Slave Stories: Aesop and Walter Crane
- Extra Reading
In 1887 the influential arts-and-crafts book illustrator Walter Crane published The Baby’s Own Aesop, bringing the homespun wisdom of ancient Greek peasants to a new generation of children. This lecture uses these fables to tackle the least attractive feature of ancient Greece - institutionalised slavery. Beneath the semi-legendary figure of Aesop himself, a barbarian sold to a Greek slave-owner in the 6th century BCE, lie tens of thousands of his real-life equivalents.
The lecture asks how the ancient fables address power relations in a slave society. Were they primarily stories for and by slaves, or did they serve ruling-class interests?
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