Famous Ways to Torture in the Medieval Times

14/07/12 at 1:40 am

The period from the 5th to 15th centuries in European history is called the Medieval period or better known as the Middle Ages was divided into the early, high, and late Middle Ages. The Medieval Era was known for the use of innumerable and famous ways to torture people. It was the end of the Western Roman Empire and the beginning of the Modern Era. Some distinguishing features of the Early Middle Ages period are; the destruction of urban culture, a decrease in population, and barbarian invasions. The High Middle Ages Era beginning from1000 A.D. is marked by increased population, increased crop yields, and other technological advancements. The Late Middle Ages was marked by calamities like the plague, famine, and war, etc. About one-third of the European population was swept from the surface of the Earth on account of the Black Death within 4 years from 1347 to 1350. Torturing the opponents, rebellious individuals or groups, criminals, and the so-called witches, liars, and those found guilty of blasphemy, was not an uncommon practice in the Middle Ages. Torturing devices and methods were developed to inflict extreme pain, insult, and injury to anyone by the inhumane and callous torturers for the devilish gratification of their masters. On account of the nature of the content, viewer’s discrimination, particularly by growing children, the sick and the elderly is advised before reading further below.

1.  Judas Chair

 Judas Chair

Judas Chair

The Judas Chair was a torturing device, a specimen of which is still displayed in the German torture museum of Freiburg. The device was like a tall stool with its top comprised of an inverted  wooden cone instead of the usual flat seat. Straps were provided to fasten the accused in position. The accused was made to sit on the pointed end of the cone inserted into the body openings of males or females. The body was gradually lowered onto the ever-increasing diameter of the inverted funnel-shaped cone which expanded the orifice inflicting extreme and ever-increasing pain till the orifice ruptured and the injured muscles were infected culminating in a painful death. Torturing by the Judas Chair was one of the most inhumane and cruel methods. The accused was kept naked to literally add insult to the injury and the extreme humiliation of innocent people.

2. Roasting in the Bras Bull

 Roasting in the Bras Bull

Roasting in the Bras Bull

To please the tyrannical Greek ruler Phalaris, his advisor Perilos, emphasized the need for more torturous ways of killing his opponents and invented the cruel device. It was a hollow statue of a bull made of brass. The accused, one or more persons, were fixed in it naked, and the statute was heated by igniting an open fire underneath it. The pain inflicted was immense, unbearable, humiliating, and just unimaginable. It was like boiling or burning someone alive, leaving no room for escape or survival. Innocent common folk were hauled up and made to witness the event with an intent to ensure that the despot’s tyrannical rule continued uninterrupted.

3. Stretching Limbs

Stretching Limbs

The Rack

Pulling apart human limbs by means of a torturing device known as “the rack,” which comprised a stretcher-like construction assembled with ropes and a handle was one of the most cruel ways of Medieval torturing. The limbs of the accused were tied with ropes which were pulled by rotating the handle till the accused confessed in accordance with the will of the torturer. In case of a refusal to do so, the action was continued till the joints were dislocated with a horrible sound. In extreme cases, the limbs, usually the arms, were separated from the body. The innocent, common folk were not only made to witness the cruelty but also were made to participate through the collection of the dismembered human organs.

4. Submersion in Water

Submersion in Water

Submersion in Water

Torturing by submerging in water was exclusively used for accused witches. The accused was tied to a chair which was lifted and submerged into water at discontinuous intervals. It was one of the most unbearable tortures which, quite frequently, innocent people in the Middle Ages had to suffer from at the hands of devilish torturers. The accused was left with no option except to confess that she was a witch, and this added to her pain and misery. The method was more prevalent in the Early Middle Ages when the more sophisticated satanic versions of torture had not been invented.

5. Torture by Nailing

Torture by Nailing

Torture by Nailing

The torture chair, also known as the Judas Chair, had all its surface area covered with spikes profusely. No area, including the seat, back, and arms was left without spikes. The back and arms were provided with belts to fasten the wrists and body of the accused. The very beginning of the procedure was to make the accused sit in the chair was only too horrible to be seen by a normal person. Other potential accused persons were made to witness the punishment to extract the confession. The spikes did not penetrate into the internal organs and blocked the flow of blood by plugging each cut, and this aggravated the pain many times more while prolonging the miserable person’s life by delaying the death.

6. The Rat Torture

The Rat Torture

The Rat Torture

Torturing with rats was used in the Early Middle Ages before the invention of other torture devices. It was preferentially used to torture accused females. The accused was made to lie on her back, and an inverted tin without a lid was fastened onto the abdomen. A rat was then released into the tin. The top of the tin was heated by placing burning coals thereon, and the rat, finding no other way to escape, was constrained to bite into the abdomen down to the intestines. The immense pain which the accused was made to bear was unimaginable.

7. Head Crushing

Head Crushing

Head Crushing

The prehistoric caveman of the Stone Age used to crush the head of his enemy with a stone to kill but not to torture. The more civilized tyrants of the Middle Ages used the technique to torture the opponent. With the chin resting on a bar, the head was kept under a steel hood which was pressurized to the extent that the jaws were broken, teeth were crushed, and the eyes bulged out of their sockets. The suffering of the accused is inexplicable.

8. Sawing the Body

Sawing the Body

Sawing the Body

In compliance with the orders of King Ferdinand II of Aragon, Pope Sixtus IV sent many inquisitors to Spain in order to spread Catholicism and punish the non-Catholics. The inquisitors did not carry with them any torturing instruments such as the “Saw,” but it was easily available everywhere. The suspect was hanged upside down with the legs pulled apart and sawed into two halves. Others were made to witness the torture to extract a confession.

9. The Iron Maiden

 The Iron Maiden

The Iron Maiden

Also known as “The Virgin of Nuremberg,” the Iron Maiden was a horrible torturing device mostly used in the 16th century. The device was a seven-foot high cabinet provided with doors studded with long, sharp iron spikes. The victim was made to stand inside, and the door was closed while the spikes pierced the body and the victim screamed under the most severe and unbearable pain. The Pope did not allow the torturing of Galileo by this method but permitted the concerned to show him the device to extract his confession in accordance with their whims.

10. Burning at the Stake

Burning at the Stake

Burning at the Stake

It was the most common and the most horrid mode of torture throughout the Middle Ages. In this mode of torture, the victim was hanged upside down on a frame, and an open fire was ignited from below causing the sufferings by restricted respiration and third-degree burns in the initial stages followed by literally burning the whole flesh from the body. The French Heroine Joan of Arc was burned alive on the stake for suspicion of treason, and later when she was found innocent was made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.

Conclusion:

Human beings are distinguished from animals in that human beings are the only living beings who can deliberately inflict pain and mental torture to members of its own kind to derive satanic pleasure and gratification from it. A python will also kill its own offspring, and lions, tigers, and crocodiles also kill other animals. However, all of them hunt and kill for their survival by overcoming their prey and ensuring its death in the quickest possible time. Contrarily, the callous human torturers delay the death for as long as possible to extend the time of their satanic pleasure. The degree of cruelty to which some human beings can fall is just immeasurable. Regardless of its being related to Christianity, Islam, or any other religion, the religious extremism has invariably given rise to sadism.

 

 

One Response to “Famous Ways to Torture in the Medieval Times”

  1. Mark

    Mar 7th, 2013

    Wow, that is god damn painful to think about. GAH

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