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Angela
03-02-15, 20:17
Soldiers have been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for at least 3,000 years according to a new study from

"Historians often cite Herodotus’ account of Epizelus, an Athenian spear carrier who experienced psychological problems after the Marathon Wars in 490 B.C., as the first recorded case of PTSD. But texts from Mesopotamia’s Assyrian Dynasty (1300-609 B.C.) record traumas suffered by soldiers who were called upon to fight every third year during their military service. The symptoms were thought to have been caused by the spirits of the enemies whom the patient had killed in battle."

This is the link:
http://www.archaeology.org/news/2922-150126-ancient-world-ptsd

There's also a link to data from an Iron Age site in western Iran to show the brutality of warfare in that period.
http://www.archaeology.org/issues/163-1501/trenches/2823-trenches-hasanlu-tepe-ancient-looters



"Hasanlu developed into a significant commercial and production center during the early Iron Age (1400–800 B.C.), owing to its location on important trade and communication routes between Mesopotamia and Anatolia... Many buildings were ransacked and burned, which caused them to collapse.[in 800 BC] In addition, the remains of more than 250 people were uncovered, some with signs of systematic execution.According to Danti’s analysis of the Gold Bowl’s context, the valuable object was in the process of being looted by enemy combatants...The three soldiers, who, based on their military equipment and personal ornaments, probably hailed from the Urartu region north of Iran in modern Armenia, were in the process of plundering a wealthy, multistory complex as the citadel burned. They located the bowl and other valuables in a second-story storeroom. As they fled with their prize, the mud-brick building suddenly collapsed. The invaders were hurled to the floor below, where they were crushed by debris, and lay buried, side-by-side—thieves and their trophy—for nearly three millennia."

hope
03-02-15, 21:27
Two nice links Angela, thanks.
I think it would be fair to say Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has probably always been a part of the human condition. Anyone who has had, or been witness to, a traumatic experience can develop PTSD, as we know...and that can cover quite a lot of things.
In regards to the battle field, it has likely always played a part, not only of course to soldiers, but also civilians and can be a truly debilitating disorder.
Last year here in the U.K. we saw a rise of almost one fifth of those in military service suffer from PTSD. That rise came mostly from within Army and RAF with less noted by the Navy.

LeBrok
04-02-15, 02:14
PTSD was always there. It is just that in the past it wasn't a manly thing to show any signs of mental sickness. Suck it up and be a man.

Sile
04-02-15, 07:59
PTSD was always there. It is just that in the past it wasn't a manly thing to show any signs of mental sickness. Suck it up and be a man.

I think it was more so in the ancient times.....hand to hand versus modern killing ( future ) from distance are two different animals

I think more panic retreats happened in the past after seeing the butchery

bicicleur
04-02-15, 10:41
I think it was more so in the ancient times.....hand to hand versus modern killing ( future ) from distance are two different animals

I think more panic retreats happened in the past after seeing the butchery

and yet, legionairs and mercenaries, Greek soldiers, ..
they all went to batlle, again and again

hope
04-02-15, 17:40
and yet, legionairs and mercenaries, Greek soldiers, ..
they all went to batlle, again and again
True, but we can`t tell how many soldiers may not have ever been fit to return to battle back then. Certainly not Epizelus, who it seems never recovered from hysterical blindness, he never regained his sight...unfortunately.

Angela
04-02-15, 18:41
True, but we can`t tell how many soldiers may not have ever been fit to return to battle back then. Certainly not Epizelus, who it seems never recovered from hysterical blindness, he never regained his sight...unfortunately.

I think that's right. How do we know what those men suffered? Ancient people probably also, as in the case of Epizelus, could have blamed the symptoms on revenge by the spirits of those killed.

I also think there's a difference between having a severe psychiatric response during active warfare and PTSD which by definition affects people after the traumatic event. In terms of the former, I think that explains the situations where men become incapacitated right on the battlefield. The latter affects the men after the experience, sometimes long after it. In terms of actual PTSD I think that just as many men might have suffered from it in the past. It's just that, as LeBrok implied, they didn't talk about it. If it wasn't severe, it might have manifested itself mostly in nightmares, or perhaps in increased alcohol use or damaged relationships.

In terms of why the reactions are different, I think there are all sorts of factors, ranging from the "sensitivity" and moral training of the individual soldier to the type of experience in terms of the carnage witnessed, and not just necessarily performed.

Historically, it's interesting to think of this in terms of the First World War, where the term "shell shocked" first became prevalent. The term arose because the doctors speculated that perhaps there was an actual injury to the nerves from the constant pounding of the shells.

See:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/shellshock_01.shtml

This is an extremely moving reading by Sean Bean of Wilfred Owen's Anthem for Doomed Youth
/www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlDoon91vZk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlDoon91vZk

hope
04-02-15, 23:26
I also think there's a difference between having a severe psychiatric response during active warfare and PTSD which by definition affects people after the traumatic event. In terms of the former, I think that explains the situations where men become incapacitated right on the battlefield.]
Yes, there is surely a difference. As regards actions on the battlefield, some individuals may exhibit actions from immobilization, confusion and collapse, to the human instinctive reaction of fear and flight, as Sile noted.. and some things in between... with perhaps instances of conversion disorder occurring in others, such as in the blindness which Epizelus exhibited. I think however, with modern training and the style of modern warfare these are not seen today as perhaps they were in past times.
Conversion disorders are usually short term whereas with PTSD it is a different kettle of fish, a point you noted. There may be those who are more genetically prone to developing this, under certain conditions. There is also Complex PTSD which manifests in some cases where a person is subjected to long periods of continual war or even long term abuse [ usually in childhood.]
It is worth remembering that, apart from the person affected, this disorder may have a knock on effect for the family etc also.




This is an extremely moving reading by Sean Bean of Wilfred Owen's Anthem for Doomed Youth
/www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlDoon91vZk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlDoon91vZk
I remember reading the War Poets at college but Owen was always my favourite. I hadn`t seen this video of Sean Bean reading.. he does it very well IMO.