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The relationship between Archilochus's poetry and the account of his life preserved in the Mnesiepes Inscription is intimate but obscure. Here I present one avenue for elucidating this connection by focusing on two episodes of social breakdown. In the first section I propose a reading of Archilochus fragment 230 in terms of wider patterns of ecological collapse. In the second, I contrast this reading with the episode of impotence visited upon the men of Paros as told by Mnesiepes. By reading these crisis narratives against one another we can better understand Mnesiepes' dynamic authorial role in the Hellenistic reception of the iambic tradition.