Cruel torture


They were insulted, dragged to the ground, plundered, taken to the forum before the tribune, interrogated and - if they proclaimed their faith - imprisoned; then the Legatus proceeded with every form of cruelty, beyond any description.

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Torture methods

Taken from: "Book of Martyrs - author John Foxe"
  1. Early Christians, such as Saint Lawrence, were tied up and placed alive on a coal bed with red-hot slabs. Their flesh was cooked slowly until the death of the condemned.

  2. By decree, Constantine the Great in 361, ordered Christians to be sought and dragged to death in every city. Tied with a rope around their necks, they were dragged through the streets behind a wagon for two days without interruption. The dragging continued for two days even after death.

  3. Skin removal. To prevent death during torture, the convicts were hung upside down to allow blood flow into the brain and force them to remain conscious. The skin was cut into strips and detached from the body with the help of a knife and hung in front of the victim’s eyes.

  4. For amusement Nero ordered that large animals be skinned and their skin be sewn around Christians except for the head, hands and feet. Ravenous dogs were released to gnaw the condemned like bones.

  5. Emperor Decius ruled from 249 to 251, knowing that seven Christians were in a cave, he sealed the entrance. All seven died of fame and dehydration.

  6. Christians were often immersed in boiling water or oil. First the water causes third-degree burns but then penetrating the flesh and muscles breaks the blood vessels and death comes.

  7. The Christian placed himself on a platform. Thin ropes passed through holes that wrapped strongly around the limbs and cut the victim’s flesh to the bones. The process was repeated up to four times. Or you tied a heavy chain to the body with both ends attached to a winch and dislocated all the joints.

  8. The torturer used a club to split and mash each limb, then the victim was thrown under a wheel with gears so that the body was crushed, the head and trunk were spared to keep the victim alive. After this treatment, the victim was left to die from exposure, blood loss, or being eaten by birds and ants.

How they tortured the first Christians

The following facts have been extrapolated from the letter sent to the churches of Gaul to recount the torture that was inflicted on Christians in the churches of Asia and Phrygia, also reported by Eusebius of Caesarea: "They were insulted, dragged to the ground, plundered, taken to the forum before the tribune, interrogated and - if they proclaimed their faith - imprisoned; then the Legatus proceeded with every form of cruelty, beyond any description possible".

The letter continues, «We all feared that Blandina, because of the weakness of his body, was not able to make his profession of faith firmly; it was instead supported by such a force that it exhausted those who, one after another, they alternated in torturing her in every way from morning till evening, and were amazed that she was still alive despite having her whole body torn and torn; in fact one of those tortures would have been enough to make anyone die, without the need for such immense torture.

After being hung from a pole, she became prey to the beasts, but the beasts did not touch her. After the scourges, it was the turn of the grill in the hot iron chair, and then locked in a net and thrown in front of a bull and dragged long into the arena and finally fed to the fairs.

Saint, the deacon of Vienna, also he endured all the tortures and torments made by the executioners, and the fury was so great that in the end, when they did not know what to do, they ended up applying hot bronze foils in the most delicate parts of the body. And as they burned, he remained unyielding and unshakeable, steadfast in his confession.

Now his poor body was covered with wounds and bruises, devoid of any human form, but his torment was not over: after a few days the executioners resumed torturing the martyr, convinced that they would bend him because by now the tortured and swollen flesh could not stand even the contact of the hands, and so they hoped that if his death had happened between terrible tortures would frighten other Christians.

Instead, far beyond any human prediction, the poor body of Saint was recovered and re-established among the torments; summarized its original form and the use of the limbs, the second torture was not for him a cause of suffering, but a cure. Not knowing how to kill him, they cut his head off.

Other innumerable and terrible tortures were inflicted by the executioners on the Christians in the dark prisons, such as the stretching of the feet by strains stretched to the fifth hole, strangulation and so many other tortures and tortures so cruel as to reduce those poor beings to a shapeless mass of flesh.