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What was the worst during the Middle Ages? Perhaps a lack of toothpaste, shampoo, or good soap. For young people this time will seem boring, because they danced there to the slow music of mandolins. Medicine in that era did not know anything about antibiotics or vaccinations. The endless series of wars was terrible.
Although our ancestors in those days did not write electronic wars to each other and did not come up with a cinema, they were very resourceful. For a contemporary "Iron Maiden" is just a musical group, but for the Middle Ages this word was strongly associated with one of the most terrible devices.
The very term "inquisition" literally means "inquiry" or "interrogation". Even before the appearance of these ecclesiastical institutions in the Middle Ages, the term was widely used in the legal field. It usually meant obtaining full information about the circumstances of the case through interrogation and the use of force. Over time, the Inquisition began to imply spiritual judgments against anti-Christian views.
The torture of the Middle Ages had hundreds of varieties. The interrogations themselves usually took place behind closed doors, only moans and screams were heard outside. This gave free rein to the imagination, further enhancing the effect. But the executions were already well known to contemporaries, which made it possible for the artists of those times to capture what was happening with the maximum realism.
To this day, few of the medieval instruments of torture have survived, usually even museum exhibits are just restored samples from descriptions. Even the variations of those that have come down to us are amazing. Today, many believe that most of the weapons were used for intimidation rather than actual torture. Nevertheless, 26 June was declared by the UN as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. We will tell below about twenty of the most terrible instruments of torture and executions of the Middle Ages.
Spiked shoes. These shoes are very different from the usual ones - they are made of iron, and there is a sharp spike under the heel. It could be unscrewed up with a screw. In this position, the victim could not stand fully on his leg, he had to lean on his socks while he had enough strength. Thinking easy? Try to stand like this for a long time. The main place where such shoes were distributed is Central Europe. A similar torture was used. Sinners, stripped naked, were seated on a chair studded with thorns. It was simply impossible to move - in addition to stab wounds, lacerations appeared. Sometimes this was not enough for the inquisitors, they themselves took forceps or thorns in their hands and tormented the victim's limbs. If there were no terrible shoes on their feet, then sinners could endure much more. With exhaustion of forces, the body itself rested on the heel, causing new streams of pain and blood.
Heretic's Fork. The device included 4 spikes at once. Two of them rested on the unfortunate chin, and the rest - on the chest. Thus, the victim had no opportunity to move his head, even lower it a little lower. It was extremely painful to be in such a motionless state for a long time.
Bathing chair for witches. The chair was intended for sinners, the structure was attached to a long pole. The stick together with the person at the end was lowered briefly into the water. Then the unfortunate man was taken out, given a little breath of air and dipped again. At the same time, the torturers tried to choose the cold season - late autumn or winter. Ice did not bother me either - they made an ice hole in it. As a result, the victim not only suffered under water without the necessary air, but also covered with a crust of ice in the desired air. This cruel torture could last for several days.
Spanish boot. This item has nothing to do with the finesse of Spanish footwear. A fastener with a metal plate was put on the prisoner's leg. As soon as the martyr refused to answer another question, the plate was tightened even tighter. This had a crushing effect on the bones of the legs. To make the effect even stronger, the inquisitor could take part in the torture. He also hit the mount with a hammer. As a result, after the torture of the victim, all the bones below the knee were shattered, and the wounded skin itself looked like a bag for fragments.
Water torture. The inquisitors drew torments of this kind from the East. The unfortunate man was tied with strong ropes or even barbed wire to a device such as a table with a high-raised middle. This allowed the person's stomach to be lifted as high as possible. The mouth of the sinner was clogged with straw or rags so that it could not close, after which a huge amount of water was poured into the victim. If the person did not interrupt the torture, wishing to confess, or if the goal was his death, then in the end the victim was removed from the table and laid on the ground. Then the executioner jumped onto the swollen belly. The rest is understandable and terrible.
Iron hook. This instrument of torture is also called a cat's claw. But scratching the back with it was not recommended. With the help of the device, the victim's flesh was torn apart, and this was done deliberately slowly and painfully. The highest point of the torment was the pulling out of not only pieces of meat, but also ribs with a hook.
Rack. In our country, this weapon is very well known, but few people know that there were two versions of it. On a vertical rack, a person was suspended from the ceiling, with joints twisted. Then more and more weights were gradually suspended from the legs. In the horizontal version, the victim's body was fixed and then gradually stretched by a special mechanism. In the end, the person's joints and muscles burst.
Quartering by horses. The number of horses was chosen according to the number of limbs - four. A person was tied to horses by the arms and legs. Then the animals were allowed to gallop. It was unrealistic to survive after this.
Pear. In this case, we are not talking about a fruit at all, but about a device. It was inserted into the most intimate holes of the victim's body and then opened. The holes were torn apart. And the man experienced unbearable torment.
Cleansing the soul. The Catholic clergy believed that the soul of a person should be pure, and the soul of a sinner can be tried to cleanse. Only the methods were used very original. Boiling water was poured into the unfortunate's throat, or burning coals were pushed there. The inquisitors were so eager to take care of the soul that they did not consider it necessary to think about the body.
Hanging cage. This device could be operated in two versions. If the weather was cold, then, as in the case of the witch's chair, the sinner was placed in the cage. She was hung from a long pole and lowered under the water, forcing the person to alternately freeze and suffocate. If the weather was hot, then the unfortunate person was simply left in the very sun without the opportunity to quench his thirst in any way.
Skull press. It is not clear how such a device could be used to force the sinner to repent. Indeed, due to the strong pressure on the skull, the teeth first clenched and crumbled, then the jaw, and then the bones of the skull. As a result, the constricted brain began to pour out of the ears. As terrible as it may seem, it is rumored that in some countries one of the varieties of such press is still used for interrogation.
Bonfire. For a long time, such a measure was the main one as the elimination of the influence of evil spirits on other sinless souls. It was reasonably believed that a burned-out soul would no longer be able to tempt or embarrass, having stained, another sinless soul. In those days, there was no doubt about it.
Cradle of Judas, or Vigil. Hippolyte Marsili invented this infernal invention. At one time, the weapon was even considered very merciful - it did not break bones, did not tear ligaments. The sinner was initially lifted up on a rope, after which he was seated on that very Cradle. In this case, the apex of the triangle was inserted into the anus. It became so painful that the sinner quickly lost consciousness. But the inquisitors were not going to leave the unfortunate in such a state. The person was brought to their senses and again began to sit on the Cradle. It seems that at the moment of enlightenment sinners remembered Hippolytus with a "kind" word.
Cradle. This tool is a close relative of the previous one. In this case, not the top itself was used, but a sharp plane on which the unfortunate person was seated. Weights were attached to his legs, which forced the body to sit more tightly on the sharp strip.
Iron maidn. Other names for such a weapon are "Iron" or "Maiden of Nuremberg". The Germans invented for torture to use a large sarcophagus in the form of an open hollow female figure. Inside it were numerous spikes and blades. They were positioned so as not to touch the vital organs of the victim inside. As a result, the agony of the martyr was long and terrible. History has preserved the date of the first use of the Virgin - 1515. The condemned man managed to live for three days.
Interrogation chair. This weapon was very popular in Central Europe. Before torture, the sinner was stripped naked and seated for interrogation on a spiked chair. If a person started the slightest movement, then not only puncture wounds appeared on the body, but also tears. If it seemed to the inquisitors that this was not enough, they took forceps or thorns in their hands and additionally pricked the victim's limbs.
Qty. They came up with the idea of impaling not at all in Russia, but in the East. According to the rules, a special skill of torture consisted in the fact that the stake came out not from the body, but from the victim's throat. In this case, the unfortunate person could live for several more days, suffering both physically and mentally. After all, such an execution was usually performed in public.
Saw. In those days, ingenuity was welcomed among executioners and inquisitors. Sometimes they knew better than doctors why a person can experience pain. They also knew that in an unconscious state people do not feel pain. In the Middle Ages, it was generally a natural thing to make torture and executions as painful as possible. Death was already a common thing, you could meet it anywhere and anytime. One of the unusual and painful deaths was sawing. The victim was hung upside down, so that the blood continued to supply oxygen to the brain, and the person felt all the terrible pain in full. There have been cases that the victim was conscious until the moment when the saw slowly reached the diaphragm.
Wheeling. For those who were able to read this text to the end, we will tell you about the most terrible instrument of torture. All large bones of the body were broken with a large crowbar or wheel. Then the victim was tied to a large wheel, which was set on a pole. The man looked up at the sky, death usually came from dehydration and shock. However, it took a long time to wait. In addition, the suffering of the unfortunate was aggravated by the birds that pecked the prisoner. Often, instead of a wheel, wooden frames or a cross made of logs were used.