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Torture Devices

Medieval life and Times

Torture and Punishment - Torture Devices
During the Medieval times inflicting pain and torture was an accepted form of punishment or interrogation. The cruel and pitiless torturers were induced to inflict the horrors of torture or punishment, using a huge variety of Torture Devices, on the pitiful prisoners. Different types of torture or methods of punishment were inflicted, depending on the crime and the social status of the victim, using various methods and various types of devices or instruments.

Definition of Torture Devices
The definition of a torture devices is as follows:  - Torture devices consist of any piece of equipment, especially a mechanical one, designed specifically for inflicting unbearable agony on a victim. The objectives of torture devices were to inflict pain and also intimidate victims. Just the sight of a torture device would frighten a prisoner into a confession. Torture devices were therefore used as a tool or a method for the extraction of information or confessions.

List of Medieval Torture Devices
The instruments or torture devices used in Medieval times included some of the following terrible devices, tools or machines:

  • Boot or Spanish boot
  • Branding Irons
  • Judas Cradle
  • Strappado
  • Brodequin
  • Branding Irons
  • The Collar
  • The Rack
  • Thumbscrews
  • The Wheel

  • Foot press
  • Foot screw
  • Heretic's fork
  • Water Torture
  • Brank
  • The Collar
  • Drunkards Cloak
  • The Maiden
  • Pillory
  • The Scavenger's daughter
  • Scold's bridle
  • Stocks
  • Ducking stools

Torture Devices of the Inquisition
No torture methods or torture devices were allowed in an Inquisition that resulted in bloodshed, mutilation or death. A common form of torture was hanging the accused by their wrists, hoisted above ground and then having weights hung from their ankles. This torture device was known as the Judas Cradle and a similar device was called the Strappado. The following list of Torture Devices of the Inquisition were commonly used during the Medieval era:

  • The Boot or Spanish boot
  • Brodequin
  • Branding Irons
  • The Collar
  • Rack
  • Thumbscrews
  • The Wheel

  • Foot press
  • Foot screw
  • Heretic's fork
  • Water Torture
  • Judas Cradle
  • Strappado

Injuries inflicted by Medieval Torture Devices
Various Torture Devices which were used during the Medieval era were designed to inflict the maximum amount of pain. The torture devices that were invented made it easier for the torturers or inquisitors to inflict the following injuries with the minimum effort:

  • Ripping out teeth / nails
  • Blinding
  • Boiling
  • Flagellation, whipping and beating
  • Flaying
  • Roasting
  • Genital mutilation
  • Limb/finger removal
  • Starvation
  • Tongue removal

  • Bone breaking
  • Branding and Burning
  • Castration
  • Choking
  • Cutting
  • Disfigurement
  • Dislocation
  • Drowning

Other torture devices included those resulting in the compression of the limbs by special instruments, or by ropes, injection of water, vinegar, or oil into the body of the accused.

The Law, Crime, Torture and Punishment - Torture Devices
There were no laws or rules to protect the treatment of prisoners who faced torture and horrific Torture Devices were used in the name of justice and the law. No matter what the type of torture or punishment was used it was seen as a totally legitimate means for justice to extract confessions, obtain the names of accomplices, obtain testimonies or confessions or to impose a penalty, sanctioned by law for a wrong committed.

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