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Greek Slave


Maybe you don’t know that some people were made to be slaves long before America did so. Many of these people were “White”. One place that had slaves was ancient Greece. People may have been captured from other lands and brought to Greece to be sold as slaves to Greek citizens.

sculpture by

Hiram Powers


Greek Slaves were often used as teachers for Greek children. The word pedagogy comes from the Greek work meaning "slave of knowledge". There were lots slaves in Greece.


One day he did something nice for a priestess of Isis, who then prayed for speech to be granted poor Aesop. It was and his fables began. He was the slave of a philosopher. Aesop outwitted this master all the time. He became respected by all the philosopher's students and the philosopher himself.He later gained his freedom. As a free man, Aesop traveled about giving eloquent speeches and telling his stories; but he made one fatal error, offending the people of Delphi. He was framed and thrown from a cliff.

AESOPThe Myth, the Legend

Aesop was a slave in ancient Greece. He was born with several physical deformities, one of which prevented speech. He was very hard-working and clever.


Nothing is known certain of Aesop's early life. In Histories by Herodotus, who wrote during the later half of the fifth century BC, it says that he lived during the time of the Egyptian pharaoh Amasis of the sixth century BC. And that he was connected to the island of Samos. Herodotus also gives evidence that he may have been a slave or a relative of a Samian citizen called Iadmon, Other records indicate that Aesop was a Greek slave who lived between 620 and 560 B.C. who may have came from Phrygia. He was the slave of Iadmon and later the philosopher, Xanthus of Samos. He was known for his ability to craft "fables" He must have received his freedom at some point and travel all. Accounts say Aesop died in Delphi, where he was sentenced to death and pushed off a cliff.


Some information thought to be about him comes from a book of fables, that may be his stories.

In it he is described as a monster of ugliness and deformity, like the image in a well-known marble figure in the Villa Albani at Rome.




Some historian believe

that Aesop may have

been Ethiopian. In any case, he was a slave who was shunned by society and treated badly. Yet, he earned respect with his moral fables that taught people how to live and behave as humans.

Planudes wrote that Aesop was a native of Phrygia, in Asia Minor, and described him as "flat-nosed…with lips, thick and pendulous and a black skin from which he contracted his name (Esop being the same with Ethiop)."


Two hundred of his tales were gathered in about 320 B.C. to make up the earliest known collection of his fables.

As far back as the Fifth Century B. C., Aesop's identity was guessed about by historians. His identity, even then, was unknown. Aesop probably did not put his fables in writing, but told the stories orally.The fables may have been collected and modified by an ancient Greek man, based on oral story traditions gathered as he traveled.


Fables existed before the printed word as folktales that were presented orally. In ancient times, fables are not designed as moral tales for children but early fables are more frequently designed to explain the causes of natural phenomena.

Aesop and the fox

Fables are short allegorical tales of animals who personify humans. The stories have a moral or lesson about the way of the world. Readers can enjoy a story and learn a lesson at the same time. Many of the morals in Aesop's tales have evolved into well-known phrases.


The Fox and the Crow

Fables often feature animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized( given human qualities.)

“Flattered by all the compliments from the fox, the crow lifted her head and began to sing.”


The moral(lesson) is often presented at the end of the story as a maxim (a short, clear saying.)

The Lion and the Mouse

The Moral of the Story:

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

fables moral a lesson for life
Fables: Morala lesson for life

The Scorpion and the Frog

The frog asked," Why did you sting me, now we both will die?”

"I could not help myself. It is my nature." answered the scorpion.


During the medieval period, Latin translations of Aesop's fables were used as textbooks in schools.

Aesop is depicted in the Nurember Chronical is shown wearing 15th century German clothing.

The Nuremberg Chronicle, written by Hartmann Schedel was published by not long after Gutenberg published his Bible. It is one of the most important works ever published. It is a history of the world as it was known in 1493 beginning with creation. The Chronicle was also the one of the first books printed in the "vulgar." ie. German as well as Latin.


On March 26, 1484, William Caxton, the first printer of books in English, printed a version of Aesop's Fables. To the left is a Woodcut from William Caxton’s “Fables of Aesop” London 1480.


An example of the fables in Caxton's collection follows:

Men ought not to leue that thynge whiche is sure &

certayne / for hope to haue the vncertayn / as to vs

reherceth this fable of a fyssher whiche with his lyne

toke a lytyll fysshe whiche sayd to hym / My frend I pray

the / doo to me none euylle / ne putte me not to dethe /

For now I am nought / for to be eten / but whanne I shalle be grete / yf thow come ageyne hyther / of me

shalt thow mowe haue grete auaylle / For thenne I shalle

goo with the a good whyle / And the Fyssher sayd to the

fysshe Syn I hold the now / thou shalt not scape fro me /

For grete foly hit were to me for to seke the here another


aesop s fables are still taught as moral lessons and used especially children s plays and cartoons
Aesop's fables are still taught as moral lessons and used especially children's plays and cartoons.