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by Archaeology Newsroom

Suicides in Byzantium

Christianity condemns suicide and declares it to be an act of murder. The rules of Church Law state that the suicide is denied Christian burial and a memorial service. Literary sources reveal the deed’s satanic origins and attribute it mainly to functionaries. The satanic suicide par excellence is Judas Iscariot. In the 14th century depictions of his hanging complete the Betrayal scene, while more often in the post Byzantine period, they are linked to the depiction of Redemption. The gallows were used by the Church to support its official interpretation of suicide as the act of ultimate despair.