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Aesop: In His 3rd Millenium
Did Aesop Exist?

Yes, and this is his story...

See the map of Archaic Greece at the bottom of this web page.


A Guide to this Site | Did Aesop Exist? | I. The Lion and The Mouse | II. The Scorpion and The Ladybug | III. The Dog in the Manger | IV. The Ants and The Grasshopper | V. The Frog and the Chrysalis | VI. Hercules and The Carter | VII. The Fox and his Tale | VIII. An Elephant, A Bear, and a Katydid | IX. The Spider, the Cockerel, the Sheep, and the Ram | X. The Farmer and the Snake | XI. The Lion, The Fox, and the Ass | XII. The Dog, the Cat, and the Bear | XIII. The Ship and the Whale | XIV. The Duckling, the Hawk, and the Mallard

Aesop was a slave, born about the year 620 B.C., probably in the province of Lydia. Thrace and Phrygia have also been considered possible birthplaces. All three provinces, however, locate Aesop firmly in Asia Minor in the area we know as Iran today. In Aesop's time, Greece and these provinces were all a part of Hellas, the portion of the eastern Mediterranean which reflected Greek thought and culture.

During his slavery, Aesop served two masters; the second freed him because the young man had acquired learning and was a great wit. Upon attaining freedom, he raised himself to a respected position in his community.

He was a man whose mind brimmed with curiosity and a craving to learn, and so he traveled widely through Greece, Thrace, and Phrygia. Ultimately he arrived at Sardis, the capital of the hugely wealthy king of Lydia, Croesus, of "rich as Croesus" fame.

Aesop became a favorite in the court of Croesus, and the king urged him to remain in Sardis. Croesus used him as an ambassador throughout Hellas, particularly in Corinth, Athens, and Delphi. In these years Aesop used his parables... his fables... as a art of persuasion and diplomacy.

It was in Delphi where Aesop met his death. Croesus sent him to distribute a sum of gold to the citizens, but their greed and chicanery so disgusted Aesop that he sent the gold back to the king. The Delphians, infuriated, put him to death.

A legend grew from the unjust execution. The people of Delphi underwent a series of catastrophies. A phrase, "beset with the blood of Aesop," became widespread. True to Aesop's heritage there was a lesson learned. Today we would say: What goes around, comes around.

This is Hellas: Greece itself and the Greek-influenced provinces of Asia Minor. It is the scene of Aesop's travels, showing all areas except the whole of Thrace. A small portion of Thrace is shown north of (today's) Black Sea and the Dardenelles.