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  • A few years ago a young American man took three  hits of ecstasy and then used a hammer to beat  

  • his parents to death. After that, he announced  on Facebook that he was having a party. The guy  

  • then got busy cleaning up the blood and hiding his  parents' bodies. 60 of his friends soon turned up  

  • to play beer pong and smoke cigars. Little did  they know they were partying with a murderer

  • It was an unforgivable crime. It washeinous crime, and that's why in the past  

  • possibly the most unbelievable kind of punishment  was reserved for this special kind of killer

  • Before we get to this most horrendous of  punishments, let's talk a little about the act  

  • itself, that is, the act of killing one's parents. The name for it is parricide. When a son or  

  • daughter kills the father it's called  patricide, and when it's the mother that  

  • is murdered, we call it matricide. It can  also mean the killing of a close relative,  

  • so siblicide- the murder of a sibling could fall  under that umbrella, as could avunculicide, which  

  • means taking out your own uncle. A 3rd-century  Roman lawyer named Modestinus first laid down  

  • the law regarding this crime and he said it covers  first cousins or even someone who isn't related by  

  • blood but financially supports another person. You might not be surprised to hear that if you  

  • killed your parents a few hundred years  ago in Europe the outcome wasn't good,  

  • especially if your parents were of so-called noble  blood. In Italy in the 16th century, Beatrice  

  • Cenci did just that to her father, a powerful  count who was a monster to his own children.  

  • After suffering at the hands of her vile pop  for many years, with the help of her siblings  

  • and step-mom, Beatrice took her father out by  bludgeoning him to death and throwing his body off  

  • a balcony. You have to remember this was an awful  man. He'd already been imprisoned for incest,  

  • but he managed to get out early due to the fact  he was wealthy and could grease the right palms

  • Beatrice and co tried to make it look like  suicide, but the papal police were suspicious.  

  • Her lover was horrifically tortured but died  without snitching. Others were soon charged  

  • with being co-conspirators to the murder and  they were sentenced to death. The people of  

  • Rome protested about this because they knew what  the horrible father had done to his kids. The  

  • Pope wouldn't budge an inch, for the reason that  he didn't want parricide to become widespread.  

  • There had been other recent cases of kids  killing parents, so he had to make an example  

  • of Beatrice and her brothers and stop-mom. That he did, in the most brutal fashion

  • Her elder brother was tortured in the public  square for everyone to see. After that,  

  • his head was smashed with a mallet. The spectators  saw what might happen to them if they ever got any  

  • ideas about killing a parent. The brother was  then torn apart limb from limb. Beatrice and her  

  • step-mom got off lucky with a relatively gentle  beheading, while the youngest of the brothers,  

  • only aged 12, was spared. His punishment  was watching his family die and then  

  • doing a short stint as a galley slave. We included that least bleak tale because  

  • we want to hammer home to you just how serious  parricide was taken. It wasn't just a matter of,  

  • How could they do that to their own flesh and  blood”. The powers that be at the time didn't want  

  • kids thinking they could whack a parent and get  the riches and power they thought they deserved.  

  • This is why the worst kind of punishment was  sometimes metered out to children that committed  

  • this crime. The establishment were the powerfulso it's not surprising they created strict laws  

  • that might prevent them from being killed by  their own offspring. The crime was also seen  

  • as the most unnatural crime a person could do, so  it warranted the most unnatural kind of execution

  • That execution in the early  days was called poena cullei

  • It can be translated aspenalty of the  sack”. It's thought it goes back as far as  

  • the first century BC, but there were some modern  cases, too. We'll get around to those later

  • Let's start with ancient Rome and the first  cases of the penalty of the sack. It was,  

  • no doubt, a cruel and unusual punishmentwith the emphasis being on unusual

  • One of the earliest known cases can  be found in an ancient book called,  

  • History from the Foundation of the City.” In itthe historian Titus Livius, aka, Livy, wrote this:  

  • Publicius Malleolus, who had killed his motherwas the first to be sewn into a sack and thrown  

  • into the sea.” It's said this guy was first  fitted with heavy wooden shoes and a wolf's  

  • hide was placed over his head. In this casethe leather hide is presumed to be the sack

  • That doesn't sound too unusual and for the Romansnot all that cruel, but things got a lot worse.  

  • There were a few iterations of getting the sackwith most cases being for the crime of parricide

  • Even though people might have been executed  by being thrown to wild beasts, or burned,  

  • or crucified, it seems the Romans thought  the sack was about as bad as you could get.  

  • In the first century AD, one historian wrote that  Emperor Augustus was reluctant to hand down this  

  • form of the death penalty, and that was before  the sack turned into something much more gruesome

  • Emperor Claudius, who came a few decades later,  

  • was ok with the sack. The Stoic philosopher  named Seneca the Younger said this about him,  

  • The Emperor Claudius sewed more men into  the culleus in five years than history says  

  • were sewn up in all previous centuriesWe saw more cullei than crucifixions.” 

  • You might now be thinking, surely being  drowned in a sack is much better than  

  • being crucified or burned. Why on earth  did those Romans fear the sack so much

  • It seems the answer is they feared very much  falling to the bottom of the ocean or whatever  

  • body of water they were thrown into. It was also  very undignifying, or at least that's what the  

  • Romans thought. But there was something else, too. Seneca the Younger had a father, who you can guess  

  • was named Seneca the Elder. It is he who  first mentioned someone getting the sack,  

  • but having a guest put in there with himThis gives the punishment a whole new meaning.  

  • He wrote that one or more snakes joined  the man in the sack. Just imagine that,  

  • being sewn into a sack with a bunch of snakes. But it gets even worse than that

  • The poet Juvenal talks about a monkey being  put into the sack. This kind of adds a comedic  

  • element to getting sacked, at least if the monkey  wasn't big enough to gouge out a person's eyes.  

  • Being stuck in a drowning sack withterrified monkey however is far from funny,  

  • as these incredibly strong animals are known  to tear limbs off people who get too close

  • We have to go to the 3rd century for things to  get even wilder. The Roman jurist we mentioned  

  • named Modestinus wrote about the punishment  of poena cullei for the crime of parricide.  

  • We'll let you hear this part in his own wordsor at least his words in translation. Here's  

  • what he said, according to a law book called  theDigestthat was written after he died

  • According to the custom of our ancestorsthe punishment instituted for parricide  

  • was as follows; A parricide is flogged with  blood-colored rods, then sewn up in a sack with a  

  • dog, a dunghill cock, a viper, and a monkey; then  the sack is thrown into the depths of the sea.  

  • This is the procedure if the sea is close at  hand; otherwise, he is thrown to the beasts.” 

  • Ok, so now you have to imagine the sceneTry to think about how you'd handle this

  • You are whipped and so are covered in welts  and your own blood. You are then forced into a  

  • sack with a viper, a venomous snake that no doubt  will bite you. You won't die instantly of course,  

  • but it's probably not the best day you've had  in your life. To make things worse, a monkey is  

  • thrown into the mix. What kind of monkey ismatter of importance. One of those small cute  

  • ones, or a really angry baboon with huge fangs. Or  were the Romans referring to large apes, animals  

  • that could do serious damage to you on your way to  the water. In fact, in the modern academic paper,  

  • The Ape in Roman Literature”, apes are mentioned  in relation to the punishment of parricides. Then  

  • just for good measure, a cock and dog is thrown  in the sack, which likely wouldn't bother you  

  • in the slightest since you'd be busy being  bitten by a highly venomous snake and trying  

  • to stop an ape from taking off your faceThe drowning part can only be a blessing

  • Some scholars think in the 3rd century the  practice started to die out and much more  

  • humane punishments such as being thrown  to wild animals or simply being burned to  

  • death completely replaced the sack. It didn't stay unpopular for long,  

  • because in the 4th century Emperor Constantine  initiated a revival of poena cullei. It's written  

  • that he said parricides should get a similar  treatment, although he adds something quite  

  • interesting to the story. He said that the guilty  person should besewn up in a sack and, in this  

  • dismal prison, have serpents as his companions.” At some point, the person was thrown into the sea,  

  • but the question is, how long would that person  have stayed in the sack prior to being taken to  

  • the water? That's an important question and there  is no definitive answer. A few minutes sharing a  

  • sack with snakes, or possibly with a great ape, a  dog and a cock could almost be bearable, but a few  

  • hours, days, that would be tough going. How long  in thatdismal prisondid the condemned have to  

  • stay? If it was longer than an hour, a fight with  a bear would have been a much better way to die

  • There are other Roman texts, too, which  describe the law. In the 6th century,  

  • Emperor Justinian talked about getting the sackIn the law book, “Corpus Juris Civilis”, it's  

  • written that those guilty of parricide should be,  “sewn up in a sack with a dog, a cock, a viper,  

  • and an ape, ” Ok, so this time we do get an apeHistorians to this day argue about translations,  

  • as well as when the punishments happened and  if they happened as they were written about

  • It seems everyone agrees that the practice  died out with the rise of the Byzantine Empire,  

  • a time when killing your family mostly  resulted in being thrown into the flames

  • We've not finished yet though  viewers, there's a sequel.  

  • Let's call it, “Poena cullei 2: After Rome.” A man named Johann von Buch said it was  

  • around in 14th century Germany and again it wasdreaded punishment reserved only for the terrible  

  • act of parricide. It was however a rather tame  affair in Germany. No cock or ape was hurt in the  

  • execution and instead of a serpent, a picture of  a serpent sufficed. Even if a dog or a cat- hardly  

  • anything to worry about for the accused- was  thrown into the animal cocktail they might have  

  • their own compartments in the sack. There's also  another matter. The Romans often used a leather  

  • sack, which was almost watertight, so that the  person would not drown so quickly. The Germans  

  • used linen, which would allow water in very fast. There was one recorded case in Germany in 1548  

  • when a man was thrown into a river inside a sackThe linen sack had been coated with something to  

  • make it more watertight, but when it hit the water  part of it split. By all accounts, the man died,  

  • but the dog and the cat that had been sharing  his death sack swam away to their freedom

  • The last cases we can find happened in the 18th  century in Germany. In one case a sheep was put  

  • into the sack, which must have been much  better than an angry ape. In another case,  

  • a serpent joined the condemned man, but it was  a non-venomous, if not large, colubrid snake

  • If you think that's the worst punishment  you've ever heard about, watch this,  

  • Walled up Alive - Worst Punishment  in the History of Mankind.” Or,  

  • maybe you think this is worse, “The Blood Eagle  - Worst Punishments in the History of Mankind.”

A few years ago a young American man took three  hits of ecstasy and then used a hammer to beat  

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Sewn Up in a Bag - Worst Punishments in the History of Mankind

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/12/20
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