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Fratricide - did it start with Cicero?

 
Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 19:15 - Latin Derivatives, Roots, Word Origins, Latin Words - Meanings and Definitions
Posted by Administrator
No, Cicero did not kill his brother, which, of course, is implied by the meaning of the word fratricide (Latin fratricida actually means the person who committed the crime rather than the crime itself). However, we may owe it largely to Cicero that words such as 'fratricide', 'matricide' and 'sororicide' (ever heard of this one?) actually exist. The word 'paricida' was often used in Classical Latin indiscriminately to denote someone who murdered a close relative - it must have been a rare crime. Cicero in "De Domo Sua" uses all three words 'matricida,' 'fratricida,' 'sororicida' in once sentence, thus ensuring that countless generations of future Latinists are aware of this fine distinction:

quid? de me quod tulisse te dicis, patricida, fratricida, sororicida, nonne extra ordinem tulisti?

What! what sort of law is it that you say that you passed about me, you parricide, you fratricide, you murderer of your sister; did you not pass that out of the regular course?

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