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Philosopher michel foucault starts his book discipline and punish the birth of the prison with with a chapter about an unfortunate frenchman named robert. Fran. Ois.
Damiens. Damiens. Had tried failed to assassinate king louis xv.
And for it he was severely punished. He was burned with molten wax and lead and had boiling oil poured into his open wounds. He was then quartered by horses pulling at his limbs and then his torso was burned at the stake.
Some of the crowd cheered. But one commentator wrote. I was several times obliged to turn away my face and to stop my ears.
As i heard his piercing shrieks half of his body having been torn from him things slowly changed regarding the harshness of punishments. But today well look back at the brutal past in this episode of the infographics show the worst punishments in the history of mankind. We should explain that this list is in no particular order of nastiness just because youll see that all these punishments metered out are barbaric to the nth degree.
It would be hard to say. Which is the worst as they are all incredibly horrific. Well let you decide which punishment you think is the most heinous.
We will also add that some of you might believe that prolonged agony such as solitary confinement for 20 years might actually be worse than excruciating pain that lasts. A few seconds or minutes before death. But well focus more on barbaric acts.
Today the rack. Well start with one punishment. You have all probably heard of the rack was a fairly simple device consisting of a rectangular frame and a series of levers pullies and ropes.
There are different versions of the rack dating from antiquity to middle ages. Europe. The idea was to stretch the prisoner by the joints until the muscles were torn and the joints popped eventually all the joints would be dislocated hanged drawn and quartered.
This is close to what happened to damiens. But was better known as a very gruesome form of execution in middle ages england when someone had committed high treason aka treason against the state . The prisoner would be hanged until almost dead then he would be taken down and disemboweled while still alive and also have his manhood cut from his body.
He would then be chopped into pieces and often his head was chopped off and hung some place where the public could see it this punishment was abolished in england in 1870 judas chair. Also known as dannis chair or judas cradle. Its not known exactly when this was used.
But there are sketches of it in existence. And it also is on display in some museums. This gruesome device was a chair with a sharp pointed pyramid shape on the seat of the chair websites writing about medieval history.
Tell us people would be sat atop this spike and lowered by ropes. Which was extremely painful as it entered the orifice. But sometimes they would be dragged down on it with the use of weights while application of oil would make things worse.
They would die slowly as they were further lowered or perhaps die even more slowly from infection this could take hours or days. According to two sources. We found some sources say it was used during the spanish inquisition.
But other sources refute that boiling again we turn to england and this time to the 1500s. Its said. The often irascible king henry viii.
Made this a form of capital punishment. But it seems to also have been popular at some point in time all around europe and asia. As you can guess the torture and usually the eventual death was a result of someone being boiled alive in a large cauldron or kettle full of water oil or tar.
The catherine wheel also known as the breaking wheel its thought this simple method of bodily destruction was used mainly in the 18th and 19th centuries in europe and parts of asia. The french writer voltaire writes about the punishment in a book published in the 18th century prisoners were tied and splayed on a large wooden wheel the executioner would then take a heavy object sometimes an iron cudgel and break the person on the wheel. Until the body was completely almost in pieces sometimes.
However it would take a few days for the victims to die from their injuries. The head crusher this should be self explanatory imagine a metal dish strapped to your skull and a metal plate under your chin. You cant move as it is all secured.
The dish can be lowered using a large screw that can be turned as it lowers it breaks the bones in your head and eventually crushes the skull. We cant find too many reliable sources. Telling us when this was used.
But again its thought it was a contraption of the middle ages historycouk tells us it was a real thing. And it appears in a book called the big book of pain torture punishment through history flaying. If youve seen game of thrones.
Youll be familiar with this punishment. The torture comprises of cutting off all of a persons skin. Although its said in china.
Sometimes. It was just the facial skin. Sometimes the person may have been burned first to make the cutting easier or just perhaps to add more nastiness.
It was around as late as the 18th century and michel foucault discusses it in gory detail in the book. We mentioned discipline and punish. Its said.
The english did it to thieves in the 13th century. But such punishment happened all over the world throughout the. Ages its said that the chinese emperor hongwu ordered the flaying of 5000.
Women in 1357. Although a book called skin and bones puts the date at 1396 death by a thousand cuts sticking with china and a similar period comes. This brutal torture also known as lingchi.
A book called death by a thousand cuts says. It was a common form of punishment in china in the 14th century. But was around in the country for many centuries.
The prisoners entire body would be sliced. But it would take a long time to die as you would expect from small slices. But nothing was spared from the knife and eventually this would kill the unfortunate victim.
However while this form of punishment became infamous outside of china. Some historians tell us that it wasnt as prolonged as some people originally said and that some of those cuts actually meant dismemberment making death arrive faster sawing looking at sketches of this from the 15th century. It is in some ways.
The most barbaric as its so basic a person is hanged upside down from some gallows with their legs. Forming a v shape. Two men would then take a large saw and cut the man in half from his groin area.
He would apparently live through much of this according to one source. We can find this was only infrequently used in medieval europe and in china. Where sawing horizontally through the middle was an alternative looking around the web sawing took all kinds of forms all over the world during many centuries in any case people were sawed apart.
But the method may have taken many forms rats. You might be thinking right now what on earth was wrong with people in the past that enacted or even endorsed such behavior because humans understand pain. So well were we not blessed with a priori built in morality.
If you havent already thought that perhaps you will in a second as death by rats really takes the biscuit. It was apparently used in medieval europe and china. Some sources.
Tell us that starved rats are poured into a box. With a naked prisoner and they slowly eat the person. Other sources.
Say the belly of the person is first partially opened. So the rats can get at the insides. Its written about in a 1931 book called merrily.
I go to hell reminiscences of a bishops daughter. Another book called the dictionary of torture. Tells us that this happened in germany.
Yet another book tells us that in china. The rat would be trapped on a victims stomach under a metal pot. The pot would be heated until the rat had no other choice than to try and gnaw its way through the persons body.
We cant say what the outcome of this would be and perhaps. Its not so plausible that a rat could eat its way through a body. Some of the sources that say that was the case dont offer evidence of it happening that way so.
Theres a short history of some human barbarity. Lets be glad we have evolved somewhat since those times. Can you think of a heinous punishment that we didnt mention here.
Let us know in the comments. Also be sure to check out our other video called worst prison experiments conducted on humans thanks for watching. And as always dont forget to like share and subscribe.
See you next time .
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