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Medieval Torture Devices

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Presentation on theme: "Medieval Torture Devices"— Presentation transcript:

1 Medieval Torture Devices

2 Torture was used during the Middle Ages for three reasons:
To force confessions or secret information from those accused To discourage dissent and intellectual freedom To persuade Jews, Muslims, and other non-believers to accept Christianity

3 The Pictures you are about to see were drawn during Medieval times.
Make special note of how often clergy members are depicted in each sketch.

4 Iron Maiden Spikes in the Iron Maiden were strategically located to avoid major organs, thereby prolonging the inevitable death of the accused.

5 The Interrogation Chair
This was painful from the start and only got worse. Pain could be increased by beating on the limbs.

6 Lockup Cell Small villages often had only a small lockup for holding criminals.There were no windows, no chamberpots and it was never cleaned. A person had to sit in their own vomit and waste, and in the person’s before them, and before them..and before them..

7 Public Humiliation Hunger, thirst, bad weather and jeers (along with stones and rotten fruit) of passersby made this treatment nastier than it looks. Afterwards, the victim often left town if at all possible.

8 Toe Wedge Sharp wooden skewers coated with boiling sulfur were slowly driven deep into the tender flesh under the toenails. They were lifted from their beds and slowly pulled out from the skin.

9 Gossip’s Bridle The bridle was used to silence women who nagged, questioned authority, or gossiped. It was painful as well as humiliating, for the gag had a barbed tongue-piece.

10 Ducking Stool Three dips was common treatment for “socially difficult” women or habitually drunk men. How long the victim stayed under depended on public opinion.

11 Tying the offender to a horse, bull or wild animal and driving it away in a panic was not always fatal. But it did get rid of the fellow!

12 The Whirligig The Whirligig was not that bad of a torture. It just spun the victim around in circles until he puked, mostly all over himself.

13 Mutilation Besides its painful and horrific aspects, it served as an effective deterrent. A blinded or handless thief was certainly put out of business.

14 Irons An effective form of torture as well as restraint. The addition of weights or spikes increased the pain of torn tendons and cramped limbs.

15 The Wheel The Wheel produced such violent disturbances in the body as it was swung around that it could kill.The only marks it produced were bruises around the eyes.

16 Foot Press Tightened by the crank, this ingenious iron Foot Press slowly crushed the victim’s bare foot against a bed of spikes, lacerating flesh and pulverizing bones.

17 Disembowelment The torso was slit down the middle and the intestines pulled out. Sometimes, the intestines were coated with flammable liquids and set on fire while still attached to the body.

18 Fire Burning at the stake was not reserved for witches, but rather was a common form of execution. Political dissidents were usually burned as well.

19 Heretic’s Fork Jammed firmly into the sternum and chin, the Fork held the victim’s head still for the torture.

20 Boiling water or molten lead was poured into ears, up nostrils or other orfices. Hot candle wax was sometimes dripped into the eyes.

21 Cat’s Claw It ripped the victim’s flesh to shreds and stripped it off the bone. Especially effective on the back, abdomen, face, limbs, and breast.

22 Whipping Done publicly and with a variety of instruments, the most popular was whipping in front of a crowd with brambles or a tree switch with stickers.

23 Hanging by the Thumbs This could encourage confession, but lost its effect after about twenty hours. Sometimes, wet rawhide strips were used. As it dried, the strips would shrink, cutting the thumbs off.

24 Criminals were often considered a useful resource for training soldiers. Archery practice was also a kind of execution.

25 Breaking Breaking was a cruel execution. The victim was strapped to any handy framework and beaten to a pulp. This could be made a lingering death by starting at the feet and breaking all the bones, one by one, while slowly working up to the skull.

26 The Smallbox This could be found in courtyards of most prisons, where it was used on troublemakers and silent heretics.

27 Punishments of heretics and Jews were often gruesomely creative
Punishments of heretics and Jews were often gruesomely creative. This was thought to inspire healthy fear in the public, keeping them safe from heretical thought.

28 Live Burial Bound in a kneeling position and buried up to his neck, the victim was helpless to escape such tortures as shaking maggots in his ears through a funnel, or horses running at him.

29 Used to extract confessions, fire was a wonderful tool!

30 Quartering The criminal had each limb tied to a horse and then the horses were sent out in 4 different directions, ripping the limbs from the body. Sometimes, bets were made on which portion of the body the head would be carried away with.

31 The Pear Used in the mouth, vagina, and rectal areas, this device had sharp prongs which mutilated the insides of the victim, shredding intestines, the throat and the cervix.

32 The Head Crusher The dome shape protected the brain while teeth were splintered and eyes squashed. Eventually the sinuses collapsed.

33 The Iron Seat The victim was usually stripped first to allow as much skin contact as possible.

34 The Neckbreaker The board was hammered into the neck, crushing the spinal cord. This caused complete paralysis, but the victim usually died of suffocation because the trachea was often crushed as well.

35 Pinchers Used to inflict scarring injuries, tear out eyes, tear off strips of skin, and rip off nipples.

36 While prisoners were restrained in the dungeon, rats and vermin could crawl freely over their bodies, gnawing on fingers, toes, ears, and noses. This could be encouraged by pouring hot bacon fat over the prisoner.

37 Pressing Weights were added to the victim’s chest a little at a time until he eventually suffocated.

38 Strappado Hands bound behind his back, the accused was drawn to the high ceiling and dropped with a jerk to the end of the rope, pulling his shoulders out of sockets.

39 The Rack Usually the shoulder joints were displaced first, followed by the knees. If the torture continued, the victim’s abdomen would tear open next.

40 Water Torture Water was poured into the mouth through a funnel while the nose was clamped shut, forcing the victim to swallow to breathe. After a few quarts, one would either drown in his own vomit or his stomach would rupture. Sometimes vinegar, urine and/or diarrhea was forced down the throat instead of water.

41 The Spanish Donkey After the prisoner was seated naked astride the Spanish donkey, weights 600 pounds or more were hung from both feet to force his body downward onto the sharp iron edge, until the force was so great that it destroyed the area between the legs.

42 Judas Cradle Works much like the Spanish donkey.

43 The Copper Boot The boot was placed around the foot of the victim and filled to the brim with molten lead causing first degree burns.

44 Star-Kicking Strips of paper were placed between the victim’s toes and set afire.

45 Garrote This French invention slowly strangled its victim by tightening a band around his neck, splintering his spine and crushing his throat.

46 Stocks A few hours in the stocks could be a death penalty for some unpopular people. Since a victim could not reach his face to wipe it, some would actually suffocate by the volume of things thrown at them by the passing crowd.

47 Stake Insult the wrong ruler and wind up on a stake with a view. If the stake was threaded properly it blocked bleeding and the victim lived for days on the castle walls.

48 Another form of the stake torture

49 The eight-inch jaws of the shears were heated and then clamped around the penis. After it was burned to a cinder, the penis was ripped from the body. Crocodile Shears

50 Instep Borer The crank on this boot controlled a serrated blade on the other side. When turned, it sent the blade, bit by bit, into the instep of the foot.

51 The Iron Spider This was heated red-hot and used to rip off the breasts of female victims.

52 Testicle Crusher No explanation needed!

53 The Saw A simple but gruesome execution was the Two-man Saw. Because he hung head-down the victim often remained conscious until the saw reached his heart.

54 The End

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