PARRICIDE. There was no law against this crime in Athens, Solon not having been able to believe that anyone might be capable of committing it. There was still no law in Rome before 652, the year of its foundation, although one finds that a Lucius Oftius committed it shortly after the first Punic war, though Plutarch, who reports this deed, neglected to tell the punishment of it. According to Pausanias, it is meeting in the other world one's own father who strangles him; there was a picture by Polygnote, which represented thus the torture of an unnatural son who had mistreated his father. But in the Roman year 652, one Publicius Maleolus, having killed his mother, gave occasion for the penalty for it to be regulated in this world. It was first to be drowned, sewn simply into an oxhide leather sack. This kind of torture was ordered by Tarquin the Proud for a priest who had revealed the secret of the mysteries. Apparently they applied it to parricides in order to distinguish them from other criminals, punishing them as the greatest impious persons; because impiety for the Romans was the lack of respect for one's father and mother. Finally, Pompey, when consul for the second time, confirming the law which had regulated this punishment, added to it that one would put a dog, cock, monkey, and serpents, all living, into the same sack with the criminal before drowning him.
But though the name of parricide might be appropriately applied by the Romans to those who had killed their father or their mother, it is necessary to know that a law of Numa had extended this crime to include those who of bad faith, and with premeditation, would take the life of any man whatsoever; this is why Cicero gave this odious epithet to Catalina, because of the unworthy conspiracies that he hatched in order to destroy his country, which was the common mother of all Roman citizens.