Practically nothing is known about Aesop’s (EE-sahp) life. He seems to have been born in Thrace, the region of southeastern Europe now divided between Greece and Turkey, and to have spent most of his life as a slave on Samos, an island lying off the coast of Asia Minor. Traditional accounts give his master’s name as Xanthus.
Despite his status, Aesop appears to have worked as a kind of personal secretary to his master and to have enjoyed a great deal of freedom. His reputation derived from his skill at telling fables as illustrations of points in argument, possibly even in court. Such stories, which usually dealt with animals or mythological figures and were often quite caustic, were common...
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