Gallonio: Tortures
The text of Gallonio: Tortures


In the first place, the ministers of cruelty would make ready (as sundry passages from the Acts of the Saints above referred to, and particularly those of St. Pionius, do manifest) mallet, iron nails, and a cross made of wood, which they then set on the ground, sometimes attaching ropes thereto, for fastening to the hands and feet of such as were to be crucified. Then laying the holy Martyrs, or it may be others of their own vain religion which had been condemned for some crime, on the wood, after stripping them of their clothes, they hung them by means of four (such would seem most probably to have been the number) nails thereon. This done, they raised the cross along with the victims fixed to the same, and setting it up in a hole dug out for the purpose, left them to the bitter agony of a lingering death, —hanging there till they rotted away, as Valerius Maximus in several passages clearly implies. From this we may gather that the Jews differed from the Gentiles with regard to removing the bodies of those crucified from the cross. The latter, as we have just noted, left them to hang on the gibbet till they rotted; but the Jews did otherwise, for in accord with the Law as declared in Deuteronomy, ch. xxi., they were used to take them down the same day and bury them in a convenient place.

Secondly, of the other sort of Cross, which we did show at the beginning of the chapter, on Seneca’s authority, to have been a sharp stake, we shall say little in the present work, forasmuch as hitherto we have been unable to find in the histories of the ancient Martyrs any record of such a punishment being inflicted, unless indeed we choose to include under this head the torture inflicted on certain most glorious athletes of Christ by having pointed sticks driven through their inwards. But of this, an if God favour us, we shall treat in the last chapter of our book. Another partly similar punishment is described by Theodoret (Ecclesiastical History) in the following words: “But when he beholds him (St. Benjamin) making mock of this torture, he commands yet another reed to be pushed this time into his genital member, the which reed being drawn out and pushed in again, did cause him inexpressible torments. Afterward the savage tyrant orders a stout rod, thick and extremely rough by reason of branches that stuck out all over it, to be inserted up his fundament.” So far Theodoret. It is a fact, moreover, that the Turks impaled on stakes Hadrian of the Order of St. Dominic and twenty-six others, his companions; and the like punishment is spoke of by Procopius (Vandal War). But of this enough.