Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 206–208 | Cite as

Forensic and historical aspects of crucifixion

  • Roger W. ByardEmail author

The death of the cross was the most dreadful of all others, both for the shame and pain of it; and so scandalous, that it was inflicted as the last mark of detestation upon the vilest of people [1].

Crucifixion is a particularly brutal form of execution which clearly fulfils the definition of torture as “an aggravated and deliberate form of cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment,” “where severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted” [2]. As it consists of suspending a victim by his or her arms from a cross beam until death occurs it forms part of the spectrum of positional torture discussed in the paper by Pollanen on reverse hanging [3].

Crucifixion is believed to have originated among the Assyrians and Babylonians, but was then utilized by the Persians, before being taken to Rome by the Phoenicians in the third century BC [4]. The Romans adopted it with enthusiasm using it to put slaves, foreigners, and Christians to death. After the...


Intercostal Muscle Roman Time Thenar Eminence Consumption Coagulopathy Inhale Carbon Monoxide 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Discipline of Anatomy and Pathology, School of MedicineThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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