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Psychiatric casualties of war are not as recent as had previously been thought; individual cases were already present in the period of classical antiquity. In Homer’s Iliad, a story of the Trojan War, Achilles was left desperate by the death of his close brother-in-arms, Patrocles. Later, during the Greco-Persian Wars, Herodotus described what seemed to be a mental disorder in the Battle of Marathon (490 bce), when Epizelus suddenly lost his vision during the fight.

Such individual stress reactions were grouped together in three classes by Henri Laborit (1914–1995): aggression (confrontation), flight (along different paths, such as drug abuse, suicide, desertion, etc.), and submission (psychosomatic pathology). In the Early Modern period, desertion or suicide were flight responses to escape the madness of war. Decades later, the ...

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