eCite Digital Repository

Suicide triggers described by Herodotus


Pridmore, S and Auchincloss, S and Ahmadi, J, Suicide triggers described by Herodotus, Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, 11 pp. 128-132. ISSN 1735-4587 (2016) [Letter or Note in Journal]

Pending copyright assessment - Request a copy


Objective: The aim of this study was to better understand the triggers of suicide, particularly among the ancient Greek and Persian soldiers and commanders. Method: ‘Herodotus: The Histories’ is a history of the rulers and soldiery who participated in the Greco-Persian wars (492-449 BCE). A new translation (2013) of this manuscript was studied. Accounts of suicide were collected and collated, with descriptions of circumstances, methods, and probable triggers.

Results: Nine accounts of suicide were identified. Eight of these were named individuals (4 Greeks and 4 Persians); of whom, seven were male. Only one (not the female) appeared to act in response to a mental disorder. Other triggers of suicide included guilt, avoidance of dishonour/ punishment and altruism. Cutting/ stabbing was the most common method; others included hanging, jumping, poison, and burning (the single female).

Conclusion: While soldiers at a time of war do not reflect the general community, they are nevertheless members of their society. Thus, this evidence demonstrates that suicide triggered by burdensome circumstances (in addition to mental disorder) was known to the Greek and Persian people more than two millennia ago.

Item Details

Item Type:Letter or Note in Journal
Keywords:Suicide, Suicide Prevention, Sociology
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Pridmore, S (Professor Saxby Pridmore)
UTAS Author:Auchincloss, S (Dr Stephanie Auchincloss)
ID Code:109205
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2016-06-02
Last Modified:2016-06-02

Repository Staff Only: item control page