During the Middle Ages, ruthless practices were carried out to punish men without freedom, or those who were free but had been declared publicly traitors, cowards and disgraced.
In the historical archive of castles or museums of anthropology, some of those artifacts that were used to provoke the suffering that often ended in death are preserved, and are exhibited together with the investigations that record how they were used and under what circumstances.
Reports suggest that torture was attempted to be abolished from criminal legislation in European countries at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, due – among other factors – to the influence of the intellectual movement of the Enlightenment, whose purpose was to dispel the darkness of humanity.
The truth is that the new political systems could not prevent violence from continuing. The resurgence of the bloody practices was reflected during Italian fascism, National Socialism, the counterrevolutionary slaughter in Russia, and a myriad of abuses that today continue to be exercised largely by the authorities.
11 Bronze bull
Dying inside this monumental burning bull was not only slow, but shrill. As an instrument, metal tubes were placed in the sophisticated contraption to make it sound like a bull when the victim shouted.
The time of confinement that they had to spend inside this cage, was determined according to the crime committed. Serious crimes such as blasphemy were punishable by death, those arrested were exposed to the sun inside the coffin until they died of hunger and thirst, or being attacked by birds of prey.
9 Infamous mask
This device was fastened with straps to exert pressure on the jaws and mouth, hurting the tongue and making speech impossible. It was usually used as punishment for gossiping women or presumed witches.
8 Foal of torture
What appears to be a massage bed, was a hideous machine that pulled the arms and legs of the tortured to dislocate and detach them from his body.
7 Chair with nails
One of the tools that had more variants of design, but with the same purpose: fit in the back, legs and arms, the pointed nails that covered the surface of the furniture. Once the victim had sat down, planks were placed on their limbs to prevent it from being stopped.
6 Rat box
The cheapest and most effective way to make an offender suffer was using rats. A cage impossible to gnaw was placed in the stomach of the victim, and while the rats were looking for a way to escape, they were digging and eating the body to get out.
5 Crush heads
He was employed during the Inquisition. The executioner was slowly turning the screw to press the head to compress it. If the tortured did not die of pain when their teeth broke, he died when his eyes and brain were squeezed.
Almost all European countries used it in their torture techniques. In a square, the prisoner was stripped and repeatedly skinned in front of the spectators.
As seen in the image, the victim’s neck is subject to the pincer. When they turn the key, they press little by little until they suffocate.
It served to obtain confessions from witnesses or confessions of men who were still free, since it was not mortal despite the great pain it caused. While the tortured answered the questions that were asked, the executioner turned the screw to press the fingers inserted in the holes of the butterfly.
1 Wooden satire
This type of torture was aimed at public humiliation. Despite not being lethal, this punishment exposed the helpless victim to the crowd.