Page:The fables of Aesop, as first printed by William Caxton in 1484, with those of Avian, Alfonso and Poggio. Vol 1.djvu/31

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5
THE ROMULUS LITERATURE.

of the three.[1] There is first the "Romulus" itself, consisting of eighty-three fables divided in the Vulgate edition rather irregularly in four books; the earliest MS. of this (the Burneian in the British Museum) dates from the tenth century. Then comes a recension represented in a MS. formerly at Wisseburg, now at Wolfenbüttel, containing eighty-two fables and known as the "Æsopus ad Rufum." Finally there is a collection of sixty-seven Romulean fables first published by Nilant in 1709, and known accordingly as the "Anonymus Nilanti," but now ascertained to have been compiled by the chronicler Ademar de Chabannes (988-1030), before his departure for the Holy Land in 1029. These three collections, "Romulus," "Æsopus ad Rufum,"[2] and the Æsop of Ademar, represent three stages back-

  1. Among these the only one of interest is the collection contained in double form in the mediaeval encyclopaedia, the Speculum majus of the Dominican Vincent of Boauvais (1264). The "Romulus of Nilant" (not to be confounded with the "Anonymus of Nilant") has its interest in another connection. (See infra, p. 161)
  2. For clearness' sake, I leave out of account the "Rufus " in what follows. Its exact relation to Ademar and Romulus is the subject of dispute between Oesterley, L. Mueller, Heydenreich, and MM. Paris and Hervieux, and I will not attempt to decide where such doctors disagree.