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Patricide is (i) the act of killing one's father, or (ii) a person who kills his or her father or stepfather. The word patricide derives from the Latin word pater (father) and the Latin suffix -cida (cutter or killer). Patricide is a sub-form of parricide, which is defined as an act of killing a close relative. In many cultures and religions patricide was considered one of the worst sins. For example, according to Marcus Tullius Cicero, in the Roman Republic it was the only crime for which the civilian could be sentenced to death.
Patricides in myths and religions
Patricide is a common archetype that is prevalent throughout many religions and cultures, and particularly in the mythology and religion of Greek culture. Some key examples of patricide from various cultures are included as follows:
- Apsu, in the Babylonian creation epic the Enûma Elish, was killed by his son Ea in the struggle for supremacy among the gods.
- In the mythology of the neighboring Mesopotamian Hurrian people the storm god Teshub kills his father Kumarbi, sometimes jointly with his grandfather Anu in reciprocity for an attempted patricide by Kumarbi.
- In the Greek creation epic, first recorded in Hesiod's Theogony, Cronus was jealous of his father Uranus' power as ruler of the universe. Cronus thus killed or castrated his father. Cronus, in turn, was overthrown by his own son, Zeus.
- Oedipus was fated to kill his father, a king, and marry his mother. His parents attempted to prevent this by leaving him on the side of a mountain as an infant. He was found and raised by a shepherd. Once grown, Oedipus meets his father while his father is traveling, but not knowing who he is, ends up killing him. He then unknowingly marries his mother to become king, ultimately fulfilling the prophecy.
- Pelias was killed by his daughters, who were deceived by Medea into thinking he could be resurrected.
- In the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Babruvahana killed his father Arjun, but Arjun was brought back to life by his wife, the snake goddess Uloopi.
- In Chinese belief, people who commit patricide (or matricide) will be killed by a lightning strike as a punishment from filial and warrior deity Erlang Shen.
- In Norse mythology, Fafnir murdered his father Hreidmar to gain the cursed golden ring of Andvari that he had obtained. Some versions say that his brother Regin helped him.
Known or suspected historical patricides
- Tukulti-Ninurta I (r. 1243–1207 BC), Assyrian king, was killed by his own son after sacking Babylon.
- Sennacherib (r. 704–681 BC), Assyrian king, was killed by two of his sons for his desecration of Babylon.
- Bimbisara (r. 543–491 BC), king of Magadha, was executed by his own son, Ajatashatru.
- Ajatashatru (r. 492–c. 460 BC), king of Magadha, was killed by his own son, Udayabhadra.
- King Kassapa I (AD 473-495) creator of the Sigiriya citadel of ancient Sri Lanka killed his father king Dhatusena for the throne.
- King Chlodoric the Parricide (d. 509) killed his father Sigobert the Lame, a Frankish king, for the throne. He himself was later killed by Clovis.
- Emperor Zhu Yougui (AD 888?-913) of China killed his father Zhu Wen (AD 852–912).
- Emperor Yang of Sui (AD 569–618) in Chinese history allegedly killed his father, Emperor Wen of Sui (AD 541-604).
- Ulugh Beg (AD 1394-1449) of the Timurid Empire was killed by his son Abdal-Latif Mirza, who also killed his own brother 'Abd al-'Aziz a few days later. He as such became the ruler of the empire, only to be killed by his cousin Abdallah Mirza six months later following a conspiracy hatched against him by the amirs.
- Samvel killed his father Vahan, who converted to Christianity and joined the Zoroastrian Persian Empire.
- Rana Kumbha (r.1438–1468), the King of Mewar Kingdom, in India was killed by his son Udai who then succeeded him becoming Rana Udai Singh I of Mewar. Udai was killed 5 years later by his younger brother Raimal who wanted to take revenge for his father's death.
- Jagaddeva (r. 1150), the Chahamana king of India, killed his father Arnoraja.
- Beatrice Cenci (1577–1599), Italian noblewoman who killed her father after he imprisoned and raped her. She was condemned and beheaded for the crime along with her brother and her stepmother in 1599.
- Amangkurat I, the fourth Sultan of Mataram (reigning 1645-1677), was allegedly poisoned by his son Raden Mas Rahmat.
- Iyasus I of Ethiopia (1682–1706), one of the great warrior emperors of Ethiopia, was deposed by his son Tekle Haymanot in 1706 and subsequently assassinated.
- Ajit Singh of Marwar (1679-1724) was murdered by his sons Bakht Singh and Abhai Singh in 1724 after the two plotted to take his place as Maharaja of Marwar.
- Lizzie Borden (1860–1927) allegedly killed her father and her stepmother with a hatchet in Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1892. She was acquitted, but her innocence is still disputed.
- Richard Dadd (1817-1886), the English artist, murdered his father in 1843 following the onset of psychiatric illness.
- Chiyo Aizawa murdered her father who had been raping her for fifteen years, on October 5, 1968, in Japan. The incident changed the Criminal Code of Japan regarding parricide.
- Toru Sakai (age 22) murdered his 54-year-old father Takashi (Glenn) Sakai on April 20, 1987, in Beverly Hills, California. Toru Sakai was never captured and remains wanted for the crime by the Los Angeles Police Department.
- Dianna Lewis killed her father and stepmother with a pistol on September 22, 1995.
- Kip Kinkel (1982- ), an Oregon boy who was convicted of killing his parents at home and two fellow students at school on May 20, 1998.
- Sarah Marie Johnson (1987- ), an Idaho girl who was convicted of killing both parents on the morning of September 2, 2003.
- Dipendra of Nepal (1971–2001) reportedly massacred much of his family at a royal dinner on June 1, 2001, including his father King Birendra, mother, brother, and sister.
- Marie Robards (1977- ) admitted to poisoning her father in 1993.
- Christopher Porco (1983- ), was convicted on August 10, 2006, of the murder of his father and attempted murder of his mother with an axe.
- The Menendez Brothers were convicted during a highly publicized second trial in July 1996 for the shotgun killings of their parents in 1989.
- Karađorđe Petrović (1768–1817), the leader of the Serbian uprising against the Ottoman Empire, and eventual leader of independent Serbia, killed his father Petar around 1786 while the family was fleeing Serbia to the safety of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, after Petar threatened to return to Serbia and betray the family to the Turks.
- Australian Rules Football former player and then-Adelaide Crows Senior Coach Phil Walsh was murdered in the early hours of 3 July 2015, by his 26-year-old son, Cy.
In the United States between 1980 and 2010 fathers were more likely than mothers to be killed by their children. Teenage sons (16 to 19 years-old) were most often the perpetrators in parental killings.
- In the film Gladiator (2000), Commodus murders his father, Marcus Aurelius.
- In the film We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011), Kevin murders his father and younger sister.
- In the film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Peter Quill defeats Ego the Living Planet to avenge his mother.
- In the supernatural horror movie It (2017), based on the eponymous novel by Stephen King, Henry Bowers murders his father before going after the Losers Club in the tunnels.
- In the epic space opera film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren murders his father, Han Solo.
- In the horror film Orphan, Leena murders her stepfather John.
- In the video game Reigns, having too much army when the Prince is introduced results in patricide.
- In the video game Yakuza, Kiryu Kazuma takes the blame for his best friend's patricide of their crime family's Patriarch.
- In the video game Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, B.J. Blazkowicz kills his bigoted and abusive father, Rip, after discovering that he sent his mother, Zofia, to a Nazi extermination camp.
- In the God of War series of games, primarily in the games rooted in Greek mythology. The Cycle of Patricide plays a very important role. Kratos, the main protagonist is prophesied as the Marked Warrior who will kill and overthrow his father, Zeus, the King of the Gods, who in turn was prophesied to kill and overthrow (though Zeus merely went with the latter option ) his father, Cronos, who had overthrown his father, Ouranous.
- In HBO's Game of Thrones, Ramsay Bolton kills his father, Roose Bolton, and Tyrion Lannister kills his father, Tywin Lannister.
- In the Hulu series The Path season 3, Anne Cox gives her abusive father a fatal heroin overdose.
- In the show Supernatural, Sam talks to angel Balthazar about keeping his soul out, which angel Balthazar replies that only patricide can keep a soul out.
- In the Philippine television drama Kambal, Karibal, the antagonist Raymond de Villa accidentally kills his own father Manuel de Villa in a quarrel over a gun.
- In the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender Fire Lord Ozai took the throne of the Fire Nation through arranging with his wife that she poison his father Fire Lord Azulon.
In the Throne of Glass series, Dorian Havilliard kills his father. In the Heroes of Olympus, Reyna Avila Ramírez-Arellano was responsible for killing her father when she was a child.
Familial killing terms
- Avunculicide, the killing of one's uncle
- Fratricide, the killing of one's brother
- Mariticide, the killing of one's spouse
- 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
- Prolicide, the killing of one's offspring
- Sororicide, the killing of one's sister
- Uxoricide, the killing of one's wife
Common non-familial killing terms from the same etymological root
- Deicide, the killing of a god
- Feminicide, the killing of a woman
- Homicide, the killing of any human
- Infanticide, the killing of an infant
- Regicide, the killing of a monarch
- Tyrannicide, the killing of a tyrant
- "Definition of PATRICIDE". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
- Cooper, Alexia D.; Smith, Erica L. (2011-11-16). Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008 (Report). Bureau of Justice Statistics. pp. 21–22. NCJ 236018. Archived from the original on 2018-03-30.
Fathers were more likely than mothers to be killed by their children; Teenage sons (16 to 19 years-old) were most often the perpetrators in parental killings (figures 32a and 32b)