Skip to main content

Black History Month: Select Books 30% Off

Harvard University Press - home


Babrius, Phaedrus

Translated by Ben Edwin Perry

ISBN 9780674994805

Publication date: 01/01/1965

Fabulous verse.

Babrius is the reputed author of a collection (discovered in the 19th century) of more than 125 fables based on those called Aesop’s, in Greek verse. He may have been a Hellenized Roman living in Asia Minor during the late first century of our era. The fables are all in one metre and in very good style, humorous and pointed. Some are original.

Phaedrus, born in Macedonia, flourished in the early half of the first century of our era. Apparently a slave set free by the emperor Augustus, he lived in Italy and began to write Aesopian fables. When he offended Sejanus, a powerful official of the emperor Tiberius, he was punished but not silenced. The fables, in five books, are in lively terse and simple Latin verse not lacking in dignity. They not only amuse and teach but also satirize social and political life in Rome.

This edition includes a comprehensive analytical Survey of Greek and Latin fables in the Aesopic tradition, as well as a historical introduction.


  • Ben Edwin Perry (1892–1968) was Professor of Classics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a pioneer in the study of classical fables and prose fiction.

Book Details

  • 736 pages
  • 4-1/4 x 6-3/8 inches
  • Harvard University Press