Aesop - of Aesop’s Fables fame - began his story as a slave in Greece around 600 BCE.
The man behind some of our favorite fables - The Tortoise and the Hare, the Boy Who Cried Wolf and the Lion and the Mouse - had incredibly humble beginnings in Ancient Greece. Aesop - of Aesop’s Fables fame - began his story as a slave in Greece around 600 BCE.
While we don’t have any of his writings and very few accounts from the time, several important writers and scholars have discussed his works, giving some hints and insights into his ownership over the tales. Aristotle, Herodotus, and Plutarch all wrote about his fables. However, a good chunk of ideas we have about Aesop comes from a fictionalised tale called The Aesop Romance. We just want to repeat - it’s fiction. It said he was gifted his gift for storytelling from a goddess so definitely not true. This also rather meanly described him as ugly too so we’re just going to take that with a pinch of salt.
The important thing though is that Aesop is attributed with writing the collection Aesop’s Fables, which are a bunch of moral stories, usually featuring cute/scary/kind-of-weird animals in tricky situations. We know that Aesop was considered a fabulist (that’s fabulist, not fabulous but we’re sure he was) by many ancient Greek scholars and there were several translations of his work into Latin.
Because we know so little about him, it also makes the story of his death so strange. Some say that Aesop was sent to Delphi by the king but then managed to anger the Delphians (possibly by calling them all immoral) and they supposedly threw him off a cliff. Which seems a bit much if you ask us. Afterwards, the Delphians suffered from famine and sickness, so the moral of this story is don’t chuck your fabulists off a cliff when he says something you don’t like.