Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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capital punishment

Guillotine. Source: zef art / Adobe Stock.

Blood and Blades: The Gruesome Reality of Witnessing the Guillotine (Video)

The guillotine - a so-called "humane" killing machine - was used to execute countless individuals during the French Revolution . Its swift, efficient method of death sparked a shift in public...
Historic illustration of execution by elephant. Source: Pixaterra / Adobe Stock

Execution by Elephant Was a Brutal Form of Capital Punishment For 2,000 Years

Elephants are one of the smartest and most powerful animals in the world. It is no wonder then that these magnificent beasts were exploited and trained to be brutal executioners. Death by elephant is...
Portrait of an executioner. Warpedgalerie / Adobe Stock

The Dark Life of a Medieval Executioner – A Cut Away from the Rest

It is no surprise that the medieval period was filled with all kinds of undesirable jobs. There were leech collectors, cesspool cleaners, serfs, and gong farmers, to name a few. But one vocation that...
Place of execution in ancient Rome. The crucified slaves. Fedor Andreevich Bronnikov, 1878.

Second (Or Third) Ever Skeleton with Evidence of Crucifixion Discovered

The remains of a 2000-year old man discovered in 2007 near Gavello, southwest of Venice in northern Italy are being claimed to be the second ‘crucified skeletal remains’ ever unearthed. Researchers...
"Ertränken im Fass oder Sack", a 1560 sketch showing ‘punishment of the sack’.

Mythbusting Ancient Rome: Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Early Roman history is full of stories about the terrible fates that befell citizens who broke the law. When a certain Tarpeia let the enemy Sabines into Rome, she was crushed and thrown headlong...
The Bull by Stuart Yeates.

Brazen Bull: Gruesome Ancient Greek Torture Device Turned Screams into ‘Music’

The Brazen Bull (known also as the ‘Bull of Phalaris’, the ‘Bronze Bull’ or the ‘Sicilian Bull’) was a type of ancient torture and execution device from ancient Greece. The story of the Brazen Bull...
16th Century depiction of execution of a prisoner by Ottoman soldiers.

Execution by Elephant: A Gory Method of Capital Punishment

Elephants have played a number of important roles in human history. In some cultures, the elephant is a revered creature. In Buddhism, for example, the vivid dream of Buddha’s mother which foretold...