Infographic shows that The Iliad is surprisingly metal in terms of violence

Infographic shows that The Iliad is surprisingly metal in terms of violence

Moral watchdogs tend to think of pop-culture violence as a recent invention, with violent movies, TV, and video games being seen as signs of some newly developed moral decay. But violence (and hand-wringing about it) have been part of human culture since its inception, from the murder-obsessed penny gaffs detailing the crimes of Burke and Hare that shocked and titillated theater-goers in Victorian England, all the way back to some of our earliest recorded stories.

Laura Jenkinson, author of Greek Myth Comix, has provided a neat little infographic emphasizing that point, laying out all the deaths that occur in Homer’s Iliad, along with kill stats for each character.

It’s not exactly shocking that a story about an ancient war features violence, but the language on display is surprisingly lurid, as in this description of the death of the Trojan Erymas: The metal point of the spear penetrated under his brain and smashed the white jaw bones. His teeth were knocked out; both his eyes filled with blood; and, gasping for breath, he blew blood through his mouth and nostrils.” Hardcore.

The stick-figure style and deep focus on nerdy trivia are kind of reminiscent of popular webcomic XKCD, but with a more faux-historical bent. The minimalist style works well with the material, keeping the focus on the violence of the language. You can view the whole thing over at Greek Myth Comix.

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