Medieval Torture Techniques

by MSO

Torture was seen as a totally legitimate means for justice to extract confessions, or obtain the names of accomplices or other information about the crime.

The Middle Ages was a time of enlightenment and learning, as people grew into their breadth and depth of knowledge, becoming more sophisticated as the centuries passed. Religion, economics, politics and medical knowledge all grew in importance, however they all took a backseat to the increased knowledge of how to cause suffering and death.

The Medieval period of the Middle Ages was the time that is most regarded for their torture techniques, such as the feared ‘rack’, designed to dislocate every major joint in the victim’s body through stretching.

The Pear of Anguish was similar to a corkscrew, but the twisting would make four leaves slowly separate. The device would be inserted into the victim, a woman’s vagina if she was accused of abortion, lying, blasphemy or homosexuality. It would be inserted into a male’s anus if he was accused of homosexuality or his mouth if he was accused of lying or blasphemy. The device would tear the skin at the very least, or break the bones and mutilate the orifice. This was not a device designed to kill the victim, rather to cause immense pain before another device was used to kill.

Coffin Torture was one of the most feared torture devices in the Middle Ages. The victim would be placed inside a metal cage which was shaped life a human body. This cage would be hung from a tree or gallows in the sun, and birds and other animals were encouraged to eat the tortured person alive while they died from starvation and dehydration. Onlookers would throw rocks and other objects at the tortured to increase the pain and humiliation.

Read more:

Torture Devices from the Middle Ages

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