Suicide in Homer and the Tale of the Heike

Yamagata, Naoko (2020). Suicide in Homer and the Tale of the Heike. Yearbook of Ancient Greek Epic, 4 pp. 72–94.




Comparison of suicides and suicidal wishes in Homer and the Tale of the Heike reveals significant similarities. In both worlds, shame, loyalty and grief are the main causes of suicidal wishes. However, Heike characters are more prone to suicide, whilst Homeric characters never actually commit suicide. Heike suicides can be seen to derive from the desire to be with one’s community and loved ones, enhanced by the Buddhist belief in an afterlife. Homeric characters on the other hand display much stronger attachment to life, based on the belief that there is no existence or fame after death worth dying for.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 71899
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISBN
  • 90-04-43959-5, 978-90-04-43959-7
  • ISSN
  • 2405-450X
  • Extra Information
  • Jonathan L. Ready, Ph.D. (2004), University of California, Berkeley, is Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan. His most recent monograph is Orality, Textuality, and the Homeric Epics: An Interdisciplinary Study of Oral Texts, Dictated Texts, and Wild Texts (2019). Christos C. Tsagalis Ph.D. (1998), Cornell University, is Professor of Greek at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Among his books are From Listeners to Viewers: Space in the Iliad (2012) and Early Greek Epic Fragments I: Genealogical and Antiquarian Epic (2017). Contributors are: Apostalia Alepidou, David F. Driscoll, Lowell Edmunds, Christos C. Tsagalis, Naoka Yamagata, Andreas T. Zanker.
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  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities > Classical Studies
    Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities
    Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
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  • © 2020 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden
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