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Aesop

(2,366 words)

Author(s): Luzzatto, Maria Jagoda (Florence)
[German version] A. Life (Αἰσωπος; Aísōpos) Even in antiquity A. was considered the most significant Greek exponent of the literary genre of fable ( Fable; cf. Phaedr. prol. 3,52; Babr. prol. 2,1-5; Theon. Progymn. p. 73,14-20 Spengel) and to a certain extent may be regarded as a historical figure, if we draw upon sources dating no later than the Alexandrian period and upon the chronographically most reliable collections. On that evidence A. was born in Thrace on the west coast of the Black Sea, wher…

Aesop Romance

(634 words)

Author(s): Luzzatto, Maria Jagoda (Florence)
[German version] The Aesop Romance (AR) which in Cod. G (11th cent. AD) bears the title ‘Book of the philosopher Xanthus and his slave Aesopus’, has been transmitted to us in two pre-Byzantine versions G and W, as well as in a Byzantine version Pl (edited by Maximos Planudes). The five extant papyrus texts from the period between the 2nd and 7th cents. AD confirm that the AR did in fact contain obscene episodes that had been censored in G, Pl and some codices of the W group, and they demonstrate t…

Ainos

(493 words)

Author(s): Luzzatto, Maria Jagoda (Florence)
[German version] (αἶνος; aînos). Archaic narrative form addressed to one person. It is supposed to cause an immediate reaction in the listener or a change in his attitude [4. 77]: i.e. he should either be induced to do something that he had not planned on (after the ainos of Odysseus Eumaeus gives him a blanket: Od. 14,508 ff.); or he should be made to feel frightened and tense by a prophetic, oracle-like tone (Hes. Op. 202-12; 248-51), or by vague threats (cf. Archil. fr. 185 West), which can also drive the subject to his death (Archil. fr…

Babrius

(486 words)

Author(s): Luzzatto, Maria Jagoda (Florence)
[German version] Author of a collection of mostly Aesopian fables using a special kind of choliamb, which he himself called mythiambos ( prologos 2,7-8). The name B. is Italic [1. VII]. In 57,1, the author proclaims to know Arabs well, and in prologos 2,1, he states (as the only Greek) that the fable originated in Mesopotamia. His style [4] and particularly his special way of forming verses [6] make it obvious that B. wrote no earlier than in the 2nd cent. AD. The assumption that the actual addressee of the work, who in the text is poet…

Fable

(4,354 words)

Author(s): Böck, Barbara (Madrid) | Luzzatto, Maria Jagoda (Florence) | Küppers, Jochem (Düsseldorf)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient No evidence exists of there being a term for the fable itself either in the Sumerian or the Akkadian fable. The fable is a short, fictitious story with an inherent moral, the characters of which are personified animals. Reduced to the moral, several fables have attained the status of a proverb. The fable has its origin in oral literature; it represents a simple form of the allegory. Rank disputes/tenzons (main protagonists: personified animals, natural phenomena and…