Gates of Fire

by

Steven Pressfield

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Antaurus (“Suicide”) Character Analysis

Suicide is a Scythian who served as Iatrokles’s and Dienekes’s squire and Xeo’s instructor. He fled to Sparta after committing a crime and tried to get others to kill him, to no avail, then was taken on as a squire and proved himself a “holy terror” on the battlefield. In time, he becomes deeply loyal to the Spartans. Though a man of few words, on the eve of battle he speaks movingly of the love that motivates brothers-in-arms to die for one another, helping Dienekes resolve his nagging question about fear and its opposite.

Antaurus (“Suicide”) Quotes in Gates of Fire

The Gates of Fire quotes below are all either spoken by Antaurus (“Suicide”) or refer to Antaurus (“Suicide”). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam edition of Gates of Fire published in 1998.
Chapter 30 Quotes

“When I first came to Lakedaemon and they called me ‘Suicide,’ I hated it. But in time I came to see its wisdom, unintentional as it was. For what can be more noble than to slay oneself? Not literally. Not with a blade in the guts. But to extinguish the selfish self within, that part which looks only to its own preservation, to save its own skin. That, I saw, was the victory you Spartans had gained over yourselves […] When a warrior fights not for himself, but for his brothers, when his most passionately sought goal is neither glory nor his own life’s preservation, but to spend his substance for them, his comrades, not to abandon them, not to prove unworthy of them, then his heart truly has achieved contempt for death, and with that he transcends himself and his actions touch the sublime.”

Related Characters: Antaurus (“Suicide”) (speaker)
Page Number: 332
Explanation and Analysis:
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Antaurus (“Suicide”) Character Timeline in Gates of Fire

The timeline below shows where the character Antaurus (“Suicide”) appears in Gates of Fire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...side-by-side against a seemingly unkillable foe. All of a sudden, Iatrokles’ squire, a Scythian named Suicide who was a “holy terror,” threw several javelins through the opponent, felling him at last. (full context)
Chapter 14
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
The next morning, Suicide, Dienekes’ squire, summons Rooster and Xeo. They’re filled with dread, but Suicide tells them they... (full context)
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
...mule, numb as a post and obedient as an imbecile”—and Xeo’s credentials are “impeccable.” Then Suicide pulls out Xeo’s old bow, taken from him when he’d first entered Sparta. Dienekes tells... (full context)
Chapter 26
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...Alexandros with a bitter expression as his injured protégé volunteers to take the place of Suicide, who’s injured worse, in retrieving corpses. He watches some ants grappling in the dirt and... (full context)
Chapter 28
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Back in the Spartan camp, Suicide wakes Xeo before dawn. Rooster has been captured and interrogated as a deserter; he wants... (full context)
Chapter 30
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
...grudgingly spares a party of 11 soldiers to raid Xerxes’ tent. It includes Dienekes, Rooster, Suicide, Alexandros, and Xeo. Rooster, after all, has only been detained, not executed. They’re divided into... (full context)
Chapter 31
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...men, which is warriors’ surpassing love for their brothers-in-arms. He wonders if the face of Suicide, his mentor, is the last face he’ll ever see. He thinks also of Elephantinos, who... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...also recalls a conversation that had taken place a few nights ago at the fireside. Suicide had abruptly begun speaking of his Scythian upbringing. His mother was a priestess of the... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
When Suicide first arrived in Sparta, he explains, he thought at first that the phalanx formation was... (full context)
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...conversation with Alexandros and Ariston about fear and its opposite. He says that Elephantinos and Suicide have given him the answer. Looking out over the camp, he tells Xeo, “The opposite... (full context)
Chapter 32
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Suicide and Polynikes quickly kill two Egyptian marines who are guarding Xerxes’ tent. The rest of... (full context)
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...instantly, hauling Alexandros to his feet and ordering them out of the tent. Xeo and Suicide cover their fellows’ desperate escape, but soon run out of weapons. (full context)
Chapter 34
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Kingship, Loyalty, and Freedom Theme Icon
...Spartans squires and helots, and some other allies have also refused to pull out. Even Suicide stays, determined to keep fighting even though he’s gravely wounded. The army reconfigures and begins... (full context)
Chapter 35
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
...spear, Alexandros’s shield, and the helmet and cap of other fallen Spartans. He fights alongside Suicide and Dienekes. (full context)
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...warrior with his spear just as that man drove his own weapon into Xeo’s guts, Suicide hauling his injured body out of the fighting. As they go, Suicide’s foot is struck... (full context)