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Man who invented 'the most painful torture device' in history became first victim of it

Man who invented 'the most painful torture device' in history became first victim of it

You should be careful what you make

When you create a monster. you must always be aware that you might fall prey to it yourself, which is what the inventor of 'the most painful torture device' in history discovered.

Over the years people have come up with some horrifyingly inventive ways to hurt each other, with scientists even working which of the especially nasty things that could happen to you were the worst.

However, one of the worst and most painful fates you could meet was to end up inside the Brazen Bull, a torture device from Ancient Greece which was created in around the 6th Century BC.

In essence it was a hollow bronze statue of a bull with pipes in the nose and a trapdoor in the belly so people could be put inside.

Once someone was inside a fire could be lit beneath the bull, essentially cooking the unfortunate occupant while the sound of their screams was turned into bull noises by the pipes.

F**king horrible, frankly, and the purported creator of this device was one Perilaus of Athens, who you'll know doesn't come out of this story too well since you've seen the headline.

He made the Brazen Bull for Phalaris, the tyrant of the Sicilian state of Akragas, but some accounts say that nobody ever actually asked Perilaus to create this horrific torture device.

You wouldn't want to end up in here, but the guy who invented it did.
Discovery

Instead he brought it to Phalaris and correctly judged that a sculpture of a bull which humans could be cooked in was exactly the sort of thing a cruel tyrant would like to have.

Some accounts of the Sicilian tyrant even claim he was a cannibal who ate babies, though that may have been a lie invented by his enemies.

Still, you've got to wonder about the type of guy someone would accuse of eating babies and seemed very pleased to receive the Brazen Bull.

While he was inventive enough to create the Brazen Bull, Perilaus was clearly lacking in some aspects of the brains department.

When he presented the torture device to Phalaris he was asked to get inside and demonstrate how the noises would sound for everyone else.

An artist's depiction of Perilaus being stuffed inside his own Brazen Bull.
Wikimedia Commons

If you ever bring a tyrant a torture device and they say 'get inside and show me how it works', that's usually a sign that it's time to skedaddle, but Perilaus climbed inside anyway.

Living up to his reputation as a monumental a**ehole, Phalaris then had the inventor locked inside his own creation and lit a fire underneath it to cook the man alive, though he didn't die inside it.

Once he'd been given a painful demonstration of how the torture device would work the tyrant then had the inventor hauled out of the Brazen Bull.

If Perilaus had any idea that he was being pulled to safety then he was sorely mistaken as the tyrant then had him executed by being thrown off a hill.

That's the Brazen Bull over there on the left, and you wouldn't want to be inside it.
Wikimedia Commons

However, the inventor might have had the last laugh (at least in spirit) as the Brazen Bull became the tyrant's favourite toy right up until his reign came to an end in 554 BC.

Phalaris enjoyed the spectacle of the bull rocking back and forth as one of his enemies was cooked alive inside it, and he had their bones made into jewellery afterwards.

The torture device could take up to 10 minutes to kill someone who was being roasted alive inside, as the tyrant discovered when he was overthrown by a guy called Telemachus.

He had Phalaris thrown inside the Brazen Bull and the tyrant was killed by his own torture device.

The Brazen Bull was later seized by the Carthaginians before being nabbed by the Romans centuries later, and there are accounts of Roman emperors using the bull to kill Christians.

Featured Image Credit: Flickr/ Discovery

Topics: Weird, World News, History