Crucifixion in Ancient and Modern Times

Painted WEBI always assumed that the Roman state put people to death in matters of capital punishment. This simply isn’t true. A slave owner had the power of life and death over his slaves. If slaves committed an offense, the master could have them crucified. He simply hired a crucifixion contractor, who would supply the wood, the nails, and the torturer. Before a person was crucified, he was usually tortured. Scourging was one method, but there were others. Crucifixion was reserved for slaves and non-Roman citizens. A Roman citizen could be beheaded, which was a quick death; whereas, a crucified person could suffer for days.

The Romans considered crucifixion a “necessary evil.” They placed crucified people on the outskirts of town as a warning to evildoers. Sadly, crucifixion hasn’t stopped in the world today. The Penitentes, a cult of Catholicism, practiced crucifixion in the American Southwest in the late 1880s. Radical Muslims have also crucified African Christians in recent times.

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