Monday, September 3, 2018

Broken on the Wheel

Some gruesome methods of execution which lasted into the eighteenth century. Death on the wheel was abolished by Louis XVI as part of his vast program of reforms. From Geri Walton:
In France, in the 1700s, when people were condemned to death, those convicted of certain atrocities were sometimes condemned to be broken on the wheel in a public execution. Sometimes after being broken on the wheel, blows were also given on the chest or the abdomen of the condemned person. These blows were called coups de grâce, or in other words, “blows of mercy,” as they were fatal to the condemned. If these blows were not given, a condemned person might live for hours or days, and they might be subject to birds pecking at them until they died. In addition, on occasion, a special grace, known as the retentum, was granted where a condemned person was strangled after the second or third blow, or in special cases, even before the breaking began. (Read more.)