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Victim of the Muses

Victim of the Muses

Poet as Scapegoat, Warrior and Hero in Greco-Roman and Indo-European Myth and History

Todd Merlin Compton

ISBN 9780674019584

Publication date: 06/30/2006

This book 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.

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.


  • Todd Merlin Compton is an independent scholar.

Book Details

  • 432 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 9 inches
  • Center for Hellenic Studies