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date: 27 November 2022

crucifixionlocked

crucifixionlocked

  • George Ronald Watson
  •  and Andrew Lintott

Extract

Crucifixion seems to have been a form of punishment borrowed by the Romans from elsewhere, probably *Carthage. As a Roman penalty it is first certainly attested in the *Punic Wars. It was normally confined to slaves or non-citizens and later in the empire to humbler citizens; it was not applied to soldiers, except in the case of desertion. *Constantine I abolished the penalty (not before ce 314). Two inscriptions of the 1st cent. ce from *Cumae and *Puteoli have been found containing the contract of the undertaker both of funerals and of executions of this kind (see lex(2), ‘lex libitinaria’). The general practice was to begin with flagellation of the condemned, who was then compelled to carry a cross-beam (patibulum) to the place of execution, where a stake had been firmly fixed in the ground. He was stripped and fastened to the cross-beam with nails and cords, and the beam was drawn up by ropes until his feet were clear of the ground. Some support for the body was provided by a ledge (sedile) which projected from the upright, but a footrest (suppedaneum) is rarely attested, though the feet were sometimes tied or nailed.

Subjects

  • Christianity
  • Near East
  • Roman Law
  • Roman Material Culture

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