The most unusual types of execution

The gallows, guillotine, quartering, shooting - all these methods of execution are standard and familiar. But perhaps you can find something new for yourself from the list below.


This type of execution is not only unusual, but also unusually painful. It is believed to have been invented in Persia. The condemned person was given milk and honey to drink, which caused an extreme stomach upset. Then his whole body was smeared with honey and tied to the bottom of a wooden boat so that his hands and feet stuck out over the sides. The unfortunate person would be covered by another boat and allowed to swim in a pond with standing water. Because of diarrhea, excrement accumulated inside the boat, and its smell, together with the smell of honey, attracted the attention of numerous insects that swarmed the poor man from head to toe. Eventually, the person died from severe shock, starvation, and blood poisoning caused by the numerous wounds and rotting flesh from the biting insects and their larvae. To prolong the agony, the victim may have been occasionally fed with honey and milk. It is known that in 401 BC a Greek soldier was executed in this way when he killed the son of Darius 2. The poor man died only 17 days later.

Republican Wedding

A strange type of execution practiced mainly in France. If a man and a woman were to be executed, they were tied together with a rope and thrown into a river.

Execution by elephants

The execution by elephants was practiced mainly in Asian countries. Beforehand, an enraged animal was released into a confined room where the condemned person was kept.


The mazzatello was practiced in the Papal States in the 18th century and was used preferentially for criminals who had committed grave crimes. This punishment consisted in the executioner striking the head with an iron or wooden hammer and, if the executed person was concussed, rather than dying instantly, his throat was simply cut.


The method was common in both Europe and Asia during the Middle Ages. The doomed man was placed head down, spreading his legs apart and starting to saw in the middle with a blunt saw.


The skin of a living person was peeled off during beheading. This method was used to intimidate crowds - the horrific cries of the unfortunate man could be heard throughout the neighborhood. And the executioners liked to sprinkle salt on the skinned body part which made the sufferings of the condemned intolerable and as a rule he died of the painful shock. After the execution the skin was usually hung out in a public place where it waved in the wind and reminded passers-by what was waiting for the violator of the law.

Bloody Eagle

According to legends, this gruesome method of execution was used by the Vikings. There is still debate among historians as to whether this execution was actually practiced in medieval Scandinavian countries or whether it is a fiction invented to intimidate enemies. The victim was tied face up to the wall and his back was ripped open so that the ribs protruded from his back (a sight evidently reminiscent of the wings of an eagle to the Vikings). Sometimes the picture was completed by sticking the lungs out of the back, but most often the person died from the painful shock at the beginning of the execution.

Roasting on coals

Heretics and witches were burned alive by the Inquisitors at the stake, but compared to roasting on coals it was a very light punishment. A person who had committed a serious crime was placed on an iron grate under which the coals were smoldering. The torture could last several hours.

Execution by Bamboo

This method was used in Asian countries and was based on the amazing ability of the bamboo to grow 30 cm in one day. The accused was laid on the ground with buried bamboo shoots, firmly tied so that he could not move, and left for the night. During the night, the bamboo was slowly cut into the victim's body, causing him terrible agony. Eventually, the person would die, pierced by dozens of bamboo shoots.


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