Crucifixion & Execution

Discussion in 'Research' started by Centerfield97, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. Centerfield97

    Centerfield97 Lore Master

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    Are the religious connotations of crucifixion too strong to use the method for cruel execution? Is there any way to modify the method to have a similar effect but not have the connotation?

    What other "public display" executions are there, particularly drawn-out painful ones, that aren't just lopping off someone's head?
     
  2. Xanados

    Xanados Scribal Lord

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    Have it not be a cross. Even though I'm pretty sure that's why it's called a crucifix.
     
  3. Anders Ämting

    Anders Ämting Dark Lord

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    Er, I highly doubt any Christian is actually going to argue that crucifixion isn't a method for cruel execution. That was sort of the whole point.

    Besides, if Conan the Barbarian got away with it in 1982, I don't see why you couldn't get away with it today.

    That said, the less symbolically charged alternative would be Vlad Dracula-style impalement, I think.

    Oh, you can crucify people any number of ways. The Romans sometimes did it crux simplex, with just a straight vertical beam. Other times the cross would be shaped like a T, Y or X. Really, the important thing is that the victim is nailed to something.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  4. Hans

    Hans Mystagogue

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    Nailing is not necessary, binding is enough. Just be sure the victim can't break loose.
    If you have the variation of cross where the victim stands on something, a cage would have a very similar effect.
     
  5. Anders Ämting

    Anders Ämting Dark Lord

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    Very well, I amend my statement: Really, the important thing is that the victim is affixed to something.

    I believe putting your victim in a cage is refered to as gibbeting, though, not crucifixion.
     
  6. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Nails, ropes, staples, strong glue. Whatever said evil government has lying around...

    As mentioned above, if you want to avoid the religious connotations an 'X' pattern was often used.
     
  7. The Din

    The Din Lore Master

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    Another pleasant way to go is to be drawn and quartered. Can't say it's too 'drawn out', but the fellow's definitely gonna feel it (just ask William wallace). It was usually performed in public with a horse tethered to each limb and set agallop.

    There's also gibbets, where the individual was hung in a cage and left to die of thirst.
     
  8. Hans

    Hans Mystagogue

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    Right. I meant the effect, not the method.
    Crucifixion can be done mainly in two variations: with and without a support to stand on. Without the support, only hanging from the arms the victim will most probably suffocate because breathing becomes increasingly hard in that position.
    With a support breathing is no problem. The victim will in most cases die from overheat in the sun or hypothermia, depending on the current climate. If the climate has an ideal temperature all day and night the victim may die of thirst. The same effect as in a cage, just a different method of restraint.
     
  9. SeverinR

    SeverinR Valar Lord

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    I thought of starting a thread on executions but thought maybe it was to gruesome.

    Impaling; Not to quick. Not sure how long before the person dies.
    Pressed: person restrained while rocks placed on person until they can't breathe anymore.

    Quick but gruesome; burned as a steak...I mean burned at the stake.

    Not sure what it was called, but chaining someone to the seaside rocks in low tide, where high tide will drown the condemned.

    Any of the torture devices used until the victim dies.

    Sealing a person in a room, much like gibbeting but no one to hear the screams/moans.
    I believe indians tied people to anthills, could be legend, but still seems very painful and effective.
    In hot sunny terrain, tying someone exposed(little clothing if any) to the sun.

    People have thought of many ways to kill slowly.
     
  10. Drakhov

    Drakhov Master

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    I don't think this was intended as a method of execution itself, although people did die from it - it was actually a form of torture used to extract a confession - you've heard of the expression 'to be pressed for an answer / i must press you for an answer'? :)

    Being 'blown from the guns'- tied to the muzzle of a cannon and, well, blown apart. Quick but messy - used by the British to execute rebellious Sepoys after the Indian Mutiny - contrary to popular belief, this wasn't a punishment thought up by the British as a graphic deterrent, but actually a concession to the Indians - it was a traditional Hindu punishment for mutiny.

    While we're on the subject of the Indian Sub-Continent, and contradicting my initial response to SeverinR - being crushed by elephants.

    Having an iron nail driven through the top of the skull - some evidence of this method being used in India, and also accounts of Vlad the Impaler nailing Turkish envoys turbans to their heads.
     
  11. Fnord

    Fnord Lore Master

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    There are some variations on that particular theme:

    The Judas Cradle: Basically you were lowered posterior first onto a pointy pyramid.

    Scaphism: Restraining the condemned (usually in something like a barrel pillory or equally uncomfortable container that also became a means for collecting the condemned's bodily waste for them to wallow in) and then encouraging hungry insects to nibble on their flesh.

    Of course, you can also simply free-hang the person with ropes in uncomfortable ways (rope attached to one foot and one arm from behind, for example).
     
  12. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I'm a big huge fan of the Catherine or Breaking wheel... Breaking wheel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Here's a generic overview, but it's enough to write into a novel. The beauty of it was that it cost nothing, required no special equipment, and it was about as terrible a way to go as any. That might be a great substitution for crucifixion.
    Actually, certain kinds of executions were saved for particular crimes. You might think about what the person is being executed for before assigning their punishment. Pirates were often hung in cages to be drowned when the tide came in, and remained there a required number of tides before being removed from the cage (I think it's called bilging). When someone was hanged for stealing, their head was often mounted on a pike near the place they'd committed their crime.
    There are a couple other similar posts out there I have commented on, you might look at them for more ideas. People on this forum tend to answer with zeal questions of how to horribly maim, cripple, or kill people.....
     
  13. SeverinR

    SeverinR Valar Lord

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    Since you said that, I thought that might be true. The few links on Bing list it as both, torture and a form of execution.
     
  14. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Okay now that we have a whole list of gruesome ways to kill people, I pose a question..... How far is too far? I have a man in one of my books who was held in chains while his son and wife were thrown to their deaths, and then he was left bound to die alone. I never considered that being too much for a reader, but some of these other methods might affect the weak-of-constitution. What do you all think?
     
  15. Drakhov

    Drakhov Master

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    Well, the methods of torture and execution posted here are all historically documented - frankly i think anybody here would be hard pressed (there's that phrase again :)) to come up with anything that hasn't already been used at some point in our history. Any reader too squeamish to read about torture / execution in a fantasy setting would i imagine be equally turned off reading an actual social history text on say Medieval Europe.
     
  16. SeverinR

    SeverinR Valar Lord

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    I assume we aren't talking YA, or children's books.

    As long as your not exagerating the gore or the violence, I don't believe any situation is wrong. How it is written makes the world of difference.
    I believe the difference between a porno and a explicit adult novel is how it is portrayed, in writing and in filming.

    The described execution is gruesome and very emotional, could it have happened? yes.
    Does it go to far, from the quick description? no.
    Could you take it to an extreme? Describing details in gore, the sights, the sounds, the mess.
    Don't hide the gore, and the reader shouldn't be too disgusted when it happens.
     
  17. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    In one sense I think it's too much when it defies the tone set by the rest of your story. If you establish to the readers that your story is the sort of story where heads are cut off and blood drips down people's faces, then that's just part of the world you've created. But if your story is sweet and silly and romantic, but alluvasudden someone has their chest cut open and their ribs spread and their lungs pulled out and hooked on the edge of the rib, then you've defied the setup of your world. You've got a jarring contrast to what readers expect. It's possible, of course, for the tone to change from silly to gore, but it takes some setting up.

    Of course, from a marketing perspective, you have to bear in mind that there are two separate strategies which can make a product successful. The first is to try to get a small percentage of the mass market, and the second is to reach for a large percentage of a niche market. Either can be successful, but targeting a mass market is riskier and more rewarding. That can be the difference between JKR and GRRM. The thing is, the more gore you include, the less you're targeting the mass market. In that sense even a little gore can be too much.
     
  18. Ravana

    Ravana Istari

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    No matter how far you're willing to go in your writing, humans have gone farther in well-documented practice. What you describe is tame: you can find as bad in Homer.

    Just when I think I've finally exhausted the possibilities, I always seem to run across another one, too. I can't understand how some of these people ever managed to live with themselves. (Don't ask me to provide a comprehensive list; if you really want to know, look it up yourself. I'm not going to inflict it on anyone.)

    As far as writing goes, I prefer to be inventive, and allow the reader to supply from imagination whatever form of gruesome they care to. My current favorite is tying someone to a yoke by the heels and using his face to plow the North Forty. Which, incredibly enough, I haven't seen in a real-world reference. Yet.…
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  19. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I try to set a realistic, believable world. I omit the things I don't believe in, because frankly it's hard to write something I can't see happening, and so I don't want to ever be called to defend something and look like an ass when I just say, "Yeah I don't know why I put that in..... It probably doesn't make sense." So, that being said, I also like things maybe a little less cruel than the real world is in reality..... so when I torture and break a person's spirit..... I tend to give them happiness in the end. Thanks for all your thoughts.
     
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