Combat Trauma Is Nothing Like In Classical Antiquity – So Why Are We Still Treating It As Such?

Posted by Ellen Simon on 11th Jan 2016

(Posted by Jason Crowley, Lecturer in Ancient History, at Manchester Metropolitan University - October 08, 2014.)

We need to examine how we treat our modern day soldiers and consider how combat affects the soul of the person.

The 20th-century American soldier, then, faced a near perfect storm of psychological adversity. By contrast, the situation faced by the Greek hoplite, was, in psychological terms, much more benign. The hoplite (whose campaigning season was brief and who did not generally fight at night) was not routinely exhausted or sleep-deprived when he met his enemy. He was socially integrated with and fought in close physical proximity to his comrades, he was able to counter the threats he faced – and when he killed, he acted in accordance with his religious values. In killing he complied with a core principal of traditional morality, which demanded he help his friends and harm his enemies.