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

In: Early Science and Medicine
Walid Khalid Abdul-HamidQueen Mary University of London

Search for other papers by Walid Khalid Abdul-Hamid in
Current site
Google Scholar
Jamie Hacker HughesAnglia Ruskin University

Search for other papers by Jamie Hacker Hughes in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


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.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 2451 667 51
Full Text Views 357 76 3
PDF Views & Downloads 286 148 8