By Timothy David Hill
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Extra resources for Ambitiosa Mors: Suicide and the Self in Roman Thought and Literature (Studies in Classics)
Adoption of this approach has entailed the loss of a certain degree of doxographical nuance. Enough Greek material is cited, however, to outline in broad terms the debt owed by Rome to Greece. In the tangled areas of Hellenistic philosophy with which this study is so often concerned it is not always clear that much more is possible. A less justifiable shortcoming of this work is the extremely limited attention it grants to female practitioners of the Romana mors. The foundation of the Republic began, in Roman myth, with the suicide of Lucretia, and women continued to play a significant role in Roman discourse on suicide throughout the historical era.
In demonstrating an exemplary awareness of the demands of the elite persona, an aristocratic suicide gains the capacity to voice a socially communicative critique of the ethical standards of his or her peers. The result is that study of the Romana mors reveals the presence in Roman culture not only of a discourse about suicide, but a discourse expressed through suicide. This discourse, furthermore, develops and evolves over time, with particular suicides expanding the range of meanings and degree of nuance expressible in the aristocratic death.
And thus the wise person is instructed by Wisdom herself to relinquish her, if this is advantageous. On this account, given that the force of moral flaws is not sufficient, in itself, to act as a cause of voluntary death, it is abundantly clear that it is appropriate even for fools (who are also miserable) to remain alive if the majority of elements their lives contain is in accordance with Nature. ”) As an account of how, why, and when individuals should kill themselves in accordance with Stoic principles this is a highly abstract, vague, and unsatisfactory summary.