The most terrible torture

What was the most terrible in the Middle Ages? Perhaps the lack of toothpaste, shampoo or good soap. For young people, this time will seem boring, because they danced there under the slow music of mandolin. Medicine in that era knew nothing about antibiotics, or about vaccinations. The endless series of wars was terrible.

Although our ancestors at that time did not write electronic wars and invented a cinema, they were very resourceful. The most terrible invention of that time was the instruments for torture. It was the man who invented all those tools that became tools of Christian justice and the Inquisition. For the contemporary “Iron Maiden” – just a musical group, and for the Middle Ages this word was firmly associated with one of the most terrible devices.

The term “inquisition” literally means “inquiry” or “interrogation”. Even before the appearance of these church institutions in the Middle Ages the term was widely used in the legal field. He usually meant getting full information about the circumstances of the case through interrogations and using force. Over time, the Inquisition began to imply spiritual trials of anti-Christian views.

Torture of the Middle Ages had hundreds of varieties. The interrogations themselves usually took place behind closed doors, only moans and cries could be heard outside. This gave vent to the imagination, further strengthening the effect. But the executions were already well known to contemporaries, which enabled artists of those times to capture what was happening with maximum realism.

Until now, few of the medieval torture instruments have survived, usually even museum exhibits are only reconstructed by descriptions of the samples. Even the variations of those that have come down to us are amazing. Today, many believe that most guns were used for intimidation, and not for real torment. Nevertheless, June 26 was proclaimed the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. We will tell below about the twenty most terrible instruments of torture and executions of the Middle Ages.

Shoes with thorns.

These shoes are very different from the usual ones – they are made of iron, and under the heel there is a sharp spike. It could be screwed up with a screw. In this situation, the victim could not stand fully on his leg, he had to lean on his socks until he had enough strength. Do you think it is easy? Try so to stand for a long time. The main place where such shoes were distributed – Central Europe. A similar torture was used. The sinners, stripped naked, were put on an armchair, studded with thorns. It was simply impossible to move – in addition to stab wounds, ragged ones appeared. Sometimes the inquisitors seemed to have little, they themselves took tongs or thorns in their hands and tormented the limbs of the victim. If there were no terrible shoes on his feet, the sinners could suffer much more. With the exhaustion of the same forces, the body itself leaned on the heel, causing new streams of pain and blood.

Fork of the heretic.

The device included 4 spikes at once. Two of them rested on the unfortunate chin, and the rest – in the chest. Thus, the victim could not move his head, even lower it a little lower. It was extremely painful to be in this stationary state for a long time.

Witch bathing chair.

The chair was intended for sinners, the design was attached to a long pole. The stick, together with the man at the end, was lowered into the water for a short time. Then the unfortunate was taken out, allowed to inhale a little air and then dipped again. At the same time torturers tried to choose the cold season – late autumn or winter. Did not bother the ice – it made an ice-hole. As a result, the victim not only suffered under the water without the necessary air, but also in the desired air was covered with a crust of ice. Such a brutal torture could last several days.

Spanish boot.

This item has nothing to society with the grace of Spanish shoes. On the foot of the prisoner was wearing a fastening with a metal plate. As soon as the martyr refused to answer the next question, the plate was tightened even tighter.This had a crushing effect on the bones of the legs. To make the effect even stronger in torture, the inquisitor could take part. He also hit the fastener with a hammer. As a result, after the torture of the victim, all the bones below the knee turned out to be fragmented, and the skin itself looked like a bag for wreckage.

Water torture.

The inquisitors have been tortured by the Inquisitors from the East. The unfortunate was tied up with strong ropes or even barbed wire to a table-like device with a high raised center. This made it possible to raise the belly of a person as high as possible. The sinner’s mouth was clogged with straw or rags, so that he could not close, after which a huge amount of water was poured into the victim. If a person did not interrupt the torture, wanting to admit, or the goal was originally his death, then in the end the victim was removed from the table and laid on the ground. Then the executioner jumped on his bloated stomach. The rest is understandable and terrible.

Iron hook.

This tool of torture is also called a cat’s claw. But scratching it with his back was not recommended. With the help of the device, the victim was torn from the flesh, and did it deliberately slowly and painfully. The highest point of torment was pulling the hook not only pieces of meat, but also ribs.


In our country this weapon is very well known, but very few people know that there were two versions of it. On a vertical rack, a man was suspended from the ceiling, turning out the joints. Then, to the feet, all the greater and greater heaviness was gradually suspended. In the horizontal version, the victim’s body was fixed, and then stretched gradually by a special mechanism. In the end, the person burst joints and muscles.

Quartering by horses.

The number of horses was chosen according to the number of limbs – four. A man was tied to horses by the arms and legs. Then the animals were allowed to gallop. Surviving after this was unrealistic.


In this case, we are not talking about fruit, but about adaptation. It was inserted into the most intimate holes of the victim’s body and then opened. At the same time, the holes were torn. And the man suffered unbearable agony.

Purification of the soul.

The Catholic clergy believed that the person’s soul should be clean, and the soul of the sinner can be tried to purify. Only the methods used were very original. In the throat of the unfortunate poured or boiling water, or pushed into the burning coals. The inquisitors were so eager to take care of the soul that they did not consider it necessary to think about the body.

Hanging cage.

This device could be operated in two versions. If the weather was cold, then, as with the witch chair, a sinner was placed in the cage. She was hung up to a long pole and lowered into the water, causing the person to alternately freeze and choke. If the weather was hot, the unfortunate person was simply left in the sun without the ability to quench any thirst.

Press for the skull.

It is not clear how through such an adaptation it was possible to make a sinner repent. After all, because of the strong pressure on the skull, first the teeth were compressed and crumbled, then the jaw, and then the skull bones. As a result, the compressed brain began to pour out of the ears. It is terrible to imagine, but according to rumors, in some countries one of the varieties of such a press is still used for interrogation.


For a long time such a measure was the main one in order to eliminate the influence of evil forces on other sinless souls. It was reasonably believed that the burnt soul could no longer tempt or confuse, by messing up, another sinless soul. In those days there was no doubt about it.

The cradle of Judas, or Vigil.

Invented this infernal invention of Ippolit Marsili. At one time the gun was even considered very merciful – it did not break bones, did not tear ligament. The sinner was initially picked up on a rope, and then seated on that same Cradle. The vertex of the triangle was inserted into the anus. It became so painful that the sinner quickly fainted.But the Inquisitors did not intend to leave the unfortunate in this state. The man was brought to life and again began to plant on the Cradle. It seems that at the moment of enlightenment the sinners remembered Ippolit with a “kind” word.


This gun is a close relative of the previous one. In this case, not the vertex itself was used, but the sharp plane on which the unfortunate was seated. At his feet were fastened loads that made the body sit more tightly on a sharp strip.

Iron Meydn.

Other names for such weapons are “Iron” or “Nuremberg maiden”. The Germans invented for torture a large sarcophagus in the form of an open hollow female figure. Inside were numerous spikes and blades. They were located so as not to touch the vital organs of the inside of the victim. As a result, the martyr’s agony was long and terrible. History preserved the date of the first use of the Virgin – 1515. The sentenced managed to live three days.

Armchair interrogation.

This weapon was very popular in Central Europe. The sinner was stripped naked before torture and seated for interrogation on a spiked chair. If a person started the slightest movement, then on the body appeared not only punctured wounds, but also ruptures. In the event that the inquisitors felt that this was not enough, they took tongs or thorns into their hands and stabbed the victim with extra limbs.


Sitting at the stake was invented not at all in Russia, but in the East. According to the rules, the special skill of torture was that the count should not come out of the body, but from the victim’s throat. In this case, the unfortunate person could live for several days, suffering both physically and morally. Such an execution was usually performed in public.


In those days, ingenuity was welcomed among the executioners and inquisitors. Sometimes they know better than doctors why a person can feel pain. They also knew that in the unconscious state, people do not feel pain. In the Middle Ages it was generally a natural matter to make torture and executions as painful as possible. Death was already a common thing, you could meet it anywhere and anytime. One of the unusual and painful deaths was sawing. The victim was hung upside down, so that the blood continued to supply oxygen to the brain, and the person fully experienced all the terrible pain. There were cases when the victim was conscious until the moment when the saw slowly reached the diaphragm.


For those who could finish reading this text to the end, we will tell about the most terrible instrument of torture. Sentenced to a large crowbar or wheel broke all the large bones of the body. Then the victim was tied to a large wheel, which was mounted on a pole. A man looked up at the sky, death usually comes from dehydration and shock. However, it had to wait a long time. Moreover, the suffering of the unfortunate was aggravated by the birds, who pecked the prisoner. Often instead of a wheel, wooden frames or a cross of logs were used.

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