Every crime deserves punishment and the most gruesome ones are dealt with capital punishment. It’s supposed to help with preventing future crimes and also to provide justice to the victim and their loved ones. While the latter purpose is reasonable, it is not certain if capital punishment has made any real difference to crime rate. Crimes like murder, genocide, sexual abuse leading to death, espionage, treason, large-scale drug trafficking, etc. can result in capital punishment.
As of now, the most common methods of capital punishment are lethal injection and electrocution. Several countries also use other methods such as hanging, shooting, gas inhalation and beheading. There are also countries that have banned capital punishment altogether. As per the modern line of thought, capital punishment is not the right way to deal with crime.
For people who are against capital punishment, it is good to know that we are not living in an age when a lot more gruesome methods were used to execute people. To better understand the extreme barbarism that was once a reality, here’s a quick look at some of the most horrific execution methods in human history.
Boiling to death – In some ancient kingdoms, the guilty were put inside boiling liquid. The common liquids used were oil, water, tar, tallow and molten lead. The guilty was either put directly into boiling liquid or was made to suffer a more painful and slow death by gradually heating the liquid.
Death by animals – These involved the use of animals for capital punishment. For example, crushing by elephant, trampling by horses, tearing off limbs by horses or camels, bites by snakes and devouring by crocodiles, alligators and other animals.
Brazen bull – The victim was put inside a statue of a bull made of iron and a fire was lit below it. This method was used for both torture and execution.
Buried alive – In this method, the victim was buried while still alive. Depending on the type of burial method, it would have caused an agonizing death.
Burned alive – In some ancient communities, the guilty were simply burned alive.
Crucifixion – The victim was put on a cross or tree using ropes or nails and left there to die. The pain of such execution method is almost impossible to imagine.
Drowning – This involved attaching rocks or metal to the victim’s body and throwing them inside a water body such as lake, river or sea.
Flaying – This involved removal of the outer skin in a slow and extremely painful manner.
Stoning – In this method, the victim used to be hit by stones by a vast group of people. This caused hundreds of small injuries, leading to death by shock and bleeding.
Comparing the past with the present, it’s easy to see that humanity has made significant progress in terms of ethics and compassion. However, we have a long way to go, as current methods of capital punishment like hanging, beheading and electrocution are still quite cruel. Hopefully we will find a better way to manage crime and capital punishment will be forever relegated to history books.