Alexander Murray

in Suicide in the Middle Ages

Published in print June 2000 | ISBN: 9780198207313
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191677625 | DOI:

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The corpus mentioning historical suicides and historical accounts showing philosophical influence was so big as to have made suicide in the ancient world a subject on its own, with an appropriately large modern literature. For all its separation in time, this corpus of ancient philosophical attitudes was of considerable influence in the Middle Ages. The influence came through three channels. One was direct, and consisted in a handful of classical philosophical texts available in Latin in medieval libraries. The other two were indirect, namely histories that included suicides with a philosophical motive or message; and the diffuse, largely hidden influence that certain ancient philosophical schools had on all who thought and wrote. This chapter tries to explain the character of each philosophical position by setting it in its broad cultural context, looking at Plato and Aristotle, Greek Stoicism, Stoicism in Roman philosophy and literature and Neoplatonism.

Keywords: Plato; Aristotle; Neoplatonism; Greek Stoicism; Roman philosophy; ancient world

Chapter.  14883 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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