Impalement is the penetration of an organism by an object such as a stake, pole, spear or hook, by complete (or partial) perforation of the central body mass. This article has a primary focus on impalement as a form of execution, how it was performed, and highlighting some places where it was used. The reviewed literature suggests that impalement across a number of cultures was regarded as a very harsh form of capital punishment, as it was used particularly in response to "crimes against the state". Impalement is particularly mentioned as a punishment within the context of war, such as with the suppression of rebels, punishment of traitors or collaborators, or for breaches of military discipline.
Disregard for the state's responsibility for safe roads and trade routes by committing highway robbery/grave theft, violating state policies/monopolies, or subverting standards for trade are also recorded among offenses where impalement was occasionally used as punishment. For example, visiting Egypt for the first time 1657–58 Jean de Thévenot observed a man impaled for using false weights. Offenders have also been impaled for a variety of cultural, sexual and religious crimes. The Holy Roman Empire, a political entity roughly corresponding to modern-day Germany, is an example of a state in which impalement was used.
References to impalement are found as early as the 18th century BC, in the old cultures of the Ancient Near East, such as Babylonia, Ancient Egypt and the Neo-Assyrian Empire. A great bulk of the evidence is confined to the geographical region of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Asia Minor, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, but a variety of cultures outside this core area are reported to have used impalement as a form of execution for various types of perceived crime. For example, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese colonialists are reported to have used impalement to subjugate indigenous tribes, or as a punishment meted out to slaves. In the latter half of the 18th century, British colonialist authorities in India seem to have, on occasion, approved of, and advocated, the local practice of impaling robbers.
The practice of impalement is well attested into the 19th century, for example within the Ottoman Empire, with allegations of the practice reaching into the 20th century.
- 1 Impalement in codes of law
- 2 Methods
- 3 Behavior of the impaled
- 4 Rituals of impalement
- 5 Historical studies
- 6 The "bamboo torture"
- 7 Impalement in myth and art
- 8 See also
- 9 References and notes
- 10 Bibliography
Impalement in codes of law
The Indian sub-continent is an example where impalement as a punishment is mentioned explicitly several times in myth and in the tradition of codes of law.. In the Mahabharata, it is said that the (mythical) king Ugrasena ordained that wine drinking was to be forbidden, on pain of impalement. The old, yet historical, Bengali law code Arthashastra (composed between the 4th century BC and 200 AD), specifies the following crimes as punishable by impalement, or suka: murder with violence, infliction of undeserved punishment, spreading of false reports, highway robbery, and theft of or wilful injury to the king's horse, elephant or chariot. In the celebrated Laws of Manu, paragraph 276 states: "Of robbers, who break a wall or partition, and commit theft in the night, let the prince order the hands to be lopped off, and themselves to be fixed on a sharp stake." The 3rd-5th century law code Yājñavalkya Smṛti stipulates that he who rescues a prisoner should be impaled. In early 16th century Malabar, on authority Ludovico di Varthema, who visited there in the first decade of the century, the prescribed law for murder was impalement. Fernão Nunes, being 1535–37 in the Vijayanagara Empire that covered the southern part of present day India notes that nobles found guilty of treason had a wooden stake pushed through their belly.
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Impalement typically involves the body of a person being pierced through by a long stake, but sharp hooks, either fully penetrating the body, or becoming embedded in it, have also been used.
- Longitudinal impalement.
Impaling an individual along the body length has been documented in several cases, and the merchant Jean de Thevenot provides an eyewitness account of this, from 17th century Egypt, in the case of a man condemned to death for the use of false weights:
They lay the Malefactor upon his Belly, with his Hands tied behind his Back, then they slit up his Fundament with a Razor, and throw into it a handful of Paste that they have in readiness, which immediately stops the Blood. After that they thrust up into his Body a very long Stake as big as a Mans Arm, sharp at the point and tapered, which they grease a little before; when they have driven it in with a Mallet, till it come out at his Breast, or at his Head or Shoulders, they lift him up, and plant this Stake very streight in the Ground, upon which they leave him so exposed for a day. One day I saw a Man upon the Pale, who was Sentenced to continue so for three Hours alive and that he might not die too soon, the Stake was not thrust up far enough to come out at any part of his Body, and they also put a stay or rest upon the Pale, to hinder the weight of his body from making him sink down upon it, or the point of it from piercing him through, which would have presently killed him: In this manner he was left for some Hours, (during which time he spoke) and turning from one side to another, prayed those that passed by to kill him, making a thousand wry Mouths and Faces, because of the pain be suffered when he stirred himself, but after Dinner the Basha sent one to dispatch him; which was easily done, by making the point of the Stake come out at his Breast, and then he was left till next Morning, when he was taken down, because he stunk horridly.
Within Zulu culture, the impalement process known as ukujoja could be somewhat different: A stick of considerable length was inserted that could reach up to the lungs, or several sticks were driven into the person's abdomen from different angles, or the person was impaled with a branched stick that would split once inserted. 
- Transversal impalement
The impalement could, alternatively, be in the frontal-to-dorsal direction, that is, from front (through abdomen, chest or directly through the heart) to back or vice versa For a variety of offenses, transversal impalement was practiced as a form of execution within the Holy Roman Empire and Switzerland. Serving as an example, the 1. August 1465 in Zurich, Switzerland, Ulrich Moser was condemned to be impaled, for having sexually violated 6 girls between the ages four and nine. His clothes were taken off, and he was placed on his back. His arms and legs were stretched out, each secured to a pole. Then a stake was driven through his navel down into the ground. Thereafter, people left him to die.
A rather more standardized manner of transversal impalement within the Holy Roman Empire is that which was retained in article 131 in the 1532 Constitutio Criminalis Carolina for women found guilty of infanticide. Generally, they should be drowned, but the law code allowed for, in particularly severe cases, that the old punishment could be implemented: that is, the woman would be buried alive, and then a stake would be driven through her heart.
Although the tradition of burying alive and impaling women found guilty of infanticide is the one codified in the 1532 law, another judicial tradition, concerning rapists, is also attested, to which the case of Ulrich Moser might be compared. In that judicial tradition, the rapist was to be placed in an open grave, and the rape victim was ordered to make the three first strokes on the stake herself; the executioners then finishing the impalement procedure.
- Impalement by hooks
Tournefort, travelling on botanical research in the Levant 1700–02, observed both ordinary longitudinal impalement, but also a method called "gaunching", in which the condemned is hoisted up by means of a rope over a bed of sharp metal hooks. He is then released, and depending on how the hooks enter his body, he may survive in impaled condition for a few days. 40 years earlier than Tournefort, Thévenot described much the same process, adding it was seldom used, because it was regarded as too cruel.
While gaunching as de Tournefort describes involves the erection of a scaffold, it seems that in the city of Algiers, hooks were embedded in the city walls, and on occasion, people were thrown upon them from the battlements. Thomas Shaw, who was chaplain for the Levant Company stationed at Algiers during the 1720s, describes the various forms of executions practiced as follows:
"When a Jew or a Christian slave, or subject is guilty of murder, or any other capital crime, he is carried without the gates of the city, and burnt alive: but the Moors and Arabs are either impaled for the same crime, or else they are hung up by the neck, over the battlements of the city walls, or else they are thrown upon the chingan or hooks that are fixed all over the walls below, where sometimes they break from one hook to another, and hang in the most exquisite torments, thirty or forty hours. The Turks are not publickly punished, like other offenders. Out of respect to their characters, they are always sent to the house of the Aga, where, according to the quality of the misdemeanor, they are bastinadoed or strangled."
According to one source, these hooks in the wall as an execution method were introduced with the construction of the new city gate in 1573. Before that time, gaunching as described by de Tournefort was in use. As for the actual frequency of throwing persons on hooks in Algiers, Capt. Henry Boyde notes that in his own 20 years of captivity there, he knew of only one case where a Christian slave who had murdered his master had met that fate, and "not above" two or three Moors besides.
A slightly variant way of executing people by means of impalement, was to force an iron meat hook beneath a person's ribs, and hang him up to die slowly. This technique was, in 18th century Ottoman-controlled Bosnia called the cengela, but the practice is also attested, for example, from 1770s Dutch Suriname, as a punishment meted out to rebellious slaves.
- Impaled and roasted
From time to time, it is recorded that "ordinary" impalement was aggravated beyond that punishment, in that the impaled individual also was roasted over a fire. During a famine in Persia in 1668, the government took severe measures against those trying to profiteer from the misfortune of the populace. Restaurant owners found guilty of profiteering were slowly roasted on spits, whereas greedy bakers were baked in their own ovens. Ibrahim Pasha, the heir apparent in 1810s Egypt, was charged at one time of having spitted and roasted two Arabs found guilty of murdering a soldier:
In the case of two Arabs, who had killed a soldier, not without provocation, this Bashaw had them fastened to a pole, like two rabbits on a spit, and roasted alive at a slow fire: yet this man is now heir to the government of Egypt on the death of Mahomet Ali.
Even fateful encounters with cannibals are recorded: In 1514, in the Americas, Francis of Cordoba and 5 companions were, reportedly, caught, impaled on spits, roasted and eaten by the natives. In 1543, such was also the end of a previous bishop, Vincent de Valle Viridi.
- Martyrdom of St. Benjamin
Christian martyrology is replete with horror stories of how saints supposedly were martyred for their faith. Whatever truth value belongs to these tales, one particularly bad fate is said to have befallen Saint Benjamin in AD 424 in Persia. According to his hagiography, when the king was apprised that Benjamin refused to stop preaching, he "...caused reeds to be run in between the nails and the flesh, both of his hands and feet, and to be thrust into other most tender parts, and drawn out again, and this to be frequently repeated with violence. Lastly, a knotty stake was thrust into his bowels, to rend and tear them, in which torment he expired...."
Behavior of the impaled
Many accounts speak of the impaled one writhing and screaming in agony, begging passersby to kill them. A particular feature about this manner of dying is said to be to feel a "ravaging thirst" and the impaled victims are often reported begging for water. Others are reported to have been quite able to converse with people while impaled, sometimes smoking or drinking rakia on the stake as, for example, the Austrian bureaucrat Friedrich Wilhelm von Taube noted during his official inspection tour in the Kingdom of Slavonia in 1776. Some seem to have retained a grim sense of humour in their impaled condition. For example in 1714 in the Cape Colony under the Dutch, the black slave Titus, who had been the lover of his master's wife and conspired to murder her husband, was sentenced to be impaled. Four hours after being impaled, he was given some arrack to drink, but advised not to drink too much, lest he become drunk. Titus retorted that it hardly would matter, since he sat fast enough, and was in no danger of falling down.
At times, soldiers were placed on duty to prevent people from assuaging the thirst of the impaled by giving them something to drink. According to the same source, the Dutch captain Johan Splinter Stavorinus, witnessing such an execution in Batavia 1769, the impaled victim would quickly die if it began to rain, because the water entering the wound would lead to swift mortification of the flesh, and development of gangrene within "the nobler parts". The man he saw was, composed and conversing with passers by in the morning, but expired within an hour after it began raining, just three hours later than Stavorinus saw him last. The French naturalist Sonnini was struck by the impression of the impaled along the road to Chania on Crete, which he visited in 1778:
"It is on the edge of this same road, which leads to the only gate that Canea has on the land side, that criminals, who have undergone the terrible punishment of empalement, are exposed. They are ranged on each side of the road; and in this dreadful rank are seen men whose body is longitudinally transpierced by a stake, some dead, others expiring; some smoking their pipe, with as much sang-froid as if they were sitting on cushions, railing at the Europeans, and living, as long as twenty-four hours, in the most excruciating torments."
Rituals of impalement
Mass executions and spectacles of horror
Occasionally, impalement has been an element in grand spectacles of horror, in which a large number are executed, often with other types of grievous punishments recorded as well. Some examples are:
"Those who were taken captive by the Britons were subjected to every known form of outrage. The worst and most bestial atrocity committed by their captors was the following. They hung up naked the noblest and most distinguished women and then cut off their breasts and sewed them to their mouths, in order to make the victims appear to be eating them; afterwards they impaled the women on sharp skewers run lengthwise through the entire body."
The Mughal emperor Jahangir made his rebellious son Prince Khusrau Mirza ride an elephant down a street lined with stakes on which the rebellious prince's supporters had been impaled alive. In his purported memoirs, Jahangir writes:
"In the course of the same Thursday I entered the castle of Lahour, where I took up my abode in the royal pavilion built by my father on this principal tower, from which to view the combats of elephants. Seated in the pavilion, having directed a number of sharp stakes to be set up in the bed of the Rauvy, I caused the seven hundred traitors who had conspired with Khossrou against my authority to be impaled alive upon them. Than this there cannot exist a more excruciating punishment, since the wretches exposed frequently linger a long time in the most agonizing torture, before the hand of death relieves them; and the spectacle of such frightful agonies must, if any thing can, operate as a due example to deter others from similar acts of perfidy and treason towards their benefactors."
Rituals of sacrifice
- Human sacrifice
"The horrid custom of impaling alive a young female, to propitiate the favour of the goddess presiding over the rainy season, that she may fill the horn of plenty, is practised here annually. The immolation of this victim to superstitious usage takes place soon after the vernal equinox; and along with her are sacrificed sheep and goats which, together with yams, heads of maize, and plantains, are hung on stakes on each side of her. Females destined thus to be destroyed, are brought up for the express purpose in the king's or caboceer's seraglio; and it is said, that their minds have previously been so powerfully wrought upon by the fetiche men, that they proceed to the place of execution with as much cheerfulness as those infatuated Hindoo women who are burnt with their husbands. One was impaled while I was at Lagos, but of course I did not witness the ceremony. I passed by where the lifeless body still remained on the stake a few days afterwards."
- Sacrificial burial rites
The Greek historian Herodotus avers that at the first anniversary of a great Scythian king's death, a grand ritual of human and animal sacrifice was performed, where (post mortem) impalement was a critical factor in order to get the desired effect:
"When a year is gone by, further ceremonies take place. Fifty of the best of the late king's attendants (...) are taken, and strangled, with fifty of the most beautiful horses. When they are dead, their bowels are taken out, and the cavity cleaned, filled full of chaff, and straitway sewn up again. This done, a number of posts are driven into the ground, in sets of two pairs each, and on every pair half the felly of a wheel is placed archwise ; then strong stakes are run lengthways through the bodies of the horses from tail to neck, and they are mounted up upon the fellies, so that the felly in front supports the shoulders of the horse, while that behind sustains the belly and quarters, the legs dangling in mid-air ; each horse is furnished with a bit and bridle, which latter is stretched out in front of the horse, and fastened to a peg. The fifty strangled youths are then mounted severally on the fifty horses. To effect this, a second stake is passed through their bodies along the course of the spine to the neck; the lower end of which projects from the body, and is fixed into a socket, made in the stake that runs lengthwise down the horse. The fifty riders are thus ranged in a circle round the tomb, and so left"
- Animal sacrifice
Impaling animals alive as a sacrificial custom is well attested for several cultures. According to Pliny the Elder, it was an annual rite in Rome to impale a dog alive on an elderberry branch. More modern forms of ritual sacrifice of animals by live impalement are also recorded. For example, in 1859, the British Government in Madras decided to circulate an order by which it forbade the sacrifice of oxen in this manner to appease the goddess Ammavaru.
In Scottish Highlands lore, a terrifying ritual called Taghairm for summoning the Devil by impaling, and roasting black cats alive is recorded. Supposedly, the Devil will grant the tormentors whatever they wish, if they just stop torturing those cats.
Post mortem shaming
Shaming the dead by means of impaling the body is attested for a number of cultures, for example in England. Not formally abolished until 1823, suicide victims and anyone killed while committing a crime could be punished post mortem with impalement, typically by a stake was driven through the corpse's heart after burial 
"By virtue of this authority the body of the self-murderer is cast with the burial of a dog into an hole dug in some public highway, which fulfils the law in this point. But in some places an additional (though not an enjoined) ignominy is practised, which consists in driving a stake through the body, and also inscribing the name and crime on a board above—" as a dreadful memorial to every passenger, how "he splits on the rock of self-murder.""
Another case from English history of shaming the dead by means of impalement comes from the 15th century, during the Wars of the Roses. John Tiptoft, 1st Earl of Worcester reportedly had twenty men, found guilty of rebellion against King Edward IV, hanged, drawn and quartered. Each corpse was beheaded and hung by the legs, spread apart. Then stakes sharpened at both ends were used, so that one of the ends was pushed into the anus, and the severed head was then placed on the remaining free end. For this act, the chronicler remarks, he became deeply hated by the people for acting contrary to the laws of the land, and Tiptoft was later executed at the Tower of London.
Although execution by impalement seems to predominantly have occurred within a martial context, a variety of cultures have exhibited this form of execution against several types of crimes against persons/religion as well, in addition to having it as the punishment for other types of crimes against the state.
Crimes against the state
Outside a strictly military context, several states are recorded of having instituted capital punishment by impalement for individuals who in some way or other have been regarded as having threatened state security, policy, privileges or monopolies of trade. For example, the 17th century Turkish Grand Vizier Köprülü Fazıl Ahmed Pasha impaled some Turks for violating treaty conditions with Venetians, and in 1834, Egyptian authorities impaled a Turk for having set fire to an Egyptian war ship in the port of Alexandria. In 1648, a traveller to Algiers noted that if the collector of the Khums, the holy tax meant for the sustenance of clerics, was found guilty of embezzling the funds, he would be impaled before the principal mosque in the city. Those violating the state monopoly on the trade in precious gems in the 17th century Kingdom of Kandy would face impalement, as would those in the 18th century kingdom of Travancore who sold bullocks to Europeans.
Highway robbery/Aggravated theft
Diverse cultures have punished harshly, even to the extreme of impaling the offenders, those who have committed highway robbery or aggravated theft. According to some accounts, pre-Columbian culture on Hispaniola punished robbery with impalement, and crime was, reportedly, extremely rare there. In the 18th century Sultanate of Aceh, thrice offenders of minor theft, or offenders of a single major theft were subject to souling, i.e., impalement. From 1748 and onwards, German regiments organized manhunts on "robbers" in Hungary/Croatia, impaling those caught. In pre-colonial Rwanda, cattle thieves could be subject to impalement. In 1860s Kashgar, the Tajik adventurer Yakub Beg and strongman in Kashgaria, the extreme west of China in the 1860–70s was said to have put down thieves by impalement, and that those who just stole a knife would be hanged.
Crimes against religion
For acts of perceived great sacrilege, some individuals, in diverse cultures, have been impaled for their effrontery. For example, roughly 1200 BC, merchants of Ugarit express deep concern to each other that a fellow citizen is to be impaled in the Phoenician town Sidon, due to some "great sin" committed against the patron deity of Sidon. The Persian satrap, that is governor, Artayctes inflamed religious passions by plundering the tomb of Protesilaus (a hero from the Trojan War) and was impaled/crucified on the orders of Athenian general Xanthippus; furthermore, Artayctes' son was stoned to death in front of him. In 1613, the governor of Syriam, the Portuguese adventurer Filipe de Brito e Nicote (who had been a mercenary under the Arakanese) was besieged by Burman forces, and subsequently impaled for defiling of Buddhist temples. One of De Brito's crimes was, apparently, to have plundered shrines for sacred bronze bells, melted them down and made cannon out of the metal.
In some cultures, heretics, or those who have apostasized from the "true faith" have been impaled for their crimes at certain times. In 1625, for example, a Shia Muslim was impaled in Mecca for refusing to "abjure his creed" During the Granada War 1482–92, which led to the destruction of the last Islamic kingdom in Spain, the conquest of Malaga around 1485 was followed by burning alive Christians discovered to have converted to Islam, and impaling baptized Jews who had relapsed into Judaism. Travelling in 1697 from Aleppo to Jerusalem, the British priest Henry Maundrell became aware of an old man who was about to be impaled, for renouncing Islam, and returning to his earlier Christian faith.
Occasionally, people found guilty of witchcraft have been condemned to be impaled. In 1587 Kiel, 101-year old Sunde Bohlen was, on being condemned as a witch, buried alive, and afterwards had a stake driven through her heart. In Zulu culture, witches, could face the punishment of (ukujoja), i.e., impalement
In Aztec culture, although stoning seems to have been the usual punishment for a woman caught in adultery, impalement was on occasion used. Similarly, in Malay Adat law, impalement, known as Hukum Sula, was the punishment for adulterers. These two cases are instances where the offenders underwent longitudinal impalement, but from the Holy Roman Empire, a tradition of live burial, plus transversal impalement is recorded. For example, from the 1348 statutes of Zwickau, it seems that an adulterous couple could be punished in the following way: They were to be placed on top of each other in a grave, with a layer of thorns between them. Then, a single stake was to be hammered through them.
- Other non-sanctioned forms of sexual intercourse
Within the Ottoman empire, men from religious minorities might face impalement for having had sexual relations with Muslim women. This happened, for example, with two Jews in the early 17th century. However, if the offender converted to Islam and married the Muslim girl, the punishment might be commuted, as instanced by a Christian man in the 18th century.
Until the early 19th century, among the Chaga people in Eastern Tanzania two unwedded youths, still economically dependent on their parents, who had sexual relations that resulted in pregnancy, could be placed on top of each other in an open grave, a single stake driven through them. As a last example, anal sex was punishable with impalement in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
- Abortion and infanticide
If a woman with her consent brings on a miscarriage, they seize her, and determine her guilt. On a stake they impale her, and do not bury her; and if through the miscarriage she dies, they likewise impale her and do not bury her
Within the Holy Roman Empire, the law code promulgated in 1532, Constitutio Criminalis Carolina, generally recommended that women found guilty of infanticide should be drowned, but allowed for, in particularly severe cases, that the woman could undergo the older punishment of being buried alive, with a stake driven through her heart afterwards. However, although the passage of time gradually disbanded the practice of impalement, as late as in 18th Bohemia, the corpses of women found guilty of infanticide had a stake driven through their hearts, after beheading.
The earliest known use of impalement as a form of execution occurred in civilizations of the Ancient Near East. For example, the Code of Hammurabi, promulgated about 1772 BC by the Babylonian king Hammurabi specifies impaling for a woman who killed her husband for the sake of another man. In the late Isin/Larsa period, from about the same time, it seems that, in some city states, mere adultery on the wife's part (without murder of her husband mentioned) could be punished by impalement. From the royal archives of the city of Mari (at the Syrian-Iraqi border by the western bank of Euphrates), most of it also roughly contemporary to Hammurabi, it is known that soldiers taken captive in war were on occasion impaled. Roughly contemporary with Babylonia under Hammurabi, king Siwe-Palar-huhpak of Elam, a country lying directly east of Babylonia in present day Iran, made official edicts in which he threatened the allies of his enemies with impalement, among other terrible fates.
- Ancient Egypt
From ancient Egypt, in the Papyrus Boulaq 18, a so-called "Theban Book of calculation", by some dated to the reign of Sobekhotep II in the 18th century BC, there is a brief mention of impalement as punishment. Only two instances of impalement used in military context by Egyptians are clearly attested; once under the pharaoh Akhenaten (r. 1353–1336 BC), where he had 80 Kushites/Nubians impaled during a campaign and once under Merneptah (r.1213-1203 BC), in a campaign against Libyans, somewhere south of Memphis. Otherwise, Egyptians reserved impalement as a punishment for severe religious crimes, in particular for tomb robbery.
Evidence by carvings and statues is found as well, for example from Neo-Assyrian empire. The image of the impaled Judeans is a detail from the public commemoration of the Assyrian victory in 701 BC after the Siege of Lachish, under King Sennacherib (r.705-681 BC), who proceeded similarly against the inhabitants of Ekron during the same campaign. From Sennacherib's father Sargon II's time (r.722-705 BC), a relief from his palace at Khorsabad shows the impalement of 14 enemies during an attack on the city of Pazashi. A peculiarity about the "Neo-Assyrian" way of impaling was that the stake was "driven into the body immediately under the ribs", rather than along the full body length. For the Neo-Assyrians, mass executions seem to have been not only designed to instill terror and to enforce obedience, but also, it can seem, as proofs of their might that they took pride in. For example, Neo-Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II (r.883-859 BC) was evidently proud enough of his bloody work that he committed it to monument and eternal memory as follows:
"I cut off their hands, I burned them with fire, a pile of the living men and of heads over against the city gate I set up, men I impaled on stakes, the city I destroyed and devastated, I turned it into mounds and ruin heaps, the young men and the maidens in the fire I burned"
Although impalement of rebels and enemies is particularly well-attested from Neo-Assyrian times, the 14th century BC Mitanni king Shattiwaza charges his predecessor, the usurper Shuttarna III for having delivered unto the (Middle) Assyrians several nobles, who had them promptly impaled.
- Ancient Persia
The Book of Ezra includes numerous documents that it reports as official decrees from Persian kings. One such decree, described as the work of Darius I of Persia for the protection of Jewish rites, reads:
"Herewith a command is issued that if anyone changes this edict, a beam must be pulled out of his house and he must be impaled on it and his house be turned into a dunghill on account of this"
Other sources credit Darius with imposing the penalty of impalement on rebels on multiple occasions, in particular during the suppression of the Babylonian_revolt, lasting ca. 522-518 BCE. In a wholly Neo-Assyrian manner, he published edicts like this, triumphantly describing the fate of rebels:
I cut off both his nose and ears, and put out one eye, he was kept bound at my palace entrance, all the people saw him. Afterwards I impaled him at Arbela
- Controversial Biblical evidence
Some controversy exist between different Bible translations concerning the actual fate of the 5th century BC Persian minister Haman and his ten sons, whether they were impaled or hanged For example, in the English Standard Version, Esther 5:14 reads:
"..and all his friends said to him, "Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast." This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made."
The New International Reader's version, however, reads:
"They said to him, "Get a pole. In the morning, ask the king to have Mordecai put to death. Have the pole stuck through his body. Set it up at a place where it will be 75 feet above the ground. Everyone will be able to see it there. Then go to the dinner with the king. Have a good time." Haman was delighted with that suggestion. So he got the pole ready."
The Assyriologist Paul Haupt opts for impalement in his 1908 essay "Critical notes on Esther", while Benjamin Shaw has an extended discussion of the topic on the website ligonier.org from 2012.
Ancient Hebrew law, which seems to have accepted that executed criminals could be exposed on a stake, seems to have let the maximally allowed time for the exposure of an executed criminal be until sunset, according to Deuteronomy 21:22-23:
"If a man is guilty of a capital offense and is put to death, you must not let his corpse remain on the stake overnight but must bury him the same day. For an impaled body is an affront to God; you shall not defile the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess"
An example of post-mortem impalement following the strictures laid down in Deuteronomy can be found in the Book of Joshua 10:22-27, where 5 kings are dragged out of the cave they were hiding in, slain, and then impaled for public display until evening. In Book of Numbers 25:4, it is not entirely clear that the divine instruction to Moses to impale those Israelites who have had sexual relations with Moabite women concerns post mortem impalement, but whether dead or alive, they are to be impaled "in the sun before the LORD"
Although conclusive evidence might be wanting either way for whether Hebrew Law allowed for impalement, or just hanging, the Neo-Assyrian method of impalement as seen in the carvings could, perhaps, equally easily be seen as a form of hanging upon a pole, rather than focusing upon the stake's actual penetration of the body.
- Roman Empire
In ancient Rome, the term "crucifixion" could also refer to impalement. This derives in part because the term for the one portion of a cross is synonymous with the term for a stake, so that when mentioned in historical sources without specific context, the exact method of execution, whether crucifixion or impalement, can be unclear. In his funerary inscription Res Gestae Divi Augusti recording what he thought of his most notable achievements, Emperor Augustus highlights that he had ordered those slaves impaled who did not return to their masters after the civil wars period preceding his reign.
Impalement was used by the Byzantine Empire, predominantly in a military context. For example, the serious contender as empereror to Michael II, Thomas the Slav, was eventually impaled in 823 when his rebellion was crushed, and in 989, emperor Basil II impaled captured rebel commanders. Relatives of previous claimants to the throne could also be impaled, as is shown by a case from 1185. Deserted soldiers could be thrown to wild animals or impaled. For a murder of a fellow soldier during a drunken brawl in 533 CE, the general Belisarius once impaled a couple of Massagetae allied soldiers, and during dowager empress Theodora's regency (842-855), persecutions against the sect of Paulicians also involved executions by impalement.
External enemies might also be impaled, as happened in 1035, when a group of captured Saracen raiders were impaled along the coastline from Adramytion to Strobilos.
- England, the case of Edward II
It has long been believed that Edward II (1284–1327) was impaled by a heated poker thrust into his anus. This idea is, for example, contained in Christopher Marlowe's play Edward II (c. 1592). That story of Edward II's death can possibly be traced back to the late 1330s; however, the very earliest accounts of Edward's demise do not corroborate impalement, but speak instead of death by illness or suffocation. It is generally accepted by historians that he was murdered by an agent of his wife, Isabella, on 11 October 1327 in Berkeley Castle.
- Wallachia, the case of Dracula
During the 15th century, Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, is credited as the first notable figure to prefer this method of execution during the late medieval period, and became so notorious for its liberal employment that among his several nicknames he was known as Vlad the Impaler. After being orphaned, betrayed, forced into exile and pursued by his enemies, he retook control of Wallachia in 1456. He dealt harshly with his enemies, especially those who had betrayed his family in the past, or had profited from the misfortunes of Wallachia. Though a variety of methods was employed, he has been most associated with his use of impalement. The liberal use of capital punishment was eventually extended to Saxon settlers, members of a rival clan, and criminals in his domain, whether they were members of the boyar nobility or peasants, and eventually to any among his subjects that displeased him. Following the multiple campaigns against the invading Ottoman Turks, Vlad would never show mercy to his prisoners of war. The road to the capital of Wallachia eventually became inundated in a "forest" of 20,000 impaled and decaying corpses, and it is reported that an invading army of Turks turned back after encountering thousands of impaled corpses along the Danube River. Woodblock prints from the era portray his victims impaled from either the frontal or the dorsal aspect, but not vertically.
- Russia, tradition of rebellion and suppression thereof
In medieval Russia impalement in its traditional way was sometimes used as a punishment for some serious crimes or, more commonly, for treason. In particular, there are some evidences of this penalty being used during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. For example, the Elizabethan diplomat and traveller Jerome Horsey notes how swift the wheels of fortune turned for one nobleman, Boris Telupa, from being a great favourite, to ending his life on the stake Faced with serious revolts, the Czars' suppressions could be extremely bloody. For example, the following is told of how Stenka Razin's rebellion was crushed:
"In November, 1671, Astrakhan, the last bastion of the rebels, fell. The participants of the revolt were subject to severe repressions. Trained troops hunted down exhausted and fleeing rebels, who were impaled on stakes, nailed to boards, torn to shreds, or flogged to death. 11 thousand people were executed in the town of Arzamas alone."
Several cases of impalement of perceived rebels occurred during the reign of Peter the Great. In 1698, the military contingent known as the Streltsy chose to rebel, in favour of Peter's half-sister Sophia. Peter quelled the revolt brutally, with several implicated impaled. During the 1707–08 Cossack revolt under Bulavin, Peter the Great vacillated in his orders whether the rebels ought to impaled and massacred, citing the suppression of the Stenka Razin as a meritorous example, or that the rebels ought to be shown clemency 
A notable execution outside wartime in Peter's reign is recorded in 1718, when he ordered Stepan Glebov, the lover of Peter's ex-wife Eudoxia Lopukhina, to be impaled publicly as a traitor. Just a few years later, in 1722, when Peter the Great demanded an oath of allegiance from his subjects, tumults broke out in the little Siberian town Tara by the Irtysh river, and 700 men are said to have been impaled alive in one day.
- Central/Eastern Europe elsewhere
The punishment of impalement for perceived crimes in wartime, or for other crimes bordering on treason/threats to state security, is attested for several other Central/Eastern European countries as well. For example, during the 14th-18th centuries, the penalty for high treason in the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth was by impalement, a fate the Cossack rebel leaders Ivan Sulyma and Ivan Gonta met, in 1635 and 1768, respectively.
Suspected defectors, or collaborators with the Turks were impaled on several occasions. For example, in Hungary, the garrison at the fortress Papa rebelled in 1600, seeking to hand over the fortress to the Turks; 12 officers were dismembered by the Hungarians for treason, 3 others impaled before the gates of Vienna, in 1676, 5 suspected arsonists were impaled alive in Upper Hungary, reportedly sent out to do their mischief by the Turks  and in 1686, a farmer was impaled for carrying correspondence between a besieged Turkish general and the relief army. In 1697, the Venetians impaled 20 soldiers caught defecting to the Turks. In Austria, defectors were impaled as late as in 1716, 1717 and 1739. The crime of selling Christian children to the Turks had a statutory punishment by impalement well into 18th century Austrian law codes.
Colonialism and treatment of slaves
Several European colonial powers are attested of, at various times, to utilize amongst other punishments, impalement to subjugate indigenous tribes, suppress rebellions, or as a form of punishment meted out to slaves. Around 1540, Spanish governor Pizarro sent Fransisco de Chaves to subdue the Conchucos, which he did with great severity, impaling many of them. The Spaniards also executed by impalement the tribal chiefs Caupolican in 1558  and Juan de Lebú in 1578 The Spanish were not, however, only oppressors, as some Indian tribes resorted to tactics of terror as well. As the Aztec Empire crumbled in the 1520s and the Spanish gradually extended their sway northwards, allying with some tribes, enslaving others (for work in the silver mines, for example), in the middle century, they met a "scourge (...) so strong that Spaniards tremble at the mere mention of them". That scourge was the largely nomadic indigenous tribes of Northern Mexico, loosely called the Chichimecas. For the next four decades, these embittered foes of the Spanish made lightning swift, devastating raids. Their cruelty was legendary, and among other cruelties, they were alleged to impale their captives "as the Turks do".
João Ribeiro, staying at the Portuguese colonies at Sri Lanka from 1640–58, states that the Portuguese governors were authorized to perform on natives capital punishments such as cutting them open with axes, or impaling them. As late as in 1859, a British missionary observed in Portuguese controlled Ouidah, that a slave had been impaled on suspicion of trying to poison his master 
The Dutch in the Cape Colony punished a slave who had murdered his master by impalement, in Dutch Batavia in 1769, a slave was impaled for the murder of his master  and in the 1770s, slaves in Dutch Suriname, could be impaled for rebellion, typically by forcing a meat hook beneath their ribs, and leave them hanging until they died.
In New York 1708, the Halletts, a white family of man, wife and 5 children were murdered by two slaves; the slaves were sentenced to be put to death by "all manner of torment possible". One of them was burned alive slowly over a fire, and the other was partially impaled and then hung alive in chains in order to prolong his suffering for hours.
The ascendancy of the British as rulers in India did not spell an abrupt end to punishments like impalement within regions where they held sway. In 1764, for example, occasioned by, in particular, the murder of a British merchant by robbers operating in the marshlands/mangrove area by the Ganges called the Sunderbans, and in general the increased frequency of such robberies, British local authorities advocated to the local ruler that man hunts should be organized to repress the robbery, and that impalement should be used for purposes of deterrence and for the benefits of trade. In 1777, the magistracy at Chittagong (control ceded to the East India Company in 1760) reported that a bandit had been sentenced to be impaled. In 1781, Warren Hastings, Governor-General of Bengal from 1772 to 1785 gave his formal approval to four cases of impalement.
14th of June, 1800, Jean Baptiste Kléber, leader of the French occupying forces in Egypt, was stabbed to death by the student Suleiman al-Halabi. As a punishment, al-Halabis hand was burnt off, and he was impaled alive, expiring after a few hours on the stake.
- Siege of Constantinople
The Ottoman Empire used impalement during, and before, the last Siege of Constantinople in 1453. For example during the buildup phase to the great siege the year before, in 1452, the sultan declared that all ships sailing up or down through the Bosphorus had to anchor at his fortress there, for inspection. One Venetian captain, Antonio Rizzo, sought to defy the ban, but his ship was hit by a cannonball. He and his crew were picked up from the waters, the crew members to be beheaded (or sawn asunder according to Niccolò Barbaro), whereas Rizzo was impaled. In the early days of the siege in May 1453, contingents of the Ottoman army made mop-up operations at minor fortifications like Therapia and Studium. The surrendered soldiers, some 40 individuals from each place, were impaled.
- Klephts and rebels in Greece
During the Ottoman rule of Greece, impalement became an important tool of psychological warfare, intended to put terror into the peasant population. By the 18th century, Greek bandits turned guerrilla insurgents (known as klephts) became an increasing annoyance to the Ottoman government. Captured klephts were often impaled, as were peasants that harbored or aided them. Victims were publicly impaled and placed at highly visible points, and had the intended effect on many villages who not only refused to help the klephts, but would even turn them in to the authorities. The Ottomans engaged in active campaigns to capture these insurgents in 1805 and 1806, and were able to enlist Greek villagers, eager to avoid the stake, in the hunt for their outlaw countrymen.
Impalement was, on occasion, aggravated with being set over a fire, the impaling stake acting as a spit, so that the impaled victim might be roasted alive. Among other severities, Ali Pasha, an Albanian-born Ottoman noble who ruled Ioannina, had rebels, criminals, and even the descendants of those who had wronged him or his family in the past, impaled and roasted alive. For example, Thomas Smart Hughes, visiting Greece and Albania in 1812–13, says the following about his stay in Ioannina:
"Here criminals have been roasted alive over a slow fire, impaled, and skinned alive; others have had their extremities chopped off, and some have been left to perish with the skin of the face stripped over their necks. At first I doubted the truth of these assertions, but they were abundantly confirmed to me by persons of undoubted veracity. Some of the most respectable inhabitants of loannina assured me that they had sometimes conversed with these wretched victims on the very stake, being prevented from yielding to their torturing requests for water by fear of a similar fate themselves. Our own resident, as he was once going into the serai of Litaritza, saw a Greek priest, the leader of a gang of robbers, nailed alive to the outer wall of the palace, in sight of the whole city."
During the Greek War of Independence (1821–1832), Athanasios Diakos, a klepht and later a rebel military commander, was captured after the Battle of Alamana (1821), near Thermopylae, and after refusing to convert to Islam and join the Ottoman army, he was impaled, and died after three days. Diakos became a martyr for a Greek independence and was later honored as a national hero.
One of the worst atrocities committed by the Greeks was the massacre following the Siege of Tripolitsa in October 1821, where several thousands were massacred, many impaled and roasted. To believe, however, that the massacre at Tripolitsa was the only, or the first atrocity committed by the Greeks would be wrong. Just two months earlier, in August 1821, for example, about the same time that some 40 Ionians were impaled by the Turks, Greek insurgents chose to roast a few Turks alive at Hydra William St Clair, in his "That Greece Might Still Be Free" warns against the skewed perception the Greek War of Independence received in Europe, and writes:
The Turkish atrocities against the Greek population were (...) witnessed with horror by many Europeans and soon were reported all over Europe. The initial atrocities in Greece, on the other hand, were seen by very few Europeans. If any were reported they were put down to justifiable hatred arising from extreme provocation, and explained away in the same terms as the occasional atrocities committed by European armies
- Rebels elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire
Impaling perceived rebels was an attested practice in other parts of the empire as well, such as the 1809 quelling of a Bosnian revolt, and during the Serbian Revolution (1804–1835) against the Ottoman Empire, about 200 Serbs were impaled in Belgrade in 1814, for example. Furthermore, historian James J. Reid, in his Crisis of the Ottoman Empire: Prelude to Collapse 1839–1878 notes several instances of later use, in particular in times of crises, and ordered by military commanders. As examples, he notes late instances of impalement during rebellions (rather than cases of robbery) like the Bosnian revolt of 1852, within the 1860s Macedonian times of trouble, during the Cretan insurrection of 1866–69, and during the insurrections in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1876–77.
- Occurrences in genocides
Aurora Mardiganian, a survivor of the Armenian genocide of 1915–1923, recalled sixteen young Armenian girls being "crucified" by their Ottoman tormentors. The film "Auction of Souls" (1919), which was based on her book "Ravished Armenia", showed the victims nailed to crosses. However, almost 70 years later Mardiganian revealed that the scene was inaccurate and went on to describe what was actually an impalement:
"The Turks didn't make their crosses like that. The Turks made little pointed crosses. They took the clothes off the girls. They made them bend down, and after raping them, they made them sit on the pointed wood, through the vagina. That's the way they killed - the Turks. Americans have made it a more civilized way. They can't show such terrible things."
A Russian clergyman visiting ravaged Christian villages in northwestern Persia during the Assyrian genocide found the remains of several impaled people. He notes: "The bodies were so firmly fixed, in some instances, that the stakes could not be withdrawn; it was necessary to saw them off and bury the victims as they were."
The "bamboo torture"
A recurring horror story on many websites and popular media outlets is that Japanese soldiers during World War II inflicted "bamboo torture" upon prisoners of war. The victim was supposedly tied securely in place above a young bamboo shoot. Over several days, the sharp, fast growing shoot would first puncture, then completely penetrate the victim's body, eventually emerging through the other side. The cast of the TV program MythBusters investigated bamboo torture in a 2008 episode and found that a bamboo shoot can penetrate through several inches of ballistic gelatin in three days. For research purposes, ballistic gelatin is considered comparable to human flesh, and the experiment thus supported the viability of this form of torture, if not its historicity. In her memoir "Hakka Soul", the Chinese poet and author Woon-Ping Chin mentions the "bamboo torture" as one of those tortures the locals believed the Japanese performed on prisoners.
This tale of using live trees impaling persons as they grow is, however, not confined to the context of WWII and the Japanese as torturers, but was recorded in the 19th century as an allegation Malays used against the Siamese after the Siamese invasion of Kedah in 1821. Among other alleged punishments, the sprout of the nipah palm was used in the manner of a "bamboo torture". A "Madras civilian", in his travel description from 1820s India asserts that it is a well known punishment in Ceylon to use a bamboo shoot in this way.
Impalement in myth and art
Tales and myths of impalement
- Impalement of vampires
The idea that the vampire "can only be slain with a stake driven through its heart" has been pervasive in European fiction. Examples such as Bram Stoker's Dracula and the more recent Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Twilight series' all incorporate that idea. In classic European folklore, it was believed that one method, among several, to "kill" a vampire, or prevent a corpse from rising as a vampire, was to drive a wooden stake through the heart before interment. In one story, an Istrian peasant named Jure Grando died and was buried in 1656. It was believed that he returned as a vampire, and at least one villager tried to drive a stake through his heart, but failed in the attempt. Finally, in 1672, the corpse was decapitated, and the vampire terror was put to rest.
- Literary treatment
A graphic description of the vertical impalement of a Serbian rebel by Ottoman authorities can be found in Ivo Andrić's novel The Bridge on the Drina. Andrić was later awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for the whole of his literary contribution, though this novel was the magnum opus. The passage in the novel reads as follows:
Without another word the peasant lay down as he had been ordered, face downward. The gypsies approached and the first bound his hands behind his back; then they attached a cord to each of his legs, around the ankles. Then they pulled outwards and to the side, stretching his legs wide apart. Meanwhile Merdzan placed the stake on two small wooden chocks so that it pointed between the peasant's legs. Then he took from his belt a short broad knife, knelt beside the stretched-out man and leant over him to cut away the cloth of his trousers and to widen the opening through which the stake would enter his body. This most terrible part of the bloody task was, luckily, invisible to the onlookers. They could only see the bound body shudder at the short and unexpected prick of the knife, then half rise as if it were going to stand up, only to fall back again at once, striking dully against the planks. As soon as he had finished, the gypsy leapt up, took the wooden mallet and with slow measured blows began to strike the lower blunt end of the stake. Between each two blows he would stop for a moment and look first at the body in which the stake was penetrating and then at the two gypsies, reminding them to pull slowly and evenly. The body of the peasant, spread-eagled, writhed convulsively; at each blow of the mallet his spine twisted and bent, but the cords pulled at it and kept it straight. The silence from both banks of the river was such that not only every blow but even its echo from somewhere along the steep bank could be clearly heard. Those nearest could hear how the man beat with his forehead against the planks, and, even more, another and unusual sound,, that was neither a scream, nor a wail, nor a groan, nor anything human; that stretched and twisted body emitted a sort of creaking and cracking like a fence that is breaking down or a tree that is being felled. At every second blow the gypsy went over to the stretched-out body and leant over it to see whether the stake was going in the right direction and when he had satisfied himself that it had not touched any of the more important internal organs he returned and went on with his work.
From the banks al this could scarcely be heard and still less seen, but all stood there trembling, their faces blanched and their fingers chilled with cold.
For a moment the hammering ceased. Merdzan now saw that close to the right shoulder muscles the skin was stretched and swollen. He went forward quickly and cut the swollen place with two crossed cuts. Pale blood flowed out, at first slowly and then faster and faster. Two or three more blows, light and careful, and the iron-shod point of the stake began to break through at the place where he had cut. He struck a few more times until the point of the stake reached level with the right ear. The man was impaled on the stake as a lamb on the spit, only that the tip did not come through the mouth but in the back and had not seriously damaged the intestines, the heart or the lungs. Then Merdzan threw down the mallet and came nearer. He looked at the unmoving body, avoiding the blood which poured out of the places where the stake had entered and had come out again and was gathering in little pools on the planks. The two gypsies turned the stiffened body on its back and began to bind the legs to the foot of the stake. Meanwhile Merdzan looked to see if the man were still alive and carefully examined the face that had suddenly become swollen, wider and larger. The eyes were wide open and restless, but the eyelids were unmoving, the mouth was wide open but the two lips stiff and contracted and between them the clenched teeth shone white. Since the man could no longer control some of his facial muscles the face looked like a mask. But the heart beat heavily and the lungs worked with short, quickened breath. The two gypsies began to lift him up like a sheep on a spit. Merdzan shouted to them to take care and not shake the body; he himself went to help them. Then they embedded the lower, thicker end of the stake between two beams and fixed it there with huge nails and then behind, at the same height, buttressed the whole thing with a short strut which was nailed both to the stake and to a beam on the staging.
When that too had been done, the gypsies climbed down and joined the guards, and on that open space, raised a full eight feet upright, stiff and bare to the waist, the man on the stake remained alone. From a distance it could only be guessed that the stake to which his legs had been bound at the ankles passed right through his body. So that the people saw him as a statue, high up in the air on the very edge of the staging, high above the river.
- Martyrdom of Al-Hallaj
The renowned Sufi mystic Al-Hallaj was in AD 922 to be impaled for blasphemy in Baghdad, for having said such things as "I am God". However, the executioners were unable to do so, because al-Hallaj floated in the air just above their reach. Then, al-Hallaj's spirit ascended to Heaven, and conversed with Muhammed, the Prophet of Islam, and al-Hallaj asked the Prophet if he should let himself be impaled. The Prophet acknowledged that al-Hallaj's spiritual state was so heightened that his utterance "I am God" was both just and true, but that for the sake of ordinary people, he should let himself be impaled, because their spiritual state was such that they would be misled from practical religion if they were to believe in such sayings like "I am God". And thus, for the sake of preserving the religion of ordinary people, al-Hallaj let himself be impaled at last.
- Hindu myths
According to a Shaivite story from India, under the old Pandyan Dynasty, ruling from 500 BC-1500 CE, the 7th century King Koon Pandiyan had 8000 Jains impaled during the Madurai massacre. Some historians regard the story as a legend rather than historically accurate, and that it might have been created by the Shaivites to prove their superiority over the Jains. This act, legendary or not, is still commemorated in "lurid mural representations" in several Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu. An example of such depictions in temples can be found in the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, around the holy tank enclosure to the shrine of Meenakshi. There, a long line of impaled Jaines are depicted, with dogs at their feet, licking up the blood, and crows flying around to pick out their eyes.
- Buddhist conceptions of hell
In the Buddhist conception of the eight Hells, as John Bowring relates from Siam, those consigned for the Sixth Hell are impaled on spits and roasted. When well roasted, enormous dogs with iron teeth devour them. But, the damned are reborn, and must relive this punishment for 16000 years, over and over again ... Another tale popular in Siam was about Devadatta, a wily antagonist to Buddha seeking to undermine Gautama's position among his followers. For this crime, Devadatta was sent off into the very deepest Hell, the Avici, being impaled on three great iron spears in a sea of flames.
Illusions of impalement
The 1980 Italian film, Cannibal Holocaust, directed by Ruggero Deodato, graphically depicts impalement. The story follows a rescue party searching for a missing documentary film crew in the Amazon Rainforest. The film's depiction of indigenous tribes, death of animals on set, and the graphic violence (notably the impalement scene) brought on a great deal of controversy, legal investigations, boycotts and protests by concerned social groups, bans in many countries (some of which are still in effect), and heavy censorship in countries where it has not been banned. The impalement scene was so realistic, that Deodato was charged with murder at one point. Deodato had to produce evidence that the "impaled" actress was alive in the aftermath of the scene, and had to further explain how the special effect was done: the actress sat on a bicycle seat mounted to a pole while she looked up and held a short stake of balsa wood in her mouth. The charges were dropped.
In stage magic, the illusion of impalement is a popular feat of magic that appears to be an act of impalement. Impaling tricks are not, however, a modern European invention, and some dervish orders performed such acts already in the 18th century. Carsten Niebuhr, traveling the Middle East 1761–67 on a Danish funded expedition, saw such a display at Basra
References and notes
- In particular, techniques designed to effect penetration merely of extremities like hands or feet are excluded from this article (for such cases, see, for example, crucifixion).
- Wilson (1840), p.607
- Monahan (1925) p.126
- Manu (1825), p.330 Concerning house-breakers/secret thieves, the Vyasasmrti and Bhraspatismrti codes have roughly the same content as ther laws of Menu. Bhikshu, Jha (2004), p.125 The Agni Purana also fixes impalement as the punishment for house-breaking. Das (1977), p.60
- Das (1977), p.70 "Kidnappers, stealers of horses and elephants and those who strike with violence" are pounished by impalement elsewhere in the same law code.Bhikshu, Jha (2004), p.126</
- di Varthema (1863): p.147
- Sewell (1900), p.383
- Thévenot (1687) p.259 Other highly detailed accounts on methods are: i) Jean Coppin's account from 1640s Cairo, very similar to Thévenot's, Raymond (2000), p.240 ii) Stavorinus (1798) p. 288–291 iii) von Taube (1777) footnote ** p. 70–71 iv) The regrettably highly partisan "Aiolos (2004)", notes on methods partly from Guer, see for example, Guer (1747),p.162 v) d'Arvieux (1755), p. 230–31 vi) Recollection 20 years after second-hand narration, Massett (1863), p. 88–89 vii) Ivo Andric's novel "The Bridge on the Drina", containing several additional, but credible details on the impalement process. Excerpt: The Bridge on the Drina viii A literary rendition in The Casket, from 1827, Cowie and Strange (1828), p.337 ix) Koller (2004), p. 145–46
- Berglund (1976), p.195, note 89
- Germ Mus. (1855)p.176, column 2, Example of thrusting a roasting spit through the stomach on orders of 16th Central Asian ruler Mirza Abu Bakr Dughlat upon his own nephew, Elias, Ross (1898), p.227
- For extra-cardial chest impalement Döpler (1697) p.371
- Roch (1687)pp. 350–51
- A possible case of 16th century dorsal-to-front impalement is given by di Varthema (1863) p. 147 See also wood block print in Wallachia subsection. In addition, the alleged "bamboo torture" seems to presume a dorsal-to-front impalement, see specific sub-section
- Osenbrüggen (1868), p.297
- For law text, Koch (1824) p.63
- Ledebur (1834)p.158
- Tournefort (1741) p. 98–100
- Thévenot (1687)p. 68–69. For a third description plus drawing, see Schweigger (1613), p.173 Schweigger adds that many times, people are allowed to shorten the gaunched individual's time of misery by cutting his throat, or decapitate him. Alexander Russell, from 1740s Aleppo knew of instances of "ganching", but said those were rare, compared to other types of capital punishment.Russell (1794)p.334
- Thomas Shaw
- Shaw (1757) p. 253–254 Shaw's contemporary John Braithwaite reports impalement and throwing onto hooks for Morocco as well, Braithwaite (1729) p.366
- Morgan (1729) p.392
- Boyde (1736) p.75, footnote
- Koller (2004), p. 146
- Stedman (1813) p.116
- Ferrier (1996), p.94
- Belzoni (1822), p.49
- Perckmayr (1738), p.628
- Into his urethra, by this account: Collin (1738), p.57, the stake finally thrust up his anus was studded with sharp nails according to the same source
- Saint Benjamin
- See, for example, Thévenot (1687) p.259, d'Arvieux (1755), p. 230–31
- Ouseley (1823) p.502
- Taube, Friedrich Wilhelm von
- von Taube (1777), footnote ** p. 70–71
- Sachs (1973), p.27 and Smith, Coetzee (2009), p.296
- Stavorinus (1798) p. 288–91
- Sonnini (1801),p.376
- Cassius Dio: Roman History
- Jahangir (1829) p.88
- Adams (1823), p. 97–99
- Herodotus (1860) p.53; a somewhat similar, but less grand sacrificial ceremony was witnessed by the 14th century muslim traveller Ibn Batuta, see ibn Batuta, Lee (1829) p.220
- Hooke (1806) p.85
- Balfour (1871), s.567
- For example, see: Spence (1945), p.97
- Moore (1790) emphasizes this as a local, not general, custom:p.316
- See also Kushner (1991) p. 17–20
- Moore (1790) p.321
- The authority referred to is William Blackstone, See, for example:Urban (1823) p. 549–550
- Warkworth (1839) p.9
- Chassepol (1677), p.260
- Yates (1843), p.20
- Jäck (1829), p.85
- Knox (1681) "p.31
- Forbes (1834), p.238
- Schröter (1753), p.621
- Hamilton (1727), p.111
- Woltersdorf (1812)p.267
- Taylor, Grinker, Lubkemann, Steiner (2010), p.563
- Shaw (1871), p.287
- Mayer,ed. (2005), p.141
- Here, "impaled" is used Encycl. Brit. (1842), p.151, This translation of Herodotus says "crucified", rather than "impaled", Herodotus (1830), p.448
- Findlay, O'Rourke (2007), p.196
- Burckhardt (1829) p.12
- Lindo (1848) p.272
- Maundrell (1732) p.141
- Fick (1867), p.14
- But also soldiers found guilty of cowardice or grave dereliction of duty, Cmdt S.Bourquin. "The Zulu Military Organization and the Challenge of 1879". Military History Journal, Vol. 4, Num. 4. Archived from the original on 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2010-06-04.
- ABA Journal (1969)p.738
- UJAHS (1955) p.76
- Engel, Jacob (2006), p.75
- Sandys (1615), Book 3, p.148
- Habesci (1784), p. 395–96
- Raum (1940), p.69
- Stone (2001), p.209
- Schroeder (1920), Keilschrifttexte aus Assur verschiedenen Inhalts
- Jastrow (1921), p. 48–49
- A number of such cases Döpler (1697) p. 370–74
- Wobler (1738), p.372
- Middle chronology is used here
- Article 153 in: Harper (1904), The Code of Hammurabi
- Tetlow (2004) p.34
- Hamblin (2006), p.208
- Herrenschmidt, Bottéro (2000), p.84
- Helck, Otto, Westerdorf (1984), p.153
- Kushite reference, Redford (2011), p.40
- On Libyan reference, Schulman (1988), p.91, note 123
- Darnell, Manassa (2007), p.119 Impalement seems to have been the threat against those who gave false testimony in cases of tomb robbery. Peet, (1977), p.40 Also, Seti I (r.1290-1279 BC), in order to protect the wealth of a particular religious foundation decreed that any herdsman who disposed of the foundation's cattle for his own profit should be impaled. Wilson (1951), p.241
- Ussishkin, Amit (2006), p.346
- Ekron incident from Sennacherib's own self-glorification, see Callaway (1995), p.169
- Relief and text in Ephʿal (2009), p. 51–52
- Relative to later impalement practices, at least
- Layard (1850) p.374
- Olmstead(1918), p.66
- Paul Kern
- Kern (1999), p. 68–76
- where Ashur-uballit I was king at that time
- Kuhrt (1995), p.292 and Gadd (1965), p.9
- Fensham (1983), p.88
- Briant (2002), p. 122–23
- Haman conspired to have all the Jews in the empire killed, the Book of Esther tells that story, and how Haman's plan was thwarted, and he was given the punishment he had thought to mete out to Mordecai
- Book of Esther, ESV Bible edition
- Book of Esther, NIRV Bible edition
- Haupt (1908), p. 122, 152, 154, 170
- Shaw (2012), Was Haman Hanged or Impaled?
- The theologian Adam Clarke was deeply suspicious of whether this passage ought to be regarded as part of the original Biblical text, and wrote: "(The definition of יקע (YaQ'a) in Strong's: "a prim. primitive root; prop. properly to sever oneself, i.e. (by impl. implication) to be dislocated; fig. to abandon; causat. causatively to impale (and thus allow to drop to pieces by rotting):- be alienated, depart, hang (up), be out of joint. The seven sons of Saul, mentioned here, [II Samuel 21:9], are represented as a sacrifice required by God, to make an atonement for the sin of Saul. Till I get farther light on the subject, I am led to conclude that the whole chapter is not now what it would be coming from the pen of an inspired writer; and that this part of the Jewish records has suffered much from rabbinical glosses, alterations, and additions." ),Clarke 1831, Bible ed. p. II 267
- Jew. Publ. Soc. (2010), p.573
- Meyers, Berlin, Brettler (2004), p.482
- Coogan, Brettler (2007), p.223
- Walde (1938), p. 297, Georges (1880) p. 621
- Brandenburger (1975), p.391. Also see extended discussion and examples in Allen (1896), p.40
- Hopkins (1978), p.121 Some 6000 slaves are said to have been impaled, with about 30.000 returned to their masters according to one source. Newton (2002), p.287
- Bradbury (2004), p.181
- Treadgold (1997), p.518
- Treadgold (1997), p.654
- Cavallo (1997), page 80, see also a desertion case from 880, Haldon (1999) p.256
- Procopius at one point identifies the "Massagetae" with the Huns,Procopius (2007), p.34
- Details of circumstances from Procopius (2007), p. 37–38
- Skylitzes, Wortley (2010), p.93
- Skylitzes, Wortley (2010) p.375
- On chronology of allegations, Ian Mortimer.
- Estimating "scholarly consensus" of murder, See Mortimer, I.:"A red-hot poker? It was just a red herring"
- Reid, (2000), p. 440
- Florescu (1999)
- Axinte, Dracula: Between myth and reality
- Bond (1856) p. 172–73
- Quote: Prominent Russians: Stepan (Stenka) Razin , see also Avrich (1972) p. 109–110
- Rhodes, (1699), p.94
- Schuyler (2004), p.204
- Rakitin (1999) In Russian
- For background, Haywood (2010) p.105
- For situation at the Irtysh, Büsching (1762) p.508
- Mavor (1805) p.17
- Tazbir (1993)
- On Sulyma, Gifford (1863) p.468, on Gonta, Harmsen (1770) p.143
- Schimmer (1845), p.166
- Feige(1694), p.312
- Rocka (1785), p.281
- Rhodes(1697), p.420
- de Waldinutzy (1772), 1716, 1717, 1739 cases:p.477, column 1, on selling children p.440, column 1
- Stevens (1711) p.190
- de Vivar (1987)
- Barros Arana (2010), p.453
- Powell (1952), p.51
- João Ribeiro
- Newitt (2005), p.196
- Wesl. Miss. Soc. (1859) p.166
- Morris (2004) p.50
- Stavorinus (1798) p. 288–291
- McManus (1973), p. 85–86 On the Halletts,Burrows, Wallace (1998), p.148
- Long (1869), p.389.
- Aspinall (1931), p.58
- Banerjee (1984), p.63
- The remains of al-Halabis skeleton were brought to Paris, where a British traveller saw them just a few years aftewards. Shepherd (1814), p.255
- Philippides, Hanak (2011), p.587
- Runciman (1965), p.67
- Pears, (2004), p.253
- "Aiolos (2004)"
- Dumas (2008), volume 8, chapter 3
- Hughes (1820) p.454, see also: Holland (1815) p.194
- Paroulakis (1984)
- Turkish reprisals on Greek War of independence, i) 2.June 1821, 10 Greeks at Bucharest, Gross (1821) p.254 ii) During the massacre at Crete around 24 June 1821, most are said to have been impaled: Cotta (1821) p.988, column 1 iii) 36 Greek hostages, including 7 bishops at onset of Siege of Tripolitsa Colburn (1821) p.56 iv) In conjunction with the Chios Massacre in 1822, several Chiote merchants were detained and executed at Constantinople, 6 of whom were impaled alive: Valpy (1822)p.169 v) Omer Vrioni organizing in 1821 Greek hunts where civilians were, at least in one instance, impaled on his orders.Waddington (1825) p. 52–54 vi) In early 1822 Cassandreia, some 300 civilians massacred, several reported to have been impaled, Grund (1822) PT 329 vii) During the last Siege of Missolonghi, in 1826, the Ottoman besiegers offered opportunity for capitulation for the besieged, while they also sent a message of consequences for refusal by impaling alive a priest, two women and several children in front of the line. The offer of capitulation was declined by the besieged Greeks. Alison(1856), p.206
- Green (1827)p. 70–72
- Constable (1821) p.275 57 Turks roasted at Hydra, according to one source. Merry (2004), p.470
- St Clair (2008) p.25 According to one source, the early spring weeks of 1821 saw the murders of more than 20.000 Turks in Greece. Merry (2004), p.470</
- 20-50 "daily" brought in, most impaled Urban (1810) p.74
- Sowards (2009) The Serbian Revolution and the Serbian State
- Obituary James Reid
- Reid (2000), p.441
- Erish (2012) p.212
- Shahbaz (1918), p.142
- As an example of popular promotion of this horror story, see for example:WW2 People's WarJAPANESE TORTURE TECHNIQUES
- Woon-Ping Chin
- Ping (2008), p.23
- Osborn (1861) p. 190–94
- Buckingham (1827), p.296
- For popularity claim and example:Bird Thought vampires were just film fantasy? Skeletons impaled on iron stakes say otherwise
- Barber (2010)
- Caron (2001)
- On status as Nobel Laureate, predominantly on basis of Bridge, see: Kaplan A Reader's Guide to the Balkans
- The Bridge on the Drina
- Lit.Soc. Bombay (1819), p. 111–113
- Hiltebeitel (1991) The Cult of Draupadi
- (Sastri 1976, p. 424)
- (Roy 1984, chapter 9)
- Dundas (1992) p.127 The author mentions as an example the temple to the war god Murugan in Kalugumalai
- AES (1904), p.52
- Representations of impaled members of a different religion than Hinduism seems not to be confined to the Jains, but also to Buddhists. In a temple at Trivatur, not far from Madras (present name Chennai), for example, the walls "are covered with sculptures representing the execution of Buddhists by the most horrible tortures, the martyrs being impaled alive and left to be devoured by dogs and birds of prey." Elliot (1869), p.109 This presumably commemorates an alleged persecution of Buddhists in the 2nd century BC under Hindu King Pusyamitra Sunga, as narrated, for example, in 2nd century AD text Ashokavadana
- Bowring (1857) p.306
- Bowring (1857) p.313 For rather similar, vivid depictions of the sufferings in Hell from Buddhist temples in Cambodia, see Vincent Jr. (1878), p.237
- Deodato, Ruggero (2000-11-12). Cult-Con 2000. Interview with Sage Stallone. Bob Murawski. Cannibal Holocaust DVD Commentary. Tarrytown, New York.
- D'Offizi, Sergio (interviewee) (2003). In the Jungle: The Making of Cannibal Holocaust (Documentary). Italy: Alan Young Pictures.
- "Films C". Refused-Classification.com. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
- See, for example: Impaled
- For an extended description, see: Pinkerton (1811), p.172
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