Aesop in Wikipedia
Aesop or Esop (pronounced /ˈiːsəp/ EE-səp or /ˈiːˌsɒp/ EE-SOP; Greek: Αἴσωπος, Aisōpos; c. 620–564 BC), known for the genre of fables ascribed to him (see Aesop's Fables), was by tradition born a slave (δοῦλος) and was a contemporary of Croesus and Solon in the mid-sixth century BC in ancient Greece. Aesop the Fabulist. Though Aesop became famous across the ancient world as the preeminent teller of fables, he did not create the genre; the earliest known story with talking animals in ancient Greek is the fable of the hawk and the nightingale from Hesiod, who lived at least three centuries before Aesop. Aesop may or may not have written his fables-The Aesop Romance claims that he wrote them down and deposited them in the library of Croesus; Herodotus calls Aesop a "writer of fables" and Aristophanes speaks of "reading" Aesop-but no writings by Aesop have survived.
Socrates while in prison turned some of the fables into verse. In Plato's dialogue Phaedo, which takes place on the day of Socrates' execution, Socrates speaks of a recurring dream which exhorted him to "make music" and which he took to refer to philosophy, but after his trial he decided to try to write poetry: "As I have no invention, I took some fables of Aesop, which I had ready at hand and knew, and turned them into verse." Diogenes Laertius in his Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers records a small fragment. The early Roman playwright and poet Ennius also rendered at least one of Aesop's fables in Latin verse, of which the last two lines still exist.
The body of work identified as Aesop's Fables was transmitted by a series of later authors writing in both Greek and Latin. Demetrius of Phalerum (ca. 350-ca. 280 BC) made a collection in ten books, probably in prose (Lopson Aisopeion sunagogai) for the use of orators, which has been lost. Next appeared an edition in elegiac verse, cited by the Suda, but the author's name is unknown. Phaedrus, a freedman of Augustus, rendered the fables into Latin. Babrius turned the fables into Greek choliambics in the earlier part of the 3rd century A.D. Another 3rd century author, Titianus, rendered the fables in prose, now lost. 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.
Aesop's Fables continued to be revised and translated through the ensuing centuries, with the addition of material from other cultures, so that the fables known today in some cases bear little relation to the original fables of Aesop. With a surge in scholarly interest in Aesop and Aesopic fable beginning toward the end of the 20th century, some attempt has been made to determine the nature and content of the very earliest fables which may be most closely linked to the historic Aesop.
Recent research has shown an intimate relation between the fables associated with the name of Æsop and the jatakas, or birth-stories of the Buddha. Sakyamuni is represented in the jatakas as recording the varied experiences of his previous existences, when he was in the form of birds, of beasts, and even of trees. Such legends as these may very well be the natural sources of tales like those of Æsop, which represent beasts as acting with the sentiments and thoughts of human beings. The jatakas are now extant in Pali versions, derived from Ceylon. It is surmised that a number of them were introduced into the Greek-speaking world by a Cingalese embassy that visited Rome about the year 50, as the fables that can be traced in classical literature later than that date resemble the Indian fables much more closely than the earlier fables of Æsop, as represented by Phædrus. It is probable that these later Indian fables were connected by the Greeks with the name of a Libyan, called Kybises: Babrius, a writer of fables in the third century, couples him with Æsop. Thus, in the first century, there were two sets of fables-one associated with the name of Æsop, and the other with that of Kybises-while in the second century these two sets were included in one compilation, running to three hundred fables, by a rhetor named Nicostratus. In the third century these fables were turned into Greek verse by Babrius...