Date of Thesis

Spring 2022


This project explores the relationship between ancient Greek tragedy and modern psychology, specifically focusing on instances of PTSD, both through the descriptions of symptoms and the cultural reaction to such trauma responses in both ancient and modern sources. The case study from ancient Greece is Sophocles’ play, Ajax, a dramatic depiction of a post-PTSD soldier who has a mental break and is faced with either living with what he has done or committing suicide. The primary objective of this project is to illustrate what modern psychological theory can reveal about the portrayal of PTSD in Greek tragedy and therefore also what we can learn about the understanding of PTSD in 5th-century BCE Athens through my new translation of selections from the play. Though the manner in which wars are fought has drastically changed since 450 BCE, the findings demonstrate that the experience of combat trauma and the challenges of homecoming seem to transcend time.


classics, tragedy, psychology, PTSD, Ajax, Athens

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts


Classics & Mediterranean Studies

Second Major


First Advisor

Stephanie Larson

Second Advisor

Bill Flack