Paradigm, No. 23 (July, 1997)

Phaedrus, a new found yet ancient author:
The rise and fallof Phaedrus as a standard school author, 1668-1828

Anne Becher

Department of English,
University of Bristol,
3/5 Woodland Road,
Bristol BS8 ITB

How could Phaedrus have been ‘a new found yet ancient author’? This claim is, if anything more enigmatic now than when Simon Sturtevant, an Elizabethan schoolmaster heralded the arrival of Phaedrus and his Aesopic Fables in England in his textbook of 1602 entitled The Etymologist of Aesop’s Fables, containing the Construing of his Latine Fables in to English: also the Etymologist of Phaedrus fables, containing the construing of Phaedrus (a new found yet ancient author) in to English verbatim. Both very necessary helps for young schollers. Today although probably most people have heard of Aesop, or at the least use phrases like ‘dog in the manger‘ or ‘sour grapes’ -- which depend upon knowledge of an Aesopian fable for an understanding of their meaning -- few have heard of Phaedrus, and those who have, probably confuse his name with that of a famous dialogue by Plato. Yet in his heyday in the 18th century Phaedrus was considered to be in the pantheon of immortal ancient authors, together with Horace, Virgil, and Ovid.

Having first become interested in school texts of the fables of Phaedrus when researching material for my introduction to Christopher Smart’s 1765 Poetical Translation of the Fables of Phaedrus,1 I realised while composing the Select Bibliography that none of the standard bibliographies list text books, although many of the schoolmaster editors made significant contributions to an understanding and appreciation of the work of the Roman fabulist.2 It was concluded also that a pattern emerged from the bibliography that represented in microcosm not only the career of Phaedrus but also the changing fortunes and fashions in English school textbook publishing.

The bibliographical trail illustrates in microcosm the profound changes in attitudes towards education during the period from 1668, the date of the first English edition of Phaedrus, to John Taylor’s Aesop’s Fables as Romanised by Phaedrus (1728).3 These were driven to a large extent by changes in the intimate relations between the book trade and their reading public which were, of course, brought about by shifting political, economic and philosophical attitudes and interests.

First it is necessary to return to 1602 and explain how Simon Sturtevant could claim that Phaedrus was ‘a new found yet ancient author’. The manuscript history of Phaedrus’ Fables is mysterious and fascinating, as indeed is the life and identity of Phaedrus himself, a first-century Roman fabulist and the first author to turn Aesopic fables into Latin verse. All we know of Phaedrus has to be deduced from what he tells us in the autobiographical prologues and epilogues to his five books of fables. These autobiographical pieces are a distinctive and original feature of Phaedrus, an enfranchised slave who was a self-conscious writer and proud of his art. He claims that where Aesop beat a path he made a road, but that he was censored and punished severely by Sejanus, the favourite of the Emperor Tiberius, for inventing more than Aesop ever knew. The fact that Phaedrus can tell us this means that he must have survived Sejanus’ reign of terror, but it is possible that some kind of silent censorship continued, as all manuscripts disappeared until the discovery of an unique manuscript in Troyes, France, by Francois Pithou in 1596. Francois’ brother Pierre edited the fables and prepared the edition, now known as editio princeps, printed and published in Troyes. Sadly, Pithou died two-months later and did not live to see the success of his edition, which caused a great stir in scholastic circles on the Continent. With what now seems amazing rapidity, other editions followed, that of Ritterhusius in 1598 published by Plantin in Leiden, and Rigaultius’ of 1599 in Paris.

Sturtevant was therefore absolutely in the vanguard of scholarship. Although it is now rare for schoolmasters to write textbooks that are pioneering works of scholarship, the bibliographical history of Phaedrus’ Fables illustrates that in the period we are reviewing, the schoolmasters were usually as learned, if not more so, than the university academics, and possessed more commercial acumen. In his address To the industrious and discreet Schoolemaster Sturtevant conveys his delight at the discovery of Phaedrus, for he realises -- as the continental scholars apparently do not -- that here is a standard school text that could rival the Fables of Aesop, a standard primary text for schools since the time of Quintilian. The Aesop of the Stationers’ Company in the 17th century was one of the most profitable on their school list.4 The nearest comparison one might make would be if an author worthy to rival Chaucer or Shakespeare were discovered today!

Ironically too it was now realised that the basis for all these school Aesops was a Latin prose version of Phaedrus called Romulus -- in fact our standard Aesop of today is really ‘Phaedrus with trimmings’.5 It is as if the works taken in schools as standard works of Chaucer or Shakespeare, were actually derivative versions of this new found yet classic author. The ‘whirligig of time brings in its revenges’ but never in the way we expect, and as the popularity and esteem of Phaedrus rose in the 18th century his fables came into competition with those generally supposed to be by Aesop, and a text book war ensued paralleling the battle of the Ancients and Moderns.

Sturtevant cleverly combines both so-called Aesop and Phaedrus. He explains how:

this our Phedrus some ages hath been missed, environed in the mist of obscuritie: . . . . until that Petrus Pithoeus a diligent searcher of antiquities put in a year or two ago, his eureka, yea his joyful eureka and so recalled Phedrus to life and light again. Thus much shal serve the title of Phedrus (gentle reader) for the restoring of him to his ancient privilege and right fill school authoritie. Now further a word of our Etymologista and the use thereof.6

However, Sturtevant only includes the first book of Phaedrus’ Fables, for his main concern is to promote his system of etymology and construing, which he claims is entirely original. As he is so concerned to spell out the peculiar advantages of his system for use in the schoolroom, we can learn a great deal about Elizabethan school practice -- which would be interesting to explore further but is not relevant to discuss here beyond remarking that his method must have been successful. One of the copies in the Cambridge University Library is signed ‘John Crawfurd Eius liber 1761’: one hundred and fifty years of use!

The first complete edition of Phaedrus’ fables in Britain was by Christopher Wase, an attractive and interesting character in the history of education who, when Superior Beadle of Civil Law, and Architypographus of the Oxford University Press, conducted a survey of Free Schools as settled in England in 1678.7 As headmaster of Tonbridge in 1668 he edited Phaedrus’s Fables in order, as he explains in his introduction, to divest the fables of the pile of learned commentary that had rapidly accreted around the text until the work was too heavy to handle by anyone except the most dedicated critical editors like Peter Burman, certainly not by the average schoolboy.

Wase’s octavo is a sensible size for a utilitarian object like a school text, but if subjected to constant use is more susceptible to destruction than a quarto or a folio. His Phaedrus is now a very rare book and it is difficult to judge whether it was successful commercially. However, it is certain indication of the prestige of Phaedrus, and the potential profitability of Fables that the enterprising Benjamin Took, Swift’s publisher, published Wase’s edition in 1672, and then Danet’s edition, which was to become extremely successful in England as well as in France, three years later. Danet’s Dolphin edition is contemporaneous with the first editions of LaFontaine’s Fables and has a frontispiece by Chauveau, their illustrator, as seen in illustrations 1 and 2. At the turn of the century Aesopian Fables were in their heyday and naturally the book trade was quick to capitalise on this.

James Raven in his book Judging New Wealth: Popular Publishing and Responses to Commerce in England 1750-1800 8 describes what he perceives as three overlapping stages in the development of publishing practices in Britain in the 18th century. He is concerned with popular fiction, principally novels, probing as he says ‘the media and the message’. His analysis broadly holds good for the development of educational publishing in the same period and, as he says, the consequences of these developments have affected relationships between the media and the consumer up to the present, and will continue to do in the future, unless we can take care to learn some lessons from the past.

Generally speaking, in the early part of the 18th century publishing by subscription ensured that an author could have a personal knowledge of his readership, and the publisher of the potential market for his publication; but from the 1750s to the 1780s the forming of large congeries, or publishing syndicates, in order to spread the cost and profits of a new edition of a best-selling text usually resulted in multiple issues of small editions, a craze for duodecimos, re-issues of standard texts, and in cheap, often down-market productions. The economic slumps of the 1770s occasioned the rise of entrepreneurial publishers eager to attract and cosset new readers. By the 1790s the near monopoly of closed copyright auctions, central to mid-century trade, was shattered. The 1700 edition of Phaedrus’ Fables by Samuel Hoadly, Master of the Free School in Norwich, was extremely successful. He acknowledges and builds on the work of Danet and Wase, but adds fuller notes and incorporates new material from Burman’s massive scholarly 1698 edition and Hoogstrateds 1700 edition. I have never seen the first edition but in this case, to judge from the number of subsequent reissues and editions, its rarity is probably due to popularity. Familiar names in an unfamiliar context will probably be recognised amongst the editors, printers and publishers who follow Hold’s name in the Bibliography

Thomas Johnson’s edition of 1701 is scholarly and was influential because of the Eton connection. From the beginning to the middle of the 18th century the Eton schoolboy’s initial instruction came from Phaedrus. The same was true at Winchester and Westminster. By way of contrast, Thomas Dyche must be considered a populist author rather than a scholar to judge from his wish to ‘unshackle his author from poetical measures’.

Michael Maittaire was a well-known scholar and Westminster School master. His two editions of Phaedrus (1713) mark a watershed between stage one, the subscription style of publishing when author, publisher and public were on intimate terms and the age of Tonson, Took and Curl, when the book-trade explored new readerships and new forms of publication. The subscription list for his folio collection of Latin verse of 1713 reads like Who’s Who of the 18th century. The duodecimo Phaedrus, published ‘cum privilegio’, in the hope of preventing piracy and plagiarism (which are themselves indications of the prestige, popularity and possible profit of an author) is a school text that looks forward to future competitive publishing trends. Joseph Davidson in the 1740s also sought to obtain copyright privilege for his series of classic texts for schools, which included:

The Fables of Phaedrus translated in to English prose as near the original as the different idioms of the Latin and English will allow with the Latin text and order of construction in the opposite page: and Critical, Historical, Geographical and Classical Notes in English for the use of schools as well as of private gentlemen. Printed for Joseph Davidson at the Angel in the Poultry, Cheapside 1745.

The title page had become an advertisement.

Authors such as Daniel Bellamy, Nathaniel Bailey and James Stirling were quick to jump onto the commercial bandwagon that set out to appeal specifically to an expanding middle-class market by advertising some brand-new educational method or other gimmick. Daniel Bellamy not only advertised on his title page Fifty instructive and entertaining fables of Phaedrus in Latin, French and English, attempted after a new method for the more speedy improvement of youth in schools but also the illustration by curious cuts copied from the designs of the best masters (actually copied and reduced from David Hoogstraten’s edition of 1701). Bailey, author of the very successful Dictionary, the basis for Dr. Johnson’s work, was also amazingly successful with his Phaedrus which reached a 12th edition in 1768. The date of the first edition is still unknown.

In the late 17th century, the then Dean of Christ Church, Dr. Fell, planned to finance a learned press in the University of Oxford by publishing commercially successful school texts like Aesop’s Fables. Unfortunately, the Stationers’ Company, who were afraid of losing a profitable and stable source of income, effectively thwarted these plans and it took a long time for Oxford to compete successfully in the textbook market. By the mid-18th century, though, the monopolistic powers of the Stationers’ had waned and the Cambridge University Press, through the efforts of Richard Bentley, was becoming more commercially successful and influential.

Interestingly, in the edition of Phaedrus Fables (1755) by a ‘Gentleman of the University of Cambridge’, printed by Bentham, printer to the University, the Cambridge bookseller, Merrill, inserts an advertisement announcing that he has ‘a few remaining copies of the following books to be sold’ among which are Bentley’s Horace (1711) and Terence and Phaedrus (1726). It would seem that the Cambridge publishers were employing the same stratagem of using the commercial profit from the sales of cheap editions of standard school texts to pay for their more ambitious projects; in this case scholarly editions of the classics in folios and quartos. The Gentleman’s edition of Phaedrus’ Fables, advertised on the title page as being a ‘correct Latin edition with a new literal English translation and a copious Parsing Index whereby young beginners may easily and speedily attain the knowledge of the Latin tongue’, has an additional interest for this argument which illustrates, amongst other things, the noticeable decline in the integrity of educational texts during the 18th century.

At first the Gentleman’s Phaedrus did not seem interesting, but having reflected on the biographical background to Smart’s Phaedrus of 1765, one became increasingly amazed and puzzled by Smart’s ability to translate into verse the complete Fables of Phaedrus within such a short time of leaving Mr. Potter’s madhouse in Bethnal Green in 1763. The first century Roman fabulist was particularly admired in the 18th century for ‘the polite economy‘ of his style. Therefore he is a notably difficult author to translate into prose, let alone verse. The feat was not attempted before Smart, or afterwards, with the exception of Sir Brook Boothby’s translation of 1809 in his Fables and Satires, which was not intended for the use of schools. Not only did Smart (1722-1771) complete his verse translation of Phaedrus, but by 1767 he had also completed a verse translation of the entire works of Horace.

For his verse translations of Horace Smart must have been assisted considerably by his prose translation of 1756, The Works of Horace Translated literally in to English Prose, and of course by the numerous other verse translations by other authors; but for his Phaedrus, not only did he have the verse translation to compose, but also the Latin text, of which he announced in the Advertisement he had ‘taken great care to give an accurate edition, availing ourselves as far as was expedient, of the great Dr. Bentley, Gudius and others.’ How did he do it? A partial answer to this question was found by browsing through the British Library Catalogue in the section for Latin and English editions of Phaedrus; though how Smart found the energy and steadiness of mind to complete such colossal tasks in the last years of his life remains a mystery. The first two entries in the Catalogue are for:

Phaedri Augusti liberti Fabularurn Aesopiarum Quinque; or a Correct Latin Edition of the Fables of Phaedrus with a new literal English translation and a copious parsing index whereby young beginners may easily and speedily attain the knowledge of the Latin tongue by a Gentleman of the University of Cambridge. for the use of Schools printed by J. Bentham, Printer to the University for Benj. Dod and John Ward, Booksellers in London and Tho. Merrill Bookseller in Cambridge 1755.


A Poetical Translation of the Fables of Phaedra with the Appendix of Gudius and an accurate Edition of the original on the opposite page. To which is added a parsing index for the use of learners. By Christopher Smart A.M. Sometime Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and Scholar of the University.: Printed for J. Dodsley in Pall-Mall: and sold by J. Wilkie in St. Paul’s Churchyard, and T. Merrill at Cambridge 1765.9

Upon re-reading of the catalogue I noticed the emphasis on the novelty of a parsing index in both entries, and then when comparing the Gentleman’s 1755 Phaedrus with Smart’s Phaedrus of 1765 certain similarities became immediately apparent: briefly, these are to be found principally in the Parsing Indices, which are identical, and in the Latin texts. The ‘Gentleman of the University of Cambridge’ claims that ‘the original text of the author is printed after the best editions; those of Dr, Hare and Dr. Bentley are particularly regarded’. At first I thought that Smart had used the Gentleman’s Phaedrus as a copy text, but then I began to think that it was more likely that Smart was himself the Gentleman. He was, as he takes care to announce on his title pages, a ‘sometime fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge and a Scholar of the University’. He would have had access to scholarly editions of Phaedrus, and he already had links with the Cambridge printer J. Bentham, and bookseller Thomas Merrill. When in Cambridge Smart also had links with Robert Dodsley, whose business was taken over by James Dodsley after Robert’s death in 1764. James, 20 years younger, belonged to the world of the publishing syndicates (very different from his brother’s mileu) and a profitable business he made of it. Raven says that James left over £60,000 when he died in 1797.10 Since learned editions were slow to move, and textbooks the real money-spinners, it could be that Merrill and James Dodsley encouraged Smart, who was in desperate financial straits, to produce the verse translation of Phaedrus for schools, using The Gentleman as a copy text and adopting the parsing index. Publishers seemed to have no scruples about borrowing teaching method and aids from other publications. 11

In the event the Gentleman proved more successful than Smart, copies of the latter’s Translation, being now extremely rare. It may be that this work of Smart’s would have disappeared without trace were it not that Riley appended it to his translation of Terence in the Bohn’s Library edition of 1877. On the other hand, the Gentleman reached a fourth edition, ‘corrected by William Crackelt, Rector of Nursted and Ifield in Kent’ in 1795. The Gentleman’s edition also seems to have carried greater prestige than was first thought, for recently, when once more searching through the British Library catalogue entries for Phaedrus a look at the entry following Smart's Poetical Translation in the Latin and English section turned up the following interesting entry, the full title of which, necessarily abbreviated in the Catalogue, is:

Phaedri Augusti Liberti, Fabularum Aesopiarum Libri Quinque: or the Fables of Phaedrus in Latin and English. The English attempted in the stile of the Original with the Sentences numbered on both sides for the Ease of the Learner, and with notes critical and explanatory. Also an Appendix shewing certain passages and three different translations at one view, and several examples of the participle in "dus" and gerunds rendered in to English uniformly by the participle "ing". Also A Discourse on the Doctrine of Language by Francis Fowke Esq. LONDON: Printed for D. Wilson and G. Nicol, Booksellers in the Strand MDCCLXXVI

Francis Fowke turns out to be the author of the whole work, not just of The Discourse of the Doctrine of Language, but this would not be particularly interesting were it not that, in order to illustrate his own theories on the translation of Latin, he ‘offers three different translations at one view’. The three he chooses are his own, that by Joseph Davidson of 1745 and that of the Gentleman of the University of Cambridge, which he sometimes refers to as ‘the Cambridge edition’. Francis Fowke is the only critic I have found so far who refers to the Gentleman’s Phaedrus, but I have been unable to find out anything about Fowke himself. Although his style is somewhat pedantic and fussy he was clearly a scholar, keenly interested in education and innovative in his methods. His introduction opens with the splendid statement ‘Education has, in all ages, been considered as a primary concern of life’. It would perhaps be unwise to assume that Fowke was a well-known classical scholar and educationalist in his time simply because George III owned a copy of his work, but in any case Fowke’s Phaedrus is still of interest because it provides an illuminating guide to contemporary opinions of Phaedrus, Horace and other classical authors, and more generally to theories about the teaching of languages, in particular the use of translations, at the end of the 18th century.

These educational interests, which were closely allied to publishing practices and had been developing in various ways throughout the 18th century, were to undergo radical changes at the beginning of the 19th century when the origins of what might be described as the modem text book may be discerned and also the decline in the popularity of Phaedrus as a school text.

The situation has been admirably delineated by Chris Stray in his study of ‘John Taylor and Locke’s Classical System’.12 Taylor began his publishing career with Lackington, an entrepreneurial remainder merchant who died, extremely well off, in 1815; but whereas Lackington’s publishing practices are characteristic of the later 18th century Taylor represents, for the better and the worse, the spirit and practices of the early-19th century. Stray points out that though the education system was volatile when Taylor entered the educational book market in l827: ‘urbanisation, mechanisation and Sunday schooling among other things had combined to generate a large popular demand for reading matter and the means to supply it cheaply’.13 Taylor had a missionary zeal to introduce Locke’s interlinear system, demonstrated by the latter in his anonymous illustrated Aesop’s Fables English and Latin (1703) ‘for the benefit of those who not having a master would learn either of these tongues’, but he also had ambitions to gain a stable income from his series of interlinear editions of standard classical authors such as Homer, Virgil and Phaedrus, designed not for the use of ‘those not having a master’ but for students at the new University of London. In his advertisements he lays emphasis on his position as publisher to the University. Unfortunately the Phaedrus, titled Aesop’s Fables as Romanised by Phaedrus is an outstanding example of the evils inherent in the increasingly symbiotic relationship between the publisher and the profit and loss of the educational textbook market.

The notes by the editor, whom Stray thinks is probably Taylor’s friend Richard Woodhouse, are surprisingly silly, and deservedly provoked an immediate outburst from John Upham of Bath in his pamphlet of 1828; The London University Press; Remarks upon a late publication, entitled "A popular System of Classical Instruction, combining the methods of Locke, Ascham and Milton etc." Upham comments:

. . . . I for one, scruple not to pronounce this "Romanised Aesop" to be a masterpiece of affectation, flippancy, illiberality . . . . and what is worse, (considering into whose hands it may unluckily fall) of ribaldry. Old guides are discarded for new; and whatever carries with it the air of novelty in preference to what is grave, sober and substantial. What good can even students in the London University learn from trumpery notes about Sir William Curtis, Sit Charles Flower. the late Lord Chancellor, Anacreon Moore, ladies and gentlemens’ hats, whips, stays and parasols? . . . was ever such an ‘ancient' and new trick, such a precious specimen modern antique as the one before us? Stuck with so new a label (libel I might call it), to wit "Aesop, romanised by Phaedrus" and I may add ‘Londonised’ by this great unknown? And that too on Mr. Lockes plan. Alas for the metamorphosed remains of ‘the poor old man’ Aesop; his ‘son-in-law Phaedrus, and of Roger Ascham, Milton and Locke . . . Is this book going to receive the imprimatur of the London University Press? It is at least a candidate for the honour of becoming a standard lecture or class book in that learned seminary.14

Alas, this ‘Romanis’d Aesop’, like other editions in this series, went into several reissues and John Upham’s protest seems to have fallen on, deaf ears. Fortunately contemporary with Taylor there are examples of sound editions of classical texts, and of intelligent debates about language teaching as testified by the lucid discussion in the introduction to The Fables of Phaedrus with a Literal English Translation as used at Hazelwood and Bruce Castle (1828). Though the author of this edition of Phaedrus is anonymous there is no mystery about the dramatis personae involved for they were all well-known figures in their time. Hazelwood was a school founded in Birmingham by Rowland Hill on the radical educational principles of his father, Thomas Wright Hill, friend of Priestley, Paine and Price. Jeremy Bentham was so impressed by the educational methods used at Hazelwood that he persuaded Rowland to move the school to Bruce Castle in Tottenham. However, it seems that Bentham did not influence the choice of text books at the University of London. Other editions and re-issues of Phaedrus continued to appear throughout the 19th century, but they are not prolific and the interest then, as now, was greater on the Continent than in Britain.

Still, why is this article subtitled ‘The rise and fall of Phaedrus as a standard school text’? And why is the name of Phaedrus practically unknown today, more so than three centuries ago -- three centuries exactly, for this is the tercentenary of the ‘editio princeps’?

I suggest three mutually contributive causes for the decline in the popularity and critical esteem of Phaedrus’ Fables and of the Aesopian fables in general. Firstly, in scholastic circles Thomas Tyrwhitts Dissertation on the Fables of Babrius and the discovery of Babrius’ manuscripts sparked an interest in this first-century fabulist, who composed Aesopic fables in Greek choliambic verse. This interest accorded with the growing general taste for things Greek, and was at the expense of those satirical authors especially admired in the 18th century, Horace, Juvenal, Martial and Phaedrus. Second, in the 1760s, for philosophical and political reasons, there began a long decline in the prestige of the Aesopian fable. Rousseau’s theories on education as set out in Emile and in particular his reductive critique of La Fontaine’s fables, denouncing them as wholly unsuitable for children, were vastly influential in England, despite the abhorrence of all things French at the end of the 18th century. In a way, Rousseau was right to mistrust the Aesopian fable, though not for the reasons he gives. The Aesopian fable has been a political creature from its earliest origins, and Phaedrus, who was La Fontaine’s model, though more openly subversive, has claims to be the first proletarian satiric poet. One way of dealing with what is currently deemed to be "politically incorrect" literature and in a more subtle way than by censorship is to diminish its significance. So Aesop’s fables became relegated to the subordinate categories of literature for children and women, where they have largely remained -- with the famous exception of Orwell’s Animal Farm to prove the rule.

However, the decline in the fortunes of Aesopian Fables and of Phaedrus would not have been so rapid and so widespread had it not been for the changes and developments in the book trade. New technical inventions and innovations enabled the media to feel the pulse of the public with greater accuracy and to respond with increased speed and ease to public demands, demands which were increasingly determined by persuasive assertive advertising promoting the latest fashionable novelties. Publishers quickly realised the potential profit of popular textbooks. Unlike the situation in the 18th century when the bias was in favour of the merit of the text, the publisher, now frequently self-declared arbiter of taste and opinion, would also tell the public what they needed. An old dependable like Aesop or Phaedrus could be transformed into a seemingly modern up-to-date textbook at a comparatively little cost, by squeezing the text into a fashionable duodecimo, puffing up a new introduction, and clothing it in the very latest book design. But should the finger on the pulse of the public warn the publisher that some of these old texts were politically incorrect, then by the same token they would not be commercially viable.

In her book Fables of Power: Aesopian Writing and Political History Annabel Patterson argues persuasively that the Aesopic tradition should be recovered definitively ‘as an alternative to the Platonic tradition with its strong elitist bias’.15 This recovery, not necessarily an alternative, should include renewed appreciation of the poetic and satirical art of the fables of Phaedrus.



1. The Poetical Works of Christopher Smart vol. VI, ed. K. Williamson (1996).

2. The only comprehensive bibliography (and incidentally a fascinating read) is R. W. Lamb’s privately produced Annales Phaedriani encountered only when research for this paper had been completed.

3. For Taylor’s edition see Chris Stray ‘John Taylor and Locke’s "Classical System"’. Paradigm , no. 20 (December, 1996), pp. 26-38.

4. See Becher, Anne, ‘Barlow’s Aesop in Oxford’. Journal of the Printing Historical Society , no. 25 (1996), pp. 4-20.

5. Jacobs, J. The Fables of Aesop (Nutt, 1889), p. 1.

6. Sturtevant, S (1602), Introduction A[10].

7. Considerations concerning Free Schools, As Settled In England (1678).

8. Raven, J. Judging New Wealth: Popular Publishing and Responses to Commerce in England 1750-1800 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992).

9. Catalogue entry, 637.f.18.

10. Raven, p. 48, note 4.

11. The argument supporting my proposed identification of the ‘Gentleman of the University of Cambridge’ with Christopher Smart is explored in more detail in my Introduction to Vol. VI Poetical Translation of the Fables of Phaedrus in K. Williamson, Smart.

12. Stray ‘John Taylor . . .’

13. Ibid., p. 36.

14. Upham, J. The London University Press; Remarks upon a late publication, entitled ‘A Popular method of Classical Instruction, combining the methods of Locke, Ascharn Milton etc. Bath, Printed for John Upham and sold by CA J. Rivington, St. Paul’s Churchyard and Waterloo Place, London 1828, pp. 6-8.

15. Duke University Press, 1991, p. 11.



Becher, Anne, ‘Barlow’s Aesop in Oxford’. Journal of the Printing Historical Society no. 25 (1996), pp. 4-20.

Becher, Anne, Poetical Translation of the Fables of Phaedrus . In K. Williamson (ed.), Poetical Works of Christopher Smart (Oxford University Press, 1996), Vol. VI.

Jacobs, J. The Fables of Aesop (Nutt 889), p. l.

Lamb, R.W. Annales Phaedriant: Rough Notes towards a Bibliography of Phaedrus (Lowestoft, privately printed, 1995). Copies are obtainable from the author.

Patterson, Annabel Fables of Power: Aesopian Writing and Political History (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991)

Raven, J. Judging New Wealth: Popular Publishing and Responses to Commerce in England 1750-1800 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992).

Stray, Chris, ‘John Taylor and Locke’s "Classical System"’. Paradigm , No. 20 (December, 1996), pp. 26-38.

Upham, J. The London University Press: Remarks upon a late publication, entitled A popular method of Classical Instruction, combining the methods of Locke, Ascham, Milton etc. Bath, Printed for John Upham and sold by C.& J. Rivington, St. Paul’s Churchyard and Waterloo Place, London 1828.

Wase, Christopher Considerations Concerning Free Schools, As Settled in England (London; Simon Millar, 1678)



Phaedri August Liberti Fabularum Aesopiarurn Libri Quinque: A Select

Bibliography 1596-1828


Pithou, P. ed. princeps ex P. Phaedri Aug. Liberti Fabularam Aesoplarum Libri V, nunc primum in lucem editi. Augustobonae Tricassium, Excudebat lo. Odotius cum privilegio.


Sturtevant, S. The Etymologist of Aesop’s Fables, containing the construing of his Latin Fables into English, also the Etymologist of Phaedrus fables, containing the construing of Phaedrus into English verbatim. Both very necessary helps for young schollars. London. Compiled by S. Sturtevant. R. Field for R.Dexler.


Wase, C. Phaedri Aug. Liberti Fabularum Aesopiarum Lib. V Editio Apud Anglos prima Londini Excudebat A.M. Vidua


Wase, C. Phaedri Augusti Caesaris Liberti Fabularum Aesopiarum Libri Quinque Ex Recensione Christaph. Wase in usurn scholarum Angliae. Londini Excudebat B.G. pro Ben. Took et prostant venales sub signo Navis in Coemetarlo Divi Pauli.


Danet, P. Phaedri Augusti Caesaris Liberti Fabularum Aesopiarum Libri Quinque Interpretatione et Notis Illustravit Petrus Danet Academicus Jussu Christianissimi Regis in usum Serenissimi Delphini. Parislis Apud Fredericurn Leonard Typographum Regis Serenissimi Delphini, & Clerici Gallicani, via Jacobaea MDCLXXV Cum privilegio Regis.


Danet, P. (English edition) Phaedri Augusti Caesaris Liberti Fabularum Aesopiarum, Libri Quinque. Interpretatione et Notiss illustravit Petrus Danet Academicus Jussu Christianissimi Regis in usum, Serenissimi Delphini, Imprimatur Ex. Aed. Lond. April 23 1686 Londini: Typis Mariae Clark impensis Benj. Tooke, & Tho. Cockeril.


Hoadly, S. Phaedri Caesads Augusti Liberti Fabulanim Aesopiarum Libri V. Appendix fabularum, a Manquardo Guido [sic] ex manuscripto Divionensi descriptarum Pubin Syri Sententiae ex elus mirnis collectae multo locupletiones etc. Utrum recensuit et notas adjecit S. Hoadly M. A. Scholae Norvicensis quondam magister in usum scholarum per totam Britanniam. London.


Johnson, T Phaedri Aug.Liberti Fabularum Aesopiarum Libri V Notis Doctorum selectioribus, Novique passim et Conjecturis & Explicationibus Illustrati Opera Tho. Johnson A.M. In Usum Scholae Etonensis Londini Apud Car. Harper in Vco Fleet Street dicto, Sam Smith, Benj. Walford & Tho. Newborough in Coemetario D. Pauli & Joan, S. latter Etonae.


Willymot, W. Phaedrus his Fables with English Notes by William Willymot, M.A. and Fellow of King’s College in Cambridge For the use of Schools. London: Printed by Tho. Meade and are to be sold by Robert Fary, Druggist, near St. Magnus Church, entring London-Bridge.


Dyche, T. The fables of Phaedrus who was made a denizen of Rome by Augustus Caesar, mostly selected from Aesop’s Fables, rendered into familiar English by Thomas Dyche The Second Edition London Printed for Samuel Butler at Bernard’s Inn gate in Houlbourn 1713.

[N.B. Date of 1st ed. unknown. Dyche claims that ‘Phaedrus has not appeared in English dress before now that I know of, save only in two verbal translations. The English of the first is very old and uncouth, the latter was printed in the year 1705 after the manner of our common construing books my design is of a different nature for I have not only unshackled our author from his poetical measures but taught him withal to tell a story in plain familiar English.’]


Maittaire, M. Phaedri Aug. Liberti Fabularum Aesopierum Libri Quinque. Item Fabulae quaedam ex MS veteri a M. Gudio descriptae; cum indice vocum & Locutionum Appendiceis loco adficiuntur Fabulae Graecae quaedam & Latinae ex variis authoribus collectae, quas claudit Avieni Aesopicanim Fabularum Liber Unicus Londini ex Officina Jacobi Tonson et Johannis Watts Cum privilegio.


Bentley, R. Publii Terentii Afri Comoediae, Phaedri Fabulae Aesopiarum Publii Syri et aliorum Veterum Sententiae, ex recensione cum notis Richardi Bentleii. Cantabrigiae: apud Comelium Crownfield Veneunt & Londini apud Jacobum Knapton, Robertum Knaplock, Paullum Valliant Bibliopolas.


Hare, F. Epistola Critica ad Eruditissimum, Virum H.B. S.E.1 In qua omnes doctissimi Bentlei in Phaedium Notae atque emendationes expenduntur. Londini: Ex Officina Jacobo Tonson & Johannis Wafts.


Stirling, J. opera et studio, Edinburgi, impensis authoris 80.


[Interesting edition as evidence of growing interest in Phaedrus in Scotland. Also an example of a successful school edition. 3rd edn 1766; 10th edn. 1775; 12th edn. 1787.


Bellamy, D. Phaedri Fabulae Selectae Latine, Anglice, Gallice. Fifty Instructive and entertaining fables of Phaedrus in Latin, French and English, attempted after a new method, for the more speedy improvement of youth in schools, Translated into English by Daniel Bellamy formerly of St. John’s College, Oxford; and illustrated with curious cuts, copied from the designs of the best masters. London: printed for J. J Knapton, D. Midwinter, and A. Ward, A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch, J. Osborn and T. Longman, J, Pemberton, C. Rivington, F. Clay, J. Batley, R. Heft and T. Hatchett.


Davidson, J. The Fables of Phaedrus translated into English Prose As near the original as the different Idioms of the Latin and English will allow with the Latin text and order of construction in the opposite page: and Critical, Historical, Geographical and Classical NOTES in English For the use of schools, as well of Private Gentlemen, London. Printed for Joseph Davidson at the Angel in the Poultry, Cheapside,


Stirling J. Phaedri Fabulae or Phaedrus Fables with the following improvements in a method intirely new viz. the words of the author are placed according to their construction, below every fable, also the rhetorical figures as they occur, and to make the pronunciation easy, all words of above two syllables are marked with proper accents. Also a collection of idioms and phrases in Phaedrus, and all the proverbial mottoes to the fables with the English phrases and proverbs answerable set over against them, and lastly, an alphabetical vocabulary of all the words in the author, shewing their parts of speech and signification, to which are added the themes of the verbs with their government for the use of schools. by John Stirling D. D. Vicar of Great Gaddesdon and Chaplain to his Grace the Duke of Gordon the Sixth Edition corrected. London, Printed with his Majesties Royal Licence & Privilege for Thomas Astley and sold by R. Baldwin at the Rose in Pater-Noster-Row.


Gentleman of the University of Cambridge Phaedri Augusti Liberti Fabularum Quinque or a correct Latin edition of the Fables of Phaedrus with a new Literal English translation and a copious Parsing Index whereby young beginners may easily and speedily attain the knowledge of the Latin tongue, by a Gentleman of the University of Cambridge, for the Use of Schools. Cambridge printed by J. Bentham Printer to the University for Benj. Dod & John Ward Booksellers in London and Tho. Merrill Bookseller in Cambridge.


[1784--3rd ed. London: Printed for Scatcherd and Whitaker, Successor to E. Johnson at No. 12 Ave-Mary Lane, Ludgate St.] [1795 4 ed. ‘Corrected by William William Crackelt, Rector of Nursted and Ifield in Kent.’]


Smart, C. A Poetical Translation of the Fables of Phaedrus with the Appendix of Gudius and an Accurate dition of the Original on the opposite Page. To which is added A Parsing Index for the use of Learners By Christopher Smart A.M. Sometime Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge and Scholar of the University. Printed for J. Dodsley in Pall-Mail; and sold by J. Wilkie in St. Paul’s Churchyard, and T. Merrill in Cambridge.


Bailey, N. (& Danet) The Five Books of the Aesopian Fables of Phaedrus Augustus’ Caesar’s Freedman with a numerical key adjoining to each line, directing to take the words in construing in a proper order, and also the notes of Peter Danet, for the use of the Dauphin, translated into English and a grammatical Praxis on them referring to the rules of grammar By the assistance of which, young scholars, of but a very slender acquaintance with the rules of grammar, may be enabled of themselves with ease and pleasure, without interruption to the teacher, to learn their lessons in Phaedrus. For the use of Schools By N. Bailey, the Twelfth Edition, Corrected and Improved London Printed for H. Woodfall, J. Rivington, N. Johnston, C. Rivington and G. Robinson and J. Roberts.


Fowke, F. Phaedri Augusti Liberti, Fabularum, Aesopiarurn Libri Quinque: or the Fables of Phaedrus in Latin and English, the English attempted in the stile of the Original with the Sentences numbered on both sides for the Ease of the Learner, and with notes critical and explanatory. Also an Appendix shewing certain passages and three different translations at one view, and several examples of the participle in ‘dus’ and gerunds rendered into English uniformly by the participle ‘ing’. ALSO A Discourse on the Doctrine of Language by Francis Fowke Esq. LONDON: Printed for D. Wilson and G. Nicol, Booksellers in the Strand.


Anon The Fables of Phaedrus with a Literal Translation As Used At Hazelwood and Bruce Castle. London: Baldwin and Cradock [Printed by Richard Taylor, Shoe Lane].


Anon Aesop’s Fables As Romanised by Phaedrus,with a Literal Interlinear Translation Accompanied by Illustrative notes on the plan recommended by Mr. Locke. London: Printed for John Taylor, Bookseller and Publisher to the University of London, 30 Upper Gower Street, and sold by James Duncan, Paternoster Row; J.A. Hassey Fleet Street; and Hatchard and Son, Piccadilly.



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