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Fratricide (from the Latin words frater "brother" and cida "killer," or cidum "a killing," both from caedere "to kill, to cut down") is the act of a person, directly or via use of either a hired or an indoctrinated intermediary (an assassin) that ultimately results in the killing of his or her brother.
Related concepts are sororicide (the killing of one's sister), child murder (the killing of an unrelated child), infanticide (the killing of a child under the age of one year), filicide (the killing of one's child), patricide (the killing of one's father), matricide (the killing of one's mother), mariticide (the killing of one's husband) and uxoricide (the killing of one's wife). See also siblicide (the killing of an infant individual by its close relatives, full or half siblings).
Religion and mythology
According to the story of Cain and Abel, fratricide was the first type of murder to be committed. In the mythology of ancient Rome, the city is founded as the result of a fratricide, when the twins Romulus and Remus quarrel over who has the favor of the gods, and Romulus becomes Rome's first king and namesake after killing his brother.
The Mahabharata And The Ramayana
In the Hindu epic Mahābhārata, Karna was killed by Arjuna who didn't know that Karna was his eldest brother. Though not exactly fratricide the otherwise meticulously pious Arjuna's actions - where he pitilessly and against the rules of honorable warfare slayed an unarmed Karna - are nevertheless considered utterly deplorable and heinous. However, the context of the crime becomes markedly different when seen from the following angle: 1. Arjuna was oath-bound to avenge the death of his only son and heir apparent Abhimanyu who had been mercilessly slaughtered by a gang of bloodthirsty warriors which included Karna. 2. While Arjuna was blissfully unaware that Karna was his own blood-brother, the latter was apprised of the same by their common mother Kunti. And hence, even though he was privy to the bond of brotherhood, Karna still wholeheartedly (due to his allegiance to prince Duryodana) readily elected to indulge in fratricide. The 13th century poet, Kavi Kabila while commenting broadly on the Ramayana and on Rama's killing of Raavan with the active support of the latter's estranged younger brother Vibhisan - on whom Raavan had vowed black vengeance and on the killing of Bali (again by Rama) with the ready contrivance of his younger, disgruntled and banished, sibling Sugreev, has succinctly expressed this in a couplet: "Irony? What Irony???!!! If not that the seed of destruction carried in the heart of one brother was sowed and reaped to the full by the hand of another!"
Fratricide may also be used to refer to friendly fire incidents. It also refers to the possible destruction of one MIRV warhead by another. Targets may be arranged deliberately to increase the likelihood in a strategy called dense pack.
In the Ottoman Empire a policy of judicial royal fratricide was introduced by Sultan Mehmet II whose grandfather Mehmed I had to fight a long and bloody civil war against his brothers (which brought the empire near to destruction) to take the throne. When a new Sultan ascended to the throne he would imprison all of his surviving brothers and kill them by strangulation with a silk cord as soon as he had produced his first male heir. The largest killing took place on the succession of Mehmed III when 19 of his brothers were killed and buried with their father. The aim was to prevent civil war. The practice was abandoned in the 17th century by Ahmed I, replaced by imprisonment in the Kafes.
In the Greek tragedy Antigone the brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices kill each other in combat. Polyneices invaded Greece and Eteocles fought with Greece against his brother. The two killed each other by stabbing the other through the heart.
Ashoka, also known as Chand-Ashoka (Cruel Ashoka), killed his real brothers as punishment for the kings's (his father) death and quarrel for the kingdom. Later on Ashoka conquered Greater India entire, before he adopted Buddhism and forsook war.
In popular culture
- In One Tree Hill, Keith Scott is killed by his jealous brother, Dan Scott during a school shooting at Tree Hill High School.
- In Code Geass, protagonist Lelouch Lamperouge kills his half-brother Clovis by shooting him in the head. He also commits sororicide when he kills his half-sister Euphemia later in the series via a gunshot to the stomach.
- In the comic book series Spawn, God and Satan are shown as twin brothers and supervillains who squander their powers in a constant struggle to kill each other.
- In the manga series Trigun, Knives attempts to kill his brother Vash several times throughout the series.
- Eteocles and Polynices in Greek Mythology, as depicted in Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes
- Claudius, in Hamlet by William Shakespeare
- Michael Corleone orders the death of his brother Fredo in The Godfather Part II.
- In the show Dexter, Dexter Morgan kills his long-lost brother Rudy Cooper who was the Ice Truck killer, in the episode "Born Free."
- In Disney's animated musical film The Lion King, Scar murders his brother Mufasa in order to make himself king.
- In the Devil May Cry video game series, the twin brothers Vergil and Dante are shown to have an immense, fratricidal rivalry with one another.
- In Portal, killing the Companion Cube earns you the achievement "Fratricide".
- In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver video game, after killing his own brother, Raziel says "Am I reduced to this? A ghoul? A fratricide? "
- In one of the origin stories of Dragon Age: Origins the player character will be falsely accused of this.
- In Dragon Age II depending on player's decisions, the dwarf Varric Thetras can kill his older brother Bartrand for leaving him and player to die during an expedition.
- In the novel A Dance With Dragons Roose Bolton believes that his bastard son Ramsay Snow murdered his half-brother Domeric and will murder any more children that Roose has.
- Family Guy character Stewie Griffin killed his half-brother Bertram in the episode "The Big Bang Theory"
- In the Supernatural season 2 episode "Simon Said", a psychic called Andy kills his long-lost twin brother to stop him from killing Andy's ex-girlfriend
- In Andrew Lloyd Webber's Musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", the brothers are accused of attempted fratricide when they visit Joseph in Egypt.
- In the game Mother 3, Claus attempts to kill his twin brother, Lucas, but fails, making it an unsuccessful fratricide.
- In the NCIS episode Kill Ari Part 2, Ziva David killed her half-brother Ari Haswari to save Gibbs and gain his trust.
- In Team Fortress 2, Gray Mann murdered both of his twin brothers to take control of their respective companies and absorb them into Gray Gravel Co.
- Suicide, the killing of one's self
- Familial killing terms:
- Avunculicide, the killing of one's uncle
- Filicide, the killing of one's child
- Mariticide, the killing of one's husband
- Matricide, the killing of one's mother
- Nepoticide, the killing of one's nephew
- Parricide, the killing of one's parents or another close relative
- Patricide, the killing of one's father
- Prolicide, is the killing of one's offspring
- Sororicide, the killing of one's sister
- Uxoricide, the killing of one's wife
- Non-familial killing terms from the same root:
- Deicide is the killing of a god
- Ecocide is the killing of the ecology of planet Earth
- Genocide is the killing of a large group of people, usually a specific and entire ethnic, racial, religious or national group
- Genucide is the killing of the human species by the human species
- Homicide is the killing of any human
- Infanticide, the killing of an infant from birth to 12 months
- Regicide is the killing of a monarch (king or ruler)
- Speciacide is a term for the potential mass suicide of the human species by overpopulation or global warming
- Tyrannicide is the killing of a tyrant
In the game made by Valve, Portal, you earn an achievement called "Fratricide" when you need to destroy a Companion Cube, with a description of: Do whatever it takes to survive in Portal. This makes you think that the Cubes in Portal, are Chell's dead brothers and sisters. If that's not enough, sound files are found of a cry of, "Help me...".