By comparing traditional narratives concerning archaic colonists and tyrants, Ogden shows that monarchic rulers in archaic Greece were often paradoxically conceptualized as deformed scapegoats or as evil malformed babies of sinister birth. This way of thinking helped to explain their extraordinary power, for they embodied in their twisted limbs a terrible pollution that enabled them to overthrow their communities. The author considers a diverse range of related themes, including the myth of Oedipus, the fables of Aesop, the meanings attached to monkeys, pigs and mice, demonic cooks, the characters of early farce, Spartan hairstyles, and the beginnings of Greek democracy and ostracism at Athens.
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