Logo Logo
Switch Language to German
Horn, Fabian (2018): The Psychology of Aggression. Achilles’ Wrath and Hector’s Flight in Iliad 22.131-7. In: Hermes : Zeitschrift für klassische Philologie, Vol. 146, No. 3: pp. 277-289
Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.


Considering his status as the best fighter on the Trojan side, Hector's flight in "Iliad" 22.131–7 is unexpected and surprising, even though Hector is never overtly reproached for his reaction. This article proposes a psychological explanation for Hector's behaviour, drawing on recent insights concerning combat stress reaction (CSR) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Hector does not flee from fear of death, but from the "Wind of Hate", i. e. the terror felt when confronted with direct and personal aggression. An examination of the actions of Achilles in the "Iliad" supports this conclusion, for Achilles exhibits behaviour which would qualify for a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. The intense personal hatred of Achilles is sufficient to shock Hector into flight, even if he ultimately recovers and heroically faces Achilles in battle. Thus, the scene bears testimony to the "Iliad"'s understanding of the universal human experiences of warfare and aggression.