10-plus-1 gory medieval punishments that may cure our corrupt forever
- May 30, 2018
Angry, mad, livid! That’s the kind of Kenyan I have been for the past month or so. So angry that I feel these people stealing from a population that’s as burdened as us deserves worse than the Sh1 million fine or 10-year max jail term the law subscribes. I don’t know about you, but I have been dreaming of seeing these pilferers getting their due from the hand of some ancient justice system. Which of these terrifying medieval punishments would you consign these looters of our taxes to? Let us know the depth of your fury in the comments section…
Mmmm. Slow and agonising, the victim was gradually lowered — feet-first — into boiling oil, water, or wax (although uses of boiling wine and molten lead have also been recorded).
If the shock of the pain does not render them immediately unconscious (and we won’t want it to), the person experiences the excruciating sensation of their outer skin burning, dissolving right off their body. It was followed by the complete breakdown of the fatty tissue, boiling away beneath.
Boiling a few suspects at Uhuru Park and with live coverage may cure appetite for public funds forever, no?
Only crazy Vikings could blend brutality and poetic imagery in this manner. First, the victim’s back would be hacked open and the skin ripped apart, exposing the spinal column.
The ribs were then snapped from the spine and forcibly bent backwards until they faced outwards from the body, forming a pair of bloody, shattered eagle wings. As a horrifying finale, the lungs would then be pulled from the body cavity and coated with stinging salt, causing eventual death by suffocation.
I hope our suspects will be thinking about the numerous deaths of hapless Kenyans they have caused by stealing what ought to have provided essential services to them.
Most famously used by Vlad the Impaler, 15th-century ruler of Wallachia (in present-day Romania) and inspiration for Count Dracula, the stake would be partially sharpened and planted, point up, in the ground. The victim would then be placed over it as it was inserted partway into the rectum or vagina.
Gravity was then left to do its work with own body weight dragging them further onto the pole. The semi-greased wooden stake would force its way up through their body, piercing organs with an agonising slowness as it eventually penetrated the entire torso, finally tearing an exit wound through the skin of the shoulder, neck or throat.
According to some accounts, it could take the victim — exposed, bleeding, and writhing in tormented agony — as long as eight whole days to die. Picture that, eight days of scaring any corruption thoughts for generations.
Keelhaul one by one
This always killed the victim either from the severity of the wounds sustained or was simply carried out until death). The victim’s legs would be weighted and suspended from a rope on a ship then rapidly pulled underwater along the length of the hull.
As the drowning sailor was yanked relentlessly through the salt water, the thick layer of barnacles coating the vessel’s hull would strip the skin from his body, gouging out raw chunks of flesh and even, by some accounts, tearing off whole limbs or severing the head.
If the sailor survives the emersion, they are hung from the mast for 15 minutes before going in again. In some cases, the victim would have an oil-soaked sponge — containing a breath of air — stuffed into their mouth to prevent a “merciful” drowning. If those boats at Uhuru Park don’t do it effectively, we can talk to fishermen at Lake Victoria or borrow one of Kenya Navy’s weapons.
Roman candle the lot
A rumoured favourite of the mad Roman Emperor Nero, this method saw the subject tied to a stake and smeared with flammable pitch (tree or plant resin), then set ablaze, slowly burning to death from the feet up.
What sets this above the many other similar methods is the fact that the victims were sometimes lined up outside to provide the lighting for one of Nero’s evening parties. This may be a nice way to treat the KPLC suspects. Let them experience half the pain we do when they inflate our bills…
Hang, draw and quarter the thugs
Victim was dragged to the site of execution then hang to near death. Some had the good fortune to die at this stage, including infamous Gunpowder Plot conspirator Guy Fawkes, who ensured a faster death by leaping from the gallows. We will have to watch out for similar antics.
Once half strangled, the drawing would begin. Here, the victim would be strapped down and then slowly disembowelled, their stomachs sliced open and their intestines and other major organs hacked apart and pulled — “drawn” — from the body. The genitals would often be mutilated and ripped from between their legs. Those unlucky enough to still be alive at this point might witness their organs burned in front of them, before they were finally decapitated.
Once dead, the body would be carved into four pieces — or “quartered” — and the parts sent to prominent areas of the country as a warning to others. The head would often be taken to the infamous Tower of London, where it would be impaled on a spike and placed on the walls, “for the mockery of London.” I love it! I’m I still human?
You probably saw this on Game Of Thrones. It is ingenious in its disgusting simplicity. A bucket containing live rats was placed on the exposed torso of the victim, and heat applied to the base of the bucket.
The only way out for the rodents going crazy with fear from the heat is to dig their way into the abdomen of the victim. Rats have the most powerful bite and chewing motion of any rodent so they make short work of a human stomach.
Along with the unimaginable pain, the victim would also suffer the sick horror of feeling the large, filthy creatures writhing around inside their guts as they died. This I would recommend for the deputy masterminds, yes?
Allegedly used by the Japanese on American prisoners of war, it saw the victim tied down to a frame over a patch of newly sprouting bamboo plants.
One of the fastest-growing plants in the world, capable of up to three feet of growth in 24 hours, the sharp-tipped plants would slowly pierce the skin of the victim — and then continue to grow.
The end result was death by gradual, continuous, multiple impalements, the equivalent of being dropped on a bed of sharpened stakes in terrible slow motion.
Also known as “skinning alive”, it is simply slowly, excruciatingly slicing the skin from the body while keeping the victim alive for as long as possible (and when feasible, removing the skin intact).
Carvings from the Assyrian period show the process beginning with incisions to the thighs or buttocks, while the European method shows it starting with the skin being torn from the feet and lower legs.
Chinese Emperors Sun Hao, Fu Sheng, and Gao Heng ordered the skin to be peeled from their victims’ faces. Death would normally come as a result of massive blood loss and shock, but in the unfortunate cases where expert flayers were used, the victim could be kept alive in a state of perpetual agony for several days before finally succumbing to their hopelessly infected wounds.
Scaphism -the big fish
For sheer, delirious, nauseating horror, scaphism may be one of the worst execution methods ever devised. Practiced by the Ancient Persians, starting around 500 B.C., it saw the victim placed inside a hollowed-out log or narrow boat, their hands and feet tied to each end.
The victim was then forced to ingest a mixture of milk and honey until uncontrollably puking and diarrhoea emptied their bowels. Their skin was smeared with more milk and honey before they were left exposed in the sun and surrounded by their own faeces and vomit.
Stinging and biting insects like wasps and ants would torture the victim, but worse, others would crawl inside the unprotected orifices of the subject and lay eggs, eating them alive from the inside out.
With the ration of milk and honey — and sometimes water — repeated at daily intervals, the victim had little chance of dying of thirst or hunger.
Instead, they succumbed to tortured madness, experiencing the agonizing, nightmare crawl of thousands of insects on their skin, burrowing into their eyes and ears and nose, filling their mouths, while worms and parasites bred in the filth at the bottom of the boat and squirmed up into their bowels.
Death would eventually be caused by a combination of exposure and the massive infections caused by both the insects, and the faecal matter smeared into the wounds. One account of such an execution by the Greek historian Plutarch claimed that it took the victim 17 whole days to die. This is definitely the one for the masterminds.
In this device designed by a brass worker named Perilous of Athens during the 6th century BC, the victim would be placed inside a hollowed brass bull and a fire lit underneath.
A system of tubes inside the statue would then amplify the victim’s screams to sound like a raging bull. The story goes that the tyrant ruler Phalaris was so appalled by this device that he tricked Perilous into entering the bull to be its first victim.