Born: Date unknown
Died: Date unknown
Controversy exists over whether Aesop was an actual person, or rather, a collection of stories written by many people. Most scholars have come to agree that Aesop is the name of the author who wrote a group of Greek fables. However, many of the fables bearing his name have been traced to ancient Indian and Egyptian societies more than 3000 years ago.
Even those who agree that Aesop was probably a person cannot resolve who Aesop was or where he lived. Herodus, in the fifth century B.C. said Aesop was a slave in the sixth century B.C. Plutarch, in the first century, said Aesop was an advisor to a sixth century B.C. king. Aesop's figure is captured in a marble statue on the Villa Albani as a deformed and ugly dwarf creature, but Valquez painted a picture of a sturdy Aesop in a brown cloak.
Scholars do know that Babrius put the fables into verse in the second century B.C. in the text Mythiambics. The Roman poet Phaedrus transcribed the fables in the first century A.D. in an effort to keep them as a reference for storytellers. Planudes, Maximums, a thirteenth century monk compiled them during the Byzanctium Empire. The first modern version was polished by French writer Jean de La Fountaine in seventeenth century A.D.