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Death penalty method for killing relative in Ancient Rome was one of most disturbing ways to die

Death penalty method for killing relative in Ancient Rome was one of most disturbing ways to die

As a general rule don't murder your father, but definitely don't in Ancient Rome as they had a horrible punishment

Throughout history there have been some really messed up methods of execution, proving if nothing else that us humans can occasionally be a little bit mean to each other.

While no method of execution is exactly enjoyable, some of them are surely worse than others given how long and painful they end up being.

When it comes to Ancient Rome they definitely knew how to kill someone, having all sorts of methods of executing people depending on the crimes.

Your bog-standard criminal getting sentenced to death in ancient times would be killed by strangulation, but for certain crimes there were more severe punishments.

A popular Roman pastime was throwing people off the Tarpeian Rock, an 80ft high cliff from which traitors and murderers were flung.

Ancient Rome in all its glory. Not pictured, some guy getting stuffed in a sack and thrown in a river.
FALKENSTEINFOTO / Alamy Stock Photo

Then of course there's crucifixion, which was considered pretty much the worst punishment possible and usually reserved for those who tried to revolt against Rome itself.

After being defeated in battle around 6,000 men from the armies of Spartacus were crucified along one of Rome's most important roads.

However, for the crime of patricide, the murder of one's own father, the Romans had a very particular method of execution and it sounds really horrific.

It's pretty safe to say the victims of Poena Cullei didn't have a good time, but they had murdered their fathers so they probably weren't very nice people.
Amusing Planet

It was known as 'Poena Cullei', which in Latin means 'penalty of the sack' and involves the convicted father-murderer being put into a sack with several live animals and then having the sack thrown into water.

The first documented cases of this being used as an execution method are from around 100BC, though it may have been used before that, and it would be some time before animals got thrown into the mix.

At first the animals involved were only snakes, but over time the Romans refined the formula so that the person was in the sack with a dog, chicken, monkey and snake all at once.

Thrown into the water together, the idea was that the animals would panic and attack each other and the human while they were all drowning together, rendering one's last moments a terrifying panic.

The punishment would continue for centuries and outlived the fall of the Roman Empire in the West as the Eastern Romans, also known as the Byzantines, continued to use it as the penalty for patricide.

While the Byzantines eventually replaced it with burning a person alive, Poena Cullei found something of a revival in medieval Germany.

The final official recorded time this execution method was used was in 1734 in Saxony, and it was officially outlawed as a punishment in 1761.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay Animal Planet

Topics: Weird, Crime