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IN FRATERNAM MEAM
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
CAPITAL ENDINGS 101, A BRIEF HISTORICAL INFO
STONING,PRESSING, DRAWING, QUARTERING, BURNING, HANGING, CRUCIFIXION, GAS CHAMBER AND ELECTRIC CHAIR. These are the tried-and-true, black and blue punishments devised by man (and exclusively by the male species) to end the life of his fellow human beings. These modes of capital punishment were devised specifically to make death sheer torture for the victims, stunning spectacle for onlookers.

Only man kills protractedly, and the public staging of an excution is not done only as a deterrent to crime: For centuries it has also had what we call today "entertainment value". A contemporary text on criminology makes it clear, "It is only within the last hundred years that the least attempt has been made to make capital punishment swift and humane".

Capital Punishment: Pre-1500 B.C., Egypt
In ancient and medieval times,death was meted out for many more offences, some trivial by modern standards. In India, you could have been sentenced to death for spreading alsehoods, killing a cow, or stealing a royal elephant. In Egypt, during the peak of feline idolatry, death was the punishment fo injuring a cat ( even if it recovered). Judeans imposed the death peanlty for curing. The Babylonias for selling beer. The Assyrians for giving a bad haircut, since stylish coiffeurs wee cachets of class.

In parts of the Middle East, a perjurer in a trial was himself executed, intravenoulsy embalmed while alive. The embalming solution, replacing blood, quickly caused cardiac arrest, and in that regad the mode of execution was a forerunner of the modern lethal injection.

The oldest extant death sentence is contained in the Amherst papyri, dating to 1500 B.C., which list state trials in Egypt. The criminl was a teenage male, his crime was recorded simply as "magic", the mode o death was left to his choosing (poisoning or stabbing), and the executioner was to be himself.

His corpse was to be turned oved to his family for burial. This is quite a sophisticated sentence when contrsted to the first recrd of capital punishment in Europe. England, anyone convicted of a crime was tossed into a quagmire; an inextricable poison that dispensed with the cost of the burial.

In Rome during the 5th Century B.C. a citizen could be executed for many serious offenses, but also for trivial matters, as detailed in the legal Twelve Tables: for "Publishing Libels", "for singing", "for insulting songs" about high ranking officials, for "cheating by a patron of a client" and for "making disturbances in the city at night" --.

From the earliest times, cruelly and publicly ending a criminal's life was viewed as a deterrent to crime. A torturous death was the ultimate meands of instilling terror among people for whom the harsh struggle for daily existence was acute. Wrote the 5th century Roman rhetorician Quintillian: " When criminals are executed, the most public places are chosen, where there will be the greatest number of spectators, and so the most fear of punishments will work upon them". In the same period, Seneca, the Roman philosopher and statesmanm, argued that, "The more public the punishments are, the greater the effect they wull produce upon the reformation of others."

Unfortunately, history has repeatedly shown that public executions never decreased the incidence of crime. In England, gallows became a scene of merrymaking, drunkenness, and weekly family entertainment -- while pickpockets worked the revelers.

Unlike today, in ancient times a punishment had to fit the crime, often a bizarre parallel. In Babylon, if a poorly erected home collapsed on the owner, the architect was executed. If the home fell in on the owner's son, the architect's son was put to death. If the homewoner's wife or daugthers were killed, the architect was only fined. In ancient India, a man who damaged a dam, causing a serious leak, was drwoned near the site of the the damage.Theft of military sword or lance was punishable by death witht he stolen weapon. A condemned man of high social standing was often allowed to select his ending either by choosing his executioner or by drinking poison in the presence of family and friends, as did Socrates.

For more than a thousand years, hanging was considered a lowly way to pay for one's crime. On the other hand, beheading was the most honorable way a felon could make atonement. Thus, the sentence of how a person was to die, became more significant to sicety that the death itself. Not surprisingly, haning has been the most frequently meted out form of execution in history. During the reign of England's Henry VIII, moret than sixty five thousand hangings were staged, all public spectacles and private humiliations.

(Source:PANATI'S EXTRAORDINARY ENDINGSOF PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING AND EVERYBODY)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:50 PM  
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Name: infraternam meam
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About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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