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This article explores four animal fables in the Greek sources:
Hesiod’s ainos at Works and Days 202–12, two fables of Archilochus (frags. 172–81 W and 185–87 W), and the eagle and dung beetle story attributed to Aesop (Perry 3), and demonstrates continuities between the stories’ concerns and framing narratives. I argue that these fables serve as point-scoring devices deployed by performers within agonistic situations; they promote their teller’s claim to victory in ongoing competitions involving issues of opposing poetics and genres and form part of a bid for the civic authority achievable by displaying verbal artistry and sophia over a performative rival.