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Sic semper tyrannis

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  • Sic semper tyrannis is a Latin phrase with several famous historical attributions, though its origin is unknown. We will examine the definition of sic simper tyrannis, where the phrase may have come from and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    The phrase sic semper tyrannis translates literally as “thus always to tyrants”. The idea is that a tyrant always meets a dire end, which is just and should be expected. Sic semper tyrannis is usually used as a rallying cry when opposing or deposing a despot. The first supposed use of the phrase sic semper tyrannis Is supposed to have occurred after the assassination of Julius Caesar, and was purported to have been uttered by Brutus. This is almost certainly not true. It is true that John Wilkes Booth yelled out sic semper tyrannis after he shot Abraham Lincoln. The expression sic semper tyrannis was adopted as the state motto of Virginia in 1776.

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    Examples

    Midway through, Lewis himself calls in to the show and rants some more, ending with “sic semper tyrannis” — or “thus always to tyrants,” the Latin phrase John Wilkes Booth declared after assassinating Abraham Lincoln. (Entertainment Weekly)

    Arts students responded to the political theme, “Sic Semper Tyrannis” with broad and personal takes in work presented at the 2018 Undergraduate Juried Exhibition, which opened on March 16 at The Anderson gallery. (The Commonwealth Times)

    That is why even a transplant like Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, took care to wear a tie bearing the state seal (Sic Semper Tyrannis) in his public appearances and appeared in a national television interview this week from the governor’s mansion standing in front of a portrait of Barbara Johns, the black teenage civil rights activist who in the 1950s protested Virginia’s segregated schools. (The New York Times)

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