50 Worst Ways to Die Essay

815 Words Oct 5th, 2013 4 Pages
Taken from Maxim (Volume 1, Number 3, 1999): “The 50 Worst Ways to Die”

The following are some ways people were executed in Europe during the time period we are studying. My intent here is not to “gross you out.” It is not even to shock you. The sad fact is that throughout history, especially in Europe, people have thought of incredibly cruel and barbaric ways to punish those who have committed crimes. This, unfortunately, is part of history.

As you are aware, we are currently studying the Renaissance and the continuing development of nation-states. During this time, some monarchs tried to unify their young nations through religion. In Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella imposed the Inquisition on the population. Established in
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Once the bones were crushed, the malleable appendages were braided through the spokes of a wheel raised horizontally on a post. Finally, the victim was spun around until death ensued.
Where else: The Romans tied Christians to the edge of a giant wheel that would crush them when it was gently rolled down a hill.

4. The Iron Maiden

Where: Sparta and in Spain during the Inquisition
When: 200 B.C. (Sparta) and the 15th through 17th centuries (Spain)
Description: The victim was placed in a hollow statue laced with knives on the inside. The door was then shut. Death came slowly as the 20 or so blades went in an inch or two. Sometimes it would take days.
Where else: In Britain, many prisoners were placed in a knife-lined trunk at the same time.

5. Burned at the Stake

Where: Spain during the Inquisition
When: 15th through 17th centuries
Description: Unlike the movies, the pyre of wood was actually built up to the victim’s eye level. The lucky ones died quickly from asphyxiation, but Spanish Inquisitors were sometimes able to keep their victims alive for up to 30 minutes.
Where else: 4th Century Roman emperor Diocletian was known for wrapping prisoners in oil- or pitch-soaked cloths and then lighting them on fire.

6. Boiled Alive

Where: Europe
When: 13th to 16th centuries
Description: If the victim was lucky, a cauldron of oil or water was boiled before they were placed inside. If the victim was not so lucky, he was

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