Victim of the Muses: Poet as Scapegoat, Warrior, and Hero in Greco-Roman and Indo-European Myth and History

Front Cover
Center for Hellenic Studies, Trustees for Harvard University, 2006 - 432 pages
This book, which has relevance both for literary history and comparative religion, probes the narratives of poets who are exiled, tried or executed for their satire. Aesop, fabulist and riddle warrior, is assimilated to the pharmakos - the wretched human scapegoat who is expelled from the city or killed in response to a crisis - after satirizing the Delphians. Other prominent legendary and historical Greek and Roman poets, such as Archilochus, Homer, Hesiod, Sappho, Tyrtaeus, Euripides, Socrates, Naevius, Cicero, Ovid, and Juvenal, are also considered in this context. In much the same way, Dumezil's Indo-European heroes, Starkathr and Suibhne, are both warrior-poets persecuted by patron deities. This book views the scapegoat as a group's dominant warrior, sent out to confront predators or besieging forces. Both poets and warriors specialize in madness and aggression, are necessary to society, yet dangerous to society.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Satirist as Pharmakos in Archaic Greece
Sacred Obscenity and Judgment

19 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

Todd Merlin Compton is an independent scholar.

Bibliographic information