Laurie O'Higgins examines the role of women as producers of joking speech, especially within cults of Demeter. She considers the speech from its mythical origins in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, through the reactive iambic tradition and into old comedy. Sometimes known as aischrologia, this speech had considerable weight and vitality within its cultic context. It also influenced literary traditions, notably iambic and Attic old comedy traditionally regarded as entirely male.
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