I know that La Fontaine's Fables is heavily inspired by Greco-Roman classic literature, especially Aesop's fables, but I'm sure there are other sources of inspiration for La Fontaine's 12 books of fables. Are there any tracing back to Antiquity, possibly historical or mythological in nature?

I'm specifically looking for sources that inspired the works in Books 7 to 9.

1 Answer 1


The vast majority of his Fables have origins from Ancient Greece. For example, the earliest origins of The Mouse and the Oyster (Le Rat et l'Huître), fable 9 of Book VIII, come from a Greek Anthology poem in the 1st century AD by Antiphilus of Byzantium1. Another example, The Hawk and the Nightingale (Le Milan et le Rossignol), fable 18 of Book IX, derives its origins from Hesiod's poem Works and Days, written in around 700 BC.

1 The Greek Anthology by G. P. Putnam's Sons, page 44

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