χεύαμεν Ἀργείων ἱερὸς στρατὸς αἰχμητάων
ἀκτῇ ἔπι προὐχούσῃ, ἐπὶ πλατεῖ Ἑλλησπόντῳ,
ὥς κεν τηλεφανὴς ἐκ ποντόφιν ἀνδράσιν εἴη
τοῖς οἳ νῦν γεγάασι καὶ οἳ μετόπισθεν ἔσονται.”
“We, the sacred army of Argive spearmen, then
piled around them a great and blameless tomb
on a prominent headland on the broad Hellespont,
to be seen from far out at sea by men,
both those who are now and those who will be afterward.”
This description makes a special point of the tomb’s permanence: it will be seen in the present and the future. And how will those future generations react? Elsewhere in the Odyssey, Menelaus states that his purpose in building a tomb for Agamemnon was ἵν᾽ ἄσβεστον κλέος εἴη “so that his fame might be inextinguishable” (4.584). 
- The grave was marked (with a σῆμα) in order to separate the living from the dead.
- The memory of the deceased persisted (orally) in his community; the grave marker of the deceased persisted (physically) in the space of the community.
- Due to the persistence of these two relics of the deceased, they became associated with each other.
- The grave marker activated and reinforced memory of the deceased: σῆμα became μνῆμα.
The “activation” spoken of in Sourvinou-Inwood’s fourth step presumably happens because the sight of a grave marker causes the community to remember, and even verbally to honor, the person buried there.
ὄφρα ἑ ταρχύσωσι κάρη κομόωντες Ἀχαιοί
σῆμά τέ οἱ χεύωσιν ἐπὶ πλατεῖ Ἑλλησπόντῳ.
καί ποτέ τις εἴπῃσι καὶ ὀψιγόνων ἀνθρώπων,
νηῒ πολυκλήϊδι πλέων ἐπὶ οἴνοπα πόντον·
‘ἀνδρὸς μὲν τόδε σῆμα πάλαι κατατεθνηῶτος,
ὅν ποτ᾽ ἀριστεύοντα κατέκτανε φαίδιμος Ἕκτωρ.’
ὥς ποτέ τις ἐρέει, τὸ δ᾽ ἐμὸν κλέος οὔ ποτ᾽ ὀλεῖται.”
“I will return the corpse to the well-decked ships,
so that the hairy-headed Akhaians may bury it
and pile a marker for it on the broad Hellespont.
And someday, someone, even of late-born people, will say,
as he sails in a many-benched ship on the wine-surfaced sea:
‘This is the marker of a man who died long ago,
whom illustrious Hector once killed in his moment of triumph.’
So someone will someday say, and my fame will never perish.”
Traditionally, this passage has been read as ironic:  we assume that the audience would have expected that the tomb would honor the man buried there, and that it would recall his great deeds to the minds of those who see it; this predicted tomb, on the other hand, will call to mind the great deeds of the person who killed the dead man.
στε͂θι | καὶ οἴκτιρον ⁚ σε͂μα Θράσονος ⁚ ἰδόν.
You who pass along the road with other intentions in your mind,
stand and pity, while you look at the marker of Thraso.
Here, and in other early sepulchral epigrams, three “characters”—that is, three entities that interact by gaze or speech—are important: 
- The passerby
- The deceased
- The grave marker itself
Actions implicitly or explicitly performed by the passerby are:
- Motion past the marker (either before or after reading the epigram)
- Stopping at the marker
- Looking at the marker
- Lamenting for the deceased 
I will refer to this combination of characters and actions, taken as a whole, as the “graveside narrative.” While we already know that the above actions are not performed in graveside passages in the Iliad, in what follows I will look to see whether the absence of this performance is ironically underlined, or whether the action has been assigned to one of the other characters, as an ironic displacement.
- No reference is made to any component of the graveside narrative, and this omission passes unremarked by the text.
- The graveside narrative, or at least part of it, is followed.
- The graveside narrative is not followed, but the context indicates awareness of the narrative—a gesture toward the path not taken.
As I have remarked above, we already know that the second result does not obtain. The test, then, is between the first (unawareness of the graveside narrative) and the last (ironic awareness).
Αἰπύτιον παρὰ τύμβον, ἵν᾽ ἀνέρες ἀγχιμαχηταί….
Next, those who inhabit Arkadia, beneath the lofty mountain of Kyllene,
by the tomb of Aiputos, where are men who fight at close quarters….
βουλὰς βουλεύει θείου παρὰ σήματι Ἴλου,
νόσφιν ἀπὸ φλοίσβου·…”
“Hector, with those who are counselors,
takes counsel by the marker of divine Ilos,
far from the tumult.”
Ἴλου Δαρδανίδαο παλαιοῦ δημογέροντος.
… leaning on the pillar upon the man-wrought tomb
of Ilos son of Dardanos, ancient elder of the people.
If instances such as these were more numerous, they would make a good case that the Iliad knows no graveside conventions. As it is, however, there are far more occasions that yield a different result. It is probable, then, that these instances reflect nothing more than a pronounced instance of the compression found in oral narrative; these mentions of tombs are simply not very important.
ἐν πεδίῳ ἀπάνευθε, περίδρομος ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα,
τὴν ἤτοι ἄνδρες Βατίειαν κικλήσκουσιν,
ἀθάνατοι δέ τε σῆμα πολυσκάρθμοιο Μυρίνης·
ἔνθα τότε Τρῶές τε διέκριθεν ἠδ᾽ ἐπίκουροι.
There is a lofty mound in front of the city,
apart on the plain (one passes around it this way or that way),
which men call Bramble Hill,
but the deathless ones call it the marker of much-bounding Murine;
there the Trojans and their allies were then divided up.
ἕστηκε ξύλον αὗον ὅσον τ᾽ ὄργυι᾽ ὑπὲρ αἴης,
ἢ δρυὸς ἢ πεύκης· τὸ μὲν οὐ καταπύθεται ὄμβρῳ·
λᾶε δὲ τοῦ ἑκάτερθεν ἐρηρέδαται δύο λευκώ
ἐν ξυνοχῇσιν ὁδοῦ, λεῖος δ᾽ ἱππόδρομος ἀμφίς·
ἤ τεο σῆμα βροτοῖο πάλαι κατατεθνηῶτος
ἢ τό γε νύσσα τέτυκτο ἐπὶ προτέρων ἀνθρώπων·
καὶ νῦν τέρματ᾽ ἔθηκε ποδάρκης δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.”
“I will mention to you a very obvious marker; you won’t miss it:
a dry post stands about six feet above the earth—
either of oak or pine. It is not rotted by rain.
Two white stones are fixed on either side of it
at the narrows of the road; the racecourse is smooth on both sides.
Either it is the marker of some long-dead mortal
or it was built as a turning-post among earlier people.
Now, too, divine swift-footed Achilles has made it the boundary-mark.”
In the second of these passages, Nestor emphasizes the visibility of the σῆμα: it cannot be missed. Yet it is not really seen, because it is not seen as a grave marker. Ultimately, neither Nestor nor the Iliadic audience learns whether it is a grave marker or not, though the evidence of the first example would make any hearer guess that it is. In both these cases, the marker is seen, but, without recognition, seeing does not accomplish anything.
τῆμος ἄρ᾽ ἀμφὶ πυρὴν κριτὸς ἤγρετο λαὸς Ἀχαιῶν,
τύμβον δ᾽ ἀμφ᾽ αὐτὴν ἕνα ποίεον ἐξαγαγόντες
ἄκριτον ἐκ πεδίου· ποτὶ δ᾽ αὐτὸν τεῖχος ἔδειμαν….
“ἄγρει μάν, ὅτ᾽ ἂν αὖτε κάρη κομόωντες Ἀχαιοὶ
οἴχωνται σὺν νηυσὶ φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν,
τεῖχος ἀναρρήξας τὸ μὲν εἰς ἅλα πᾶν καταχεῦαι,
αὖτις δ᾽ ἠϊόνα μεγάλην ψαμάθοισι καλύψαι,
ὥς κέν τοι μέγα τεῖχος ἀμαλδύνηται Ἀχαιῶν.”
When it was not yet dawn, but night was still at twilight,
then a select host of the Akhaians gathered around the pyre,
and around it they made a single tomb, bringing corpses
indiscriminately out of the plain; and by it they constructed a wall….
“Come now; whenever, in their turn, the hairy-headed Akhaians
depart with their ships to their own home land,
break up the wall and dump it all into the sea,
and then cover the great beach with sand,
to lay low the great wall of the Akhaians.”
εἰλύσω ψαμάθοισιν, ἅλις χέραδος περιχεύας
μύριον, οὐδέ οἱ ὀστέ᾽ ἐπιστήσονται Ἀχαιοὶ
ἀλλέξαι· τόσσην οἱ ἄσιν καθύπερθε καλύψω.
αὐτοῦ οἱ καὶ σῆμα τετεύξεται, οὐδέ τί μιν χρεὼ
ἔσται τυμβοχοῆς, ὅτε μιν θάπτωσιν Ἀχαιοί.”
“The man himself
I will envelop in sand, piling about him ample
tonnage of muck: the Akhaians won’t even know how to gather
his bones—that’s the quantity of sand with which I will cover him!
There too will a marker be built for him, and he will have no need
of tomb-piling, when the Akhaians bury him.”
The first passage above is rightly noticed because it eliminates the Akhaians’ wall,  but we should understand that the tomb, which was next to the wall, was also eliminated in the thorough destruction of the beach. Homer’s audience thus has an aetiology for the absence of both wall and tomb in the Troad of their day. The second passage is extraordinary for its irony. Scamander threatens to bury Achilles alive, and makes a point of referring to the pile under which he will bury him as a σῆμα—but one that will make his bones impossible to find or bury. Scamander’s words ironize the concept of the σῆμα, by creating a version of it that renders Achilles’ corpse unmarked.
νύμφαι ὀρεστιάδες, κοῦραι Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο.”
“… and they piled a marker on him. Around it elms were planted
by the mountain-nymphs, maidens of aegis-bearing Zeus.”
Prior to these lines, Andromache has told Hector that her city was sacked, her brothers killed, and her mother carried away and sold; and that she herself is far away in Troy. It seems unlikely that her father’s grave will encounter anyone who remembers him, and thus can activate his κλέος. The things beside the tomb, occupying the position of the passerby, can do no passing—the elms will simply stay put. 
τύμβῳ ἔπ᾽ ἀκροτάτῳ Αἰσυιήταο γέροντος….
… a watchman of the Trojans, he sat, trusting in his fleetness of foot,
on the very top of the tomb of the old man Aisuietes….
Iris, here in the form of the watchman Polites, sits on this tomb, rather than pausing before it. This might seem no more than an instance of disregarding the tomb’s significance, as in section II above; but the strange collocation “sat, trusting in his fleetness of foot” implies both motion and staying in place at the same time, thus hinting at expected behavior before the tomb.
μέσσον κὰπ πεδίον παρ᾽ ἐρινεὸν ἐσσεύοντο….
By the marker of ancient Ilos son of Dardanos
down to the middle of the plain by the fig-tree they sped….
In this example, word order is important. CEG 28, mentioned above, serves as a good comparandum. Its first line prominently features motion in a relative clause, beginning ἄ̣νθροπ̣ε hὸς ⟨σ⟩τείχ̣ε̣ι̣ς…. Iliad 11.166 could feature as the first line of a similarly constructed sepulchral epigram: “You who pass by the marker of ancient Ilos, son of Dardanos, pause and lament….” But unlike CEG 28 (and unusually for Homer, who resists severe enjambment), the Iliad passage delays its verb, not only beyond the end of line 166, but past landmarks beyond Ilos’ tomb; when the verb finally appears, its motion is much more rapid than the stately (and more interruptable) στείχεις. The hearer, too, has been pulled along far beyond the tomb, and the opportunity for lament has gone.
τύμβῳ ἐπιθρῴσκων Μενελάου κυδαλίμοιο·”
“This is how one of the cocky Trojans will speak,
as he leaps upon the tomb of glorious Menelaus….”
στῆσαν ἄρ᾽ ἡμιόνους τε καὶ ἵππους, ὄφρα πίοιεν
So when they rode out by the great marker of Ilos,
then they stopped their donkeys and horses so they could drink
in the river.
In the first of the above passages, Agamemnon has already telegraphed the attitude of the Trojan passerby to Menelaus’ hypothetical tomb, so some irony is expected. Nevertheless, the sudden appearance of the participle ἐπιθρῴσκων displaces a potential verb of stopping. 
‘Ἕκτορος ἥδε γυνή, ὃς ἀριστεύεσκε μάχεσθαι
Τρώων ἱπποδάμων, ὅτε Ἴλιον ἀμφεμάχοντο.’
ὥς ποτέ τις ἐρέει· σοὶ δ᾽ αὖ νέον ἔσσεται ἄλγος
χήτει τοιοῦδ᾽ ἀνδρὸς ἀμύνειν δούλιον ἦμαρ.
ἀλλά με τεθνηῶτα χυτὴ κατὰ γαῖα καλύπτοι,
πρίν γ᾽ ἔτι σῆς τε βοῆς σοῦ θ᾽ ἑλκηθμοῖο πύθεσθαι.”
“And someday, someone will say, as he sees you shedding a tear,
‘This is the wife of Hector, who triumphed in battle
among the horse-taming Trojans, when they fought around Ilion.’
So someone will someday say; and pain will come to you anew
for lack of such a man as could ward off the day of enslavement.
But may piled earth cover me over in death
before I hear any more your cry and your abduction.”
Here, Hector is the one who will be dead (as he essentially admits in the last two lines of the passage), but Andromache will be the one who is memorialized in a fashion that is plainly epigrammatic (as the scholiast notes).  The living are lamented instead of the dead. What is more, Andromache is not only the object of lament; she is also the object of sight that initiates the lament: in this way, she herself assumes the role of the σῆμα—Hector’s σῆμα. 
ἠθελέτην ἰέναι, οὔτ᾽ ἐς πόλεμον μετ᾽ Ἀχαιούς,
ἀλλ᾽ ὥς τε στήλη μένει ἔμπεδον, ἥ τ᾽ ἐπὶ τύμβῳ
ἀνέρος ἑστήκῃ τεθνηότος ἠὲ γυναικός,
ὣς μένον ἀσφαλέως περικαλλέα δίφρον ἔχοντες,
οὔδει ἐνισκίμψαντε καρήατα, δάκρυα δέ σφιν
θερμὰ κατὰ βλεφάρων χαμάδις ῥέε μυρομένοισιν
The two of them refused to go either back to
the broad Hellespont or to war among the Akhaians,
but they stayed in place, like a pillar that stands
on the tomb of a dead man or woman;
so firmly they stayed, holding the very fine chariot,
hanging their heads to the ground, and they wept hot tears,
flowing from their eyes to the earth
in longing for the one who held their reins.
Funereal indications abound here, but they point in no one clear direction. The horses weep, implying that they are the passerby—yet they will not go to the Hellespont, formulaically marked as the place of tombs,  or to the battle, where Patroklos’ corpse currently lies. They thus refuse the act of passing by. What is more, in their stillness they are compared, not to the stopped and lamenting passerby—the most proximate choice—but to the grave marker.  They are thus simultaneously assigned to two roles: passerby and marker; and since those roles conflict, one requiring motion and the other requiring permanence and lack of motion, nothing can be accomplished: the graveside narrative is aborted.
“Truly, it is toil to mourn and go.”
In context, Odysseus, the speaker of this line, apparently means that it is a hard thing to depart in defeat. But this line combines two verbs in a way distinctly reminiscent of the epigrammatic graveside narrative.  In a different context, it could refer to the passerby, who finds it tiresome to fulfill his obligation to lament before going on his way. Perhaps the Homeric tradition, at some level, even intends this meaning; it is certainly easier to discover than the contextual interpretation, which requires a great deal of difficult inference. 
ἐν δὲ ἰῇ τιμῇ ἠμὲν κακὸς ἠδὲ καὶ ἐσθλός·”
“The lot is the same for someone who stays behind and whoever would rather make war;
both the coward and the noble are held in one esteem.”
Homer reinforces this message with a consistent approach to the σήματα in the Iliad: they never receive the respect they deserve, and usually the text goes out of its way to point out the point at which the process breaks down. We can reach this conclusion, however, only by assuming that Homer’s audience shared roughly the same expectations as we find in 6th century Attic epigram. Their earlier existence now manifests itself only in ironic shadows.