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Web of Art 15: African Interactions

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L. African Holding a Scroll. C. Aesop R. Ethiopian philospher Mannon.
4th c BCE-2nd c CE Greek Greek Hellenistic Sculpture

GREEK HELLENISTIC Anonymous (323 BCE - 30 BCE) Primary
GREEK HELLENISTIC Anonymous (323 BCE - 30 BCE)
GREEK HELLENISTIC Anonymous (323 BCE - 30 BCE)
300 BCE-200 CE
4th c BCE-2nd c CE
Greek Hellenistic
Statuette
L. Apulia. Italy.
L. London. British Museum. C. Cambridge Mus. R. Berlin. Pergamon Museum.
African32.bla03c12
The Greek Hellenistic figurine on the right represents a seated black man holding a scroll. The scroll indicates that he is literate, and it is quite tempting to think that this might represent Aesop, the famous author of animal fables that have charmed westerners since the time of the ancient Greeks. No one knows for sure who AESOP was, or even if he existed. The Greek historian Herodotus who lived in the 5th c. BCE said that Aesop lived in the previous century and that he was a slave. Various writers have assigned him to different times and in different places, and some scholars consider that the name was made up and was used to refer to various animal fables by anonymous authors. There was a tradition that he was a black man. African story tellers were famous, as witness the Uncle Remus tales that were so popular in the American South. Whoever created the 18th century Rococo figurine in the center was apparently following this tradition of Aesop being a black man, for his figurine is entitled Aesop. The delightful depictions of animals by the black artists of Meroe might be used to support the argument for Aesop as a black storyteller. The portrait on the right is of the Ethiopian philosopher Mannon, a pupil of the Greek philosopher Hrodes Attikers. The Greeks and Romans referred to the Nubians as Ethiopians, and the portrait illustrates the interplay between classical and Nubian scholars.

Caption: GREEK GERMAN, ROMAN| L. African Holding a Scroll. C. Aesop R. Ethiopian philospher Mannon. | L. 300 BCE-200 BCE C. 19TH C. R. 160-170 | L.& R. Ancient C. Early Modern| L. Greek C. Rococo R. Roman
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