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

  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.

Chatper 1. The Pharmakos in Archaic Greece

The Greek ritual scapegoat, referred to as the pharmakos, provides an essential foundation for the study of legendary lives of the archaic Greek poets. The lives of Aesop, Hipponax, and Tyrtaeus are especially close to pharmakos themes and characteristics. The Greek ritual scapegoat is a complex religio-historical phenomenon, and aspects of it have been vigorously debated by scholars. Nevertheless, that the pharmakos complex existed in some form is undoubted.


Pharmakos: Legendary Aitia

The pharmakos custom actually took place, though details of how it was practiced are not always certain. But these ritual occurrences were always tightly bound up with stories serving as aitia for them in Athenian tradition:

ὅτι ἔθος ἦν ἐν Ἀθήναις φαρμακοὺς ἄγειν δύο … τὸ δὲ καθάρσιον τοῦτο λοιμικῶν νόσων ἀποτροπιασμὸς ἦν, λαβὸν τὴν ἀρχὴν ἀπὸ Ἀνδρόγεω τοῦ Κρητός, οὗ τεθνηκότος ἐν ταῖς Ἀθήναις παρανόμως τὴν λοιμικὴν ενόσησαν οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι νόσον, καὶ ἐκράτει τὸ ἔθος ἀεὶ καθαίρειν τὴν πόλιν τοῖς φαρμακοῖς.

Because it was the custom at Athens to lead two pharmakoi … This cleansing served to ward off plagues of disease, and it took its beginning from Androgeus the Cretan [son of King Minos], because the Athenians were afflicted with a plague of disease when he died unjustly in Athens, and this custom began to be in force, to always cleanse the city with pharmakoi.

Androgeus is a figure who has not been given the attention he deserves, as pharmakos theorists have tended to focus on the ritual itself. It is significant that he was an athlete who had been victorious in the Panathenaic games: “defeating all the contestants in the games.” [
32] He is thus a type of youthful vigor and agonistic victory, rather than the deformed refuse one might expect as background for a pharmakos myth. In one variant of his death legend, he was killed by the men he had defeated. “He was waylaid and murdered by the jealous competitors.” [33] Androgeus subsequently received hero cult at Kerameikos and Phalerum. [34] These data show an identification of the athlete-heroes of Fontenrose’s important article on hero-cult, “The Athlete as Hero,” with Androgeus, and, presumably to the pharmakos. [35] When Androgeus was murdered, he was on his way to Thebes to take part in Laius’ funeral games. [36]

Most of the sources agree that Androgeus is killed unjustly while in a foreign land. Accordingly to Diodorus, he was “treacherously slain,” edolophonēsen; the Homeric scholiast uses the same verb. Plutarch has him killed by dolos, deceit. Apollodorus describes him being ambushed, enedreuthenta, which suggests the irregularity of his death. Servius has him killed as a result of a plot between the Athenians and Megarians, Atheniensibus et vicinis Megarensibus coniuratis occisus est.

Thus mythical aition and rite, as always, relate in a subtle interchange. One need not enter the debate on myth/ritual priority here, but it is worth noting in passing that these passages have the rite repeating continually a primary myth.

Legendary scapegoats

Here we have the disaster (invasion); the descent of the greatest man of the land down to the level of the common woodsman, the lowest element in society; his voluntary self-expulsion from his land; and his death, which saves his state from the disaster.

As has been noted, even if the pharmakos was not actually killed, the city kills him ideologically. It seems likely that, if the Greeks went to such lengths to make it appear as if ordinary animal sacrifices were voluntary, the pharmakos—who may have been viewed as a sacrifice—might have been always at least symbolically voluntary. Though, as Bremmer notes, these scapegoat myths do not exactly reflect pharmakos ritual, there is an undeniable connection between the myths and the ritual.


1. Ritual pollution. This may be the first in a series of imbalances that need to be righted in the course of ritual or event. This is often caused by a crime:

1a.Crime of hero, pharmakos, as in the case of Pharmakos, killed by Achilles’ friends.

1a1.Criminal impiety, as in temple robbing.

1a1a.Theft of sacred things, hierosulia, as when Pharmakos steals the sacred vessels of Apollo.

1b1.Inhospitality—the crime is committed against a stranger, unjustly, as in the case of Androgeus.

1b2.Murder—the stranger is murdered.

1b3. Deceit—the stranger is murdered deceitfully (Androgeus is ambushed).

2. Communal disaster. This can be plague, famine, invasion, cyclic period of infertility, or any combination of the above.

2a.This can cause the scapegoat’s expulsion/death (as commonly in the ritual sequence). This can be a psychological “plague,” a “plague of shame”; i.e. Androgeus had defeated the native Athenians in their games; they found this intolerable, so they killed him in retribution.

2a1.Plague. Oedipus.

2a2.Famine. Oedipus.

2a3.War. Codrus. Aglauros.

3. Oracle. Often an oracle can be involved in interpreting and prescribing a remedy for the disaster. Thus, an oracle follows Androgeus’ death and the resulting plague/famine. Oracles are common in the legendary tradition.

4. The Worst. In ritual sources, the pharmakos is a beggar, slave, or criminal—the worst. (In legendary sources, a king may dress as a beggar to enact his role as scapegoat, as in the story of Codrus.)

4a.Poor—often the pharmakos is recruited from among the poor.


4a2.Poor or scanty food.

6. Peripety. The scapegoat can undergo a peripety from best to worst; the well-fed and clothed pharmakos suddenly finds himself a hated outcast. This theme is defined better in the legendary tradition because there is more emphasis on the best, as in the royal victim. King Codrus must dress in rags to be killed, becoming a beggar overnight.

7. Selection by public meeting. In the case of the criminal pharmakos, this public meeting could be in the nature of a trial.

8. Voluntary. However, the pharmakos is sometimes voluntary. This is attested in the ritual tradition, but is almost de rigueur in the legendary tradition.

8a.Ambivalent volition. The pharmakos’ death was seen as both voluntary and involuntary.

9. Procession.

9a.Blows. Cf. stoning below.

10. Expulsion. The pharmakos is always expelled from the city. (Often after procession.) This is perhaps the key theme.


11. Death. Often the pharmakos dies, if only symbolically, especially by

11a.Stoning, or

11b.Being thrown from cliff into sea. This is almost a physical expression of peripety, falling from best to worst.


11d.By sword or knife, as in the case of Androgeus.

12. Sacrifice.

23. Hero is sacred, superhuman.

23d. Resurrection of hero, as in the case of Androgeus.

Though not every story or rite will have all of these themes, the presence of a number of these themes will show some identification with the pharmakos complex. Especially conclusive are the following: 2, communal disaster, 10, expulsion of hero, 4, “worstness” of hero (ambiguous) because of crime or ugliness, and 11a, stoning or 11b, ejection over a cliff. Through the balance of this study, the ejection of an ambiguously worst hero from a city or country (including historical exiles in the case of Sappho or Ovid), or a more final form of ejection, execution, will be considered the central motif of the complex.

It is true that some rituals or ritual types may share characteristics with this complex. The pharmakos comes under the broad classification of purification and sacrifice. Yet though the pharmakos will intersect with other rituals, it also has important idiosyncratic elements. For instance, sacrifice had a form of pelting with grain, but it was not an actual stoning. Stoning was not regularly used as a form of capital execution; it tended to be an extralegal action of enraged mobs. Thus its use on a selected day of the year, or as a premeditated means of averting a plague, differentiates the pharmakos idea. However, any stoning is a manifestation of communal desire for expulsion; the victim dies or leaves. The theme of expulsion is central; the pharmakos is only a striking example of this, on a ritual level, an important pattern in Greek culture.


[ back ] 1. On the pharmakos custom, the treatments I have used the most are Burkert 1979:59–77; Vernant 1981; Bremmer 1983b; and Burkert 1985:82–84. Other useful sources are Nilsson 1967 1:107–110; Gebhard 1926; Höfer 1884; Farnell 1896 4:268–284; Wiechers 1961:31–43; Guépin 1968:81–100; Deubner 1932:179–198; Frazer 1911 vol. IX, especially 252–274; Harrison 1922:95–119; Murray 1934:13–16, 253–258; O’Connor-Visser 1987:211–232; Hughes 1991:139–165 (mainly concerned with the question of whether the pharmakos was killed); Parker 1983:257–280; Ogden 1997:15–23 (even including a few pages on Aesop and “scapegoat-poets,” 38–40, 44–46) and passim; Faraone 1992:96–100. Two influential books that devote much attention to the pharmakos are Girard 1977:9, 94–98, 293–294, 298, 307, and Derrida 1981:128–134. For the literary Nachleben of the pharmakos, see Frye 1957: 41–48, 148–149 and Vickery 1972. Further bibliography can be found in Burkert 1985:379–380, 82–84; Derrida 1981:130n56; Höfer 1884:2276–2277. For Roman “rituals of exclusion,” see Brelich 1949/50. “Pharmakos theory” has begun to be applied to political history, see Ogden 1997; Rosenbloom 2002.

[ back ] 2. Lloyd 1979:44n184; Burkert 1979:65; Derrida 1981:132n59; 131 on the ambiguity of the concept of poison in Greece and Rome, quoting Aulus Gellius Attic Nights 12.9 and others.

[ back ] 3. For pharmakos as a term of abuse in comedy, see Harrison 1922:97; but it is already a term of abuse in our earliest attestation, Hipponax, 5–10W.

[ back ] 4. For pharmakos as therapeia, cf. theraps, therapōn, ‘attendant, servant’, which is probably, but not certainly, cognate with Hittite tarpassa-, tarpa(na)lli-, ‘substitute victim’. Cf. Tischler 1993:27–32. Nagy and others have interpreted Patroclus as Achilles’ substitute victim; see Nagy 1979:292–297; 33 and 1983:193–194; Lowenstam 1981:126–178. However, cf. Greenhalgh 1982:81–90. It is true that therapōn is nowhere found in Greek with the meaning, ‘substitute victim’. But, as the Greek-Hittite cognate (if it is valid) shows, there can be a relationship between the concept of servant and the concept of substitute victim. Cf. the story of Tamun, “the Stump,” in chapter 17.

[ back ] 5. See also Dodds 1951:59n88; Harrison 1922:108. Cf. the principle, “he that wounds shall make whole,” discussed in Fontenrose 1978:78–79; Puhvel 1987:134 and 1976:20–22.

[ back ] 6. Cf. the Aenianes’ myth of stoning their king because of a disastrous drought, Plutarch Greek Questions 297b–c, 294a; Burkert 1979:66; and Apollonius’ stoning of a beggar during an Ephesian plague (Philostratus Life of Apollonius 4.10: “the plague fell upon the Ephesians, and nothing could protect them from it,” ἡ νόσος τοῖς Ἐφησίοις ἐνέπεσε καὶ οὐδὲν ἦν πρὸς αὐτὴν αὔταρκες). For the connection between famine (limos) and plague (loimos), see Bremmer 1983b:301n17.

[ back ] 7. Petronius fragment 1 nam Massilienses quotiens pestilentia laborabant .

[ back ] 8. Tzetzes Chiliades (“Thousands”) 5.728: εἴτ’ οὖν λιμός, εἴτε λοιμός, εἴτε καὶ βλάβος ἄλλο.

[ back ] 9. Harpocration, s.v. pharmakos; also at Abdera, Scholia in Ovid Ibis 467 (La Penna), in uno quoque anno … in Kalendis Ianuarii, “every year … at the Kalends of January”; and at Leucas, Strabo Geography 10.2.9, kat’ eniauton, “every year.” See Burkert 1979:65.

[ back ] 10. Cf. Wiechers 1961:34–35; Bremmer 1983b:303; Garland 1995:23–26. Scholia on Aristophanes Knights 1136c: λίαν ἀγεννεῖς καὶ πένητας καὶ ἀχρήστους, “exceedingly low-born, penniless, and useless,” following text in Koster 1969 ad loc.

[ back ] 11. Geography 10.2.9, τινα τῶν ἐν αἰτίαις ὄντων. See also Ogden 1997:16nn20–21.

[ back ] 12. Convivial Questions 6.8.1 (693f); Burkert 1979:65. The rite at Chaeronea was not technically a pharmakos rite, but it was close to it; cf. Deubner 1932:195; Bremmer 1983b:302, “The Colophonian pharmakos ate slave’s food” (Hipponax 8, 26.6, 115.8W), and Bremmer 1983b:305n41; Deubner 1932:182nn7, 8, 9.

[ back ] 13. Tzetzes Chiliades 5.731, τὸν πάντων ἀμορφότερον.

[ back ] 14. τὸν ἀηδέστατον καὶ παρὰ τῆς φύσεως ἐπιβεβουλευμένον πηρόν, χωλόν, τοὺς τοιούτους … ἔθυον, Scholia in Aeschylus Seven Against Thebes 680, cf. Deubner 1932:184; Scholia in Aristophanes Frogs 742: “vile men and those mistreated by nature,” τοὺς γὰρ φαύλους καὶ παρὰ τῆς φύσεως ἐπιβεβουλευομένους.

[ back ] 15. Harpocration, s.v. pharmakos, δύο ἄνδρας ἐξῆγον καθάρσια ἐσομένους τῆς πόλεως ἐν τοῖς Θαργηλίοις, ἕνα μὲν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀνδρῶν, ἕνα δὲ ὑπὲρ τῶν γυναικῶν. Also, Hesychius s.v. pharmakoi: “Pharmakoi: those who cleanse, cleansing the cities thoroughly [perikathairontes], a man and a woman.” φαρμακοί, καθαρτήριοι, περικαθαίροντες τὰς πόλεις, ἀνὴρ καὶ γυνή. This latter reference could be a misunderstanding of the first. Cf. Bremmer 1983b:301n12, Deubner 1932:179–180; Frazer 1911:254; Guépin 1968:89.

[ back ] 16. E.g. Hipponax 128W, psēphidiboulēi dēmosiēi, “stoned [?] … by public decree”; see Wiechers 1961:36. See below, chapter 4 (Hipponax). Cf. the name Polycrite, ‘she who was chosen by many’, or ‘much chosen’ or ‘chosen out of many’, discussed by Bremmer 1983b:305; Burkert 1979:73. Cf. Fontenrose 1968:78 (themes H, I), 92. Ostracism, involving a public vote, has been compared to the pharmakos custom, see Vernant 1981:205n66; Burkert 1985:83; Ranulf 1933:132–141.

[ back ] 17. Cf. Frazer 1911:255n1; 1 Corinthians 4.13.

[ back ] 18. See Bremmer 1983b:302n18, and LSJ s.v.

[ back ] 19. Callimachus Aetia fragment 90 (Pf.), diēgēsis II, Αβδήροις ὠνητὸς ἄνθρωπος καθάρσιον τῆς πόλεως. Also, Harpocration, s.v. pharmakos, quoting Ister: … to be purification [katharsia]of the city” καθάρσια ἐσομένους τῆς πόλεως ; “… pharmakoi, who indeed cleanse [kathairousi] the cities by their deaths”; … φαρμακούς, οἵπερ καθαίρουσι τὰς πόλεις τῷ ἑαυτῶν φόνῳ, Scholia on Aristophanes Knights, at 1136c; Suda, s.v. katharma: “… for the purification [katharmou] of the city they killed a man who was adorned, whom they called katharma.” Ὑπὲρ δὲ καθαρμοῦ πόλεως ἀνῄρουν ἐστολισμένον τινά, ὅν ἐκάλουν κάθαρμα. Also, Lysias 6.53; Tzetzes Chiliades 726, 730, 761. See Else 1957:224–232 and 421–431 for an introduction to the concept of katharsis in Greece; as katharsis is a key element in tragedy, it is not surprising that the pharmakos pattern has been analyzed in a number of Greek tragedies—see especially Vernant 1981:200–205 (Oedipus), Pucci 1990; Foley 1993 (Oedipus, analyzing the problem of the ending), also Segal 1981:141, 46–51 (Antigone, Ajax); Dodds 1953:196, 215 and Seaford 1994:313–318 (Pentheus). Cf. Vickers 1973:609–616; Parker 1983; Schmitt 1921.

[ back ] 20. Bremmer 1983b:305; Burkert 1979:65. Cf. Plato Apology 36d–e, with notes by Dyer 1976:106.

[ back ] 21. Petronius fragment 1, cf. Frazer 1911:253.

[ back ] 22. Helladius ad Photius Bibliotheca 534a (Henry ed.); Bremmer 1983b:301.

[ back ] 23. Helladius ad Photius Bibliotheca 534a (Henry ed.).

[ back ] 24. Ogden 1997:21, cf. Seaford 1994:313–318.

[ back ] 25. Petronius fragment 1; Callimachus fragment 90, diēgēsis, cf. Dio Chrysostom 8.14; Bremmer 1983b:313–314.

[ back ] 26. Callimachus fragment 90, diēgēsis; Ister, in Harpocration, s.v. pharmakos; Murray 1934:326–331; Rotolo 1980. See Rowland’s discussion of expulsion from a community, 1980:91–94.

[ back ] 27. Hirzel 1909:244, cf. Lloyd-Jones 1968:136; Gras 1984:75–88; Steiner 1995. For stoning generally, Lactantius on Statius Thebaid 10.793, saxis occidebatus a populo, “he was killed by the people with stones”; Callimachus fragment 90, diēgēsis II 29–40; Burkert 1979:67; Rowland 1980:95–96; Visser 1982:404–405n5, 408–409; Pease 1918:5–18; Fehling 1974:59–80; Barkan 1979:41–53; Eitrem 1977:282–294; Schadewaldt 1936:29. See below on Hipponax, chapter 4.

[ back ] 28. Hipponax 5–6W; Bremmer 1983b:300, 301; cf. Frazer 1911:257–258. For the importance of beating in the pharmakos rite, see Harrison 1922:100–101.

[ back ] 29. See the following note; Bremmer 1983b:315–317; Murray 1934:326–331; below, app. A. For precipitation over a cliff, often linked with stoning, Steiner 1995, cf. Barkan 1979:54–55. See also Frazer 1913 3:417, at 4.22.7.

[ back ] 30. Scholiast on Ovid Ibis 467, b. Also, Scholia on Aristophanes Knights 1136c: ethuon: “they killed [or “sacrificed”].” Scholia on Aeschylus Seven Against Thebes 680, ethuon “they killed [or “sacrificed”]” as quoted in Wiechers 1961:34. Lactantius on Statius Thebaid X 793: hostia humana “human sacrifice”; Tzetzes Chiliades 5.731: tēn thusian, “the sacrifice.” Murray 1934:328–329, cf. 32–35; Bremmer 1983b:315–318; Vernant 1981:200n41. Barkan notes that while some scholars (e.g. Hirzel) have suggested that stoning outside the city took place so that the victim might escape, the evidence does not support such an idea, 1979:52.

[ back ] 31. Other sources on Androgeus are Scholiast on Plato Minos 321a; Diodorus Siculus 4.60–61; Zenobius 4.6, in Leutsch and Schneidewin 1958–1961 1:85; Scholiast on Homer Iliad XVIII 590; Plutarch Theseus 15; Pausanias 1.27.9–10; Servius on Virgil Aeneid 6.14; and Lactantius on Statius Achilleid 192. For discussion see Gantz 1993:262; Gebhard 1926:18–19; Murray 1934:328; Toepffer 1893; Kerényi 1959:227; Frazer 1921 2:116.

[ back ] 32. Diodorus Siculus 4.60: ἐν δὲ τοῖς ἀγῶσι νικήσας τοὺς ἀθλητὰς ἅπαντας.

[ back ] 33. Apollodorus 3.15.7: πρὸς τῶν ἀγωνιστῶν ἐνεδρευθέντα διὰ φθόνον ἀπολέσθαι. Cf. Gantz 1993:262.

[ back ] 34. Amelesagoras of Athens, FGH 330 F 2 (Kerameikos); Pausanias 1.1.4; Clement of Alexandria Hortatory Address to the Greeks 26A; Callimachus fragment 103 Pfeiffer; Toepffer 1893; Deubner 1932:181n3; Kearns 1989:149, 38–41. For hero cult generally, see Clay 2004; Ekroth 2002; Boehringer 2001; Hägg 1999; Larson 1995; Antonaccio 1995, 1993; Kearns 1989; Burkert 1985:203–208; Nagy 1979; Bremmer 1978; Coldstream 1976; Damon 1974; Fontenrose 1968; Brelich 1958; Hack 1929; Farnell 1921; Pfister 1909–1912.

[ back ] 35. Fontenrose 1968. Heracles was a famous athlete, and exemplifies some of Fontenrose’s crucial motifs (1968:86), cf. below, ch. 16. Fontenrose mentions neither Androgeus nor the pharmakos in his rich paper. See also Bohringer 1979; Kurke 1993. For connections between athletes and war (victorious athletes who became generals), Kurke 1993:136–137.

[ back ] 36. Apollodorus 3.15.7; Diodorus Siculus 4.60.5.

[ back ] 37. Apollodorus 3.15.7.

[ back ] 38. Hyginus Fables 41; Frazer 1921 2:117n1. Cf. the story of Codrus, below, and the death of Archilochus, ch. 3.

[ back ] 39. Apollodorus 3.15.8. γενομένου δὲ τῇ πόλει λιμοῦ τε καὶ λοιμοῦ, “When the city was afflicted by famine and plague …”

[ back ] 40. Plutarch Theseus 15.1, trans. Perrin, modified; ὅτι μὲν οὖν Ἀνδρόγεω περὶ τὴν Ἀττικὴν ἀποθανεῖν δόλῳ δόξαντος, ὅ τε Μίνως πολλὰ κακὰ πολεμῶν εἰργάζετο τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ τὸ δαιμόνιον ἔφθειρε τὴν χώραν (ἀφορία τε γὰρ καὶ νόσος ἐνέσκηψε πολλὴ καὶ ἀνέδυσαν οἱ ποταμοί). For the motif of offering young men and women (who often give themselves up willingly) to allay disasters, see below on mythical scapegoat patterns, and Frazer 1921 2.118n1; 111n2.

[ back ] 41. Et deus exstinctum Cressis Epidaurius herbis / restituit patriis Androgeona focis. Cf. Richardson 1977 ad loc.

[ back ] 42. Apollodorus 3.3, 3.10.3–4, with Frazer’s notes.

[ back ] 43. Cf. Gebhard 1926:16; Jackson 1994. For the theme of stealing temple cups, see on Aesop, chapter 2 below. Pharmakos may have ties to Thersites, whom Achilles also kills (but not for stealing Apollo’s cups, and not by stoning). See chapter 16 below, on Achilles.

[ back ] 44. See Burkert 1979:72–77; Larson 1995, chapters 5 and 6.

[ back ] 45. Vernant 1981.

[ back ] 46. Pherecydes FGH 3 F 154; Hellanicus FGH 323a F 23; Plato Symposium 208d; Lycurgus Against Leocrates 84; a vase dated ca. 430 BC, the name vase of the Codrus painter, Bologna PU 273. For discussion of Codrus, see Pease 1955 2:1083; Fontenrose 1978:374(L49); Burkert 1979:62–63; Robertson 1988:224–230; Kearns 1989:56, 178; Kearns 1990:328–329, 336; Sourvinou-Inwood 1990 (an interpretation of Bologna PU 273). See also the story of Leonidas and the oracle at Thermopylae, Herodotus 7.220.3–4; Fontenrose 1978:77(Q152); Mikalson 2003:64. In Fontenrose’s view, here the oracle is a post eventum element brought into the tale to assimilate Leonidas to Codrus. For a mythical king stoned during a drought, see Plutarch Greek Questions 26 (297 b–c), 13 (294a).

[ back ] 47. Pausanias writes that when Heracles and the Thebans were preparing to engage in battle with the Orchomenians, “an oracle was delivered to them that success in the war would be theirs if their citizen of the most noble descent would consent to die by his own hand,” 9.17.1, trans. W. H. S. Jones, λόγιόν σφισιν ἦλθεν ἔσεσθαι τοῦ πολέμου κράτος ἀποθανεῖν αὐτοχειρίᾳ θελήσαντος, ὃς ἂν τῶν ἀστῶν ἐπιφανέστατος κατὰ γένους ἀξίωμα ᾖ. (The daughters of the most genealogically distinguished man willingly consent to die, then receive hero cult.) In a similar story, a daughter of Heracles, Macaria, in response to an oracle, kills herself to give the Athenians victory in a war against Sparta, Pausanias 1.32.6, Kearns 1989:58; Larson 1995:101. Cf. the daughters of Antipoenus, Pausanias 9.17.1. The story of Oedipus is an obvious example of consulting an oracle in order to alleviate a plague, only to have it require the expulsion of a sinful pollutant from the city. Cf. Bremmer 1983b:305; Fontenrose 1968:92.

[ back ] 48. For the scapegoat and war, see preceding note. In Pausanias 1.32.4–6, those killed in the battle of Marathon receive hero cult, cf. Kearns 1989:55, 183, Ekroth 2002:75–77. The dead at Plataea received similar honors, Thucydides 3.58.4, Plutarch Aristides 21.2–5, cf. Ekroth 2002:77–78, 94–96, 102, 124–126. For cult awarded to “war dead” generally, Ekroth 2002:204, 258–262, 339. See below chapter 11 (Tyrtaeus), and chapter 18. See also Rohde 1925 1:131; Stern 1991; Herodotus 7.134–144, 3.153–163, in which Zopyrus, a Persian noble, mutilates himself, cutting off nose and ears, to bring about Babylon’s fall. How and Wells (1928 1.300) accept the story’s possible historicity; Stern (1991:308n19) rejects this possibility.

[ back ] 49. Cicero Tusculan Disputations 1.48.116. See below, chapter 3, on Archilochus; chapter 11, on Tyrtaeus.

[ back ] 50. Polycrite is an example, see below and above, this chapter; Androgeus is a prince, see above. Cf. Burkert 1979:71n29; Bremmer 1983b:302–305; Loraux 1987a:31–48; Kearns 1989:56–58; Hughes 1991:71–138.

[ back ] 51. Kearns 1990.

[ back ] 52. Philochorus FGH 328 F 105–106; Burkert 1983:67–68; Kearns 1989:139–140, 23–27, 57–63; Kearns 1990:330, 341; Larson 1995:40–41, 102. See also Herodotus 8.53; Demosthenes 19.303. For the more well-known tradition about Aglauros’ death after disobediently opening the box enclosing the snake-guarded Erichthonius, which includes the leap off the cliff, but which gives no context for the ephebes’ oath, or for the three sisters’ subsequent reputation as nurturers of children, see Euripides Ion 270–274; Apollodorus 3.15.6, with Frazer’s notes; Kron 1981 with bibliography; Burkert 1983:150–154; Gantz 1993:234–238. Larson (1995:40–41) concludes that Aglauros did not have close ties to the Erichthonius complex.

[ back ] 53. Euripides Erechtheus fragment 370 K; Apollodorus 3.15.4; Kearns 1989:201–202, 59–63; Larson 1995:102; Ekroth 2002:258. The willing self-sacrifice is ambiguous, as often.

[ back ] 54. In Greece and Rome it is a common legendary theme, see preceding notes. Burkert discusses the “invasion” theme in Hittite ritual, 1979:60–61; ANET 347; Gurney 1977:47–52.

[ back ] 55. According to Petronius, fragment 1, this was the custom in Massilia, though the victim was poor and was fed for a year before expulsion. Other sources temper the willingness of the victim by speaking of rewards, e.g. Lactantius on Statius Thebaid 10.793.

[ back ] 56. Bremmer 1983b:307–308. Cf. Schmitt 1921, O’Connor-Visser 1987, Burkert 1985:56, 1983:4, 1979:71; Girard 1986:63–67; see on Codrus above.

[ back ] 57. IG II2 4258 (tomb at the foot of the Acropolis); IG I3 84 (temenos of Codrus, Neleus, and Basile); Sokolowski 1969 no. 14, 418/417 BC; cf. Hooker 1960:115; Burkert 1979:62n14; Kearns 1989:178.

[ back ] 58. 1979:73, cf. 173n1 for further references and discussion; Bremmer 1983b:303; Larson 1995:136. There is a comparable odd “clothes stoning” in the historical tradition: the death of Draco, see Suda, s.v. Drakon. “Draco, Athenian lawgiver. He came to Aegina to help with their legislation, and when he was acclaimed by the Aeginians in the theater they threw so many hats, coats and garments upon his head that he was smothered, and he was buried in that very theater.” Δράκων, Ἀθηναῖος νομοθέτης. οὗτος εἰς Αἴγιναν ἐπὶ νομοθεσίαις εὐφημούμενος ὑπὸ τῶν Αἰγινητῶν ἐν τῷ θεάτρῳ ἐπιρριψάντων αὐτῷ ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν πετάσους πλείονας καὶ χιτῶνας καὶ ἱμάτια ἀπεπνίγη καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ ἐτάφη τῷ θεάτρῷ. Cf. Szegedy-Maszak 1978:207n42. The acclamation is a capital sentence. See below, chapter 7 on ironic, remarkable deaths.

[ back ] 59. Parthenius 9.

[ back ] 60. Cf. the daughters of Erechtheus, who after having died to save Athens from defeat in war, are, with Erechtheus their sacrificer, “reckoned among the gods at Athens,” ιn numero deorum sunt …, Cicero On the Nature of the Gods 3.19.50; cf. Kearns 1989:59–60; van den Bruwaene 1970 3:89–90n175; Pease 1955 2:1084; Frazer 1921 2:111n2. Wineless sacrifices were awarded the daughters in Athens. (Scholia on Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 100.)

[ back ] 61. See Fontenrose 1968 and 1959. Such listings have been used less for ritual than for myth.

[ back ] 63. Sōtēria: Photius, s.v. peripsēma. Therapeia, see above.

[ back ] 64. See e.g. Pausanias 6.6.4–10; Fontenrose 1968:81.

[ back ] 65. Plutarch On the Virtues of Women 17 (254e). Cf. Rowland 1980:45–46; Dundes 1980. Deformed men have been used to ward off the evil eye, Welsford 1936:61.

[ back ] 66. Cf. Antiphon 1.18 (a dosis pharmakou, “dose [or “gift”] of poison”); Dioscorides Medical Treatise 2.171 (a dosis of medicine).

[ back ] 67. Cf. Burkert 1983:77, Burkert 1966:102–104; Nagy 1979:121, 305–307; also Burkert 1983:133, 119, 177 (god/victim equation).

[ back ] 68. Bohringer 1979:18. See especially chapter 18 below.

[ back ] 69. Pausanias 6.9.6–8; discussion and further references in Fontenrose 1968:73. Cf. below, chapter 8, on Sappho.

[ back ] 70. See previous note.

[ back ] 71. Callimachus fragment 84–85 Pf. with diēgēsis; Oenomaus at Eusebius Preparation for the Gospel 5.34, p. 232bc, quoted by Pfeiffer at Callimachus fragment 84–85; Fontenrose 1968:74.

[ back ] 72. Famously, not at the end of the extant Oedipus the King. See Hester 1984.

[ back ] 73. For Oedipus’ legend and cult, see Edmunds 1981; Gantz 1993:492–502 (many variants, including Oedipus dying in battle, Iliad XXIII 677–680).

[ back ] 74. Euripides Phoenician Women 1540–1545; Edmunds 1981:230.

[ back ] 75. See also for Oedipus as scapegoat Vernant 1981:200–205, Pucci 1990; Foley 1993; Seaford 1994:130–133. Griffith 1993 dissents.