Aesop's Fables or Aesopica refers to a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and story-teller who lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE. His fables are some of the most well known in the world. The fables remain a popular choice for moral education of children today. Many stories included in Aesop's Fables, such as The Fox and the Grapes (from which the idiom "sour grapes" derives), The Tortoise and the Hare, The North Wind and the Sun, The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Ant and the Grasshopper are well-known throughout the world.
According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the fables were written by a slave named Aesop, who lived in Ancient Greece during the 5th century BC. Aesop is also mentioned in several other Ancient Greek works â€“ Aristophanes, in his comedy The Wasps, represented the protagonist Philocleon as having learnt the "absurdities" of Aesop from conversation at banquets; Plato wrote in Phaedo that Socrates whiled away his jail time turning some of Aesop's fables "which he knew" into verses.
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 each other - the modern view is that Aesop probably did not solely compose all those fables attributed to him, if he even existed at all. Modern scholarship reveals fables and proverbs of "Aesopic" form existing in both ancient Sumer and Akkad, as early as the third millennium BCE. Therefore, at their most ancient roots, the fables of Aesop are composed in a literary format that appears first not in Ancient Greece, Ancient India, or Ancient Egypt, but in ancient Sumer and Akkad.
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