The Origins and Evolution of the Fable
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There are several texts that I shall use in my comparison of the fable and natural history among the Ancients. Of the Aesopic texts, the most important is a collection by Ben E. Perry entitled Aesopica. These fables are in prose. Some are from a first century A.D. papyrus scroll but the greater number are collected from texts dating from the 10th through the 16th centuries. Most of the fables are in Greek, although a few are in Latin. The later fables are thought to be almost direct copies of a set of fables that existed in the first or second century A.D. The earliest collection of Aesopic fables, which has been lost, was one in prose by Demetrius of Phalerum. Although there has been some doubt as to whether this collection ever existed at all, Professor Ben E. Perry of the University of Illinois has presented good evidence that it did exist and that it was probably the model used for the succeeding Aesopic collections. In most cases I shall use L.W. Daly's Aesop without Morals, which is a translation of Perry's Aesopica.