>Torture Practices in Antiquity

>Violence, atrocities, and torture were practiced widely by the nations of antiquity as a mean of subjugating conquered people and as a way discouraging people not to revolt against their overlords.

In a recent article published in Spiegel online, Matthias Schulz describes some of the ways used by the empires of antiquity to torture people. The following is an excerpt from the article:

In the ancient Far East, where there were large states peopled by many different ethnicities, leaders demonstrated their might by inventing ingenious new tortures and agonizing methods of execution — as a way to keep the population obedient.

The judges of ancient Babylon were particularly enthusiastic. The cutting off of feet, lips and noses, blinding, gutting and the tearing out of the heart were all standard punishments in this corner of the ancient world.

But the Assyrians seem to have been the masters of brutality. They were also extremely verbose about the grisly ends they wreaked upon their enemies. “I will hack up the flesh and then carry it with me, to show off in other countries,” exulted Ashurbanipal, an Assyrian king who reigned from 668 to 627 BC. And his heir liked to cut open the bellies of his opponents “as though they were young rams.”

Read the article in its entirety by clicking here.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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