Article ID: CBB001202412

Nothing New under the Sun: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders in the Ancient World (2014)


Herodotus’ account of the Athenian spear carrier Epizelus’ psychogenic mutism following the Marathon Wars is usually cited as the first documented account of post-traumatic stress disorders in historical literature. This paper describes much earlier accounts of post combat disorders that were recorded as occurring in Mesopotamia (present day Iraq) during the Assyrian dynasty (1300–609 bc). The descriptions in this paper include many symptoms of what we would now identify in current diagnostic classification systems as post-traumatic stress disorders, including flashbacks, sleep disturbance and low mood. The Mesopotamians explain the disorder in terms of spirit affliction; the spirit of those enemies whom the patient had killed during battle causing the symptoms.

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Authors & Contributors
Steele, John M.
Frahm, Eckart Erich Marcel
Brack-Bernsen, Lis
Scurlock, Jo Ann
Andersen, Burton R.
Stern, Sacha
Journal for the History of Astronomy
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Asclepio: Archivo Iberoamericano de Historia de la Medicina
Journal of Medical Biography
Korean Journal of Medical History
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
University of Illinois Press
Potomac Books
Yale University
University of California, San Diego
University of Toronto
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Medicine and the military; medicine in war
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Mental disorders and diseases
Poliziano, Angelo Ambrogini
Hippocrates of Cos
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, early
19th century
Zhou dynasty (China, 1122-221 B.C.)
Middle and Near East
Babylon (extinct city)
United States
Royal Edinburgh Asylum
United States. Army

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