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Posts Tagged ‘cruel’

The breaking wheel, several of which can be seen here in the background of Bruegel’s “The Triumph of Death” was a torture device used for capital punishment in the middle ages and later into the 19th century. In the epitome of cruel (if not unusual) punishment, offenders were tied to a wheel and beaten with a cudgel. The aim was to break bones and cause the most pain possible. Sometimes it could take days to die from this “breaking on the wheel.” Ironically, the cudgel was also called a life preserver, a club intended for self-defense.

“The Triumph of Death” painted c. 1562 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

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