Tyrannicide  

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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli

Tyrannicide literally means the killing of a tyrant, or one who has committed the act. Typically, the term is taken to mean the killing or assassination of tyrants for the common good. The term "tyrannicide" does not apply to tyrants killed in battle or killed by an enemy in an armed conflict. It is rarely applied when a tyrant is killed by a person acting for selfish reasons, such as to take power for themselves, or to the killing of a former tyrant. Sometimes, the term is restricted to killings undertaken by people who are actually subject to the tyrant. The term is also used to denote those who actually commit the act of killing a tyrant: i.e., Harmodius and Aristogeiton are called 'the tyrannicides'.

Notable tyrannicide

Throughout history, many leaders have died under the pretext of tyrannicide. As there exists no objectively defined criteria for a "tyrant", many rulers and heads of state had been considered as such by their enemies but not by their adherents and supporters - correspondingly making debatable their death's definition as "tyrannicide". Some examples of those who have died under the banner of tyrannicide include (arranged by date):

Tyrannicide in fiction

Tyrannicide is a popular literary trope. Many works of fiction deal with the struggle of an individual or group of individuals to overthrow and kill an unjust tyrant. Often the tyranny is caused by an usurper to a royal throne, where the conclusion restores the proper heir. Children's literature frequently deals with the subject. Folk tales like The Nutcracker include the act, as do some video games series, like The Legend of Zelda and Star Fox. Classical examples in Disney animation include The Lion King or The Little Mermaid which both involve the tyrannical takeover of a monarchy. Fantasy works like The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, or Star Wars all deal with killing tyrants. V for Vendetta is a popular comic and film to deal with tyrannicide.Template:Citation needed Besides Julius Caesar, a number of William Shakespeare's plays deal with the subject, including Hamlet, Macbeth, and The Tempest.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tyrannicide" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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