Keelhauling: Greece

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Keelhauling, which essentially means “to drag along the keel,” was a kind of punishment that historically included the threat of death for seafarers. The seaman was dragged under the ship’s keel either the entire length of the ship or from one side of the ship to the other while being tied to a line looped beneath the boat (from bow to stern).

Crucifixion: Roman Empire

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A massive wooden cross or beam is tied or nailed to the victim, who is then allowed to hang there until eventually passing away from weariness and asphyxiation, which embodies crucifixion. Among others, the Persians, Carthaginians, and Romans employed it as a form of punishment. In several regions of the world, crucifixion was still practiced in the 20th century.

Breaking Wheel: Europe

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People who were sentenced to death by the wheel would be brought to a public stage and tethered to the ground. The execution wheel was a sizable wooden wheel, similar to those seen on wooden transport carts and carriages. It was intended that the wheel gruesomely mutilated the body rather than killing the convict.

Poena Cullei: Ancient Rome

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Under Roman law, a subject who had been found guilty of patricide (killing your father) would receive the death punishment known as poena cullei (which means “penalty of the sack”). An array of live animals, including a dog, snake, monkey, chicken, or rooster, were sewed inside a leather sack as part of the punishment before being dumped into water.

Blood Eagle: Sweden

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According to late skaldic poetry, the blood eagle was a technique for execution. The victims, who were members of royal families, were reportedly positioned in a prone position, their ribs were torn from their spines with a sharp object, and their lungs were then pushed through the opening to form a pair of wings.

Boiling alive: ancient China, some Native American tribes

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Death by boiling involves killing a person by submerging them into a boiling liquid. Boiling to death has been used in numerous regions of Europe and Asia, although not being used as frequently as other methods of execution. Death by boiling is an incredibly painful method of execution because of the drawn-out procedure.

Burning: Native America

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Immolation, commonly referred to as death by burning, is an execution and murder technique that involves combustion or exposure to high heat. It has a lengthy history as a type of public execution, and numerous cultures have used it as a deterrent and a means of punishment for offences like sedition, treason, heresy, and witchcraft.

Scaphism: ancient Persia

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The boats, or scaphism, is a purported ancient Persian execution technique that Plutarch mentions in his Life of Artaxerxes. According to the story, it involved trapping the victim between two boats, feeding and covering them with milk and honey, and then letting them fester and eventually be eaten by insects and other vermin.

Garrote: Spain, Portugal

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A garrote is a tool used to strangle a prisoner. It is typically a hand-held ligature using ropes, fabric, cable ties, nylon, fishing lines, guitar strings, phone cords, and piano wire. The convict is made to sit in the seat while the wire is tightened with a stick behind them, eventually strangling them to death.

Drawing and quartering: medieval England

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The statutory punishment for persons found guilty of high treason was to be hung, drawn, and quartered in the UK. The executed traitor was dragged by horse to the execution site while being fastened to a hurdle or wooden panel. There, he was hanged until nearly dead before being emasculated, disemboweled, beheaded, and quartered (chopped into four pieces).

Bamboo torture: ancient China

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Bamboo torture is a kind of execution method in which a bamboo shoot is forced through the body of the victim. It is thought to have been practiced in nations including China, India, and Japan. After World War II, rumors of Japanese soldiers torturing allied prisoners of war by hanging them tightly above a budding bamboo stalk began to spread.

Sawing: ancient Mesopotamia

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The act of sawing or cutting a living person in half is known as death by sawing. It has been said that several places of the world have adopted the death by sawing form of execution and there have been many sawing deaths documented. The sawing is alleged to have occurred through the middle in cases involving the Roman emperor Caligula.

Flaying: ancient Assyria

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Flaying, or skinning, is a procedure of slowly and painfully removing skin from the body, but an effort is made to leave the skin flap intact. Depending on how much of the skin is removed, flailing individuals can be used as a form of torture or as a means of death. There are other accounts of persons who were flayed after they passed away, typically to degrade the body of a notorious enemy or criminal.

Pressing: medieval Europe

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This type of execution is widely known as death by crushing or pressing and has a long and rich history, during which the methods employed varied widely from place to place. Typically, huge weights are applied to a person with the intention of eventually killing them, making it a torturous method of execution.

Trampled by horses: Baghdad

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The Mongolians tended to use this form of execution when they did not want to spill royal blood. They actually use this method when they executed Al-Musta’sim, the last Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad. Al-Musta’sim came to his demise by being trampled by a herd of horses.

Crushed by an elephant: Southeast Asia

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The elephants, and other animals too, were taught to execute people instantly or torment them over an extended period of time. Elephants were most frequently utilized by royalty to denote their authority over wild animals as well as their power over life and death of their subjects.

Premature Burying: China

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Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of a united China, suppressed intellectual thought by burning books and burying academics. In 212 BC, it is said that 460 Confucian intellectuals were buried alive along with books and literature believed to be subversive.

Back-breaking: Mongolia

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Hanging: United States, United Kingdom, Japan

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With the noose around their necks, the convicted prisoner is hanged using the short drop technique while standing on a higher support like a stool, ladder, cart, or other vehicle. The person is then left hanging from the rope after the support has been removed, causing strangling and death. It usually takes between 10 and 20 minutes.

Lethal injection: United States, China

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A lethal injection is a procedure in which a person is given medications by injection, with the explicit goal of hastening their demise. The primary use of this practice is the death penalty, although it is also possible to use the term in a more general sense to refer to euthanasia and other suicide methods.

Firing squad: United States, China, Vietnam

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Executions by firing squad, often known as fusillading, were once a prevalent form of capital punishment, especially during times of war and in the military. Guns are typically accessible, and a shot to a crucial organ like the heart or brain will typically cause death very fast, which made it a preferable execution option.

Stoning: Iran, Saudi Arabia

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Lapidation, often known as stoning, is a kind of execution where a group of people throw stones at a victim until they suffer blunt trauma and pass away. Since ancient times, it has been documented as a means of punishing serious crimes, and was often use in the UK witch trials.

Electric chair: United States

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An electric chair is a tool used to electrocute someone to death. When in use, electrodes are fastened to the condemned person’s head and leg while they are strapped to a chair made specifically for the purpose. A dentist from Buffalo, New York named Alfred P. Southwick invented this execution technique in 1881. It was developed throughout the 1880s as a purportedly compassionate substitute for hanging, and it was first utilized in 1890.

Gas chamber: United States, Germany

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A gas chamber is a device that uses gas to asphyxiate or poison people or other creatures, with the primary target of killing the convicts. It consists of a sealed chamber into which the gas is pumped into. Carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide are two examples of poisonous substances employed.

Beheading: Saudi Arabia, China

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The complete removal of the head from the body is known as decapitation or beheading. Since the brain is devoid of oxygenated blood and all other organs are deprived of the automatic functions required for the body to operate, such an injury is generally fatal to humans and the majority of other animals. It was practiced widely around the world as a method of execution.

Impalement: Romania, Ottoman Empire, Algiers

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In Algiers, hooks were incorporated into the city walls, and occasionally, victims were flung onto them from the battlements. One source claims that the introduction of these hooks in the walls as an execution technique coincided with the building of the new city gate in 1573.

Starvation: various places and times

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Immurement is a type of confinement in which a person is kept in an enclosed space with no exits, generally until death. The prisoner is simply left to starve or become dehydrated when the main target is to kill the prisoner rather than torture them. This method of execution differs from being buried alive, when the victim usually passes away from asphyxiation.

Slow slicing: ancient China

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Lingchi is death by slicing, more often known as death by a thousand cuts and variably translated as the long process, the lingering death, or gradual slicing. It was a method of torture and execution utilized in China from around 900 CE until the practice came to an end in the early 1900s. It was also utilized in Korea and Vietnam.

Drowning: Cambodia

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It’s prohibited against spilling the blood of royalty in many cultures and societies so when a king or members of the royal family were put to death, it was deemed essential that they were drowned to prevent the spilling of blood. For instance, in Cambodia, royal family members were only ever executed by drowning.

Falling: ISIS, Delphi, Sardinia

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Since ancient times, people have been executed by being thrown or dropped from tremendous heights. Those who are executed in this manner pass away from injuries sustained from the impact. The sacrilegious were thrown from the Hyampeia, the tall cliff of the Phaedriades east of the Castalian Spring, in ancient Delphi. It’s been more recently used by ISIS to execute prisoners.