Letter | Published:

Recovery of Speech through Excitement

Nature volume 101, page 184 (09 May 1918) | Download Citation



PUBLIC attention has recently been directed to several remarkable examples of recovery of speech by shell-shocked soldiers as the result of unexpected excitement. Your readers may be interested to learn that a very remarkable instance of the loosening of the tongue occurred several thousand years ago, namely, in the case of the afflicted son of Crœsus, King of Lydia. Cyrus, the Persian, besieged and took Sardis 548 B.C., and Herodotus, writing approximately one hundred years after the event, tells us that “when the town was taken one of the Persians was just going to kill Crœsus, not knowing who he was. Crœsus saw the man coming, but under the pressure of his affliction did not care to avoid the blow, not minding whether or no he died beneath the stroke. Then this son of his, who was voiceless, beholding the Persian as he rushed towards Crœsus, in an agony of his fear and grief burst into speech, and said, ‘Man, do not kilt Crœsus.’ This was the first time that he had ever spoken a word, but afterwards he retained the power of speech for the remainder of his life.” (Herodotus, book i., chap. lxxxv., translated by Rawlinson.)

Author information


  1. London, May 6.



  1. Search for J. NEWTON FRIEND in:

About this article

Publication history





By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.