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The Romans’ suicide required approval

Roman sculpture from the 1st century CE showing man from Galatia ("Gaul") killing his wife and himself

If a Roman citizen wanted to commit suicide, he had to first submit a request to the senate with justification and a request for positive consideration.

If the request was successful, the citizen received poison (hemlock) free of charge. Then he drank it or put it on the sword, which he then stabbed with. Slaves, soldiers and people sentenced to death could not decide on suicide. The reason was simple: their loss was a cost in economic terms.

Titus Livius mentions this in the case of the Massalia colony (now Marseille).

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