Aesopica is commonly referred to the collection of Aesop's Fables. These are small moral stories in the form of fables, attributed to Aesop - a slave believed to have lived between 620 and 564 BCE in Ancient Greece. Although a slave, Aesop was widely popular as a storyteller of his times. Such was his influence, that Socrates whiled away his time in prison turning some of Aesop's fables "which he knew" into verses - as documented by Plato in Phaedo. Notably, he is also mentioned by Greek historian Herodotus - in passing that "Aesop the fable writer" was a slave who lived in Ancient Greece during the 5th century BCE. Scattered details of Aesop's life can be found in many Ancient Greek sources, including Aristotle, Herodotus, and Plutarch.
Aesop's Classic Fables
However, it is unlikely that these fables were composed or conceived by Aesop, and were actually age-old moral stories belonging to older oral traditions. These stories were made popular by Aesop, as an influential storyteller, and they continued as oral traditions to become a part of the Greek cultural sphere - and, later spread all over the world.
These fables were collected only around some three centuries after Aesop's death - some of them not recorded until the Late Middle Ages. By that time, a variety of other stories, fables, morals, proverbs, and even outright jokes were ascribed to him. Aesop was not the originator of all the fables attributed to him. In fact, any fable that had no confirmed alternative literary source, tended to be ascribed to the name of Aesop - some of them with contradicting morals.
With the advent of printing, collections of Aesop's fables were amongst the earliest books that received wide circulation in a variety of languages, translations, and adaptations - through which Aesop's reputation as a fabulist was transmitted throughout the world. Additionally, there have been re-interpretations of the meaning of fables and changes in emphasis over time - especially to address adults and cover religious, social and political themes.
Aesop was not the originator of all the fables attributed to him. In fact, any fable that had no confirmed alternative literary source, tended to be ascribed to the name of Aesop. At Classic Aesopica, we neither debate the origins, nor create bias among the individual fables. On the contrary, with illustated moral stories, Classic Aesopica enlivens the classical world of age-old fables.

Aesopica, The Collection of Aesop's Fables
There are more than 500 fables credited to Aesop, according to Perry Index - an index of stories by Ben Edwin Perry (1892-1968) that is widely used as a catalogue of Aesopica, or Aesop's Fables that are ascribed to Aesop. Instead of being complete, Classic Aesopica is a selective list of popular fables, that are handpicked and attractively presented for kids, as well as adults.

Although Aesop's fables and the counterpart in Indian traditional Panchatantra, share a dozen tales in common - it remains unclear whether the Greeks learnt from the Indian storytellers, or the other way, or if the influences were mutual. The same goes for the Buddhist, Jataka Tales. Also Aesop and the Buddha were near contemporaries, but the stories of neither were recorded in writing until some centuries after their death. However, all three sources differ widely in details. Modern scholarship reveals that all of these collections are sourced in much older oral traditions, with fables and proverbs of Aesopic form existing in both ancient Sumer and Akkad, as early as the third millennium BCE. While some of the fables are demonstrably of West Asian origin, others have analogues further to the East.
The Tales of Panchatantra are the most popular - most published, most translated, and most circulated literary work - second only to the Bible. However, they lack specific morals, unlike the Aesop's collection. This is the primary reason that the fables of Aesop have become proverbial all over the world, like the 'Grapes are Sour', 'Goose that laid Golden Eggs', etc. Aesopic fables are short, uncomplicated stories with specific morals - absorbed easily by kids at an early age, and continue to be enjoyed during adulthood.
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