HOME
        TheInfoList






It is a myth that in Sparta, young men were flogged as a test of their masculinity.

In the Roman Empire, flagellation was often used as a prelude to crucifixion, and in this context is sometimes referred to as scourging. Most famously according to the gospel accounts, this occurred prior to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Whips with small pieces of metal or bone at the tips were commonly used. Such a device could easily cause disfigurement and serious trauma, such as ripping pieces of flesh from the body or loss of an eye. In addition to causing severe pain, the victim would approach a stat

It is a myth that in Sparta, young men were flogged as a test of their masculinity.

In the Roman Empire, flagellation was often used as a prelude to crucifixion, and in this context is sometimes referred to as scourging. Most famously according to the gospel accounts, this occurred prior to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Whips with small pieces of metal or bone at the tips were commonly used. Such a device could easily cause disfigurement and serious trauma, such as ripping pieces of flesh from the body or loss of an eye. In addition to causing severe pain, the victim would approach a state of hypovolemic shock due to loss of blood.

The Romans reserved this treatment for non-citizens, as stated in the lex Porcia and lex Sempronia, dating from 195 and 123 BC. The poet Horace refers to the horribile flagellum (horrible whip) in his Satires. Typically, the one to be punished was stripped naked and bound to a low pillar so that he could bend over it, or chained to an upright pillar so as to be stretched out. Two lictors (some reports indicate scourgings with four or six lictors) alternated blows from the bare shoulders down the body to the soles of the feet. There was no limit to the number of blows inflicted—this was left to the lictors to decide, though they were normally not supposed to kill the victim. Nonetheless, Livy, Suetonius and Roman Empire, flagellation was often used as a prelude to crucifixion, and in this context is sometimes referred to as scourging. Most famously according to the gospel accounts, this occurred prior to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Whips with small pieces of metal or bone at the tips were commonly used. Such a device could easily cause disfigurement and serious trauma, such as ripping pieces of flesh from the body or loss of an eye. In addition to causing severe pain, the victim would approach a state of hypovolemic shock due to loss of blood.

The Romans reserved this treatment for non-citizens, as stated in the lex Porcia and lex Sempronia, dating from 195 and 123 BC. The poet Horace refers to the horribile flagellum (horrible whip) in his Satires. Typically, the one to be punished was stripped naked and bound to a low pillar so that he could bend over it, or chained to an upright pillar so as to be stretched out. Two lictors (some reports indicate scourgings with four or six lictors) alternated blows from the bare shoulders down the body to the soles of the feet. There was no limit to the number of blows inflicted—this was left to the lictors to decide, though they were normally not supposed to kill the victim. Nonetheless, Livy, Suetonius and Josephus report cases of flagellation where victims died while still bound to the post. Flagellation was referred to as "half death" by some authors, as many victims died shortly thereafter. Cicero reports in In Verrem, "pro mortuo sublatus brevi postea mortuus" ("taken away for a dead man, shortly thereafter he was dead").

The Whipping Act was passed in England in 1530. Under this legislation, vagrants were to be taken to a nearby populated area "and there tied to the end of a cart naked and beaten with whips throughout such market town till the body shall be bloody".[2]

In England, offenders (mostly those convicted of theft) were usually sentenced to be flogged "at a cart's tail" along a length of public street, usually near the scene of the crime, "until his [or her] back be bloody". In the late seventeenth century, however, the courts occasionally ordered that the flogging should be carried out in prison or a house of correction rather than on the streets. From the 1720s courts began explicitly to differentiate between private whipping and public whipping. Over the course of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the proportion of whippings carried out in public declined, but the number of private whippings increased. The public whipping of women was abolished in 1817 (after having been in decline since the 1770s) and that of men ended in the early 1830s, though not formally abolished until 1862. Private whipping of men in prison continued and was not abolished until 1948.[3] The 1948 abolition did not affect the ability of a prison's visiting justices (in England and Wales, but not in Scotland, except at Peterhead) to order the birch o

In England, offenders (mostly those convicted of theft) were usually sentenced to be flogged "at a cart's tail" along a length of public street, usually near the scene of the crime, "until his [or her] back be bloody". In the late seventeenth century, however, the courts occasionally ordered that the flogging should be carried out in prison or a house of correction rather than on the streets. From the 1720s courts began explicitly to differentiate between private whipping and public whipping. Over the course of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the proportion of whippings carried out in public declined, but the number of private whippings increased. The public whipping of women was abolished in 1817 (after having been in decline since the 1770s) and that of men ended in the early 1830s, though not formally abolished until 1862. Private whipping of men in prison continued and was not abolished until 1948.[3] The 1948 abolition did not affect the ability of a prison's visiting justices (in England and Wales, but not in Scotland, except at Peterhead) to order the birch or cat for prisoners committing serious assaults on prison staff. This power was not abolished until 1967, having been last used in 1962.[4]

Whipping occurred during the French Revolution, though not as official punishment. On 31 May 1793, the Jacobin women seized a revolutionary leader, Anne Josephe Theroigne de Mericourt, stripped her naked, and flogged her on the bare bottom in the public garden of the Tuileries. After this humiliation, she refused to wear any clothes, in memory of the outrage she had suffered.[5] She went mad and ended her days in an asylum after the public whipping.

In the Russian Empire, knouts were used to flog criminals and political offenders. Sentences of a hundred lashes would usually result in death. Whipping was used as a punishment for Russian serfs.[6]

In April 2020, Saudi Arabia said it would replace flogging with prison sentences or fines, according to a government document.[7]

Whipping has been used as a form of discipline on slaves. It was frequently carried out during the period of slavery in the United States, by slave owners and their slaves. The power was also given to slave "patrolers," mostly poor whites authorized to whip any slave who violated the slave codes.

Flogging as military punishment

In the 18th and 19th centuries, European armies administered floggings to common soldiers who committed breaches of the military code.

United States

During the American Revolutionary War, the American Congress raised the legal limit on lashes from 39 to 100 for soldiers who were convicted by courts-martial.[8] Generally, officers were not flogged. However, in 1745, a cashiered British officer's sword could be broken over his head, among other indignities inflicted on him.[9]

At the urging of United States

During the American Revolutionary War, the American Congress raised the legal limit on lashes from 39 to 100 for soldiers who were convicted by courts-martial.[8] Generally, officers were not flogged. However, in 1745, a cashiered British officer's sword could be broken over his head, among other indignities inflicted on him.[9]

At the urging of New Hampshire Senator John P. Hale, the United States Congress banned flogging on all U.S. ships on 28 September 1850, as part of a

At the urging of New Hampshire Senator John P. Hale, the United States Congress banned flogging on all U.S. ships on 28 September 1850, as part of a then-controversial amendment to a naval appropriations bill.[10][11] Hale was inspired by Herman Melville's "vivid description of flogging, a brutal staple of 19th century naval discipline" in Melville's "novelized memoir" White Jacket.[10] Melville also included a vivid depiction of flogging, and the circumstances surrounding it, in his more famous work, Moby-Dick.

Military flogging was abolished in the United States Army on 5 August 1861.[12] The punishment was abolished in the Royal Navy in 1879.[13]

Flagellation was so common in England as punishment that caning (and spanking and whipping) are called "the English vice".[14]

Flogging was a common disciplinary measure in the Royal Navy that became associated with a seaman's manly disregard for pain.[15] Aboard ships, Royal Navy that became associated with a seaman's manly disregard for pain.[15] Aboard ships, knittles or the cat o' nine tails was used for severe formal punishment, while a "rope's end" or "starter" was used to administer informal, on-the-spot discipline. In severe cases a person could be "flogged around the fleet": a significant number of lashes (up to 600) was divided among the ships on a station and the person was taken to all ships to be flogged on each.[16]

In June 1879 a motion to abolish flogging in the Royal Navy was debated in the House of Commons. John O'Connor Power, the member for Mayo, asked the First Lord of the Admiralty to bring the navy cat-of-nine-tails to the Commons Library so that the members might see what they were voting about. It was the Great "Cat" Contention, "Mr Speaker, since the Government has let the cat out of the bag, there is nothing to be done but to take the bull by the horns." Poet Laureate Ted Hughes celebrates the occasion in his poem, "Wilfred Owen's Photographs": "A witty profound Irishman calls/For a 'cat' into the House, and sits to watch/The gentry fingering its stained tails./Whereupon ...Quietly, unopposed,/The motion was passed."[17]

In the Napoleonic Wars, the maximum number of lashes that could be inflicted on soldiers in the British Army reached 1,200. This many lashes could permanently disable or kill a man. Charles Oman, historian of the Peninsular War, noted that the maximum sentence was inflicted "nine or ten times by general court-martial during the whole six years of the war" and that 1,000 lashes were administered about 50 times.[18] Other sentences were for 900, 700, 500 and 300 lashes. One soldier was sentenced to 700 lashes for stealing a beehive.[19] Another man was let off after only 175 of 400 lashes, but spent three weeks in the hospital.[20] Later in the war, the more draconian punishments were abandoned and the offenders shipped to New South Wales instead, where more whippings often awaited them. (See Australian penal colonies section.) Oman later wrote: