The Death of Socrates.jpg

Socrates' death is a kind of noble suicide. Sentanced to death for corrupting the youth of the state.  In this image, Socrates kills himself rather than facing a state execution.

"The Death of Socrates" by Jacques Louis David


Seneca was sentenced to death after a failed conspiracy to kill Nero. It is unknown whether or not Seneca was involved in the plot. In this image, Seneca kills himself as punishment for his supposed crimes.

"La muerte de Séneca" by Manuel Domínguez Sánchez


Perpetua and Felicitas are Christian martyrs who are executed because of their faith, the practice of  which is believed to be a threat to the state. Perpetua and Felicitas volantarily accept execution, though in this image their is still a sense fear of a violent death.

"Foxe's Christian martyrs of the world" by Anonymous

Everyone eventually dies. However, death is a punishment in many cultures for radical crimes that are believed to be harmful to society, including the society of the ancient Roman Empire.

The images here, depict the deaths of the Greek philosopher Socrates, the Roman philosopher Seneca, and the Christians, Felicitas and Perpetua. These deaths all are the result of punishment for crimes against society.

Perpetua and Felicitas do not really commit suicide in the way that Socrates and Seneca do, however, they do sort of commit a kind of "noble suicide". Perpetua takes the sword of her executioner and brings it to her own throat as an act of killing herself for her crimes. Both Perpetua and Felicitas not only accept their punishments and crimes, but they are willing to take their own lives for their beliefs like Socrates and Seneca.