What was the cruellest death penalty in history?

I nominate the method of execution that was used in England in the Middle Ages for treason and counterfeit money.In English it is called hanged, drawn, and quartered, hanging in German, eviscerating and four parts.

In doing so, one became:

  • hanged, but slowly (i.e. without the rapid death by broken neck as in the 19th century), so that one was strangled.
  • The abdomen was slit, the intestine removed and burned in front of the victim’s eyes.
  • Then one was still suspended alive and the arms and legs tied to four strong draught horses, which then pulled vigorously until the body was torn apart in four parts.

It was only then that the victim usually died.

  • The four parts (like the head) were then impaled and put on display in various places as a warning to other potential traitors.
  • One of the most famous victims of this type of execution was William Wallace, known from the film Braveheart, the film is ahistorical nonsense.He led the rebellion of the Scots against Edward I of England and was executed in 1305. The last Welsh Prince of Wales, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, was also executed by Edward.


    Another cruel form of execution was a Viking ritual to the sacrifice of a high-noble prisoner at Wotan, especially in their campaigns through England in the 9th century.It was called Blood Eagle.

    The victim was tied to a high trunk, and a cut from the navel at the top of the ribs to the neck was made.In doing so, they spread the victim’s ribs so that they looked like the wings of an eagle and the still beating heart became visible.

    One of the last kings of East Anglia, Edmund the Martyr, is said to have been executed in this way.He was canonized and is the namesake of Bury St. Edmund’s, as well as several colleges and churches.


    I would have one last nomination for the crucifixion of the Romans.Christ is said to have died in just a few hours, but usually one lived days, nailed to a trunk with crossbeams. The body hung on the nails in the wrists; if you were lucky, your feet were only at a small stage where you could hold up, but most of the time your feet were nailed. The weight of the body slowly pulled on the shoulder joints, which became enormously painful in a short time.

    Often, however, the victims did not die from the excruciating pain, but from exhaustion and suffocation.Birds of prey have also often eaten the victims even before their death.

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