November 20th, 2014
Episode 415 of 532 episodes
Aesop, according to some accounts, was a strikingly ugly slave in antiquity who was dumb until granted the power of speech by the goddess Isis. In stories of his life he's often depicted outwitting his masters using clever wordplay, but he's best known today as the supposed author of a series of fables that are some of the most enduringly popular works of Ancient Greek literature. Some modern scholars question whether he existed at all, but the body of work that has come down to us under his name gives us a rare glimpse of the popular culture of the Ancient World. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Pavlos Avlamis, Junior Research Fellow in Classics at Trinity College at the University of Oxford; Simon Goldhill, Professor of Greek Literature and Culture at the University of Cambridge and Lucy Grig, Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Edinburgh.