The Baby's Own Aesopby Aesop
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Before children learn to read anything else, often the first author they read is the Ancient Greek fabulist Aesop or Esop, believed to have lived between the dates 620-564 BC. According to tradition, he was born a slave, but he is now credited with having written dozens of fables that teach important life lessons.
Though it is unclear whether Aesop actually existed, let alone wrote the fables, the famous fables are now known as Aesop's Fables. Aesop's name was mentioned by Ancient Greeks like Aristotle, Herodotus, and Plutarch, and an unknown ancient author even wrote The Aesop Romance that dramatized his life.
Numerous fables appearing under his name were gathered across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day. In many of these tales animals speak and have human characteristics. The body of work identified as Aesop's Fables was transmitted by a series of authors writing in both Greek and Latin. Aesop's Fables continued to be revised and translated through the ensuing centuries, with the addition of material from other cultures. With a surge in scholarly interest 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.
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