A list of some of the most gruesome methods for killing people in the medieval time.

  • Rats: The executioner puts a cage filled with rats on the bowel region of the body. As everyone knows, rats are terribly afraid of fire (well at least wild rats are, the tame ones usually are not). So the executioner lights a fire behind the rats, and they eat their way through the intestines of the person being executed.
  • Cuts: The executioner carves a thousand small cuts in the person being executed, this person would (after a long time of misery) bleed to death.
  • Bone breaking: The executioner breaks just about every bone in the human body with some sort of baseball bat. The final smash (to stop the heart) was applied with a large steel hammer.
  • The stake: People were to burn at the stake... alive.
  • Quartering: Legs and arms were separately tied to four horses and each horse would run away.
  • Beheading: A large sword or sometimes an axe would decapitate the person being executed.
  • Sawing: The criminal was hung upside down and sawed in two pieces. auch!
  • Hanging: Criminals were hung at the gibbet and died either by breaking their necks or by choking to death.

There's always the good old British method of hanging, drawing and quartering. Reserved for particularly bad people, such as those convicted of treason or in some cases committing the heinous crime of being a member of the wrong religion, the condemned was first hanged by the neck until almost dead. Then they were
drawn, meaning that their intestines were cut out and burnt in front of them. Finally, before the prisoner passed out through pain and blood loss, the body was cut into four parts, or sometimes just the four limbs were removed (quartering). Following this the victim, now most certainly deceased, was usually decapitated and their head mounted on a pole somewhere conspicuous to the citizenry.

After hanging, "breaking on the wheel" was the most common form of execution in Germanic Europe, from the early Middle Ages well into the 18th century. The prisoner was bound either to the ground or to the wheel itself; his (the wheel was used primarily for male offenders) limbs and joints were then broken, either with the wheel itself in the preceding case, or with tools of some sort in the latter. The broken limbs were then threaded through the spokes of the wheel, and the victim was left to die of his injuries (or, by some accounts, those subsequently inflicted by carrion birds.) This practice was not limited to Germany, of course - the Tsar of Russia had suspected conspirators broken on the wheel in the 1730s, and there are recorded instances of slaves in the so-called New World being executed in the same manner.


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