In those days, the Romans had a genius for brutality. They were well-known for that. Cruxifixion
was then, considered a humiliating form of punishment. However, it only applies to people who were considered beneath the
dignity of the Roman citizenship. That means, if you are a Roman citizen, no matter what offense you made, you would not be
Cruxifixion was a form of public terrorism. The victim would be hung out publicly, naked
until he died. It was an effective; excruciating form of punishment we ever know. Crucifixion was a very slow and agonizing
form of death.
How it was Done
Firstly, the victim would be flogged brutally. He would then be naked, and be made to
carried his cross from the flogging site to the site of crucifixion outside the city walls. The weight of the entire
cross is about 136kg. Thus the victim was only made to carry the crossbar, 34-57kg.
Once the victim reached the crucifixion site, he would be given a bitter drink as a mild
analgesic. He would then be thrown on his back , with his arm outstretched. The Roman guards would nailed the wrist of to
the cross. Archaeology findings tell us that the nails were about 13-18cm long.
After the nailing of the wrist, would be the nailing of the feet. The cross would be pulled
up, vertically. The length of survival is approximately 3 or 4 hours. It often was related to the severity of the flogging
earlier. Sometimes, the Romans guards can quicken the death by breaking the legs of the victim. It was customery to leave
the corpse on the cross to be devour by animals. However, the family would be allow to bury the corpse if they obtain permission
from the Roman judge.
As no one was meant to survive cruxifixions, the Roman gurads on duty would pierce, sword
or spear through the right side of the chest.
What Causes The Death of the Victim
Many would think that cruxicfixion was all about dying with humilation and excess bleeding.
That is a wrong idea of death on the cross. There were many factors that contritbuted to the death.
Scourging - The
scourging prior to the cruxicifixion served to weaken the victim. When the victim was being thrown back on the cross,
it would most likely cause the wounds caused by the scourging to tear open again, and be contaminated by bacteria.
In addition, each breath the victim take, would scrape the painful wounds against the rough
wood of the stripes. The resulted to continuous blood lost throughout the process.
Nailed Wrist - The weight of the body hanging was supported byt
the ligaments and bones of the wrist. The driven nail would crush or sever the rather large sensorimotor median nerve The
stimulated nerve would produce excruciating bolts of fiery pain in both arms. Although the severed median nerve would result
in paralysis of a portion of the hand, isehemie eontraetures and impalement of various ligaments by the iron spike might produce
a claw like grasp.
- The majoy effect of cruxificion that was beyond the excruciating pain, was because of the interderence wiht normal respiration,
particularly exhalation. The weight of the body pulled down on the outstrtched arms and shoulders would fix the intercostal
muscles in an inhalation state. This thus hinders exhalation. The exhalation was primarily diaphrgmatic, and the breathing
would be shallow. This form of respiration would likely not be sufficient. Hypercarbia would soon result. The muscle would
cramp, due to the fatigue and hypercarbia, which would hinder the respiration even more.
In order ot have adequate exhalation, it
would mean lifting the body by pushing up on the feet and by flexing the elbows and adducting the shoulders. However, this
movemnet would cause the entire weight of the body on the tarsals, producing searing pain. Flexion of the elbows would cause
the rotation of the wrists about the iron nails, causing fiery pain along the damaged median nerves.
Moreover, muscle cramps and parestesias
of the outstretched and uplifted arms would increase the discomfort. As a result, each repiratory effort would become agonizing
and tiring, and eventually, leading to asphyxia.
paresthesias - a sensation of prickling, tingling
on the skin
tarsals - relating to dense connective tissue ( also
a bone cartilage )
hypercarbia - excessive presence amount of carbon
dioxide in blood
asphyxia - lack of carbon dioxide in the body which
often resulting unconciousness.