Not what the Bible had
in mind? A corruption of 'the Word'?
Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out
of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing
and gnashing of teeth.
Then shall the righteous
shine forth as the sun in the kingdom
of their Father."
– Matthew 13.41,43.
Matthew's 'gentle Jesus' sanctions the burning of heretics, Jews, witches and unbelievers.
now prefers to quote the anodyne verse that follows from above:
"Who hath ears to
hear, let him hear."
a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered;
and men gather
them, and cast them into the fire, and they
"Every tree therefore
which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."
– Luke 3.12.
1. For tearing apart
and quartering by four horses 5 / 26
2. For quartering 4 / 0
3. For the necessary rope for that purpose 1 / 0
4. For hanging the four quarters in four corners, the necessary rope, nails,
chains, and the transport included 5 / 26
5. For beheading and burning, everything included 5 / 26
6. For the necessary rope for this procedure, and for preparing and igniting
the stake 2 / 0
7. For strangling and burning 4 / 0
8. For rope and for preparing and igniting the stake 2 / 0
9. For burning alive 4 / 0
10. For rope and for preparing and igniting the stake 2 / 0
11. For breaking alive on the wheel 4 / 0
12. For rope and chains for this procedure 2 / 0
13. For setting up the body which is tied to the wheel 2 / 52
14. For beheading only 2 / 52
15. For the necessary rope for this purpose and for cloth to cover the face
1 / 0
16. For making a hole and disposing of the corpse 1 / 26
17. For beheading and tying the body on the wheel 4 / 0
18. For the necessary rope and chains, together with the cloth 2
19. For cutting off a hand or several fingers and for beheading, all together
3 / 26
20. The same: in addition, for burning with a hot iron 1 / 26
21. For the necessary rope and cloth 1 / 26
22. For beheading and sticking the head on a pole 3 / 26
23. For the necessary rope and cloth 1 / 26
24. For beheading and tying the body on the wheel and for sticking the head
on a pole, all together 5 / 0
25. For the necessary rope, chains, and cloth 2 / 0
26. For hanging 2 / 52
27. For the necessary rope, nails, and chain needed for that purpose 1 / 26
28. Before the actual execution starts, for squeezing the delinquent with red-hot
tongs, apart from the above-mentioned fee for hanging, for every application
0 / 26
29. For cutting out the tongue entirely, or part of it, and afterwards for
burning the mouth with a red-hot iron 5 / 0
30. For this procedure, the usual rope, tongs, and knife 2 / 0
31. For nailing to the gallows a cut-off tongue or a chopped-off hand 1 / 26
32. For one who has hanged himself, or drowned himself, or otherwise taken
his own life: to take down, remove, and dig a hole to dispose of the corpse
33. For exiling a person from the city or country 0 / 52
34. For flogging in jail, including the rods 1 / 0
35. For thrashing 0 / 52
36. For putting in the pillory 0 / 52
37. For putting in the pillory, and for whipping, including the rope and the
rods 1 / 26
38. For putting in the pillory, branding, and whipping, including coals, rope,
and rods, also the branding ointment 2 / 0
39. For inspecting a prisoner after he has been branded 0 / 20
40. For putting the ladder to the gallows, regardless whether one or several
are hanged on the same day 2 / 0
41. For terrorizing by
showing the instruments of torture 1 / 0
42. For the first degree of torture 1 / 26
43. For arranging and crushing the thumb for this degree 0 / 26
44. For the second degree of torture, including setting the limbs afterward,
and for salve which is used 2 / 26
45. Should, however, a person be tortured in both degrees of torture, the executioner
is to get for both degrees performed at the same time, setting the limbs afterward
and for use of the salve, for all this he should be paid 6 / 0
46. For travel and daily expenses for every day, exclusive, however, of the
days of execution or torture, regardless whether on these days one or several
criminals are punished 0 / 48
47. For daily food 1 / 26
48. For each help 0 / 39
49. For hiring a horse, together with fodder and stabling, the daily fee 1
50. If a torture or execution takes place in Cologne, the executioner shall
receive for this procedure the aforementioned execution fees, without any
other extra expenses, such as travel, daily expenses, food, horse hay and fodder;
and he has to be satisfied with the above-mentioned execution fee.
51. When he performs executions in Melaten and Deutz, he receives extra expenses
for hay for his horse, and nothing else.
52. Since items 16, 32, and 40 of the present rules fall within the province
of the weapons master, therefore the weapons master should receive the respective
53. Should the executioner perform functions for those who are vassals or sub-vassals
of the archbishopric, he should receive one third more than before specified,
the reason being that he enjoys his yearly investiture without any emolument
from the aforesaid vassals.
54. Only the executioner and no stranger shall be employed by the vassals or
sub-vassals for whatever executions have to be done.
55. Because there have been many complaints that at an execution where an official
of the archbishopric presides, the executioner, either in addition to accepting
the fees, or instead of accepting them, dared to demand a certain sum of money,
and since this demand is regarded as an abuse, it is once and for all forbidden.
Therefore, herewith we
every official of the archbishopric keep strictly to the above-mentioned rules
and pay the executioners only the stipulated fees and nothing else, any time
there is an execution; and they are asked to submit afterward their accounts
with all their vouchers to the treasury of the archbishop.
Given at Bonn, January 15, 1757.
Attendance at an auto-da-fé (Portuguese for "Act of Faith") was
not merely a major social event and civic occasion: it was a religious
act which even the king himself was obliged to attend. It was a collective
act of sacrifice in which victims were roasted to appease the Christian
"Daddy, can we go to the burning?"
The first auto was
held in Seville in 1481, the last in Mexico in 1850. Such Church/State
terror (a pretence was maintained that the secular authorities
carried out the actual murders) not only enforced religious
devotion and conformity: it provided substantial income from property
confiscated from the victims.
were led in procession to the place of execution. The burning
would be held on a Sunday or other holy day so that the
maximum number of people could attend.
A Jesuit priest
would walk on either side of each victim, gagged to prevent
any words of outrage.The priests would intone the gospels
and 'wrestle for his soul.'
Decked out in
a yellow 'san benito' penitential garment and
wearing a 3' pointed 'coroza' cap – both
painted with effigies, the flames of hell and devils, the
victims would be given opportunities to recant and suffer
a less painful death.
for last minute repentance
If a victim 'converted'
to Catholicism at the last minute ("fuego resuelto") in
its loving kindness the Church would sanction strangulation
for the unrepentant
Those about to
be murdered would first have their faces burned, a bit
of fun to excite the crowd.
The corpses of
those who had died during torture would also be burnt;
those who had fled burnt in effigy.
Fine Christian Sacrament, Exported to the Colonies too...
and Peru would enjoy the delights of the auto-da-fé long
after it lost its charm in Europe. Mexico witnessed its last auto-da-fé as
late as 1850.
for the conversion of the natives.
Tariff for Torture, 1757
All the costs
of conducting a trial and torture had to be paid by the hapless
victim or by his relations. But that was not
In the German
lands, the city of Cologne (originally established as a Roman colonia)
had grown into a leading commercial and ecclesiastical centre.
The town profitted hugely from a 10th century fabrication of mass
martyrdom – Saint
Ursula and, variously, 5, 8, 11 and eventually, 11,000
virgin victims! – and a major trade
in bones (probably taken from pagan graveyards). Monasteries proliferated
and the local prince-bishop rose to become one of the seven electors
of the Holy Roman Empire.
murder was no stranger to the Rhineland and in the mid-18th century
the bishop of Cologne was most concerned that
his High Executioner
did not profit at his expense
claiming for tortures and murders not performed.
He set out,
in "exquisite detail", the precise payments that
would be made for diverse acts of sadism.
list – Cornell
list of Christian Butchery – as set down by the Archbishopric
though the Archbishopric of Cologne has previously
endowed the high executioner with a permanent yearly
income of 80 reichsthaler, 20 albus, 12 malder of
grain, and 4 cords of wood, nevertheless it has
that during and after performing executions and other
matters connected with them, so many unsubstantiated
and exaggeated claims for extra expenses have been
made that it has become very costly for the chief
court of the Elector Archbishop.
the Archbishopric is compelled, in order to contain
these demands, to set up the following rules in which
every single operation has been given its due charge,
which is forthwith promulgated."
If walls could
took seven centuries to complete. The Coliseum in Rome took
"Three Kings from the East"
the credulous the sacred precincts of Cologne Cathedral house a gold sarcophagus said to contain the bones of the
Magi or Three Kings. These bones are also to be found in
Milan – sacred relics have that miraculous ability to be
in more than one place at the same time.
the city of Cologne was famous for the opulence of its
churches and the remarkable army of beggars that frequented
from the Christian Menu of Death
tearing apart and quartering by four horses … 5
Thaler, 26 Albus
hanging the four quarters in four corners, the necessary
rope, nails, chains, and the transport included … 5,26
5. For beheading and burning, everything included … 5,26
9. For burning
alive … 4,0
breaking alive on
the wheel … 4,0
17. For beheading and tying
the body on the wheel … 4,0
19. For cutting
off a hand or several fingers and for beheading, all together … 3,
20. The same: in
addition, for burning with a hot
iron … 1,26
24. For beheading and tying the body on the wheel and for sticking the head
on a pole, all together … 5,0
28. Before the
starts, for squeezing the
delinquent with red-hot tongs, apart from the above-mentioned fee for hanging,
for every application … 0,26
29. For cutting
out the tongue entirely, or part of it, and afterwards for
burning the mouth with a red-hot iron … 5,0
nailing to the gallows a cut-off tongue or a chopped-off
hand … 1,26
38. For putting
in the pillory, branding, and whipping, including coals,
rope, and rods, also the branding ointment
terrorizing by showing the instruments of torture …1,0
Dan Cohn-Sherbok, The Crucified Jew (Harper Collins,1992)
Helen Ellerbe, The Dark Side of Christian History (Morningstar & Lark,
Leslie Houlden (Ed.), Judaism & Christianity (Routledge, 1988)
Norman Cantor, The Sacred Chain - A History of the Jews (Harper Collins,
George Scott, A History of Torture (Senate, 1995)
Alice K. Turner, The History of Hell (Robert Hale, 1995)
Some fifty articles are now available as a book.
For your copy order:
Copyright © 2004
by Kenneth Humphreys.
Copying is freely permitted, provided credit is given to the author and
no material herein is sold for profit.