Talk:Sic semper tyrannis

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Did Brutus actually say this in life, or did WS just add it to his play?

According to Plutarch, 'Caesar thus done to death, the senators, although Brutus came forward as if to say something about what had been done, would not wait to hear him, but burst out of doors and fled, thus filling the people with confusion and helpless fear...' Thus, nothing was said. -- Nalco 05:35, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

I can't find any source for the attribution to Brutus. It doesn't seem to appear in WS, nor in any classical source. A citation is certainly needed. -- (talk) 08:04, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Timothy McVeigh[edit]

This entry states "Timothy McVeigh was wearing a T-shirt with this phrase and a picture of Lincoln on it when he was arrested on April 19, 1995, the day of the Oklahoma City Bombing.[1]"

The Wikipedia entry on Thomas Jefferson and cites McVeigh being caught with a T-shirt bearing a Jeffersonian quote ... "Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was wearing a T-shirt when arrested bearing the words, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."[40]".

Both cite references, but obviously one is incorrect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vineet KewalRamani (talkcontribs) 05:13, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Not really. If you pull up the Timothy McVeigh wiki, you'll see that "Sic Semper Tyrannis" was written on the front (under a picture of Lincoln) and the Jefferson quote was written on the back.

-- (talk) 19:09, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Don't get it[edit]

I don't get that tyranny motto. Tyranny is good?

It means tyrants always get what's coming to them. Thus Always [death] to tyrants.Doregasm 03:10, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, you need to know the context I guess. On the Virginia flag, the tyrant is dead on the ground with a spear through his heart. When Brutus supposedly said it, he was stabbing Caesar in the heart. Either way, they are saying "this is what I do to tyrants." Midas 19:12, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

What I understand, the meaning is that in the hunt for leadership and soverignty, history has shown that those closest to the Alpha male cannot stand seeing him on top, therefore they will kill as soon as he has gone to the top. Think of it as a game of "RISK". No one wants either party to be totally dominant, because that threatens the others. So therefore the probability of ganging up on the top dog will increase. Either one accepts the one persons supremacy and support this person, or one takes this person out. In modern discourse I could like to see it as letting the alpha rule within the rule of law, so that he is stopped by a constitution. This must though be very well known in public so that he cannot circumvent the barrier of greed. So Brutus -if either he or Ceaser existed have been the Alpha, and beta-Alpha. Beta could not stand when Alpha reached total domination, and had to take him out. Though the question is what Tyranny would stand for in this context. Perhaps the empire could last if one would invest in the whole empire and not just suck out the life blood from the corners, concentrating it to the epicenter of Rome.

Sic semper tyrannis[edit]

The motto of the original state of Virginia Seal, (Which shows Virtue, sword in hand, with her foot on the prostrate form of Tyranny, whose crown lays nearby). Designed by George Wythe, who signed the Declaration of Independence and taught the Law to Thomas Jefferson.


Um, I spent about an hour searching for where brutus is attributed as saying "Sic Semper Tyrannis", and I can't find it anywhere. It's not in the Julius Caesar (the play, see Act III scene I), Suetonius, Plutarch, Tacticus, Thallus or Eutropius, nor does google give me an answer easily. I was procrastinating, but it would be useful to know where this comes from. Does anyone know??? A J Hay 06:36, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

I have never heard of the quote being attributed to Brutus, but I do not know where it came from. Can the person who added that Brutus said it tell us where he heard this? Canutethegreat (talk) 22:53, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


There's an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry is filming the pilot episode for his new Sitcom Jerry and a man jumps on the stage yelling "Sic semper tyrannis". I don't know who the guy was or why he did it (I missed half the episode the last time I saw it, and I haven't seen it in full for years). Does anyone know more about it and want to add it?

The Ungovernable Force 19:08, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

  • It has been added, then removed. I feel it could go into a popular culture section, but probably has no place within the main section of the article. --White Pony | Θαλκ 19:33, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
The man was "Crazy" Joe Devola. He was angry at Jerry for telling him about Kramer's party, which he was not invited to. --Joe 16:10, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Didnt John Wilkes Booth scream this before he shot Lincoln?

Yes, according to witnesses, his diary, and Sondheim.  – AMK1211talk! 02:33, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

link pronunciation[edit]

no point of having that link there. American English pronunciation of a Latin phrase is useless.

As a student of Latin, I know our understanding of proper Latin pronunciation is probably very off, but it's good to have a standard that people can look to, and Websters is a pretty good authority.--Patrick 00:01, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Popular culture[edit]

I removed the following section. It seems to me to be a random collection of unsourced, uninteresting trivia. I'm sure we could collect hundreds of examples like this. Haukur 23:54, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

A humorous misquotation of this quote appears in The Venture Bros., season two, with henchman number 21 declaring to Dr. Henry Killinger, "Semper fidelis tyrannosaurus." Dr. Killinger corrects number 21, pointing out that the phrase uttered means, "Always faithful terrible lizard."

In the ill-fated Clerks: The Animated Series, the unaired sixth episode made with full knowledge of the show's impending cancellation, Randall Graves is caught paraphrasing this when contemplating his death: "I regret nothing. Sic semper Bea Arthur!"

In Areas of My Expertise, John Hodgman states that Virginia's state motto is "sic semper molemanis": "Thus always to molemen". Virginia is portrayed as a former province of the old moleman dominion.

Lord Helmik Chass uses this phrase several times in conversations with Commissar Ibram Gaunt in Dan Abnett's Guant's Ghosts novel, Necropolis.

In an episode of Seinfeld, Jerry finishes the monologue of his new show "Jerry", only to be interrupted by "Crazy" Joe Davola who yelled, "Sic semper tyrannis!" (incorrectly translated by Jerry as, "Death to tyrants") and then jumping off the stands into the set in an attempt to attack Jerry.

In an episode of "The Whitest Kids U Know", one skit revolves around illegal phrases regarding the President, and how it's not illegal to mention they have a secret group that meets under the George Washington Bridge at midnight, to which the password is "Sic semper tyrannis."

Removed another section of trivia today, posted below.--Patrick «» 17:17, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
  • In Clerks: The Animated Series, the character Randal shouts in defiance, "I regret nothing! Sic semper, Bea Arthur."[1]
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Pilot," "Crazy" Joe Davola leaps from a balcony onto the shooting set while shouting "Sic semper tyrannis."
  • The Independent sketch comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U' Know has made multiple references, such as their "Illegal to say..." sketch in which Trevor claims that there is a group that meets under the Brooklyn Bridge and the password is "Sic semper tyrannis".

Better translation please[edit]

'Sic semper evello mortem tyrannis' certainly does NOT mean "Thus always death comes to tyrants" in a literal sense. As far as I can tell, it's a first-person utterance (not third-person) and death is the direct object (not the subject). My Latin dictionary says the verb 'evello' means "tear out, dig up, uproot," but I'm having trouble interpreting the phrase with those translations. "Thus always I dig up death to tyrants"...?? Any good Latinists out there who can help? Di46Araj (talk) 23:18, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Ego possum. "Evello" does mean that, but it also means "to result".[1] I believe it is related to ēvenire, which is basically the same word as venire ("to come"), which is one of those irregular verbs. However why this is "evello" and not "evellit" or even the future "evellet", I'm not sure, we'll need someone who's picked up a Latin book more recently.--Patrick «» 00:22, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
The confusion does stem from the verb evello. It is a compound of volo, meaning "I am willing" or "I want," but evello can mean either "I tear/pluck out" or "I result" or even "I happen/come about/befall." I think because it has so many meanings, people mistranslate it as "befall" and take mortem as the subject. Of course, mortem cannot be the subject since it is accusative; it must be the direct object in this case. Tyrannis is likely the object of the preposition e, but since it is a compound verb, it could just as easily be a dative object (however, I don't see how this verb could take two objects). If we translate evello as "I tear out," that makes the sentence the somewhat better "Thus do I always tear death out of tyrants." I suppose rather than "tearing death out" we would say in English something more like "ripping the life out" or "causing death to," if I am correctly understanding this. Either way, the general meaning is clear. Eebster the Great (talk) 02:36, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

"evello" is 1st person singular present indicative active of "evellere" and means "I pull/pluck/tear out". There never existed a latin compound "evelle" of "e(x)" and "velle" (which is present infinitive active to "volo" - "I want, wish, am willing") at any stage of Latin. Moreover you find no proof for the version in the article in literature. Anachoret (talk) 19:40, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Consistent return of Popular Culture[edit]

I'd like to get some agreement on whether or not this article should include sections with lists of the phrase's use in popular culture. We've deleted sections multiple times, but they seem to always return as uncited and, in my opinion, trivial references to Seinfeld and "The Whitest Kids 'U Know". Fans of these shows will try again in the future to list the episodes in which references to the phrase, usually as a reference to Abraham Lincoln's assassination. So, should we include them or continue to remove them. When deleting them, I've replaced the info with the sentence "The phrase has been used in various popular media, including television shows and books" so that pop culture gets a general mention.-- Patrick {oѺ} 17:48, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Abraham Lincoln[edit]

Who were the assassins —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:05, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Better Clarification[edit]

The article does not particularly explain exactly what the quote means; rather, it simply explains what the quote is mistranslated to mean. Someone should add a concise explanation of what the quote means... LogicalCreator (talk) 04:44, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Translation needs to be improved urgently[edit]

The troubling spot is the following: "It is a shortened version of the phrase Sic semper tyrannis ad mortem ("Thus always I bring death to tyrants")"

When I came across this article I immediately felt a change was necessary. To begin with, "Sic semper tyrannis ad mortem" is hardly attested (with "ad mortem," that is) and perhaps worse, is pretty much ungrammatical. As per the discussion below reflecting a version with "evello" as the verb which is missing from the current page's supposed original line, there at least needs to be a verb or one that can be implied easily. At the moment, the very least we could do is not force a first person active indicative "bring" into the situation and say something along the lines of "Thus always to death for tyrants." Yet it seems to me that the best decision would be the removal of the whole part in question.


Vale, vale, vale; nos te ordine, quo natura permittet, sequemur (talk) 02:41, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Wikiquote - Clerks: The Animated Series