Fratricide (from the Latin word frater, meaning: "brother" and cide meaning to kill) is the act of a person killing 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 term may also be used to refer to friendly fire incidents. In a United States military context, it may also refer to an incident where the catastrophic failure and disintegration of one jet engine in a twin-engined fighter aircraft causes the damage or destruction of the second engine, and possibly leads to the loss of the entire aircraft. It also refers to the possible destruction of one MIRV warhead by another.
Fratricide in legend and fiction
Legend and mythology
- Medea killed her brother Apsyrtus in order to help Jason escape Colchis after obtaining the Golden Fleece. (Greek myth)
- In Völuspá, the forecast of the world in Nordic mythology, one of the signs of the end of the world is an increase in fratricides.
- Höðr murders his brother, Baldur in Nordic mythology.
- Romulus killed Remus, his twin brother and co-founder of Rome.
- Osiris, one of the principal deities of Egyptian mythology, was murdered by his evil brother Set. His wife and sister Isis resurrected him and he became the god of the dead and the underworld.
- Eteocles and Polynices kill each other in ensuing battle over the throne of Thebes, Greece in Sophocles' Antigone (Sophocles).
- When both change into different armor, Sir Balin and Sir Balan kill each other in a duel, with Balin shortly outliving his brother and realizing what had happened, according to Arthurian Legend.
- The Biblical story of Cain and Abel.
Literature and film
- Claudius killed King Hamlet, his brother, and married his sister-in-law, Gertrude, in order to become King of Denmark in William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
- In the Thomas Harris novel Hannibal, Margot Verger kills her brother Mason as revenge for his abuse of her when they were younger, as she was encouraged to do by her former therapist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
- In William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!, Henry Sutpen murders his half-brother Charles Bon.
- In Kathryn Lasky's series Guardians of Ga'hoole, Kludd attempts to kill his brother Soren by pushing him out of the nest.
- In the manga version of Naruto, Sasuke Uchiha kills his older brother Itachi in revenge for slaughtering the Uchiha clan.
- In Ludwig Kakumei, Julius makes several attempts to kill his step brother Ludwig, but fails. Julius thought he succeeded in his most recent attempt on Ludwig's life in the final chapters, but Ludwig was revived thanks to Dorothea's efforts.
- In Invincible, the last book in the Star Wars: Legacy of the Force series, Jedi Knight Jaina Solo is forced to kill her twin brother Jacen in a lightsaber duel, after Jacen turns to the Dark Side and becomes a Sith Lord.
Film and television
- Michael Corleone (in The Godfather, Part II) has his brother Fredo shot.
- Scar murders his older brother Mufasa in order to usurp his throne in The Lion King (it should be noted that the Lion King was based on Hamlet).
- In the 1979 anime, Mobile Suit Gundam, Kycilia Zabi kills her brother, Gihren Zabi, to avenge her father's death.
- In Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive, Flurious destroys his own brother Moltor, by freezing him and shattering him.
- Dan Scott killed his older brother Keith Scott on One Tree Hill for what he thought was an attempt on his life. Later it was revealed that he killed his brother for no reason when his ex-wife Deb confessed to the deed.
- The Wig
- In the anime Code Geass, Lelouch Lamperouge kills his half-brother Clovis la Britannia, in order to stop a massacre ordered to cover up the loss and recovery of an illegal research subject.
- In the anime Shaman King, Yoh Asakura kills his twin brother Hao in order to prevent his genocidal agenda against humanity.
- In Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly, when twin girls were not available, twin brothers were used in a ritual in which one brother strangles the other. The one documented occurrence of this is when Itsuki Tachibana killed his brother Mutsuki. It is implied that Ryokan Kurosawa, the father of Yae and Sae Kurosawa, also killed his twin brother.
- In Final Fantasy XII, Vayne Solidor, the main antagonist and eventual final boss, kills two of his older brothers at the order of his father, Emperor Gramis Solidor (whom Vayne eventually kills as well).
- In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Raziel kills his vampire brothers as he seeks out his creator Kain.
- In the Metal Gear (series), Solid Snake commits fratricide and patricide.
- In Devil May Cry, Dante kills his twin brother Vergil (under the guise of Nelo Angelo), unaware of the fact that Nelo Angelo was actually his twin brother.
- In Mortal Kombat: Deception, Noob Saibot's ending shows him violently murdering his own brother, Sub-Zero with the help of Smoke by ripping him in half.
- In Galerians, protagonist Rion Steiner kills his "brother" Cain, who strongly resembles him.
- In Portal, the player earns the "Fratricide" achievement upon destroying the Weighted Companion Cube. This is a misnomer, as the Weighted Companion Cube is not related to the player character (it is, in fact, an inanimate object).
In the Ottoman Empire a policy of judicial royal fratricide was introduced by Sultan Mehmet II. 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 16 of his brothers were killed and buried with their father. The aim was to prevent civil war as Islamic cultures had no fixed rules for royal succession (such as primogeniture) and bloody conflicts would erupt as the old king was approaching the end. The practice was abandoned in the 17th century by Ahmed I, replaced by imprisonment in the Kafes. This practice is alleged to have sent several future Sultans mad.