Αὐτοκτονώντας στὸ Βυζάντιο

Πηγή

Χρέη, ἔρωτας, ψευδεῖς κατηγορίες, στάση κατὰ τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα, ἀπογοήτευση.

on account of the drought during the reign of Konstantinos V Kopronymos in 766-767, the taxed people were forced to sell cheaply their produce and some farmers sold their entire crop for only one piece, while «others hanged themselves from trees,

The suicide cases so far gleaned from the sources of late antiquity seem to be more or less the outcome of extreme situations that made taking one’s own life inevitable – pious men and women tested beyond the limit of their endurance, persecuted pagans, defeated army generals faced with dishonor or death. The pattern does not change radically in the subsequent centuries, although after the Age of Heraclius many aspects of daily life changed. Perhaps it is premature to make such a statement at this point since our evidence is so limited.

The main shift, however, is observed in the hagiographic literature, in which suicides are, as one would expect, attributed to daemonic powers, under the spell of which human reason and self-control were lost.

The chronicles of the middle Byzantine period refer to only a few cases of suicides and the decline in numbers, contrasted to the earlier period, makes one wonder if killing oneself had not been more widespread or socially more acceptable during the transition from paganism to Christianity. Another thought might be that such incidents were not as much publicized as before. Whatever the case might be, the few suicide incidents of this period are connected with plots and plans of revolution in the army

soldiers implicated in acts of treason seem to have preferred self-inflicted death than the consequences of a military failure

Threats of suicide by women seeking a divorce are attested in the dossier of the synodal decisions of Demetrios Chomatenos, and, as it seems, the threats were not mere words. The women were low born, married or betrothed at an early age, some accused of adultery, but nevertheless determined at all costs to win their freedom from the husband they hated profoundly. The ecclesiastical court took into consideration their hatred and threats and set them free,

In another case, Maria, the wife of Nikolaos, accused her husband that he mistreated her sexually and on account of it she filed for a divorce, which Chomatenos approved, adding that otherwise she had threatened to take her own life. In another case, the wife of a certain Theodoros Chloropodes, named Eirene, daughter of Michael Bodeniates, deserted her husband and refused to return to him threatening to kill herself – she was reportedly in love with another man

the suicide of Angelos, Ioannes Doukas, who had been blinded by the orders of Michael VIII Palaeologos and had no desire to live in misery

the common people believed that the soul of the biothanatos was transformed into a demon

 

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