop as an exercise for their scholars, inviting them not only to discuss the moral of the tale, but also to practise style and the rules of grammar by making new versions of their own.
A little later the poet Ausonius handed down some of these fables in verse, which the writer Julianus Titianus translated into prose, and in the early 5th century Avianus put 42 of these fables into Latin elegiacs.
The largest, oldest known and most influential of the prose versions of Phaedrus bears the name of an otherwise unknown fabulist named Romulus. It contains 83 fables, dates from the 10th century and seems to have been based on an earlier prose version which, under the name of “Aesop” and addressed to one Rufus, may have been written in the Carolingian period or even earlier.
The collection became the source from which, during the second half of the Middle Ages, almost all the collections of Latin fables in prose and verse were wholly or partially drawn.
A version of the first three books of Romulus in elegiac verse, possibly made around the 12th century, was one of the most highly aeskp texts in medieval Europe. Referred to variously among other titles as the verse Romulus or elegiac Romulus, and ascribed to Gualterus Anglicusit was a common Latin teaching text and was popular well into the Renaissance. Interpretive “translations” of the elegiac Romulus were very common in Europe in the Middle Ages.
Among the earliest was one in the 11th century by Ademar of Chabanneswhich includes some new material. This was followed by a prose collection of parables by the Cistercian preacher Odo of Cheriton around where the fables many of which are not Aesopic are given a strong medieval and clerical tinge. This interpretive tendency, and the inclusion of yet more non-Aesopic material, was to grow as versions in the various European vernaculars began to appear in the following centuries.
With the zesop of literary Latin during the Renaissance, authors began compiling collections of fables in which those traditionally by Aesop and those aesp other sources appeared side by side. One of the earliest was by Lorenzo Bevilaqua, also known as Laurentius Abstemiuswho wrote fables,  the first hundred of which were published as Hecatomythium fabelln Little by Aesop was included. At the most, some traditional fables are adapted and reinterpreted: The Lion and the Mouse is continued and given a new ending fable 52 ; The Oak and the Reed becomes “The Elm and the Willow” 53 aeesop The Ant and the Grasshopper is adapted as “The Gnat and the Bee” 94 with the difference that the gnat offers to teach music to the bee’s children.
There are also Mediaeval tales such as The Mice in Council and stories created to support popular proverbs such as ‘ Still Waters Run Deep ‘ 5 and ‘A woman, an ass and a walnut tree’ 65where the latter refers back to Aesop’s fable of The Walnut Tree.
Most of the fables in Hecatomythium were later translated in the second half of Roger L’Estrange ‘s Fables of Aesop and other eminent mythologists ;  some also appeared among the in H.
Clarke’s Latin reader, Select fables of Aesop: There were later three notable collections of fables in verse, among which the most influential was Gabriele Faerno ‘s Centum Fabulae The majority of the hundred fables there are Fabekn but there are also humorous tales such as The drowned woman and her husband 41 and The miller, his son and the donkey In the same year that Faerno was published in Italy, Hieronymus Osius brought out a collection of fables titled Fabulae Aesopi carmine elegiaco redditae in Germany.
It also includes the earliest instance of The Lion, the Bear and the Fox 60 in a language other than Greek. For the most part the poems are confined to a lean telling of the fable without drawing a moral. For many centuries the main transmission of Aesop’s fables across Europe remained in Latin or else orally in various vernaculars, where they mixed with folk tales derived from other sources. This mixing is often apparent in early vernacular collections of fables in mediaeval times.
The main impetus behind the translation of large collections fxbeln fables attributed to Aesop and translated into European languages came from an early printed publication in Germany. This contained both Latin versions and German translations and also included a translation of Rinuccio da Castiglione or d’Arezzo ‘s version from the Greek of a life of Aesop The Spanish version ofLa vida del Ysopet con sus fabulas hystoriadas was equally successful and often reprinted in both the Old and New World through three centuries.
Some fables were later treated creatively in collections of their own by authors in such a way that they became associated with their names rather than Aesop’s. The most celebrated were La Fontaine’s Fablespublished in French during the later 17th century. Inspired by the brevity and simplicity of Aesop’s,  those in the first vabeln books were heavily dependent on traditional Aesopic material; fables in the next six were more diffuse and diverse in origin.
Translations into Asian languages at a very early date derive originally from Greek sources. Included there were several other tales of possibly West Asian origin. After the Middle Ages, fables largely deriving from Latin sources were passed on by Europeans as part of their colonial or missionary enterprises. The work of a native translator, it adapted the stories to fit the Mexican environment, incorporating Aztec concepts and fablen and making them rhetorically more subtle than their Latin source.
Portuguese missionaries arriving in Japan at the end of aeso 16th century introduced Japan to the fables when a Latin edition was translated into romanized Japanese.
The title was Esopo no Fabulas and dates to The first translations of Aesop’s Fables into the Chinese languages were made at the start of the 17th century, the first substantial collection being of 38 conveyed orally by a Jesuit missionary named Nicolas Trigault and written down by a Chinese academic named Zhang Geng Chinese: There have also been 20th century translations by Zhou Zuoren and others. Translations into the languages of South Asia began at the very start of the 19th century.
Adaptations followed in Marathi and Bengaliand then complete collections in HindiKannadaUrduTamil and Sindhi In Burmawhich had its own ethical folk tradition based on the Buddhist Jataka Tales, the reason behind the joint Pali and Burmese language translation of Aesop’s fables in is suggested by its being published from Rangoon by the American Missionary Press.
The 18th to 19th centuries saw a vast amount of fablen in verse being written in all European languages. Regional languages and dialects in the Romance area made use of versions adapted from La Fontaine or the equally popular Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian. One of the earliest publications was the anonymous Fables Causides en Bers Gascouns Selected fables in the Gascon languageBayonne, which contains Foucaud’s Quelques fables choisies de La Fontaine en patois limousin in the Occitan Limousin dialect followed in Two translations into Basque followed mid-century: At the end of the following century, Brother Denis-Joseph Sibler —published a collection of adaptations faneln this dialect that has gone through several impressions since There were many adaptations of La Fontaine into the dialects of the west of France Poitevin-Saintongeais.