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10th-century manuscript of Avianus' fables: The Frog Physician and The Mischievous Dog

Avianus (or possibly Avienus;[1] c. AD 400) a Latin writer of fables,[2] identified as a pagan.[3]

The 42 fables which bear his name are dedicated to a certain Theodosius, whose learning is spoken of in most flattering terms. He may possibly be Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius, the author of Saturnalia; some think he may be the emperor of that name. Nearly all the fables are to be found in Babrius, who was probably Avianus's source of inspiration, but as Babrius wrote in Greek, and Avianus speaks of having made an elegiac version from a rough Latin copy, probably a prose paraphrase, he was not indebted to the original. The language and metre are on the whole correct, in spite of deviations from classical usage, chiefly in the management of the pentameter. The fables soon became popular as a school-book. Promythia and epimythia (introductions and morals), paraphrases, and imitations were frequent, such as the Novus Avianus of Alexander Neckam (12th century).[4]


  1. De nutrice et infanti
  2. De testudine et aquila - noticed under The Tortoise and the Birds
  3. De cancris - noticed under The Snake and the Crab
  4. De vento et sole - The North Wind and the Sun
  5. De asino pelle leonis induto - The Ass in the Lion's Skin
  6. De rana et vulpe - The Frog and the Fox
  7. De cane qui noluit latrare - The Mischievous Dog
  8. De camelo
  9. De duobus sociis et ursa - The Bear and the Travelers
  10. De calvo
  11. De ollis - The Two Pots
  12. De thesauro
  13. De hirco et tauro
  14. De simia
  15. De grue et pavone
  16. De quercu et harundine - The Oak and the Reed
  17. De venatore et tigride
  18. De quattuor iuvencis et leone - The Bulls and the Lion
  19. De abiete ac dumis - The Fir and the Bramble
  20. De piscatore et pisce - The fisherman and the little fish
  21. De luscinia
  22. De cupido et invido
  23. De Baccho - noticed under The Statue of Hermes
  24. De venatore et leone
  25. De fure et parvo
  26. De leone et capella
  27. De cornice et urna - The Crow and the Pitcher
  28. De rustico et iuvenco
  29. De viatore et fauno - The Satyr and the Traveller
  30. De apro et coco
  31. De mure et tauro
  32. De pigro Tyrinthium frustra orante - God helps those who help themselves
  33. De ansere ova aurea pariente - The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs
  34. De cicada et formica - The Ant and the Grasshopper
  35. De simiae gemellis
  36. De vitulo et bove
  37. De leone et cane
  38. De pisce et focis
  39. De milite veterano - noticed under The Trumpeter Taken Captive
  40. De pardo et vulpe
  41. De olla cruda
  42. De lupo et haedo


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alan Cameron, "Avienus or Avienius?", ZPE 108 (1995), p. 260
  2. ^ "Avianus" in Chambers's Encyclopædia. London: George Newnes, 1961, Vol. 2, p. 5.
  3. ^ Chisholm 1911.
  4. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Avianus". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 59–60.

Further reading[edit]