Friday, March 5, 2010

We decided to study medieval torture devices. The followings are samples of tortures:


At first sight, it looks like a holy water sprinkler, but in reality it's a bit more complex. The torturer poured molten metals, boiling oil, boiling water, pitch or tar in the bottom half of the lead sprinkler and its contents slowly trickled to the other side where they fell on the victim's body. Several executions occurred with this instrument. A common way to execute a victim was by pouring molten silver on his eyes. This caused a great deal of pain and eventually caused death.


Flaying is a very old and traditional torture method that was used hundreds of years ago in areas like the Middle East, Africa and America. During the Medieval times, it was often used to torture and execute criminals, captured enemy soldiers and witches.
In one version of the Flaying Torture, the victim's arms were tied to a pole above his head while his feet were tied below. When his body was completely exposed to the torturer, the torturer slowly peeled off the victim's skin with the help of a small knife. In most cases ,however, the torturer peeled off his victim's facial skin first, then slowly worked his way down to the victim's feet. Many victims died before the torturer even reached the skin at their waist. In another version of the torture, the victim was exposed to the Sun until his skin reddened. This was followed by the torturer peeling off his victim's flesh with the same method described above. In yet another version, the victim was put into boiling water and was taken out after a few minutes. He was slowly flayed.


The breast ripper was a common and cruel way to mutilate or rip off a woman's breasts.
This instrument was mostly used for women accused of conducting a miscarriage or those accused of adultery. The claws were either placed in fire or cooled down before placed on the victim's exposed breasts. If the victim wasn't killed she would be scarred for life as her breasts were literally torn apart. A common variant of the breast ripper is often referred to as "The Spider" which is a similar instrument attached to a wall. The victim's breasts were fixed to the claws and the woman was pulled by the torturer away from the wall; successfully removing them


The knee splitter was a terrible torture, was mostly used during the Inquisition. This device was used to make one's knees completely useless.Although the name says that this instrument was only used for "splitting" knees, it was also used in other body parts including: the elbows, arms and the lower legs.
As the torturer turned the handle, the claws slowly closed against each other, destroying any skin in between. The number of spikes the knee splitter contained varied from three to more than twenty.There were many different versions to this instrument. Some spikes were heated beforehand to increase pain - others had dozens of small claws that penetrated the flesh slowly and painfully.Even though this method rarely caused direct death, it was often followed by more painful methods if the victim refused to cooperate.

The thumbscrew was used during the Middle Ages.
The victim's fingers were placed inside the device and slowly crushed as the torturer turned the handle on top. This method was mostly used to extract confessions as it was extremely painful and and lasts a very long time If the victim still chose to remain silent, the torturer could choose from several other torture methods. The same instrument was also used to crush victim's toes. A bigger version of the device that followed the same principle was used to crush victim's feet, knees and elbows. The Head Crusher was used for crushing the head. A similar device was used for medical purposes in order to straighten the fingers of soldiers who had been injured. The effectiveness of such instrument is debated.


In Medieval Times, foot roasting was a popular way to punish someone who committed a minor crime or make someone confess during an interrogation. The victim's feet were put into in the stocks and then fires were placed right under them. When someone being was interrogated, a screen was put between the fire and his feet, acting as relief. If he refused to answer, his bare feet were exposed to the fire. The torture continued until the victim's feet were burned off. When this occurred, the leg bones fell as the feet were completely burned. This hardly ever resulted in death, but if the victim refused to confess, he could be put into other torture devices. The Knights Templar were tortured with this method.
This device was used as a death punishment during the Middle Ages.


Reserved for only hated criminals, The Wheel always killed its victim, but it took a very long time
The Wheel originated in Greece and quickly spread to Germany, France, Russia, England and Sweden. The Wheel is large and has many spokes all around it. The victim's arms and legs were bound to the spokes as the wheel was turned. Through the openings between the spokes, the torturer often used an iron hammer to break the victim's bones. Once the bones were broken, he was put onto a tall pole and braided into a pretzel-like shape and left to die. Other times he was left on the wheel for birds and such to eat him alive When extreme pain was desired, the victim just had his bones broken and left there to die. It could take up to two or three days for him to die of dehydration.