Page:The fables of Aesop, as first printed by William Caxton in 1484, with those of Avian, Alfonso and Poggio. Vol 1.djvu/30

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4
THE MEDIÆVAL ÆSOP.

We cannot, perhaps, begin better than by taking to pieces the book we have in our hands, Caxton's version of Jules Machault's translation of Stainhöwel's Äsop, in which the mediaeval collections were first brought together in print. Caxton's book is composed of ten sections: the first, the so-called "Life of Æsop," we have omitted; the last three are connected with the names of Avian, "Alfonce," and "Poge," which will concern us later. The remaining six are the "Fables of Æsop," as we meet with them in Mediæval literature. And of these, again, the first four are found in separate form connected with the name of "Romulus," whom mediæval scribes have at times raised to the Imperial throne of Rome. Let us for the present concentrate our attention on the information which M. Hervieux's pages convey as to this "Romulus," and the many books connected with it. There are three families of MSS. and versions connected with the "Romulus" fables, neglecting various abstracts or combinations

rendu of M. Hervieux's work in the Journal des Savants, 1884-5, to -which I am much indebted in what immediately follows.