The 13 unlucky ways you could be put to death for your crimes in the Dark Ages. These include medieval ways of public and private execution, and certainly some of the most painful and brutal methods in history.
1. Head on the block
Decapitation by axe or sword was reserved for highly important individuals or ones with great wealth, eg. a king or member of government. The cutting off of one’s head had been around for hundreds of years but it had previously been done by sword and without the wooden block which appears to be the norm in most people’s imagination.
This kind of execution was quick when performed correctly and relatively painless. In many cases the victim would be tied or chained down. It is a common misconception that block executors wore black hoods.
Nearly anyone could be hanged anywhere in Medieval Europe, seen as it was probably the most common death penalty and very easy to carry out. It could be done to anyone, and was another quick and easy death.
Impalement was extremely slow and painful. It involved the condemned to be lowered or dropped onto a pointed metal or wooden spike repeatedly until they died. It was recognised as one of the most shocking and horrendous execution methods of the Middle Ages.
4. BoilingThe victim would be tied with his hands and feet behind him and thrown into a cauldron or bath full of burning water, oil or pitch. They’d be roasted to death over a relatively long period of time. Although it was naturally uncommon, it proved to be one of the most painful ways to die in Medieval Times.
5. Hung, Drawn and Quartered
In this horrifying act of torture, the victim is tied behind a horse or chariot and dragged to the place of execution. There he is hung, disembowelled and hacked before being chopped into four pieces by the blade of an axe.
6. The WheelA wooden wheel with many spokes is fastened into the platform or ground. The condemned is tied on his back to it and spun around beneath the executioner. With a mace, a stick or hammer, he will smash the victims bones and organs until he dies.
7. Head crushingDeath by crushing of vital organs or the head is unbelievably painful. The victim is locked into a cranking machine where a screw is turned to tighten the metal vice. As the width between the bottom piece and top piece decreases, the victim’s teeth are shattered into his skull and his brain physically compressed, causing immense pain and eventually unconsciousness.
8. FlayingA truly strange punishment is this. Tied down to a surgical table or platform, the condemned is slowly and carefully deprived of his skin by lacerating different points so it can be drawn off. Therefore, the result is a body purely made of bare, showing muscle and bone. Although it was very rare, it was certainly feared as a method of execution. The condemned would come to his death by either extreme pain, destruction of vital organs, critical blood loss or infection.
9. Buried alive
Now this is extremely uncommon, but there are some cases of murderers and rapists being suffocated in earth as a form of execution. The death is fairly quick, but riddled with panic, shock and inability to breath.