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 B: Aggression and the Defensive Topos; Archilochus, Callimachus, Horace
Thus the unnamed antagonist slandered Archilochus. Archilochus is forced to resort to iambs to attack the slanderer in response. The aggressor has forced the issue—as it were, he is asking for the iambs. The original attack is likened to a man taking a cicada by the wing, which makes the insect cry out louder. This metaphor has a rich range of resonances, characterizing as it does both the slanderer and the poet. The slanderer is the type of person who would take a beautiful insect by the wing, a most delicate part of its body. He is viewed as callous, even malignant, torturing a very much smaller, less powerful creature for his own amusement.
δενδρέῳ ἐφεζόμενος λιγυρὴν καταχεύετ’ ἀοιδὴν
πυκνὸν ὑπὸ πτερύγων, θέρεος καματώδεος ὥρῃ …
[Summer is the season] … when the thistle flowers, and the resounding cicada [tettix],
sitting on a tree, pours down its clear song [aoidēn]
continuously from beneath its wings, in the season of tiring heat. 
Thus the poet is a creator of beauty, an innocent defenseless creature, who is being tortured by an arrogant, powerful enemy. The poet is the victim, the beautifully singing insect being mangled. He fights back only in self defense; and his counterattack, satire, is the powerful weapon of the oppressed, a weapon of justice. 
σὺ δ’ ἔργ’ ἐπ’ ἀνθρώπων ὁρᾶις
λεωργὰ καὶ θεμιστά, σοὶ δὲ θηρίων
ὕβρις τε καὶ δίκη μέλει.
O Zeus, father Zeus, who rules heaven,
you look upon the deeds of men,
both evil and lawful; you are
concerned for outrage and justice [even among the] beasts.
This is not the Archilochus who arbitrarily fattens himself on hatreds (Pindar Pythian Odes 2.55); it is instead a hapless victim who appeals to god for justice, and punishes, perhaps, in Zeus’ name, almost as an earthly representative of the god. He views his poetic task almost as a theological imperative. 
ὅς μ’ ἠδίκησε, λ[ὰ]ξ δ’ ἐπ’ ὁρκίοις ἔβη,
τὸ πρὶν ἑταῖρος [ἐ]ών.
I would love to see these things,
[since] he wronged me [ēdikēse], and he trampled on our oaths [orkiois],
though previously he was a comrade.
Hipponax curses his enemy, but only because his enemy, once a trusted friend, has done the poet a serious injustice, breaking solemn oaths. For the Greeks, there was a deep religious dimension to oath breaking. Jon D. Mikalson writes, “The violation of an oath was an impious act of the type which the gods were thought to punish … The individual often specified in a curse the punishment which should afflict him if he violated his oath.”  The poet’s only recourse is bitterly abusive verse, this poem, which is something of a curse. The poet, who at first glance appears to be making a victim of an enemy, sees himself as the actual weak, primary victim, and is satirizing and cursing only in self-defence. 
νήιδες οἳ Μούσης οὐκ ἐγένοντο φίλοι,
εἵνεκεν οὐχ ἓν ἄεισμα διηνεκὲς ἢ βασιλ[η …
… ]ας ἐν πολλαῖς ἤνυσα χιλιάσιν
ἢ … ]ους ἥρωας …
I know that] the Telkhines mutter against my song,
who are ignorant and are not friends of the Muse,
because I didn’t accomplish one continuous song
of many thousand lines [singing of] kings … and heroes …
Callimachus proceeds to explain that quality, not quantity, makes great poetry, and that often the smaller is the more beautiful (16, 24). Furthermore, he sings “among those who love the clear voice of the cicada, and not the tumult of asses” (τεττίγω]ν ἐνὶ τοῖς γὰρ ἀείδομεν οἳ λιγὺν ἦχον / … θ]όρυβον δ’ οὐκ ἐφίλησαν ὄνων, 29–30).  Here we have the Archilochean motif of the poet as cicada, adapted to Callimachus’ literary-critical argument, and in a poem that is rhetorically structured as a defence and counterattack. The image of the poet surrounded by malevolent beings, Telchines, is the base conception here, and suggests elemental realities; on a human level, stoning, a collective punishment that involves a community singling out an especially despised scapegoat; and, on a more primeval level, the animal cornered by a pack of predators.
ignavus adversum lupos?
quin huc inanis verte, si potes, minas
et me remorsurum pete.
nam qualis aut Molossus aut fulvus Lacon,
amica vis pastoribus,
agam per altas aure sublata nives,
quaecumque praecedet fera;
tu, cum timenda voce complesti nemus,
proiectum odararis cibum.
cave, cave: namque in malos asperrimus
parata tollo cornua,
qualis Lycambae spretus infido gener
aut acer hostis Bupalo.
an, si quis atro dente me petiverit,
inultus ut flebo puer?
Why, dog, do you harass innocent
strangers,  a coward against wolves?
Why not turn your empty threats here, if you are able,
and attack me, who will bite you back.
For like a Molossian or a tawny Laconian,
a strong friend to shepherds,
I will go through the deep snows with my ears raised,
whatever wild animal will go before;
you, when you have filled the forest with your fearful voice,
sniff at the food thrown at you.
Beware, beware, for I, most harsh toward evil men,
raise my horns in readiness,
just as the spurned would-be son-in-law did to faithless Lycambes
or the bitter enemy of Bupalus did to him.
Or if anyone attacks me with venomous  tooth,
will I cry like a child, and not take revenge?
Like Archilochus, Horace turns to animal imagery, which is used skillfully to characterize the poet and his enemy. The bad dog is aggressive, and attacks those who are innocent [immerentis]; it is very loud—line 1 is probably a reference to barking; we have “threats” in line 3; in line 9, his fearful voice fills the forest. But if he meets a real challenge, wolves, he is a coward. The good dog, the poet, is, on the other hand, strong, faithful to his masters the shepherds; a fearless defender against wild animals, heroically wading through deep snow with his ears perked up. And if the bad dog attacks him, he will bite back (me remorsurum).  This is the defensive apologetic for literary violence in its pure form. The poet does not begin the hostilities; he only bites in return—in defense, as punishment. 
quemquam animantem et me veluti custodiet ensis
vagina tectus: quem cur destringere coner
tutus ab infestis latronibus? o pater et rex
Iuppiter, ut pereat positum robigine telum
nec quisquam noceat cupido mihi pacis! at ille,
qui me conmorit—melius non tangere, clamo—
flebit et insignis tota cantabitur urbe.
But unprovoked, this pen will not attack
any living soul, and will protect me like a sword
covered by a scabbard: why would I try to unsheathe it
if I were safe from murderous thieves? O father and king
Jupiter, may that weapon be laid aside and perish with rust,
neither may anyone harm me, when I desire peace! but he
who shall trouble me—better not to touch, I cry out—,
will weep and, infamous, will be sung throughout the city.
Two problematic poems, Epodes 8 and 12, puzzlingly extreme, obscene attacks on an older woman, a former lover, both use the satirical apologetic, which may help us understand them better, despite their unpleasantly misogynous overtones.  In both, the poet is responding to an earlier attack, in which the lover disparaged his manhood publicly. The eighth Epode describes in repulsive detail the physical attributes of an aging woman, but only because she has accused the poet of aging, losing his sexual prowess. Horace—or Horace’s Greek model—is angered by her hypocrisy.
viris quid enervet meas,
cum sit tibi dens ater et rugis vetus
frontem senectus exaret
For you, rotten with your long life, to ask
what weakens my powers,
when your teeth are black, and old age
furrows your face with wrinkles!
Epode 12 quotes the actual words the woman uses to attack the poet’s masculinity:
crescit odor …
vel mea cum saevis agitat fastidia verbis:
“Inachia langues minus ac me;
Inachiam ter nocte potes, mihi semper ad unum
mollis opus. pereat male quae te
Lesbia quaerenti taurum monstravit inertem.
cum mihi Cous adesset Amyntas …”
What sweat, and what a foul odor rises everywhere
from her withered limbs …
she even attacks my fastidiousness with savage words:
“With Inachia you are less feeble than with me;
you are able [to service] Inachia three times a night, with me you are always
soft after one effort. May Lesbia come to a bad end, who
offered you, so sluggish, to me, when I was asking for a bull,
when Coan Amyntas was available to me …”
The target of this epode, then, has attacked the poet’s virility, has compared him insultingly with a more capable bedmate. Who was right in this particular quarrel—whether the poet attacked the woman with more or less justification—is immaterial for the present discussion, and certainly unanswerable in any case; for our present purposes, it is enough to recognize that the poet takes pains to show that he has been attacked; his satire, aggressive as it is, has a defensive cast to it. From his perspective, it was provoked, and is a just response.
Poet as Victim