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(According to the usual, but very doubtful explanation derived from patricidium, “murder of a father,” but better from par+caedo, the murder of a peer, i. e. a citizen). A term used among the Romans for the murder of any relative with whom one is united by bonds of blood or duty, but sometimes also for treason and rebellion against one's country. In earlier times the examination in trials for homicide was conducted by two quaestores parricidii, on whom it was also incumbent to bring the accusation before the comitia for trial. Sulla transferred the decision in all cases of parricide to a standing tribunal (see Quaestio Perpetua), which had also to try cases of assassination and poisoning. The punishment for parricide was drowning in a leathern sack (culleus), into which were sewn, besides the criminal, a dog, a cock, a viper, and an ape (Rosc. Am. 70; Juv.viii. 214). The murder of relations in other degrees of relationship was punished by exile (interdictio aquae et ignis). See Exsilium; Interdictio.

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