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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Brutality → The most gruesome method of execution (the Brazen Bull)

The brazen bull is an execution/torture device designed in ancient Greece.

Perillos of Athens, a brass-founder, proposed to Phalaris, Tyrant of Agrigentum, the invention of a new means for executing criminals; accordingly, he cast a brazen bull, made totally of brass, hollow, with a door in the side. The condemned was shut up in the bull and a fire was set under it, heating the metal until it became "red hot" and causing the person inside to slowly roast to death.

As the story goes, when Perillos finished the brazen bull, Phalaris asked Perillos to try it out by himself. He then ordered him locked inside the brazen bull and set a fire underneath it. He was very pleased with the results. Being burned alive was a very exciting act to watch.

When a victim is placed inside the brazen bull, he or she is slowly burned to death. This device gradually became more sophisticated until the Greek invented a complex system of tubes in order to make the victim's screams sound like an infuriated ox. The video episode (where you can see the similar execution of the Japanese Christian man) is from the famous epic movie "Tokugawa onna keibatsu-emaki: Ushi-zaki no kei" ("Oxen Split Torture") (1976; Japan) (the movie is about Christians persecution in Japan during the Shogun era).

Video: Download "brazen_bull.wmv"

The Romans were recorded as having used this torture device to kill some Christian martyrs.
Saint Pelagia of Tarsus, the Christian martyr (she was a virgin of fifteen years, who chose death rather than dishonour), is said to have been burned in a brazen bull in 287 by the Emperor Diocletian.

Wiki Article: Brazen bull

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