Famous Ancient Roman Suicides

Posted on 25. Aug, 2010 by in Uncategorized

In some societies, suicide is considered an act of cowardice, but in ancient Roman society, suicide was one of the means to restore one’s honor and dignity. There are countless examples of notable ancient Roman men and women who choose to die by their own hand, rather than suffer the humiliation of defeat by the hands of their enemy.

One such person was Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger, or more commonly known as the guy who helped assassinate Julius Caesar. After Caesar’s death, Brutus led an army that was defeated by Marcus Antonius. To preserve his honor, Brutus committed suicide and uttered a curse against Antonius as his last words upon death.

The curse may have worked, because Marcus Antonius, also known as Mark Antony, committed suicide as well. According to Plutarch, Antony had asked his servant to assist in the suicide. His servant refused and Antony took it upon himself to fall upon his sword. He botched the suicide and was taken to Cleopatra’s arms, where he finally died.

Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis who was also known as Cato the Younger, was famous for his gruesome suicide. Cato was garrisoned at Utica. When word reached Cato of Julius Caesar’s victory in the Battle of Thapsus, Cato plunged a sword into his abdomen. However, he wasn’t able to die immediately, and before the doctors could sew him up, he pulled out his own bowels and died instantly.

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