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Crucifixion is a method of
capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ' ...

capital punishment
in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden beam and left to hang until eventual death from exhaustion and
asphyxiation Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a condition of deficient supply of oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of the chalcogen Group (periodic table), group in the periodi ...
. It was used as a punishment by the
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...

Romans
, among others. Crucifixion has been used in parts of the world as recently as the twentieth century. The
crucifixion Crucifixion is a method of capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned killing of a person as punishment for a crime. The sentence (law), sentence ordering that someone ...
and subsequent resurrection of
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

Jesus
are central to
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
, and the
cross A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two intersecting lines or bars, usually perpendicular to each other. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally. A cross of oblique lines, in the shape of the Latin letter X, is also termed a ...

cross
(sometimes ) is the main religious symbol for many Christian churches.


Terminology

Ancient Greek has two verbs for crucify: (), from (which in today's Greek only means "cross" but which in antiquity was used of any kind of wooden pole, pointed or blunt, bare or with attachments) and () "crucify on a plank", together with ( "impale"). In earlier pre-Roman Greek texts usually means "impale". New Testament Greek uses four verbs, three of them based upon (), usually translated "cross". The most common term is (), "to crucify", occurring 46 times; (), "to crucify with" or "alongside" occurs five times, while (), "to crucify again" occurs only once at the
Epistle to the Hebrews The Epistle to the Hebrews, or Letter to the Hebrews, or in the Greek manuscripts, simply To the Hebrews (Πρὸς Ἑβραίους, ''Pros Hebraious'') is one of the books of the New Testament. The text does not mention the name of its author ...

Epistle to the Hebrews
6:6. (), "to fix or fasten to, impale, crucify" occurs only once at the
Acts of the Apostles The Acts of the Apostles ( grc-koi, Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων, ''Práxeis Apostólōn''; la, Actūs Apostolōrum), often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament The New T ...
2:23. The English term
cross A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two intersecting lines or bars, usually perpendicular to each other. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally. A cross of oblique lines, in the shape of the Latin letter X, is also termed a ...

cross
derives from the Latin word , which classically referred to a tree or any construction of wood used to hang criminals as a form of execution. The term later came to refer specifically to a cross. The English term
crucifix A crucifix (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the R ...

crucifix
derives from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
or , past participle passive of or , meaning "to crucify" or "to fasten to a cross".


Details

Crucifixion was most often performed to dissuade its witnesses from perpetrating similar (usually particularly heinous) crimes. Victims were sometimes left on display after death as a warning to any other potential criminals. Crucifixion was usually intended to provide a death that was particularly slow, painful (hence the term ''excruciating'', literally "out of crucifying"), gruesome, humiliating, and public, using whatever means were most expedient for that goal. Crucifixion methods varied considerably with location and time period. The Greek and Latin words corresponding to "crucifixion" applied to many different forms of painful execution, including being impaled on a stake, or affixed to a tree, upright pole (a
crux simplex The term ''crux simplex'' was invented by Justus Lipsius Justus Lipsius (Joest Lips or Joost Lips; 18 October 1547 – 23 March 1606) was a Flemish Flemish (''Vlaams'') is a Low Franconian dialect cluster of the Dutch language. It is som ...
), or (most famous now) to a combination of an upright (in Latin, ''stipes'') and a crossbeam (in Latin, ''patibulum'').
Seneca the Younger Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (; AD65), usually known as Seneca, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', ...
wrote: "I see crosses there, not just of one kind but made in many different ways: some have their victims with head down to the ground; some impale their private parts; others stretch out their arms on the gibbet". In some cases, the condemned was forced to carry the crossbeam to the place of execution. A whole cross would weigh well over 135 kg (300 lb), but the crossbeam would not be as burdensome, weighing around 45 kg (100 lb). The Roman historian
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
records that the city of Rome had a specific place for carrying out executions, situated outside the
Esquiline GateImage:ArchofGallienus2.jpg, The Arch of Gallienus, the ancient Porta Esquilina The Porta Esquilina (or Esquiline Gate) was a gate in the Servian Wall,Platner, S.B. and Ashby, T. ''A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome''. London: Humphrey Milford ...
, and had a specific area reserved for the execution of
slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
by crucifixion. Upright posts would presumably be fixed permanently in that place, and the crossbeam, with the condemned person perhaps already nailed to it, would then be attached to the post. The person executed may have been attached to the cross by rope, though nails and other sharp materials are mentioned in a passage by the Judean historian
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century and military leader, best known for ', who was born in —then part of —to a father of descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry. He initially fought a ...

Josephus
, where he states that at the
Siege of Jerusalem (70) The siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 CE was the decisive event of the First Jewish–Roman War, in which the Roman Empire, Roman army captured the city of Jerusalem and destroyed both the city and its Second Temple, Temple. The Roman army, l ...
, "the soldiers out of rage and hatred, ''nailed'' those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest". Objects used in the crucifixion of criminals, such as nails, were sought as
amulets An amulet, also known as a good luck charm, is an object believed to confer protection upon its possessor. The word "amulet" comes from the Latin word amuletum, which Pliny's ''Natural History'' describes as "an object that protects a person from ...
with perceived medicinal qualities. While a crucifixion was an execution, it was also a humiliation, by making the condemned as vulnerable as possible. Although artists have traditionally depicted the figure on a cross with a loin cloth or a covering of the genitals, the person being crucified was usually stripped naked. Writings by
Seneca the Younger Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (; AD65), usually known as Seneca, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', ...
state some victims suffered a stick forced upwards through their groin.Seneca, Dialogue "To Marcia on Consolation", in ''Moral Essays'', 6.20.3, trans. John W. Basore, The Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1946) 2:69 Despite its frequent use by the Romans, the horrors of crucifixion did not escape criticism by some eminent Roman orators.
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
, for example, described crucifixion as "a most cruel and disgusting punishment", and suggested that "the very mention of the cross should be far removed not only from a Roman citizen's body, but from his mind, his eyes, his ears". Elsewhere he says, "It is a crime to bind a Roman citizen; to scourge him is a wickedness; to put him to death is almost parricide. What shall I say of crucifying him? So guilty an action cannot by any possibility be adequately expressed by any name bad enough for it." Frequently, the legs of the person executed were broken or shattered with an iron
club Club may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Club (magazine), ''Club'' (magazine) * Club, a ''Yie Ar Kung-Fu'' character * Clubs (suit), a suit of playing cards * Club music * "Club", by Kelsea Ballerini from the album ''kelsea'' Brands an ...
, an act called ''crurifragium'', which was also frequently applied without crucifixion to slaves. This act hastened the death of the person but was also meant to deter those who observed the crucifixion from committing offenses.


Cross shape

The
gibbet A gibbet is any instrument of public execution (including guillotine A guillotine ( , also , ) is an apparatus designed for efficiently carrying out executions Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (p ...
on which crucifixion was carried out could be of many shapes.
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century and military leader, best known for ', who was born in —then part of —to a father of descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry. He initially fought a ...

Josephus
says that the Roman soldiers who crucified the many prisoners taken during the Siege of Jerusalem under
Titus Titus Caesar Vespasianus ( ; 30 December 39 – 13 September 81 AD) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles thro ...

Titus
diverted themselves by nailing them to the crosses in different ways; and
Seneca the Younger Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (; AD65), usually known as Seneca, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', ...
recounts: "I see crosses there, not just of one kind but made in many different ways: some have their victims with head down to the ground; some
impale Impale may refer to: * Impaled (illusion), a magic trick simulating impalement * Impaled (band), American death metal band * Impalement Impalement, as a method of torture Torture (from Latin language, Latin ''tortus'': to twist, to torm ...
their private parts; others stretch out their arms on the gibbet." At times the gibbet was only one vertical stake, called in Latin ''crux simplex''. This was the simplest available construction for torturing and killing the condemned. Frequently, however, there was a cross-piece attached either at the top to give the shape of a T (''crux commissa'') or just below the top, as in the form most familiar in Christian symbolism (''crux immissa''). The most ancient image of a Roman crucifixion depicts an individual on a T-shaped cross. It is a graffito found in a taberna (hostel for wayfarers) in Puteoli, dating to the time of
Trajan Trajan ( ; la, Caesar Nerva Trajanus; 18 September 539/11 August 117) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors use ...

Trajan
or
Hadrian Hadrian (; la, Caesar Traianus Hadrianus ; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born into a Roman Italo-Hispanic family, which settled in Spain from the Italian city of Atri, Abruzzo, Atri in Picenum. Hi ...

Hadrian
(late 1st century to early 2nd century AD). Second-century writers who speak of the execution cross describe the crucified person's arms as outstretched, not attached to a single stake:
Lucian Lucian of Samosata, '; la, Lucianus Samosatensis (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referre ...
speaks of
Prometheus In , Prometheus (; , , possibly meaning "")Smith"Prometheus". is a god of fire. Prometheus is best known for defying the gods by from them and giving it to humanity in the form of technology, knowledge, and more generally, . In some versions ...

Prometheus
as crucified "above the ravine with his hands outstretched". He also says that the shape of the letter T (the Greek letter
tau Tau (uppercase Τ, lowercase τ; el, ταυ ) is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or early eighth century BC. It is derived from the earlier Phoenician ...

tau
) was that of the wooden instrument used for crucifying.
Artemidorus Artemidorus Daldianus ( grc-gre, Ἀρτεμίδωρος ὁ Δαλδιανός) or Ephesius was a professional diviner who lived in the 2nd century AD. He is known from an extant five-volume Greek work, the '' Oneirocritica'' or ''Oneirokritiko ...
, another writer of the same period, says that a cross is made of posts (plural) and nails and that the arms of the crucified are outstretched. Speaking of the generic execution cross, not specifically of that on which Jesus died,
Irenaeus Irenaeus (; grc-gre, Εἰρηναῖος ''Eirēnaios''; c. 130 – c. 202 AD) was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Rep ...
(c. 130–202), a Christian writer, describes it as composed of an upright and a transverse beam, sometimes with a small projection in the upright. The New Testament writings about the crucifixion of Jesus do not specify the shape of that cross, but the early writings that do speak of its shape liken it to the letter T. William Barclay notes that, because the letter T is shaped exactly like the ''
crux commissa The tau cross is a T-shaped cross, sometimes with all three ends of the cross expanded. It is called a “tau cross” because it is shaped like the Greek letter tau Tau (uppercase Τ, lowercase τ; el, ταυ ) is the 19th letter of the Gree ...
'' and because the Greek letter T represented the number 300, "wherever the
fathers A father is the male parent of a child. Besides the paternal bonds of a father to his children, the father may have a parental, legal, and social relationship with the child that carries with it certain rights and obligations. An adoptive father ...
came across the number 300 in the Old Testament they took it to be a mystical prefiguring of the cross of Christ". The earliest example, possibly of the late first century, is the
Epistle of Barnabas The ''Epistle of Barnabas'' ( el, Βαρνάβα Ἐπιστολή) is a Greek epistle An epistle (; el, ἐπιστολή, ''epistolē,'' "letter") is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal ...
.
Clement of Alexandria Titus Flavius Clemens, also known as Clement of Alexandria ( grc, Κλήμης ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς; – ), was a Christian theologian #REDIRECT Christian theology #REDIRECT Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Chr ...
(c. 150 – c. 215) is another early writer who gives the same interpretation of the numeral used for 300.
Justin Martyr Justin Martyr ( el, Ἰουστῖνος ὁ μάρτυς, Ioustinos ho martys; c. 100 – c. 165) was an early Christian apologetics, Christian apologist and philosopher. Most of his works are lost, but two apologies and a dialogue did survive ...

Justin Martyr
(c. 100–165) sees the cross of Christ represented in the crossed spits used in roasting the Passover Lamb: "That lamb which was commanded to be wholly roasted was a symbol of the suffering of the cross which Christ would undergo. For the lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of the cross. For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb."


Nail placement

In popular depictions of the crucifixion of Jesus (possibly because in translations of the wounds are described as being "in his hands"), Jesus is shown with nails in his hands. But in Greek the word "χείρ", usually translated as "hand", could refer to the entire portion of the arm below the elbow, and to denote the ''hand'' as distinct from the ''arm'' some other word could be added, as "ἄκρην οὔτασε χεῖρα" (he wounded the end of the χείρ, i.e., "he wounded her in the hand". A possibility that does not require tying is that the nails were inserted just above the wrist, through the soft tissue, between the two bones of the forearm (the
radius In classical geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative ...
and the
ulna The ulna (''pl''. ulnae or ulnas) is a long bone The long bones are those that are longer than they are wide. They are one of five types of bone A bone is a rigid tissue Tissue may refer to: Biology * Tissue (biology), an ensemble of si ...

ulna
). A foot-rest (''suppedaneum'') attached to the cross, perhaps for the purpose of taking the person's weight off the wrists, is sometimes included in representations of the crucifixion of Jesus but is not discussed in ancient sources. Some scholars interpret the
Alexamenos graffito The Alexamenos graffito (also known as the ''graffito blasfemo'', or blasphemous graffito) is a piece of Roman graffito scratched in plaster on the wall of a room near the Palatine Hill The Palatine Hill, (; la, Collis Palatium or Mons ...
, the earliest surviving depiction of the Crucifixion, as including such a foot-rest. Ancient sources also mention the ''sedile'', a small seat attached to the front of the cross, about halfway down, which could have served a similar purpose. In 1968, archaeologists discovered at Giv'at ha-Mivtar in northeast
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
the remains of one Jehohanan, who had been crucified in the 1st century. The remains included a heel bone with a nail driven through it from the side. The tip of the nail was bent, perhaps because of striking a knot in the upright beam, which prevented it being extracted from the foot. A first inaccurate account of the length of the nail led some to believe that it had been driven through both heels, suggesting that the man had been placed in a sort of sidesaddle position, but the true length of the nail, 11.5 cm (4.53 inches), suggests instead that in this case of crucifixion the heels were nailed to opposite sides of the upright. The skeleton from Giv'at ha-Mivtar is currently the only confirmed example of ancient crucifixion in the archaeological record. A second set of skeletal remains with holes transverse through the
calcaneum In humans and many other primates, the calcaneus (; from the Latin ''calcaneus'' or ''calcaneum'', meaning heel) or heel bone is a bone A bone is a Stiffness, rigid tissue (anatomy), tissue that constitutes part of the skeleton in most vertebra ...
heel bones was found in 2007. This could be a second archaeological record of crucifixion. The find in
Cambridgeshire Cambridgeshire (abbreviated Cambs.) is a county A county is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geograp ...

Cambridgeshire
(
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
) in November 2017 of the remains of the heel bone of a man, probably a slave, with an iron nail through it, is believed by the archeologists to confirm the use of this method in ancient Rome.


Cause of death

The length of time required to reach death could range from hours to days depending on method, the victim's health, and the environment. A literature review by Maslen and Mitchell identified scholarly support for several possible causes of death: cardiac rupture, heart failure,
hypovolemic shock Hypovolemic shock is a form of shock caused by severe hypovolemia Hypovolemia, also known as volume depletion or volume contraction, is a state of abnormally low extracellular fluid in the body. This may be due to either a loss of both salt a ...
,
acidosis Acidosis is a process causing increased acidity in the blood and other body tissues (i.e., an increase in hydrogen ion concentration). If not further qualified, it usually refers to acidity of the blood plasma. The term ''acidemia'' describes th ...

acidosis
,
asphyxia Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a condition of deficient supply of oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an ...
,
arrhythmia Arrhythmia, also known as cardiac arrhythmia or heart arrhythmia, is a group of conditions in which the heartbeat Heartbeat or heartbeats may refer to: Physiology *Cardiac cycle, of the heart *Contraction of the cardiac muscle, muscles of the ...
, and
pulmonary embolism Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blockage of an pulmonary artery, artery in the lungs by a substance that has moved from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream (embolism). Symptoms of a PE may include dyspnea, shortness of breath, chest pain p ...

pulmonary embolism
. Death could result from any combination of those factors or from other causes, including
sepsis Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body's response to infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body by , their multiplication, and the reaction of tissues to the infectious agents and the s they pr ...
following infection due to the wounds caused by the nails or by the
scourging A scourge is a whip or lash, especially a multi-thong type, used to inflict severe corporal punishment Corporal punishment or physical punishment is a punishment , England Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or suffe ...
that often preceded crucifixion, eventual
dehydration In physiology, dehydration is a lack of total body water In physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific study of functions and mechanisms in a living system. As a sub-discipline of biology Biology is the natural science that studie ...

dehydration
, or animal predation. A theory attributed to Pierre Barbet holds that, when the whole body weight was supported by the stretched arms, the typical cause of death was
asphyxiation Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a condition of deficient supply of oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of the chalcogen Group (periodic table), group in the periodi ...
. He wrote that the condemned would have severe difficulty inhaling, due to hyper-expansion of the chest muscles and lungs. The condemned would therefore have to draw himself up by the arms, leading to
exhaustion Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness. It may be sudden or gradual in onset. It is a normal phenomenon if it follows prolonged physical or mental activity, and resolves completely with rest. However, it may be a symptom of a medical condition if it ...
, or have his feet supported by tying or by a wood block. When no longer able to lift himself, the condemned would die within a few minutes. Some scholars, including
Frederick Zugibe Frederick Thomas Zugibe (; May 28, 1928 – September 6, 2013) was the chief medical examiner of Rockland County, New York from 1969 to 2002. Zugibe was one of the United States' most prominent forensics experts, known for his research and books on ...
, posit other causes of death. Zugibe suspended test subjects with their arms at 60° to 70° from the vertical. The test subjects had no difficulty breathing during experiments, but did suffer rapidly increasing pain, which is consistent with the Roman use of crucifixion to achieve a prolonged, agonizing death. However, Zugibe's positioning of the test subjects' feet is not supported by any archaeological or historical evidence.


Survival

Since death does not follow immediately on crucifixion, survival after a short period of crucifixion is possible, as in the case of those who choose each year as a devotional practice to be non-lethally crucified. There is an ancient record of one person who survived a crucifixion that was intended to be lethal, but that was interrupted.
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century and military leader, best known for ', who was born in —then part of —to a father of descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry. He initially fought a ...

Josephus
recounts: "I saw many captives crucified, and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to
Titus Titus Caesar Vespasianus ( ; 30 December 39 – 13 September 81 AD) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles thro ...

Titus
, and told him of them; so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician's hands, while the third recovered." Josephus gives no details of the method or duration of the crucifixion of his three friends before their reprieve.


Archaeological evidence

Although the ancient historians Josephus and Appian refer to the crucifixion of thousands of Jews by the Romans, there is only a single archaeological discovery of a crucified body of a Jew dating back to the Roman Empire around the time of Jesus. This was discovered at
Givat HaMivtar Givat HaMivtar () is an Israeli settlement and a neighborhood in East Jerusalem established in 1970 between Ramat Eshkol and French Hill. It is located on a hill where an important battle took place in the Six Day War. Archaeological excavations ha ...
, Jerusalem in 1968. The remains were found accidentally in an
ossuary An ossuary is a chest, box, building, well, or site made to serve as the final resting place of human skeletal The skeleton refers to the frames of support of animal bodies. There are several different skeletal types: the exoskeleton An ex ...
with the crucified man's name on it, ' Jehohanan, the son of Hagakol'. Nicu Haas, an anthropologist at the Hebrew University Medical School in Jerusalem, examined the ossuary and discovered that it contained a heel bone with a nail driven through its side, indicating that the man had been crucified. The position of the nail relative to the bone indicates that the feet had been nailed to the cross from their side, not from their front; various opinions have been proposed as to whether they were both nailed together to the front of the cross or one on the left side, one on the right side. The point of the nail had olive wood fragments on it indicating that he was crucified on a cross made of olive wood or on an olive tree. Additionally, a piece of acacia wood was located between the bones and the head of the nail, presumably to keep the condemned from freeing his foot by sliding it over the nail. His legs were found broken, possibly to hasten his death. It is thought that because in Roman times iron was rare, the nails were removed from the dead body to conserve costs. According to Haas, this could help to explain why only one nail has been found, as the tip of the nail in question was bent in such a way that it could not be removed. Haas had also identified a scratch on the inner surface of the right radius bone of the forearm, close to the wrist. He deduced from the form of the scratch, as well as from the intact wrist bones, that a nail had been driven into the forearm at that position. However, many of Haas' findings have been challenged. For instance, it was subsequently determined that the scratches in the wrist area were non-traumatic – and, therefore, not evidence of crucifixion – while reexamination of the heel bone revealed that the two heels were not nailed together, but rather separately to either side of the upright post of the cross. In 2007, a possible case of crucified body, with a round hole in a heel bone, possibly caused by a crucifixion nail, was discovered in the Po Valley near Rovigo, in northern Italy. In 2017 a first case of crucified body, with a nail in the heel, was discovered in the United Kingdom. Further studies suggested that the remains may be those of a slave, because at that time crucifixion was banned for citizens but not for slaves. Many studies of ancient crucifixion rely on the evidence from the examination of purported relics associated with Jesus, such as
Shroud of Turin The Shroud of Turin ( it, Sindone di Torino), also known as the Holy Shroud ( it, Sacra Sindone, links=no or ), is a length of linen Linen () is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. Linen is very strong, absorbent, and dr ...
and
Sudarium of Oviedo The Sudarium of Oviedo, or Shroud of Oviedo, is a bloodstained piece of cloth measuring c. 84 x 53 cm (33 x 21 inches) kept in the Cámara Santa of the Cathedral of San Salvador (Oviedo), Cathedral of San Salvador, Oviedo, Spain.http://www. ...

Sudarium of Oviedo
, authenticity of which is debated.


History and religious texts


Pre-Roman states

Crucifixion (or impalement), in one form or another, was used by
Persians The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestr ...
,
Carthaginians The Punics, Carthaginians or Western Phoenicians, were a group of peoples in the Western Mediterranean who traced their origins to the Phoenicians. In modern scholarship, the term 'Punic' – the Latin equivalent of the Greek-derived term 'Phoen ...
, and among the Greeks, the
Macedonians Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethnic group primarily associated w ...
. The Greeks were generally opposed to performing crucifixions. However, in his ''Histories'', ix.120–122, the Greek writer
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
describes the execution of a Persian general at the hands of Athenians in about 479 BC: "They nailed him to a plank and hung him up ... this
Artayctes Artaÿctes is a historical figure described in Herodotus' ''Histories (Herodotus), The Histories''. Artayctes, the son of Cherasmis, was a Persian people, Persian general who commanded the Macrones and Mossynoeci forces in the army of Xerxes I of P ...
who suffered death by crucifixion." The ''Commentary on Herodotus'' by How and Wells remarks: "They crucified him with hands and feet stretched out and nailed to cross-pieces; cf. vii.33. This barbarity, unusual on the part of Greeks, may be explained by the enormity of the outrage or by Athenian deference to local feeling." Some Christian
theologian Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed ...
s, beginning with
Paul Paul may refer to: *Paul (name), a given name (includes a list of people with that name) *Paul (surname), a list of people People Christianity *Paul the Apostle (AD 5–67), also known as Saul of Tarsus or Saint Paul, early Christian missionar ...
of Tarsus writing in Galatians 3:13, have interpreted an allusion to crucifixion in
Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish , where it is called ''Devarim'' ( he, דְּבָרִים), "the words f Moses F, or f, is the sixth Letter (alphabet), let ...
. This reference is to being hanged from a tree, and may be associated with
lynching Lynching is an extrajudicial killing An extrajudicial killing (also known as extrajudicial execution or extralegal killing) is the homicide, killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any Judiciary, judicial proc ...

lynching
or traditional hanging. However, Rabbinic law limited capital punishment to just 4 methods of execution: stoning, burning, strangulation, and decapitation, while the passage in Deuteronomy was interpreted as an obligation to hang the corpse on a tree as a form of deterrence. The fragmentary Aramaic Testament of Levi (DSS 4Q541) interprets in column 6: "God ... (partially legible)-''will set'' ... right errors. ... (partially legible)-''He will judge'' ... revealed sins. Investigate and seek and know how Jonah wept. Thus, you shall not destroy the weak by wasting away or by ... (partially legible)-''crucifixion'' ... Let not the nail touch him." The Jewish king
Alexander Jannaeus Alexander Jannaeus (also known as Alexander Jannai/Yannai; he, יהונתן "ינאי" אלכסנדרוס, born Jonathan Alexander) was the second king of the Hasmonean dynasty, who ruled over an expanding kingdom of Judea from 103 BC, 103 to 76 ...

Alexander Jannaeus
, king of Judea from 103 BC to 76 BC, crucified 800 rebels, said to be
Pharisees The Pharisees (; Hebrew: ''Pərūšīm'') were a social movement and a school of thought in the Levant during the time of Second Temple Judaism. After the Siege of Jerusalem (AD 70), destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Pharisaic belie ...
, in the middle of Jerusalem.
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
is reputed to have crucified 2,000 survivors from his
siege A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from la, sedere, lit=to sit. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characteri ...
of the
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
n city of
Tyre Tyre may refer to: * Tire, the outer part of a wheel Places * Tyre, Lebanon, a city ** See of Tyre, a Christian diocese seated in Tyre, Lebanon ** Tyre Hippodrome, a UNESCO World Heritage site * Tyre District, Lebanon * Tyre, New York, a town in t ...
, as well as the doctor who unsuccessfully treated Alexander's lifelong lover
Hephaestion Hephaestion ( grc, Ἡφαιστίων ''Hephaistíon''; c. 356 BC  –  October 324 BC), son of Amyntor, was an ancient Macedonian nobleman and a general in the army of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, ...
. Some historians have also conjectured that Alexander crucified
Callisthenes Callisthenes of Olynthus (; grc-gre, Καλλισθένης; c. 360 – 327 BC) was a well-connected Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, ...
, his official historian and biographer, for objecting to Alexander's adoption of the Persian ceremony of royal adoration. In
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the . The city developed from a n colony ...

Carthage
, crucifixion was an established mode of execution, which could even be imposed on generals for suffering a major defeat. The oldest crucifixion may be a post-mortem one mentioned by
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
.
Polycrates Polycrates (; grc, Πολυκράτης, in English usually Polycrates but sometimes Polykrates), son of Aeaces (father of Polycrates), Aeaces, was the tyrant of Samos from the 540s BC to 522 BC. He had a reputation as both a fierce warrior and an ...
, the tyrant of
Samos Samos (, also ; el, Σάμος ) is a Greece, Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of western Turkey, from which it is separated by the -wide Mycale Strait. It is also a sep ...

Samos
, was put to death in 522 BC by Persians, and his dead body was then crucified.


Ancient Rome


History

There was a once-popular hypothesis that the
Ancient Roman In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom (753 BC ...
custom of crucifixion may have developed out of a primitive custom of ''arbori suspendere''—hanging on an '' arbor infelix'' ("inauspicious tree") dedicated to the gods of the nether world. This hypothesis is rejected by William A. Oldfather, who shows that this form of execution (the ''supplicium more maiorum'', punishment in accordance with the custom of our ancestors) consisted of suspending someone from a tree, not dedicated to any particular gods, and flogging him to death.
Tertullian Tertullian (; la, Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus; 155 AD – 220 AD) was a prolific early Christian The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religio ...

Tertullian
mentions a 1st-century AD case in which trees were used for crucifixion, but
Seneca the Younger Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (; AD65), usually known as Seneca, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', ...
earlier used the phrase ''infelix lignum'' (unfortunate wood) for the transom ("patibulum") or the whole cross.
Plautus Titus Maccius Plautus (; c. 254 – 184 BC), commonly known as Plautus, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome ...

Plautus
and
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
are the two main sources for accounts of criminals carrying their own patibula to the upright ''stipes''. Notorious mass crucifixions followed the
Third Servile War The Third Servile War, also called the Gladiator War and the War of Spartacus by Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the mod ...
in 73–71 BC (the slave rebellion under
Spartacus Spartacus ( el, Σπάρτακος '; la, Spartacus; c. 111–71 BC) was a Thracian The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Eastern and So ...
), other
Roman civil wars This is a list of civil wars and organized civil disorder in ancient Rome (753 BC – AD 476). 3rd century BC * 241 BC: Falisci revolt – revolt suppressed 2nd century BC * 135–132 BC: First Servile War in Sicily (Roman province), Sicily - r ...
in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC.
Crassus Marcus Licinius Crassus (; 115 – 53 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of co ...
ordered the crucifixion of 6,000 of Spartacus' followers who had been hunted down and captured after his defeat in battle. Josephus says that in the siege that led to the
destruction of Jerusalem The siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 CE was the decisive event of the First Jewish–Roman War The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called the Great Jewish Revolt ( he, המרד הגדול '), or The Jewish War, was the ...
in AD 70, the Roman soldiers crucified Jewish captives before the walls of Jerusalem and out of anger and hatred amused themselves by nailing them in different positions.
Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ...

Constantine the Great
, the first Christian
emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to ''commander'' under the Roma ...

emperor
, abolished crucifixion in the Roman Empire in 337 out of veneration for
Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...

Jesus Christ
, its most famous victim.


Society and law

Crucifixion was intended to be a gruesome spectacle: the most painful and humiliating death imaginable. It was used to punish
slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
,
pirates Piracy is an act of robbery Robbery is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted ...

pirates
, and enemies of the state. It was originally reserved for
slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
(hence still called "supplicium servile" by
Seneca Seneca may refer to: People and language *Seneca (name), a list of people with either the given name or surname *Seneca the Elder, a Roman rhetorician, writer and father of the stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger *Seneca the Younger, a Roman Stoi ...
), and later extended to citizens of the lower classes ('' humiliores''). The victims of crucifixion were stripped naked and put on public display while they were slowly tortured to death so that they would serve as a Deterrence (legal), spectacle and an example. According to Roman law, if a slave killed his or her master, all of the master's slaves would be crucified as punishment. Both men and women were crucified.
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
writes in his ''Annals (Tacitus), Annals'' that when Lucius Pedanius Secundus was murdered by a slave, some in the Senate tried to prevent the mass crucifixion of four hundred of his slaves because there were so many women and children, but in the end tradition prevailed and they were all executed. Although not conclusive evidence for female crucifixion by itself, the most ancient image of a Roman crucifixion may depict a crucified woman, whether real or imaginary. Crucifixion was such a gruesome and humiliating way to die that the subject was somewhat of a taboo in Roman culture, and few crucifixions were specifically documented. One of the only specific female crucifixions we have documented is that of Ida, a freedwoman (former slave) who was crucified by order of Tiberius.


Process

Crucifixion was typically carried out by specialized teams, consisting of a commanding centurion and his soldiers. First, the condemned would be stripped naked and flagellation, scourged. This would cause the person to lose a large amount of blood, and approach a state of shock (circulatory), shock. The convict then usually had to carry the horizontal beam (''patibulum'' in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
) to the place of execution, but not necessarily the whole cross. During the death march, the prisoner, probably still nude after the scourging, would be led through the most crowded streets bearing a ''titulus'' – a sign board proclaiming the prisoner's name and crime. Upon arrival at the place of execution, selected to be especially public, the convict would be stripped of any remaining clothing, then nailed to the cross naked. If the crucifixion took place in an established place of execution, the vertical beam (''stipes'') might be permanently embedded in the ground. In this case, the condemned person's wrists would first be nailed to the ''patibulum'', and then he or she would be hoisted off the ground with ropes to hang from the elevated ''patibulum'' while it was fastened to the ''stipes''. Next the feet or ankles would be nailed to the upright stake. The 'nails' were tapered iron spikes approximately long, with a square shaft across. The ''titulus'' would also be fastened to the cross to notify onlookers of the person's name and crime as they hung on the cross, further maximizing the public impact. There may have been considerable variation in the position in which prisoners were nailed to their crosses and how their bodies were supported while they died.
Seneca the Younger Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (; AD65), usually known as Seneca, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', ...
recounts: "I see crosses there, not just of one kind but made in many different ways: some have their victims with head down to the ground; some
impale Impale may refer to: * Impaled (illusion), a magic trick simulating impalement * Impaled (band), American death metal band * Impalement Impalement, as a method of torture Torture (from Latin language, Latin ''tortus'': to twist, to torm ...
their private parts; others stretch out their arms on the gibbet." One source claims that for Jews (apparently not for others), a man would be crucified with his back to the cross as is traditionally depicted, while a woman would be nailed facing her cross, probably with her back to onlookers, or at least with the ''stipes'' providing some semblance of modesty if viewed from the front. Such concessions were "unique" and not made outside a Jewish context. Several sources mention some sort of seat fastened to the ''stipes'' to help support the person's body,Justin Martyr ''Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew'' 91 thereby prolonging the person's suffering and humiliation by preventing the
asphyxia Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a condition of deficient supply of oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an ...
tion caused by hanging without support. Justin Martyr calls the seat a ''cornu'', or "horn," leading some scholars to believe it may have had a pointed shape designed to torment the crucified person. This would be consistent with Seneca's observation of victims with their private parts impaled. In Roman-style crucifixion, the condemned could take up to a few days to die, but death was sometimes hastened by human action. "The attending Roman guards could leave the site only after the victim had died, and were known to precipitate death by means of deliberate fracturing of the tibia and/or fibula, spear stab wounds into the heart, sharp blows to the front of the chest, or a smoking fire built at the foot of the cross to asphyxiate the victim." The Romans sometimes broke the prisoner's legs to hasten death and usually forbade burial. On the other hand, the person was often deliberately kept alive as long as possible to prolong their suffering and humiliation, so as to provide the maximum deterrent effect. Corpses of the crucified were typically left on the crosses to decompose and be eaten by animals.


In Islam

Islam spread in a region where many societies, including the Persian and Roman empires, had used crucifixion to punish traitors, rebels, robbers and criminal slaves. The Qur'an refers to crucifixion in six passages, of which the most significant for later legal developments is verse 5:33: The corpus of hadith provides contradictory statements about the first use of crucifixion under Islamic rule, attributing it variously to Muhammad himself (for murder and robbery of a shepherd) or to the second caliph Umar (applied to two slaves who murdered their mistress). Classical Islamic jurisprudence applies the verse 5:33 chiefly to highway robbers, as a ''hadd'' (scripturally prescribed) punishment. The preference for crucifixion over the other punishments mentioned in the verse or for their combination (which Sadakat Kadri has called "Islam's equivalent of the hanging, drawing and quartering that medieval Europeans inflicted on traitors") is subject to "complex and contested rules" in classical jurisprudence. Most scholars required crucifixion for highway robbery combined with murder, while others allowed execution by other methods for this scenario. The main methods of crucifixion are: * Exposure of the culprit's body after execution by another method, ascribed to "most scholars" and in particular to Ibn Hanbal and Al-Shafi'i; or Hanbalis and Shafi'is. * Crucifying the culprit alive, then executing him with a lance thrust or another method, ascribed to Malikis, most Hanafis and most Twelver, Twelver Shi'is; the majority of the Malikis; Malik ibn Anas, Malik, Abu Hanifa, and Abd al-Rahman al-Awzai, al-Awza'i; or Malikis, Hanafis, and Shafi'is. * Crucifying the culprit alive and sparing his life if he survives for three days, ascribed to Shiites. Most classical jurists limit the period of crucifixion to three days. Crucifixion involves affixing or impaling the body to a beam or a tree trunk. Various minority opinions also prescribed crucifixion as punishment for a number of other crimes. Cases of crucifixion under most of the legally prescribed categories have been recorded in the history of Islam, and prolonged exposure of crucified bodies was especially common for political and religious opponents.


Japan

Crucifixion was introduced into Japan during the Sengoku period (1467–1573), after a 350-year period with no capital punishment. It is believed to have been suggested to the Japanese by the introduction of
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
into the region, although similar types of punishment had been used as early as the Kamakura period. Known in Japanese as , crucifixion was used in Japan before and during the Tokugawa Shogunate. Several related crucifixion techniques were used. Petra Schmidt, in "Capital Punishment in Japan", writes: In 1597 26 Martyrs of Japan, twenty-six Christian Martyrs were nailed to crosses at Nagasaki, Japan. Among those executed were Saints Paulo Miki, Philip of Jesus and Pedro Bautista, a Spanish Franciscan who had worked about ten years in the Philippines. The executions marked the beginning of a long history of Japanese Martyrs, persecution of Christianity in Japan, which continued until its decriminalization in 1871. Crucifixion was used as a punishment for prisoners of war during World War II. Ringer Edwards, an Australian prisoner of war, was crucified for killing cattle, along with two others. He survived 63 hours before being let down.


Burma

In Burma, crucifixion was a central element in several execution rituals. Felix Carey, a missionary in Burma from 1806 to 1812, wrote the following:


Europe

During World War I, there were persistent rumors that German soldiers the Crucified Soldier, had crucified a Canadian soldier on a tree or barn door with bayonets or combat knives. The event was initially reported in 1915 by Private George Barrie of the 1st Canadian Division. Two investigations, one a post-war official investigation, and the other an independent investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, concluded that there was no evidence to support the story. However, British documentary maker Iain Overton in 2001 published an article claiming that the story was true, identifying the soldier as Harry Band. Overton's article was the basis for a 2002 episode of the Channel 4 documentary show ''Secret History (television documentary series), Secret History''. It has been reported that crucifixion was used in several cases against the Germany, German civil population of East Prussia when it was occupied by USSR, Soviet forces at the end of the World War II, Second World War.


Modern use


Legal execution in Islamic states

Crucifixion is still used as a rare method of execution in some countries. The punishment of crucifixion (''șalb'') imposed in Islamic law is variously interpreted as exposure of the body after execution, crucifixion followed by stabbing in the chest, or crucifixion for three days, survivors of which are allowed to live. Several people have been subjected to crucifixion in Saudi Arabia in the 2000s, although on occasion they were first beheaded and then crucified. In March 2013, a robber was set to be executed by being crucified for three days. However, the method was changed to death by firing squad. The Saudi Press Agency reported that the body of another individual was crucified after his execution in April 2019 as part of a crackdown on charges of terrorism. Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 when he was 17 years old for taking part in an 2011–12 Saudi Arabian protests, anti-government protests in Saudi Arabia during the Arab Spring. In May 2014, Ali al-Nimr was sentenced to be publicly beheaded and crucified. Theoretically, crucifixion is still one of the Hadd punishments in Iran. If a crucified person were to survive three days of crucifixion, that person would be allowed to live. Execution by hanging is described as follows: "In execution by hanging, the prisoner will be hung on a hanging truss which should look like a cross, while his (her) back is toward the cross, and (s)he faces the direction of Mecca [in Saudi Arabia], and his (her) legs are vertical and distant from the ground." Sudan's penal code, based upon the government's interpretation of shari'a, includes execution followed by crucifixion as a penalty. When, in 2002, 88 people were sentenced to death for crimes relating to murder, armed robbery, and participating in ethnic clashes, Amnesty International wrote that they could be executed by either hanging or crucifixion. In 1997, the Ministry of Justice (United Arab Emirates), Ministry of Justice in the United Arab Emirates issued a statement that a court had sentenced two murderers to be crucified, to be followed by their executions the next day. A Ministry of Justice official later stated that the crucifixion sentence should be considered cancelled. The crucifixions were not carried out, and the convicts were instead executed by firing squad.


Jihadism

On 5 February 2015 the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) reported that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had committed "several cases of mass executions of boys, as well as reports of beheadings, crucifixions of children and burying children alive". On 30 April 2014 a total of seven public executions where carried out in Raqqa, northern Syria. The pictures, originally posted to Twitter by a student at Oxford University, were retweeted by a Twitter account owned by a known member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) causing major media outlets to incorrectly attribute the origin of the post to the militant group. In most of these cases of crucifixion the victims are shot first then their bodies are displayed but there have also been reports of crucifixion preceding shootings or decapitations as well as a case where a man was said to have been "crucified alive for eight hours" with no indication of whether he died.


Other incidents

The human rights group Karen Women Organization documented a case of Tatmadaw forces crucifying several Karen people, Karen villagers in 2000 in the Dooplaya District in Burma's Kayin State. On 22 January 2014, Dmytro Bulatov, an anti-government activist and member of AutoMaidan, claimed to have been kidnapped by unknown persons "speaking in Russian accents" and tortured for a week. His captors kept him in the dark, beat him, cut off a piece of his ear, and nailed him to a cross. His captors ultimately left him in a forest outside Kyiv after forcing him to confess to being an United States, American spy and accepting money from the US Embassy in Ukraine to organize 2014 Ukrainian revolution, protests against then-President Viktor Yanukovych. Bulatov said he believed Russian secret services were responsible.


In culture and arts

File:Construction Crucifixion Homage to Mondrian crop.jpg, Sculpture construction: ''Crucifixion, homage to Mondrian'', by Barbara Hepworth, United Kingdom (2007) File:Sergey Solomko 025.JPG, ''Allegory of Poland'' (1914–1918), postcard by Sergey Solomko File:CarFloatLagosDoctores201103.jpg, Car-float at the feast of the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos, Colonia Doctores, Mexico City (2011) File:18960415 antisemitic political cartoon in Sound Money.jpg, Antisemitic American political cartoon, ''Sound Money'' magazine, April 15, 1896 issue File:Protester tied to a cross in Washington D.C - NARA - 194675.tif, Protester tied to a cross in Washington D.C. (1970) File:Jan van Eyck - Diptych - WGA07587 crop of the crucified Jesus.jpg, Crucifixion (van Eyck), Crucifixion, by Jan van Eyck, Jan Van Eyck (c. 1430-1440) File:Diego Velázquez 007.jpg, Christ Crucified (Velázquez), Christ crucified, by Diego Velázquez (1632)


As a devotional practice

The Catholic Church frowns upon self-crucifixion as a form of devotion: "Penitential practices leading to self-crucifixion with nails are not to be encouraged." Despite this, the practice persists in the Philippines, where some Catholics are Crucifixion in the Philippines, voluntarily, non-lethally crucified for a limited time on Good Friday to imitate the sufferings of Christ. Pre-sterilised nails are driven through the palm of the hand between the bones, while there is a footrest to which the feet are nailed. Rolando del Campo, a carpenter in Pampanga, vowed to be crucified every Good Friday for 15 years if God would carry his wife through a difficult childbirth, while in San Pedro Cutud, Ruben Enaje has been crucified 32 times. The Catholic Church in the Philippines, Church in the Philippines has repeatedly voiced disapproval of crucifixions and self-flagellation, while the government has noted that it cannot deter devotees. The Department of Health (Philippines), Department of Health insists that participants in the rites should have tetanus shots and that the nails used should be sterilized. In other cases, a crucifixion is only simulated within a passion play, as in the ceremonial re-enactment that has been performed yearly in the town of Passion Play of Iztapalapa, Iztapalapa, on the outskirts of Mexico City, since 1833, and in the more famous Oberammergau Passion Play. Also, since at least the mid-19th century, a group of flagellants in New Mexico, called ''Hermanos de Luz'' ("Brothers of Light"), have annually conducted reenactments of Christ's crucifixion during Holy Week, in which a penitent is tied—but not nailed—to a cross. In a reported case from July 1805 a man named Mattio Lovat attempted to Self-crucifixion of Mattio Lovat, crucify himself at a public street in Venice, Italy. The attempt was unsuccessful, and he was sent to an asylum, where he died a year later.


Notable crucifixions

*The rebel slaves of the
Third Servile War The Third Servile War, also called the Gladiator War and the War of Spartacus by Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the mod ...
: Between 73 BC and 71 BC a band of slaves, eventually numbering about 120,000, under the (at least partial) leadership of
Spartacus Spartacus ( el, Σπάρτακος '; la, Spartacus; c. 111–71 BC) was a Thracian The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Eastern and So ...
were in open revolt against the Roman republic. The rebellion was eventually crushed and, while Spartacus himself most likely died in the final battle of the revolt, approximately 6,000 of his followers were crucified along the 200 km Appian Way between Capua and Rome as a warning to any other would-be rebels. * Jehohanan: Jewish man who was crucified around the same time as Jesus of Nazareth and it is widely accepted that his ankles were nailed to the side of the ''stipes'' of the cross *Jesus of Nazareth: his crucifixion of Jesus, death by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate (c. AD 30 or 33), recounted in the four 1st-century canonical Gospels, is referred to repeatedly as something well known in the earlier letters of Paul of Tarsus, Saint Paul, for instance, five times in his First Letter to the Corinthians, written in 57 AD (1:13, 1:18, 1:23, 2:2, 2:8). Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea (Roman province), Judaea province at the time, and he is explicitly linked with the condemnation of Jesus not only by the Gospels but also by
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
, (see Responsibility for the death of Jesus for details). The civil charge was a claim to be Jesus, King of the Jews, King of the Jews. *Saint Peter: Christian apostle, who according to tradition was crucified upside-down at his own request (hence the Cross of St. Peter), because he did not feel worthy enough to die the same way as Jesus. *Saint Andrew: Christian apostle and Saint Peter's brother, who is traditionally said to have been crucified on an X-shaped cross (hence the Saltire, St. Andrew's Cross). *Simeon of Jerusalem: second Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem#Bishops of Jerusalem, Bishop of Jerusalem, crucified in either 106 or 107 AD. *Mani (prophet), Mani: the founder of Manicheanism, he was depicted by followers as having died by crucifixion in 274 AD. *Eulalia of Barcelona was venerated as a saint. According to her hagiography, she was stripped naked, tortured, and ultimately crucified on an X-shaped cross. *Wilgefortis was venerated as a saint and represented as a crucified woman, however her legend comes from a misinterpretation of a full-clothed crucifix known as the Volto Santo of Lucca. *The 26 Martyrs of Japan were executed that way and they were also speared to death.


See also

*Breaking wheel *Crucifixion darkness *Crucifixion of Jesus *List of methods of capital punishment *Torture *Tropaion


Notes


References


External links


"Forensic and Clinical Knowledge of the Practice of Crucifixion" by Frederick Zugibe
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"Dishonour, Degradation and Display: Crucifixion in the Roman World" by Philip HughesJewish Encyclopedia: Crucifixion
{{Authority control Crucifixion, Capital punishment Execution methods Torture Human positions Public executions Crosses by function