Translation copyright 2003 Neil W. Bernstein; all rights reserved.

Concerning the remarkable suicides of young Milesian women.

  1. In the first book of Plutarch’s On the Soul (1), in which he discusses diseases that attack people’s minds, he says that suddenly, and without any evident reason, almost all the young Milesian women who were in the city desired to die and that thereafter many of them killed themselves by hanging.
  2. This happened more frequently day after day and it was impossible to offer medicine to the minds of the women who sought death. The Milesians therefore decreed that the young women who had died by hanging should all be carried out for burial naked, accompanied by the same noose by which they had tied themselves. After this decree the young women, terrified by such a dishonorable funeral, ceased attempting suicide from modesty alone.


  1. Frg 175 Sandbach. The story also occurs in Plutarch’s On the Virtues of Women (249b). Cf. Polyaenus, Strategemata 8.63.

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