Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Aesop. According to some accounts, Aesop was a strikingly ugly slave who was dumb until granted the power of speech by the goddess Isis. In stories of his life he’s often found outwitting his masters using clever wordplay, but he’s best known today as the supposed author of a series of fables that are some of the most enduringly popular works of Ancient Greek literature. Some modern scholars question whether he existed at all, but the body of work that has come down to us under his name gives us a rare glimpse of the popular culture of the Ancient World.

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  • Pavlos Avlamis No other episodes
    Junior Research Fellow in Classics at Trinity College at the University of Oxford
  • Simon Goldhill 8 episodes
    Professor of Greek Literature and Culture at the University of Cambridge
  • Lucy Grig 2 episodes
    Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Edinburgh

Reading list

  • Slaves Tell Tales and Other Episodes in the Politics of Popular Culture in Ancient Greece
    Sara Forsdyke (Princeton University Press, 2012) Google Books →
  • Aesop's Fables
    Laura Gibbs (trans.) (Oxford World's Classics, 2008) Google Books →
  • Anthology of Ancient Greek Popular Literature
    William Hansen (ed.) (Indiana University Press, 1998) Google Books →
  • The Ancient Fable: An Introduction
    Niklas Holzberg, Christine Jackson-Holzberg (trans.) (Indiana University Press, 2002) Google Books →
  • Aesopic Conversations: Popular Tradition, Cultural Dialogue, and the Invention of Greek Prose
    Leslie Kurke (Princeton University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • Popular Morality in the Early Roman Empire
    Teresa Morgan (Cambridge University Press, 2007) Google Books →
  • Fables of Power: Aesopian Writing and Political History
    Annabel Patterson (Duke University Press, 1991) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 398.2 (Fables and folklore)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, look before you leap.