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Aspects of Death and the Afterlife in Greek Literature$
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George Alexander Gazis and Anthony Hooper

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621495

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621495.001.0001

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The Somatics of the Greek Dead

The Somatics of the Greek Dead

(p.33) 2 The Somatics of the Greek Dead
Aspects of Death and the Afterlife in Greek Literature

Vayos Liapis

Liverpool University Press

This chapter asks to what extent were the dead imagined to retain their corporeality by the ancient Greeks? The overview begins with Homer, with particular attention given to the Nekyia, and an excursus on the nature of psyche. The next section on ‘embodied ghosts’ brings together hero-revenants along with the ‘ordinary dead’. Liapis argues that the Homeric account of the dead as disembodied eidola is far from the norm, and clarifies seemingly inconsistencies within Homer’s own representation of the dead concerning this matter. Liapis then considers a range of sources to argue that the Greek imaginings of the dead oscillated between the spectral and corporeal, a situation which poses challenges for contemporary thinking concerning the corporeality of human beings.

Keywords:   corporeality, Homer, psyche, eidola, ghosts

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