Article published in:Reinardus: Yearbook of the International Reynard Society
Edited by Brian J. Levy and Paul Wackers
[Reinardus 11] 1998
► pp. 205–214
There Were Fables Before Aesop
Fables in Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic Greek Literature
Abstract This paper aims, in general, at drawing attention to the many fables not included in fable collections. It focuses, more particularly, on the fables which can be found throughout Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic Greek literature, predating the extant ancient fable collections. Some of these stray fables are unique, others significantly vary well-known themes; all of them show that the genre is a flexible form, which can be adapted to widely divergent literary and social contexts. In this article the intrinsic interest and functional richness of the "non-collection" fable tradition are exemplified by analyses of the fable of the Lion Cub and the Man from a tragedy by Aeschylus, the lyric poet Archilochus' version of the fable of the Fox and the Eagle, and the multifunctionality of the fable of the Dung Beetle and the Eagle in three different comedies by Aristophanes.
Published online: 15 November 1998