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The animal trials were common in the Middle Ages. (The Trail of Bill Burns by P. Mathews, 1838)  Source: דוג'רית / Public Domain

Strange But Serious Medieval Animal Trials Were No Kangaroo Court!

One of the more unusual aspects of the Medieval world was that animals could be put on trial like human beings. Yes, there was such a thing as legal animal trials! While the veracity of many Medieval...
Chamber of torture devices and ancient punishments in Prague Castle

9 Methods of Ancient Punishment That’ll Make You Squirm

For as long as societies have had to deal with crime, they’ve had to deal out punishment. In some, places, and situations the process was only meant to humiliate the guilty, but most of the following...
Tartarus

The Hell of Tartarus, Ancient Greek Prison of the Damned

Tartarus is infernal abyss of Greek mythology, which is used as a pit of suffering for the wicked and as a dungeon for the Titans.IT is also the name of a deity, a primordial being that existed...
: A hooded Inquisitor in a Medieval torture chamber. Source: diter /Adobe Stock

Medieval Torture: The Terrifying Threat of Twisting off Limbs and Burning Flesh

The Medieval period is often called (rightly or wrongly) one of the most brutal eras in European history. One of the most notorious features of the Middle Ages was the use of torture. Although...
Depiction of punishment in ancient Egypt

Analysis of Skeletons Reveals Harsh Punishment in Ancient Egypt

Egyptian kings and pharaohs conquered entire nations, but if a person stole so much as an animal hide he could be whipped with 100 lashes and stabbed five times in the back… and then be sent back to...
"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...
A cylinder seal impression, ca. 2100 BC, sometimes interpreted as Ur-Nammu (seated) bestowing governorship on Ḫašḫamer, ensi of Iškun-Sin.

The Code of Ur-Nammu: When Ancient Sumerians Laid Down the Law, Everyone Obeyed

The Code of Ur-Nammu is the oldest surviving law code. This text was written on clay tablets in the Sumerian language and is reckoned to have been produced towards the end of the 3rd millennium BC...
A Viking Warrior

Never Offend a Viking or ‘The Thing’ Might Just Decide Your Fate

BY THORNEWS If you offended a Viking, a normal reaction would be to kill you on the spot. If the murder took place in daylight with witnesses present and without trying to hide his act, the...
Detail of ‘Sisyphus’ by Antonio Zanchi.

Sisyphus: King Cheats Death, Annoys Zeus, and Receives Never-ending Punishment in the Greek Underworld

Doomed to forever roll a huge boulder up a steep hill, Sisyphus is a figure in Greek mythology who represents an impossible task. As his punishment in the Greek Underworld, each time Sisyphus neared...
King Shapur of Persia Humiliating Emperor Valerian (Public Domain) Background: court of the emperor Valerian, painting circa 1450. (Public Domain); Deriv.  By Martini Fisher

What Really Happened to Valerian? Was the Roman Emperor Humiliated and Skinned at the Hands of the Enemy?

The death of Valerian is traditionally known as one of the most dramatic and unfortunate of all the deaths of the Roman emperors. The widely accepted story is that Valerian wanted to end the war with...
Why We Can’t Resist the Lure of Mermaids

Why We Can’t Resist the Lure of Mermaids

Mermaids are everywhere. In the past month alone they have surfaced in New Brighton, caused controversy in Asda, reinvigorated toast, partied with the Kardashians , transformed maternity and wedding...
The Smelliest Women of Ancient Greece: Jason and the Argonauts Get Fragrant

The Smelliest Women of Ancient Greece: Jason and the Argonauts Get Fragrant

We all know Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty, made sure that she was worshipped by punishing those who ignored her altars. One brief appearance of this wrath in the tale of Jason and the...
 ‘An Arab Caravan outside a Fortified Town, Egypt.

Inside Rhinocolura, The City Of Noseless Criminals

Near the city of Gaza, 3,000 years ago, laid a city unlike any other in the world. The Greeks called it Rhinocolura, named for strange faces of the people who lived there – because every person there...
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...
Pandora, lifting the lid of the ‘pithos’. By Nicolas Régnier

Pandora: The Tale of a Good Girl Gone Bad?

When Pandora opened her box, as the Ancient Greek myth goes, all manner of evil was released into the world - ending the Golden Age of man and forsaking them to a life of death and rebirth. Being the...
Fast Money: The Egyptian Economy, Monetary System, and Horrendous Taxes

Fast Money: The Egyptian Economy, Monetary System, and Horrendous Taxes

The ancient Egyptians created a sophisticated economic system thousands of years ago. Although they may seem far removed from modern life, their inventions in the monetary realm provided the basis...

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