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The Death and Mutilation of Imbrius in Iliad 13

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Homerists, following the lead of Charles Segal’s The Theme of the Mutilation of the Corpse in the Iliad (1971), have largely argued that corpse mutilation in the poem is threatened, feared, even attempted, but ultimately unfulfilled. Due to the overwhelming emphasis on corpse preservation in the Iliad, scholars have almost universally ignored the case of Imbrius in Book 13. My discussion of Locrian Ajax’s post mortem decapitation of Imbrius (Il. 13.201–205) aims to problematize this picture of corpse preservation, and I offer some larger structural, thematic, and metapoetic insights into the functioning of this scene in the epic.

Affiliations: 1: Florida State University


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