Defiling a body is a hateful. In the Iliad Achilles was so consumed with hatred for Hector that he defiled his body for days, dragging it three times around the walls of Troy as Hector’s parents wept. All because Hector had killed Achilles’ friend Patroclus. He dragged Hector’s body around Patroclus’ tomb every day until the Gods intervened.
“Knee me no knees, vile hound! nor prate to me
Of parents! such my hatred, that almost
I could persuade myself to tear and eat
Thy mangled flesh; such wrongs I have to avenge,
He lives not, who can save thee from the dogs;
Not though with ransom ten and twenty fold
He here should stand, and yet should promise more;
No, not though Priam’s royal self should sue
To be allow’d for gold to ransom thee;
No, not e’en so, thy mother shall obtain
To lay thee out upon the couch, and mourn
O’er thee, her offspring; but on all thy limbs
Shall dogs and carrion vultures make their feast.”
… Hector’s eyes were clos’d in death;
And to the viewless shades his spirit fled,
Mourning his fate, his youth and vigour lost.
To him, though dead, Achilles thus replied:
“Die thou! my fate I then shall meet, whene’er
Jove and th’ immortal Gods shall so decree.”
He said, and from the corpse his spear withdrew,
And laid aside; then stripp’d the armour off,
With, blood besmear’d; the Greeks around him throng’d,
Gazing on Hector’s noble form and face,
And none approach’d that did not add a wound:
And one to other look’d, and said, “Good faith,
Hector is easier far to handle now,
Then when erewhile he wrapp’d our ships in fire.”
Thus would they say, then stab the dead anew.
… Great glory is ours, the godlike Hector slain,
The pride of Troy, and as a God rever’d.”
He said, and foully Hector’s corpse misus’d;
Of either foot he pierc’d the tendon through,
That from the ancle passes to the heel,
And to his chariot bound with leathern thongs,
Leaving the head to trail along the ground;
Then mounted, with the captur’d arms, his car,
And urg’d his horses; nothing loth, they flew.
A cloud of dust the trailing body rais’d:
Loose hung his glossy hair; and in the dust
Was laid that noble head, so graceful once;
Now to foul insult doom’d by Jove’s decree,
In his own country, by a foeman’s hand.
So lay the head of Hector; at the sight
His aged mother tore her hair, and far
From off her head the glitt’ring veil she threw,
And with loud cries her slaughter’d son bewail’d.
Piteous, his father groan’d; and all around
Was heard the voice of wailing and of woe.