Some may say that Aesop is infamous for the life he led over 2000 years ago and mostly for the hundreds of fables that have been attributed to his name since. Aesop’s fables have reached countless generations since he is reported to have been alive, and they continue to be a part of the lives of many. Not every fable, however, that has been linked to Aesop is his own original material. In actuality, there are many fables attributed to Aesop that, for a variety of reasons, couldn’t possibly be his own. In many ways the unclear authorship of the fables is at the fault of the storytelling tradition, many details are naturally lost and/or altered. However the storytelling tradition is also responsible for the survival of the Aesop Fables—if story telling didn’t exist, neither Aesop nor his fables would have survived.
The legend tells it that Aesop lived during the sixth century BC, scholars have narrowed down his birthplace to a few different places but no one knows for sure. He was born a slave, and in his lifetime two different masters owned him before being granted his freedom. The slave masters were named, Xanthus and Iadmon, the latter gave him his freedom as a reward for his wit and intelligence. As a freedman he supposedly became involved in public affairs and traveled a lot—telling his fables along the way.