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620 – 564 BCE) was a Greek fabulist and story teller credited with a number of fables now collectively known as Aesop's Fables.Although his existence remains unclear and no writings by him survive, numerous tales credited to him were gathered across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day.
The name of Aesop is as widely known as any that has come down from Graeco-Roman antiquity [yet] it is far from certain whether a historical Aesop ever existed ...After interpreting a portent for the people of Samos, Aesop is given his freedom and acts as an emissary between the Samians and King Croesus.Later he travels to the courts of Lycurgus of Babylon and Nectanabo of Egypt – both imaginary rulers – in a section that appears to borrow heavily from the romance of Ahiqar.In The Aesop Romance, Aesop is a slave of Phrygian origin on the island of Samos, and extremely ugly.At first he lacks the power of speech, but after showing kindness to a priestess of Isis, is granted by the goddess not only speech but a gift for clever storytelling, which he uses alternately to assist and confound his master, Xanthus, embarrassing the philosopher in front of his students and even sleeping with his wife.Avianus (of uncertain date, perhaps the 4th century) translated 42 of the fables into Latin elegiacs.
The 4th-century grammarian Dositheus Magister also made a collection of Aesop's Fables, now lost.
Like The Alexander Romance, The Aesop Romance became a folkbook, a work that belonged to no one, and the occasional writer felt free to modify as it might suit him." Multiple, sometimes contradictory, versions of this work exist.
The earliest known version was probably composed in the 1st century CE, but the story may have circulated in different versions for centuries before it was committed to writing, Scholars long dismissed any historical or biographical validity in The Aesop Romance; widespread study of the work began only toward the end of the 20th century.
Plutarch tells us that Aesop had come to Delphi on a diplomatic mission from King Croesus of Lydia, that he insulted the Delphians, was sentenced to death on a trumped-up charge of temple theft, and was thrown from a cliff (after which the Delphians suffered pestilence and famine).
Before this fatal episode, Aesop met with Periander of Corinth, where Plutarch has him dining with the Seven Sages of Greece, sitting beside his friend Solon, whom he had met in Sardis.
in the latter part of the fifth century something like a coherent Aesop legend appears, and Samos seems to be its home.