Compton, Todd M. 2006. Victim of the Muses: Poet as Scapegoat, Warrior and Hero in Greco-Roman and Indo-European Myth and History. Hellenic Studies Series 11. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Compton.Victim_of_the_Muses.2006.
Appendix A: Poetry, Aggression, Ritual
Parallels with poets and poems we have examined will be obvious:
- Satire and laughter are obviously related; and laughter, perhaps, originated in “aggressive display of teeth.” Satire is, in a way, such a display; and we remember numerous comparisons of satirical poetry to fangs. Pindar, in his reference to Archilochus, writes that he, Pindar, on the other hand, will “flee the violent bite of evil speech.”  Horace speaks of satirical victims “wounded by this blood-drawing fang.”  In his sixth Epode, the same poet warns that if attacked, he will “bite back.”  The poet Nede describes his profession as “piercing flesh.” Meroney describes the curse/satire glám dícind as “an action of fangs.” 
- “A rhythm develops from repetition, and auditory signals accompanying the gestures give rise to music and dance.” Greek poetry was originally closely connected with music and dance: Homer was sung, and in Sappho’s day, lyric was still tightly connected with music. Of course, the chorus tradition, extending from the choral lyric to dramatic chorus, never lost its musical and dancing aspects. Even poetry that lost its musical adjunct kept its metrical, rhythmic nature.
- “Aggressive tensions, with their noise and beating, attack and flight.” Once again, one thinks of the haunting rhythmic nature of poetry. 
- “Attack and flight.” Satirical poetry was often explicitly attack, but more often the poet portrayed it as counterattack. 
- “Phallic display.” One thinks immediately of Archilochus, who offended through his obscene, probably phallic poetry. When he is punished, his tormentors “[became weak] in the genitals.” The closest parallel to this story is a myth in which the Athenians, after dishonoring Dionysus, suffer a plague “in the genitals.” They institute phallic cult to Dionysus to gain an alleviation of the curse.  Comedy, of course, possibly originated in phallic cult. Aristotle writes that comedy “originated in improvisation … from the prelude to the phallic songs which still survive as institutions in many cities.”  Semus describes a procession of hymn-singing phallophoroi ‘phallus bearers’ into the theater; there, they would “run forward and jeer [etōthazon] at any one they picked out.” 
- “Gestures of disgust. ” Satirical poetry can often be a verbal “gesture of disgust.”
- “Gestures of … purification. ” We think of the association of pharmakos and purification. Expelling the scapegoat purifies the city. The poet, when he expels an enemy through poetry, is a purifier; and his enemy, expelling the poet, thinks of himself as purifier. There is ambiguity, depending on whom one considers just, the poet or his enemy. And there is ambiguity in the purifying nature of the expelled dirt; in human terms, the human “dirt” can be heroic in his or her departure. But in any event, these phenomena are “not far removed from the impulses of aggression and destruction.”
In addition, as we have seen, Greco-Roman ritual included overtly satirical elements. The cult of Demeter in particular was connected with ritual abuse. A famous example is the gephurismos in the Eleusinian mysteries, the mockery of prominent citizens in a procession as they passed over a bridge.  Another Eleusinian connection to ritual abuse is Iambe, who coaxes the grieving Demeter into laughter through her jests. Demeter grieves for her stolen daughter,
πολλὰ παρασκώπτουσ’ ἐτρέψατο πότνιαν ἁγνὴν
μειδῆσαι γελάσαι τε καὶ ἵλαον σχεῖν θυμόν.
One immediately thinks of the word iambos, the meter of satirical poets, a word often used with the meaning ‘satire’. In the case of Iambe’s kind mockery, laughter may be a symbol of death and rebirth.
Fescennine abuse is “discovered through this festival”; as one wonders why, some possibilities come to mind. Perhaps there was a celebratory atmosphere and the abuse was meant in the spirit of pure fun, which seems to be Horace’s view. Another explanation could be that festivals offered a sacred time in which one could criticize openly because there would be extreme religious sanctions on violence during the festival (impune minax).  This would allow the lower classes to criticize the upper classes without being punished, as Horace suggests, for it is the “respectable houses” who are upset at the satirical, ritual attack (presumably from those involved in agricultural ritual), and who have the power to pass a law against it. Thus, the feasts of Dionysus and Demeter might have become tools for the more “democratic” movements (including small farmers) as opposed to the ascendant oligarchies (in the cities). There is some evidence that Dionysiac cult did have democratic connections. Dodds writes that the Dionysiac religion “probably made its original appeal mainly to people who had no citizen rights in the aristocratic ‘gentile state’ and were excluded from the older cults associated with the great families.”