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Suicides

Famous death: Lucretia 2 plunges a knife into her heart. 0607: Lucrezia (1580-83). Paolo Veronese 1528-1588. Künsthistorische Museum, Wien.

Below are some who committed suicide, out of grief, love, fear, jealousy, or shame; either because they were mad, or to preserve their honor, or to let others live, or for any other reason. Look for more details about any character in the Dictionary (when the characters are not linked). The sources below refer to the circumstances of their death only.


 

Adrastus 1. King of Argos and one of the SEVEN AGAINST THEBES, threw himself into the fire, according to some (Hyg.Fab.70).

Aegeus 1. King of Athens. Believing that his son Theseus had died in Crete, he either threw himself into the sea or cast himself down from the Acropolis (Hyg.Fab.43; Apd.Ep.1.11; Dio.4.61.6).

 

Aesacus 1. Son of Priam 1 and counted among the SEERS. He hurled himself down into the sea; yet Tethys transformed him into a diving bird (Apd.3.12.5; Ov.Met.750ff.).

Aethra 2. Mother of Theseus (Hyg.Fab.243).

 

Aglaurus 2 is the Athenian princess, daughter of Cecrops 1, that was infected by Envy. She threw herself from the Acropolis, or into the sea, but others say that Hermes turned her into a black stone (see also Envy). (Apd.3.14.6; Eur.Ion.20ff.; Hyg.Fab.166; Ov.Met.2.830).

Agrius 3. King of Calydon in Aetolia; he killed himself when he was driven from his kingdom by Diomedes 2, but others say that the latter slew him (Hyg.Fab.242; Lib.Met.37).

Ajax 1. One of the ACHAEAN LEADERS. He killed himself about dawn after a fit of madness (AETH.3; Eur.Hel.96; Hyg.Fab.242; Pin.Isth.4.35; Pin.Nem.7.26; QS.5.482; Pau.3.1912; Soph.Aj.815ff.).

 

 

Alcimede 1. Mother of Jason (see also Amphinome 2 and Polymede below). She was forced—along with her husband—by King Pelias 1, to commit suicide. Alcimede 1 hanged herself or else drank freely—along with husband and child—of a bull's blood and died (Apd.1.9.27; Val.1.818ff.).

Alcinoe 2 threw herself into the sea (Parth.27.1).

Alcis killed herself in the place of her father, who had to die, according to an oracle (Pau.9.17.1).

Alcyone 2. Out of grief for the death of her husband, she threw herself into the sea and was transformed into a halcyon or a kingfisher (see Ceyx). (Apd.1.7.3-4; Hyg.Fab.65).

Althaea, mother of Meleager, hanged herself (Apd.1.8.1-3).

Amata, mother-in-law of Aeneas, hanged herself (Vir.Aen.12.602).

Amphinome 2. Mother of Jason (see also Alcimede 1 above, and Polymede below); she killed herself with a sword (Dio.4.50.2).

Amphion 1 killed himself because of grief at the death of his children, the NIOBIDS (Ov.Met.6.271; Pau.9.5.8).

Anchises 1. Some say that Anchises 1 just died in exile, but others say that he committed suicide (Hyg.Fab.94; Vir.Aen.3.709).

 

Anchurus, son of Midas, rode on his horse into an abyss, and the earth closed (Plu.PS.5).

Androclia, daughter of Antipoenus, killed herself in the place of her father (Pau.9.17.1).

Anticlia 1, some say, died of pain for her absent son, Odysseus; but others say that she killed herself on hearing a false report about him (Hom.Od.15.353ff.; Hyg.Fab.243).

Antigone 1, wife of Peleus, strung herself up, out of jealousy (Apd.3.13.1-3).

Antigone 2. According to some she was interred alive in a grave by order of Creon 2, but others say that she killed herself. Still others say that Haemon 1 slew her (Apd.3.8.1; Hyg.Fab.72, 243; Soph.Ant.1220).

 

Arceophon let himself die of hunger, out of passionate love (Lib.Met.39).

Ariadne hung herself because she was abandoned by Theseus, say some, but there are many other accounts of her fate (see Ariadne). (Plu.The.20.1-4).

 

Aspalis hanged herself and was turned into a statue of Artemis, when about to be raped (Lib.Met.13).

Assaon. After his daughter (Niobe 2, see below), whom he desired, committed suicide, he pondered over his behavior and killed himself (Parth.33).

Attis died after having castrated himself, or else he was killed by a boar (Ov.Met.10.105; Pau.7.17.9-11).

Aura 2 threw herself into the river Sangarius and was transformed into a fountain (Nonn.48.928ff.).

Bolina threw herself into the sea, but Apollo made her immortal (Pau.7.23.4).

Broteas 1 went mad and threw himself into the fire (Apd.Ep.2.2).

Butes 6 threw himself into a well (Dio.5.50.5).

Byblis killed herself as a result of her incestuous love (Hyg.Fab.243; Parth.11.4).

Caeneus 1 killed himself or else was buried alive by the CENTAURS (Apd.Ep.1.22; Hyg.Fab.242).

Calamos threw himself in the river Meander, out of grief for the death of his beloved Carpos (Nonn.11.478).

Callirrhoe 4 killed herself for being the cause of a plague (Pau.7.20.1).

Canace, who was in love with her brother, was killed by her father Aeolus 1, or else committed suicide (Hyg.Fab.238, 243).

Cinyras 1, father of Adonis, killed himself on account of the incestuous relationship he had with his daughter (see also Thias). (Hyg.Fab.242).

Cleopatra 4, some say, died of grief at the death of Meleager; others affirm that she hanged herself (Apd.1.8.2-3; Hyg.Fab.174).

Clite 2 hung herself when she learned of her husband's death. She was married to Cyzicus (Arg.1.1063; Parth.28.1-2, AO.600).

Clymenus 9 lay with his daughter and was served her child at a banquet. He killed himself (Hyg.Fab.242, Parth.14.4).

Coresus 2. A priest of Dionysus 2 who failed in obtaining the love of Callirrhoe 4, and later preferred to kill himself instead of sacrificing her, as an oracle had ordained (Pau.7.20.1).

Cycnus 7 commanded Phylius, who loved him, to perform whimsical tasks, but when the latter withheld one of his gifts, Cycnus 7 cast himself from a cliff and was turned into a swan (Ov.Met.7.371).

Daedalion hurled himself from Parnassos' top, being turned into a hawk by Apollo (Ov.Met.11.339).

Deianira 1, wife of Heracles 1 and the woman that caused his death, hanged herself or else killed herself with a sword (Apd.2.7.7ff.; Dio.4.38.3; Hyg.Fab.36; Soph.Tra.874ff.).

Dido (Elissa). When Aeneas betrayed their love, she cast herself upon his sword on a pyre. Upon her tomb it was written: "Aeneas caused her death and lent the blade, Dido by her own hand in dust was laid." (Ov.Fast.3.549; Ov.Met.13.79; Vir.Aen.4.664).

 

Dimoetes fell in love with the body of a dead woman thrown up by the sea and killed himself when he realised he could not stop loving a corpse (Parth.31).

Dymas 7. A soldier in the army of the SEVEN AGAINST THEBES. He was wounded in battle and killed himself when the enemy started questioning him (Stat.Theb.10.435).

Erigone 1, daughter of Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra, brought Orestes 2 to trial for the death of her parents. But she was so grieved because of his acquittal, that she hanged herself (Dictys 6.4).

Erigone 2 hanged herself when she discovered her father's dead body. Daughter of Icarius 2 (see also CONSTELLATIONS). (Apd.3.14.7, Hyg.Fab.224, Nonn.47.219ff.).

Erysichthon 2. Punished by Demeter, he suffered such a terrible hunger that he ate himself and died (Ov.Met.8.738ff.).

Eurydice 12. Wife of Creon 2 and mother of Haemon 1. She committed suicide on learning of her son's death (Soph.Ant.1300).

Evadne 2. Wife of Capaneus, one of the SEVEN AGAINST THEBES. She threw herself on her husband's funeral pyre, being burned with him (Apd.3.7.1; Eur.Supp.1070; Hyg.Fab.243; Prop.1.15.21 QS.10.481).

Evenus 2. Father of Marpessa 1. When he could not catch Idas 2, who had carried off his daughter, he threw himself into the river Lycormas, called Evenus after him (Apd.1.7.7-8; Plu.PS.40).

Evopis hung herself for fear and shame when her husband informed her father that she was consorting with her own brother (Parth.31).

Glauce 4 was murdered by Medea, who sent her a bridal robe steeped in poison, but it is also said that she died after throwing herself into a well, believing that its water would be a remedy against the poison (thus trying to save herself). (Apd.1.9.28; Pau.2.3.6).

Haemon 1. Son of Creon 2. He is said to have killed himself at Antigone 2's tomb; others say that he was devoured by the Sphinx (Apd.3.5.8; Hyg.Fab.72; Soph.Ant.1175; OED.3; Prop.2.8.21).

Halia (Leucothea). Sister of the TELCHINES. After being raped by her sons, she cast herself into the sea and was given the name of Leucothea (see also Ino below). (Dio.5.55.4-7).

Heracles 1 died because of a poisoned robe which clung to his body, tearing away his flesh. He then constructed a pyre for himself on Mount Oeta and gave orders to kindle it. No one wished to do so, but Philoctetes' father Poeas, who passed by, set a light to it. While the pyre was burning a cloud passed under Heracles 1 and wafted him up to heaven, where he obtained immortality (Apd.2.7.7ff.; Hyg.Fab.224; QS.5.645; Soph.Tra.749ff.; Vir.Aen.7.659).

Hero cast herself down from a tower when she discovered the dead body of her lover Leander (Musaeus Grammaticus; Ov.Her.18, 19).

 

Herse 2 threw herself from the Acropolis (or else into the sea) for letting Athena's secret of Erichthonius 2 come out (see also Pandrosus below, and Envy). (Apd.3.14.6; Hyg.Fab.166).

 

Hippodamia 3 committed suicide after her husband Pelops 1 blamed her because of the death of Chrysippus 2 (Hyg.Fab.243; Plu.PS.33).

 

Hipponous 4. Son of Adrastus 1 (see above). He threw himself into the fire together with his father because of an oracle of Apollo (Hyg.Fab.2.4.2).

Hylonome attended Pirithous' wedding together with her lover Cyllarus. In the fight that took place at that wedding, Cyllarus died; then she threw herself upon the spear which had killed him (Ov.Met.12.405ff.).

Hyrie (Thyrie) melted away in tears, grieving for her son's death (Cycnus 7), or else threw herself into a lake and was turned into a swan (Ov.Met.7.371ff.; Lib.Met.12).

Iliona. Daughter of Priam 1. She committed suicide (Hyg.Fab.243).

Ino (Leucothoe 3, Leucothea) cast herself into the sea and was made immortal (see also Athamas 1, and Halia above). (Hyg.Fab.4, 224; Pin.Oly.2.30; Stat.Theb.1.14).

Iphis 5 loved Anaxarete but, being mocked by her, he hanged himself in front of her door (Ov.Met.14.698ff.).

Jason. It is said that Medea foretold that the wreckage of the Argo would fall upon him; but others say that Jason, being unable to endure the loss of both wife and children, killed himself (Dio.4.55.1; Eur.Med.1386; Hyg.Fab.25).

 

Jocasta. Mother and wife of Oedipus. She hanged herself in a noose, or else killed herself with a sword (Apd.3.5.7; Eur.Phoe.1455; Soph.OT.1234ff.; Stat.Theb.11.634ff.).

Laodamia 2 was granted to her to speak with her dead husband Protesilaus for three hours; after that time he should return to Hades. She then stabbed herself to death, or else threw herself on a pyre and was burned to death (see also Polydora 3 below). (Apd.Ep.3.30; Hyg.Fab.104).

Lucretia 2 committed suicide after being raped by Sextus Tarquinius (Livy 1.57.6ff.; Ov.Fast.2.725ff.).

 

Lycurgus 1. King of the Edonians (Thrace) or else the Arabians, who was the first to expel Dionysus 2. Some say that the Edonians bound him to horses that rent him in pieces, but others say that he, driven mad by the god, killed himself (Apd.3.5.1; Hyg.Fab.242).

Macar 2 killed himself on account of his sister Canace, with whom he shared an incestuous love (Hyg.Fab.242; Plu.PS.28).

Macaria, daughter of Heracles 1, slew herself as an oracle had said that the latter's children—by then refugees in Athens—could only attain victory if one of them would die a voluntary death (Pau.1.32.6).

Maeon 1. One of the Thebans who laid an ambush for Tydeus 2 when he returned from Thebes. He was spared by Tydeus 2, but later killed himself (Stat.Theb.3.87).

Maiden Tegean. She fell into the power of Aristomelidas, who loved her and entrusted her to Chronius. Yet she killed herself for fear and shame (Pau.8.47.6).

Marathus was in the army of the DIOSCURI at the time when these came to Athens to rescue Helen, who had been abducted by Theseus. In accordance with some oracle, he voluntarily gave himself to be sacrificed in front of the line of battle (Plu.The.32.4).

Marcius 1. A kinsman of Numa 3, who induced him to accept the throne of Rome. After the death of Numa 3 he competed for the throne with Tullus Hostilius and, being defeated, starved himself to death (Plu.Num.21.3).

Meles 1. Spurning the love of Timagoras (see below), Meles 1 told him to go up to a rock and cast himself down, but later, out of remorse, he threw himself down from the same rock as Timagoras (Pau.1.30.1).

Melis. In order to escape the woman-mad Damnameneus 3, she threw herself into the sea (Nonn.33.324).

Menippe 2, daughter of Orion, killed herself to save her people from pestilence and was turned into a comet (see also Metioche 2 below, and CONSTELLATIONS). (Lib.Met.25).

Menoeceus 1. Father of Creon 2. As Tiresias had predicted that someone had to die voluntarily to free Thebes from the plague, he threw himself from the walls of the city (Hyg.Fab.67).

Menoeceus 2. Son of Creon 2. He slew himself before the gates of Thebes because Tiresias had said that the Thebans should be victorious if he offered himself (Apd.3.6.7; Eur.Phoe.1090; Pau.9.25.1; Stat.Theb.10.756).

Metioche 2, daughter of Orion, killed herself to save her people from pestilence and was turned into a comet (see also Menippe 2 above, and CONSTELLATIONS). (Lib.Met.25).

Molpadia 2 hurled herself down from a rock fearing her father's severity (Dio.5.62.1-3).

Niobe 2. As she refused her father's (Assaon) desires concerning herself, he asked her children to a banquet, and there burned them all to death. Her husband Philottus 2 had perished while hunting. As a result of these calamities, she flung herself from a high rock. Yet others say that Niobe 2 left Thebes after the death of her children and went to her father at Sipylus, where she was transformed into a stone (see also NIOBIDS). (Apd.3.5.6; Nonn.14.274ff.; Parth.33; QS.1.294).

Nisus 1. King of Megara when this city was captured by the fleet of Minos 2. He had a purple lock of hair on which his life depended, but his daughter Scylla 2, having fallen in love with Minos 2, pulled out her father's purple hair. Some say that he then killed himself; others that he turned into an osprey (Apd.3.15.7-8; Hyg.Fab.198, 242; Ov.Met.8.145; Pau.1.19.4).

 

Nycteus 2. King in Boeotia. Some say that he killed himself, but others say that he died of a wound received in battle while fighting against Epopeus 1 (Apd.3.5.5; Pau.2.6.2).

Oedipus is said to have died at Colonus in Attica, or else at Thebes. Some have said that he killed himself (Apd.3.5.7-9; Hes.CWE.24; Hyg.Fab.242; Soph.OC.1580).

Oenomaus 1. King of Pisa in Elis. He was dragged to death because Myrtilus sabotaged his chariot, or else killed by Pelops 1. Others say that he killed himself disheartened by grief (Apd.Ep.2.7; Dio.4.73.6).

Oenone 1 repented for not healing Paris, when he was wounded at Troy, and hanged herself when she found him dead. Others say that, after having repented for not healing him, she leapt onto his funeral pyre and burned to death (Apd.3.12.6; Parth.4.1-7; QS.10.458ff.).

 

Orontes 2. General of the Indians against Dionysus 2. He committed suicide when he saw himself defeated by the god (Nonn.17.287).

Orpheus was torn into pieces by the MAENADS, say some. Others say that he came to his end by being struck by a thunderbolt for having revealed sayings in the mysteries. But still others say that he committed suicide out of grief (Apd.1.3.2; Hyg.Ast.2.7; Pau.9.30.4-6).

 

Pandrosus threw herself from the Acropolis (or else into the sea) for letting Athena's secret of Erichthonius 2 come out (see also Herse 2 above). (Apd.3.14.6; Hyg.Fab.166).

Parthenos hurled herself down from a rock in fear of her father's severity, as a swine destroyed the wine she was watching, a drink which had only recently been discovered (Dio.5.62.3; Hyg.Ast.2.25).

Pelopia 4 was ravished by her own father and given by king Thesprotus 2 to Atreus. She exposed her child but Atreus found him and raised him as his own. She committed suicide when she learned that her son Aegisthus was her own father's son (Hyg.Fab.88, 243).

Phaedra fell in love with her stepson Hippolytus 4 and hanged herself when her passion was made public (Dio.4.62.3; Eur.Hipp.769ff.; Hyg.Fab.243; Plu.PS.34).

Phyllis 1. Daughter of the king of the Thracian Bisaltians, to whom Demophon 1 made love promises. Having been betrayed, she killed herself (Apd.Ep.6.16; Hyg.Fab.59, 243).

Polydora 3 committed suicide on the death of her husband Protesilaus (see also Laodamia 2 above ). (Pau.4.2.7).

Polymede. Mother of Jason. After the death of her husband Aeson, she cursed Pelias 1 and hanged herself (see also Amphinome 2 and Alcimede 1 above). (Apd.1.9.27).

Pyramus was in love with Thisbe 1 (see below), he thought her dead and killed himself (Hyg.Fab.242; Ov.Met.4.55ff.).

Semiramis was the founder and the Queen of Babylonia. She killed her husband Ninus and, at a later time, she killed herself (Hyg.Fab.243).

Solois fell in love with Antiope 4, the Amazon whom Theseus captured and, not being loved by her, threw himself into a river and drowned (Plu.The.26.3-5).

Sphinx. The Sphinx threw herself from the citadel when Oedipus found the solution to her riddle (Apd.3.5.7-8).

Stheneboea (Antia) fell in love with Bellerophon, and sent him proposals for a meeting; and when he rejected them she told her husband that Bellerophon had sent her a vicious proposal. She later committed suicide when she heard that Bellerophon had married (Hyg.Fab.57).

Tereus 1. A Thracian. He committed suicide in Megara and turned into a hoopoe (Pau.1.41.8, 10.4.8).

Theano 4 killed herself when she learned of the death of her children (Hyg.Fab.186).

Themisto 2, wife of Athamas 1, killed herself when she discovered that she had been deluded to kill her own sons (Hyg.Fab.4).

Thias, king of Assyria and father of Adonis, committed suicide when he learned he had committed incest (see also Cinyras 1). (Lib.Met.34).

Thisbe 1.On finding her lover Pyramus (see above) dying, she killed herself (Hyg.Fab.243; Ov.Met.4.55ff.).

Timagoras loved Meles 1 (see above) to the point of committing suicide, and cast himself down from a rock, as Meles 1 had suggested (Pau.1.30.1).


Related sections Murders, Dictionary 
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