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Agony (The agony of death), Egon Schiele

With agony ( ancient Greek ἀγωνία agonía , Qual ',' martial ') is a number of phenomena in the die referred to which - the gradual extinction of the nervous activity indicating - the occurrence of the death immediately precede. The term - in the sense of "agony" - is now regarded as unscientific and imprecise. In colloquial language the word is also used in the sense of “suffering” or “agonizing, hopeless condition”.

Possible signs of imminent death that outsiders may find painful include: restlessness, anxiety , cramps , churchyard roses, incomprehensible speech, reading flakes ( crocidism ), then snoring or gasping breathing or " gasping ", no palpable pulse more, followed by the cooling of the extremities. The facial expression of patients in an agony is described using the classic expression of the hippocratica facies .

The manifestations of agony vary and can range from a few minutes to several hours. The most exact possible clarification and classification of the death signs and the delimitation of z. B. vital versus post-mortem wounds can provide important information in forensic medicine about the duration of the so-called agony phase of the deceased.

The time phase before death can appear lethargic, powerless or - supposedly - aggressive .


The word agony was borrowed from the church Latin agonia , which can be traced back to ancient Greek ἀγωνία - agonía (fight, competition, fear, oppression). This in turn derives from the Greek agon (fight, competition; assembly), which is related to the Greek agein (lead, lead).

Web links

Wiktionary: Agonie  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikiquote: Agony  - Quotes

Individual evidence

  1. a b Gerhild Becker, Carola Xander: On the recognizability of the beginning of the dying process. In: Franz-Josef Bormann, Gian Domenico Borasio (Ed.): Die. Dimensions of a basic anthropological phenomenon. De Gruyter, Berlin 2012. p. 121.
  2. Willibald Pschyrembel: Clinical Dictionary . Walter de Gruyter , Berlin 1959, ISBN 978-3-11-170608-5 , p. 17 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  3. Kluge. Etymological dictionary of the German language , 24th edition, p. 21.