Phaedrus lived in ancient Rome and was the first person to translate into Latin and put into verse whole books of the Greek prose fables then circulating and attributed to Aesop.
Phaedrus was a slave by birth. He went to Rome early in life and became a freedman in the household of the Emperor Augustus. Phaedrus was familiar with the works of Greek and Roman writers. Though others before him had rendered fables into verse and used them in their work, Phaedrus considered himself a pioneering artist, and believed his poems would give him immortal fame. His fables include favourites such as 'The Fox and the Grapes' and the 'The Wolf and the Lamb'.
Phaedrus became extremely popular in Europe during the Middle Ages.
In the 18th century, a manuscript was discovered in Parma that contained 64 fables of Phaedrus. 30 of these were new. Another manuscript was found in the Vatican and published in 1831. Later research identified 30 more fables as written by Phaedrus.