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pharmakos


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A human scapegoat. During the Thargelia Athenians and Ionians expelled scapegoats, who were called ‘offscourings’, in order ‘to purify’ the cities. These pharmakoi were chosen from the poor and the ugly, received special treatment in the prytaneion (‘town hall’), were led in a procession to the sound of unharmonious music around the city, beaten with wild or infertile plants like squill, and finally pelted with stones and chased over the border.

See pollution.

See pollution.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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