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You lose conciousness basically immediately after the blood supply has been stopped to the brain. This even works with "choke" holds and blows to the neck that reset the nerve that controls blood pressure to the brain causing it to drop for a moment. All these cause immediate loss of conciousness. Its impossible to know whats going on and claims otherwise just are proven false by facts. The article is very messy and poor with all the false claims.

unsigned item[edit]

Vandalism I suspect that a guillotine operator 'having a big weiner' and Hitler 'having a loose vag' were vandalism and have edited accordingly-----Dan blyth —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:45, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Proper Pronunciation?[edit]

A note on this might be useful. I know a lot of people say it "gee uh teen" instead of "gill oh teen" though I guess I could just check "the dictionary." ;)

It's gee uh teen. It is French, not English. Gill oh teen is english mutilation of the word.

The problem with this argument, of course, is that once a word has entered English it becomes an English word with French origins rather than a French word, and this is what has happened to "guillotine". It usually takes on an "English" pronunciation, or one of many (no native English speaker pronounces "fine" in the French way, for instance (feen)) and, quite often, takes on a completely different meaning, or at least a specialised one. Thus, "guillotine" is pronounced gill oh teen in English, according to Collins and the OED, as well as Merriam-Webster. Its French pronunciation is completely irrelevant to the English wiki. — Preceding unsigned comment added by CWB001 (talkcontribs) 08:52, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Merriam Webster also gives the pronunciation ghee-yo-teen -iopq (talk) 06:11, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
I've read from more than one source that "gill oh teen" is the original pronouciation, and that "gill oh teen" is a accidental affectation, because, hey, that's how you'd say it in French, right? But references will have to wait. Somegeek 05:51, 13 October 2006 (UTC) says the 'l's were originally pronounced, but that today both are considered acceptable by some sources. Somegeek 15:03, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
In French it is pronounced (roughly) geel oh tin. No self-respecting francophone would say "gee uh teen". 22:09, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, very roughly. As some have deduced, the double 'l' in French is never sounded as an "l". Unfortunately its correct pronounciation has no equivalent English sound (at least not one that I can find). The best correct sound that I can find is the French word "yeau". To make the sound, form an "o" with your lips as though you are going to whistle. Now make the "o" a bit bigger (roughly double the size) and make a sound. If you have got it right, you will have pronounced "yeau".
Thus "guillotin" is pronounced "gee yeau tin". DieSwartzPunkt (talk) 19:08, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Native Francophone pronunciation:

I vaguely remember seeing a special on PBS years back which mentioned that Guillon left the project in disgust almost imediately after the project began. Also, the device origionally featured a crescent blade rather than the modern trapazoid which should probably be mentioned somewhere, but I dislike editing a page myself as I am still rather clumsy at it.--Ostermana 20:14, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I recently read that one scientist who was guillotined in the French Revolution arranged with an aide of his to determine how long he remained conscious. He told his aided to count how many times he blinked after decapitation, and the aide counted 30. Unfortunately, I can't remember the source, or which scientist it was. Can anyone pin this down? -- Tarquin 10:08 Sep 11, 2002 (UTC)

This page would appear to answer your question. Chris Roy 03:04, 13 Nov 2003 (UTC)

The last public execution in France took place on Saturday, June 17th 1939.

Visit my website

Sylvain Larue

Hey I'm just wondering about the Guillotine picture. The picture says copyright on it and Wikipedias policy against using copyrighted pictures appears to be violated. Armus Aran

Good find ! This was the message from the copyright owner : "No none of my images on my site may be used on other sites. However I have attached a picture you can use. "
Only after uploading the pic I realized that the permission granted was a single-website permission and not under terms of GFDL. I wrote the owner a mail stating that the permission I require is under GFDL, and if he is not ok with it then I'll be removing the pic. I wrote this on Feb 6 but haven't got an OK or not-OK mail from him. So I'm in quandary. Jay 06:24, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

THE USE OF THE GUILLOTINE WITH LIVESTOCK: The main article mentions guillotines used in the past to dispatch poultry. I have heard of mini-guillotines being used today by rabbit breeders. Does anyone have any information on this? GnatsFriend

Regarding citation of sources... There are some facts in this article that show that these writers need to cite their sources (e.g."The descendants of Dr. Guillotin have since changed their surname because of the association with a method of execution" and ". The family of the victim or the victim themselves would sometimes pay the executioner to ensure that the blade was sharp in order for a quick and relatively painless death.") I suggest putting up a template.

Dr Louis[edit]

I think you should mention Dr Louis in your article

Best regards,


Yes, Benoit, we probably should. If you know more about Dr Antoine Louis, you can add him to the article yourself! - Nunh-huh 22:11, 17 Jun 2004 (UTC)

how fast did the blade fall[edit]


v^2 = 2 g s

oh alright.. kelsey —Preceding unsigned comment added by Whuzap (talkcontribs) 20:41, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Where specifically in Paris was the guillotine located?[edit]

Anyone know?

After public executions were suppressed, the guillotine was, if I remember well, located inside the courtyard of the prison where the condemned person waited. This meant that they had to build it specially in many cases. David.Monniaux 23:54, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)

From the 1850's to 1911 in Paris, the guillotine was kept in storage, located at 60bis, rue de la Folie-Régnault. Every time an execution would happen, the executioners came to the storage, took the dismantled guillotine into their van and go to the next execution place... Then, in August 1911, the guillotined moved to a storage in the courtyard of the prison de la Santé. The guillotine stayed at La Santé until 1978, when the government took the decision to do every execution in the prison of Fresnes. The guillotine moved too to Fresnes.

Sylvain Larue 22:23, 19 Dec 2005.

During the revolution, a guillotine was located in the middle of the Place de la Concorde. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:28, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Submission hold[edit]

In fighting, Guillotine is the name of a specific technique which borders between a choke and a pain submission. It is named "Guillotine" because the headlock resembles the position of the decapitee.

You have the person under your armpit and lock him up with your arm around his neck (forearm meets larynx). You grab your own wrist and squeeze. It can be both executed standing and laying, in which case you usually catch the opponent between your legs and stretch him to further amplify his motivation to submit.

Square these facts from different articles...?[edit]

Regarding the concept that a victim may remain conscious for a period of time after decapitation by guillotine (ref):

"There is however some debate as to the humane nature of the guillotine, as some authorities believe that the victim can remain conscious for up to 30 seconds after decapitation."

Please reconcile this with the comments regarding execution by hanging, which imply instantaneous death (or at least unconsciousness) for the "long drop" method that severs the spine in the cervical vertabrae of the neck: " Marwood realised that each person required a different drop, based on the prisoner's weight, which would dislocate the cervical vertebrae resulting in "instantaneous" death."

And (same URL): "Marwood also experimented with the positioning of the knot, and discovered that placing it under the left ear or under the angle of the left jaw would jerk the head backwards at the end of the drop and instantly sever the spinal cord and dislocate the cervical vertebrae."

Now, it would seem logical, that decapitation by guillotine, which must naturally sever the spinal cord, as well as all of the structures and processes of the neck, ought also result in instantaneous unconsciousness.

Clearly, one or other of these articles must be incorrect. I am not taking any position for either side, lacking any unique information or competency by training or experience to establish a position. It only would seem that a reference ought to be consistent between articles. Is there any controversy regarding a "successful" long drop hanging, that the condemned remains conscious after the neck is broken and the spinal cord severed?

I'm not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV), but I can offer a few "it seems to me" points: There's no reason to connect either dislocating the cervical vertebrae or severing the spinal cord with "instantaneous" death. Brain death occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygenated blood, but there's no reason to assume that even the explosive loss of blood pressure in the head caused by a guillotining would cause the brain to instantly cease functioning. Something this article doesn't currently mention is that there are many (gruesome) stories indicating that some guillotine victims remained conscious for some seconds, as indicated by eye movement, changing facial expressions, etc.
It may be that a "correctly" performed hanging inflicts a sufficient jolt to the head to cause instantaneous unconsciousness, whereas a guillotining would impart little impact to the head. Another factor is that it would be difficult to make close-up observations of a person's head (to see eye movement, for example) in the seconds immediately after a hanging, especially if the victim's head is covered with a hood. It seems likely that the people claiming instantaneous death upon a properly performed hanging were making that judgment based simply on the complete lack of movement of the victim's body, which would of course result if the spinal cord was severed. KarlBunker 13:49, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
To the first poster in this section - Could you sign your posts please with four tildas (~)? Instantaneous is an interesting question. You have to ask yourself how do these methods kill. Clearly the brain is not affected by the severing of the neck. What does happen is that blood pressure is lost or air ceases to be supplied to the brain or both. So the guillotine cuts the neck completely, resulting in a massive drop in blood pressure and a total lack of oxygen to the brain. Unconsciousness probably follows more or less immediately, but brain death only occurs over a few minutes as the brain is starved of oxygen. Hanging, if it merely breaks the neck (and one of the reasons hanging became private was that it tended, even with the long drop tables, to do one of two thing - severe the head completely showering the spectators with blood, or slowly choke the victim), results in paralysis of the body and hence no breathing. No breath, no air to the lungs, no air to the brain. It is the same as being strangled, but without all the kicking and scream due to the paralysis. Again brain death probably takes a few minutes but consciousness is probably not lost due to the fact that the blood pressure of the victim remains high. So neither article is entirely inaccurate, it just means what you mean by instantaneous. On the whole the guillotine is probably more humane. Lao Wai 13:59, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
To Karl Bunker, there are stories of twitching, but it is impossible to say if that is the result of consciousness or not. Chickens flap their wings and can even run after they have been decapitated. It is unlikely that being hit by a rope at the speeds hanging involved would result in much brain trauma. But as you say, if they are paralysed and moving so that no one can study them who would know? Lao Wai 13:59, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

found a repeated word, i cut it out

Dates inexact[edit]

Axweildr Last public execution 1939, last execution 1903, I suspect a typo

I believe the date information shown for the members of the White Rose resistants in Germany is incorrect. It is true that sex were executed, but not on the same date...the Stolls and Probst were the first, followed by a others at two later dates. I'll try to confirm the specifics and then edit this little bit. The White Rose article contains the information but I want to confirm that before proceeding. Wood Artist 17:56, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Why is the blade slanted?[edit]

Anyone know why the blade is slanted (suggested by Tobias Schmidt). I don't see any advantage.[1] GfloresTalk 18:56, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Jeez, you had me worried; I thought you were asking why the article was "slanted."  :-) Anyway, it gives the blade more of a slicing action, rather than a chopping action. I'm sure there's a better explanation involving physics and geometry and whatnot, but that's the gist of it. KarlBunker 20:59, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
Oh, duh. I should've known that. Thanks for quick reply. GfloresTalk 23:57, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
A straight blade in regular use would become blunt at the center. ¨ 22:41, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I remember seeing a special about the French Revolution on the History Channel. As I recall, the use of the oblique blade was, ironically enough, suggested by King Louis XVI. 18:06 13 September 2007

Neologism ?[edit]

Is "guillotined" a real verb (to guillotine) or is it a coined word? Does it exist in a proper English printed dictionnary? --Julien 21:22, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

From the Oxford dictionary that's included with current Mac OS:
verb [ trans. ] execute (someone) by guillotine.
KarlBunker 00:42, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, i had some doubts when editing Capital punishment in France --Julien 08:49, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Watch out[edit]

I heard some people at my school library talking about disrupting guillotine to prove something (a bet was involved). Watch out. --Thelb4 16:49, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

I propose to delete the 1905 report[edit]

This is a very misleading passage and anyone without medical knowledge might get the wrong impression that it pertains a scientific fact and that victims retain some conciousness for many seconds, which of course is just anecdotal unconfirmed (and by all probability misconstrued nonsence).

By the way I am a doctor myself, so I should know a thing or two. Someone should not confuse the concepts of consciousness and complete brain death which can be saparate by even 4 minutes. The nerve cell stops firing from lack of oxygen within seconds. Even the slightest disruption of the brain stem or the upper spinal cord can cause instantaneous loss of consciousness, a good example is the even partial severance of the spinal cord in accidents. This might be due to "cirquitry disruption" and is even faster than any blood pressure drop. Imagine it as fast as a switch that goes off. In that sense, an ideal hanging that severes completely the spinal cord and stops completely the circulation through the neck should have instant effect. Of course the ideal hanging is very hard to accomplish with certainty and there is still some arterial flow through the vertebal arteries and vessels in the bones. There are many things that can go wrong, there is no comparison with a fast decapitation.

Alternatively I would add the higher quality (but equally anecdotal with current standards) passage from the BMJ which is only referenced in the notes, just for the balance.

The passage isn't represented as being scientifically reliable, so it isn't necessarily misleading. The section should probably be shortened some, and I'll do that. BTW, I'm also RVing the recent edits because the English is incorrect. RedSpruce 16:08, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with the notion that a severed spinal cord would lead to instant brain death. After all, there are accident victims who have severed cords (thus becoming completely paralyzed in the legs, for example), and yet they still continue to live. Their brain did not die. - Theaveng 22:38, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Upper spinal cord. This is an encyclopedia, and I for one agree with the original poster: this is purely anecdotal, and a primary source sense it's his word and his word only. I will be deleting this. (talk) 04:32, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Guillotin's death and descendants[edit]

When Guillotin himself died it wasn't on his invention as myth would have it, but instead of natural causes on May 26, 1814. The descendants of Dr. Guillotin have since changed their surname because of the association with a method of execution.[citation needed].

I originally removed this section for a couple of reasons. There are two unsubstantiated claims here: first, that there is a myth saying that Guillotin died on his own invention; second, that his descendants changed their surname. In general, I don't see the point in stating a myth just to debunk it; I think it's especially pointless to do so given the lack of evidence that such a myth even exists outside of this Wikipedia page. It's okay too leave the rest of this section (even though it is duplicated on the biographical page for Dr. Guillotin) but it is necessary to find some evidence for the claim that his descendants have changed their surname, which itself sounds a lot like another myth.

Anyway, I'm revising to remove the claim that there is a myth that Guillotin died on his own invention, but I'll leave the rest for now. Comments welcome, Dce7 21:12, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

From Symbol and Satire in the French Revolution, by Ernest F. Henderson: "That Doctor Guillotin perished by means of his own invention is a statement often met with, but it is untrue." From Unusual Words and How They Came About by Edwin Radford: "Nor was Dr. Guillotin executed on it, as is so often stated;" I don't think these references need to be added to the article (though you can if you want), because the existence of such a myth is a trivial point, and it's arguably silly to add a reference to document a trivial point. On the other hand, I've looked and haven't found any documentation that Guillotin's descendants changed their name. I'll keep looking, and if I don't find anything, I'll remove that statement. RedSpruce 14:39, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough. Dce7 17:05, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Somewhere on Wikipedia has been a note that a different Guillotin was indeed guillotined, and that person's name was similar enough to cause some people to think it was THE Dr. Guillotin. And it would make sense, if your surname was Guillotin, to be horrified about it being used for the name of an execution machine. See the article Joseph-Ignace Guillotin.

Whether there is printed evidence or not, the myth of the Dr's death on his eponymous machine was commonly retold in the past. It's what I was told in school history lessons in the '60's, along with the notion he invented it. Not challenging it here would almost certainly mean it is more widely propagated in the future than otherwise. Sjwells53 (talk) 21:13, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

The Guillotene[edit]

I made a guillotene for my history project one year and found this page really helpful for the oral presentation part of the project, text as well as pictures! I am hoping that all the dates are correct and that no stupid people have come on and randomly changed them to confuse people, but thanks to those who put correct dates!

23:22, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

The article states that during the French Revolution, "Estimates of the death toll range between 15,000 and 40,000." In the section on the use of the Guillotine in Germany, it states "Nazi records indicate that between 1933 and 1945 16,500 people were executed in Germany by this method (while the number executed in this manner during the French revolution was 2,600)." It seems to me a rather large discrepancy, 15,000-40,000 -vs- 2,600, this should be resolved if possible.

Nazi Guillotine[edit]

What of the use of Guillotine used in Nazi Germany? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Me254065 (talkcontribs) 13:55, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Wouldn't the guillotine hurt?[edit]

If a head was actually alive after decapitation, would it just passively lay there? I would think the extreme pain would make a severed head scream out loud, "Owwwww!" The fact that the head does not do that suggests it is no longer conscious. - Theaveng (talk) 18:42, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

What could a severed head do but passively lie there? It is impossible for a severed head to scream, as it is no longer connected to the lungs, and thus cannot make sounds. I don't know how painful it would be, as it is difficult to get reports back from the severed heads. But a cut from a sharp blade can be considerably less painful than a cut from a dull blade. The impact to the head when it hits the bottom of the bucket after it is severed might stun the person for a few seconds. There has been some evidence of severed heads remaining conscious and reponsive for a few seconds, but it is not conclusive.--RLent (talk) 21:05, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I forgot about the lung problem (can't scream without air). It seems to me it should be easy to prove whether or not a head is conscious, simply by observing the person's reactions (are they grimacing in pain). If someone chopped off my hand, no matter how sharp the blade, it's going to hurt and I will grimace my mouth, or squeeze my eyes shut, or whatever. I would expect a severed neck to cause a similar reaction, and thus easy to prove or disprove a person's consciousness. ---- Theaveng (talk) 18:22, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
It is mostly a thought-experiment, as we aren't going to cut people's heads off to do the experiement. But people often don't immediately notice clean cuts with a sharpe blade. I have a cut on my finger right now, and didn't notice it when it happened. It's hard to say just how much it would hurt to be guillotined with a sharp blade. But you are right, a head that was responding to pain would be an indication of consciousness. The ability of the person to respond to a questioner is another. (it seems odd to thinking of the head as a thing rather than the person him or herself, it is probably more accurate to think of it as the body being cut off rather than the head being cut off).--RLent (talk) 19:24, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes I think of the head as the person. Unfortunately he's lost the his heart, liver, lungs, and will not long survive that state. ---- Theaveng (talk) 13:13, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Guillotine in present tense?[edit]


Is the Guillotine still being used by any country for executions? I would like to reword the first line from "... is a device used for executions..." to "... was a device ...". Jay (talk) 16:01, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

It still exists doesn't it? Past tense seems very odd to me. Nadando (talk) 01:44, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
The actual physical device currently is stored in a dismantled state in a museum outside Paris (talk) 19:02, 11 December 2010 (UTC)


The article says that the first documented use of The Maiden was in Ireland in 1307, yet the Maiden (beheading) article says that it was introduced to Scotland from England by James Douglas (1526 to 1581). Can anyone explain this? 11 March 2008. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:53, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Different machines with similar names. The Scottish Maiden was inspired by the English Halifax Gibbet. Salmanazar (talk) 19:13, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Just ran across this. I thought the guillotine was considered cruel and unusual punishment.

HB 1274 LC 21 3643


1- 1 To amend Article 2 of Chapter 10 of Title 17 of the Official 1- 2 Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the death penalty 1- 3 generally, so as to provide a statement of legislative 1- 4 policy; to provide for death by guillotine; to provide for 1- 5 applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other 1- 6 purposes.



1- 8 The General Assembly finds that while prisoners condemned to 1- 9 death may wish to donate one or more of their organs for 1-10 transplant, any such desire is thwarted by the fact that 1-11 electrocution makes all such organs unsuitable for 1-12 transplant. The intent of the General Assembly in enacting 1-13 this legislation is to provide for a method of execution 1-14 which is compatible with the donation of organs by a 1-15 condemned prisoner.


1-16 Article 2 of Chapter 10 of Title 17 of the Official Code of 1-17 Georgia Annotated, relating to the death penalty generally, 1-18 is amended by striking in its entirety Code Section 1-19 17-10-38, relating to death sentences generally, and 1-20 inserting in lieu thereof the following:

1-21 "17-10-38. (Index)

1-22 (a) All persons who have been convicted of a capital 1-23 offense and have had imposed upon them a sentence of death 1-24 shall, at the election of the condemned, suffer such 1-25 punishment either by electrocution or by guillotine. If 1-26 the condemned fails to make an election by the thirtieth 1-27 day preceding the date scheduled for execution, punishment 1-28 shall be by electrocution. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ronin65 (talkcontribs) 18:04, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Remains of Original Guillotine[edit]

The original device (or one of them) was sold to Madame Tussaud (of the wax-museum) and was on display in London until a fire destroyed the museum. I believe the blade is still in existence at the museum. ( (talk) 21:25, 20 March 2008 (UTC))

The blade, with some burnt wood attached, survived the 1925 fire at the London Tussauds. It is currently on display at the Hollywood Tussauds, Los Angeles. 31 January 2011 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:42, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Space guillotine[edit]

I have read somewhere that miniguillotine was used to kill rats on board the Shuttle. Any source ? Hektor (talk) 10:30, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Murcod Ballagh's execution in 1307[edit]

I think this article's history section might benefit from an image from a woodcut in 1577 which shows the execution of an Irishman named Murcod Ballagh in 1307 under a device that looked remarkably like a guillotine. A google of Murcod Ballagh and Guillotine has all these results, and plenty more information about it in histories of the guillotine. An image of this 1577 woodcut can be seen here. (talk) 10:57, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

How dull/sharp are the blades?[edit]

How dull/sharp are the blades?Asdfjkl1235 (talk) 03:12, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

They were very, very sharp, to ensure the blade cut through on the first try, considering the guillotine was originally devised to supersede other decapitation methods, such as that by axe. Pschati (talk) 10:28, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

We're missing something[edit]

The article barely went over the fact that this machine was designed for a more painless death, compared to the previous form of capital 1 punishment, hanging. I can't find anywhere I can add this information. Kata89 (talk) 15:25, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

It reads: "Sensing the growing discontent, Louis XVI banned the use of the breaking wheel.[3] In 1791, as the French Revolution progressed, the National Assembly researched a new method to be used on all condemned people regardless of class. Their concerns contributed to the idea that capital punishment's purpose was simply the ending of life instead of the infliction of pain.[3]" in the article. If you have a reliable source for it, you can add it somewhere in or after that sentence. --Saddhiyama (talk) 15:27, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Merge discussion for Use of the guillotine in Paris[edit]

Information.svg An article that you have been involved in editing, Use of the guillotine in Paris, has been proposed for a merge with another article. If you are interested in the merge discussion, please participate by going here, and adding your comments on the discussion page. Thank you. Pschati (talk) 10:28, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

To me, the specificity of the former article and limited information and scope therein does not warrant a separate article, and should be fully integrated into the main guillotine article, whether in a new section or otherwise. Pschati (talk) 10:28, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

I think it should be merged Mchcopl (talk) 21:46, 16 October 2012 (UTC)!

I agree. There is little unique original information on Use of the guillotine in Paris. I merged them. Alexwho314 14:51, 1 January 2013 (EST)

Robespierre-execution sketch[edit]

I am seeing the caption "The execution of Robespierre". The same picture appears in the Wikipedia article about (Maximilen) Robespierre, but on THAT page there is an additional remark that the beheaded man is actually Couthon, with Robespierre sitting nearby in a cart. And on that entry's associated Talk page, I am asking if that is referring to the headless body still on the scaffold (with severed head being displayed by executioner); question is because the picture has another headless body nearby on the ground. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:54, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Seems fanciful considering Cranach the Elder depicted the same machine...[edit]

Seems fanciful considering Cranach the Elder depicted the same machine hundreds of years before its supposed invention during the Revolutionary French period. You can see this machine depicted in his print of the beheading of John.

I guess this probably counts as original research, so perhaps we have to wait until a properly qualified academic notices this, writes a paper, gets it reviewed and published, and then finally a Wkipedian editor discovers the paper forty five years later in a disused bathroom with a sign on the door reading 'Beware of the Leopard.'

Or somebody could review this.

Sukiari (talk) 08:30, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Languille execution photo[edit]

The photo of Languille's execution is modified from an original that did not include any people in the frame. Source: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:47, 24 January 2013 (UTC)


The dimensions of the Halifax Gibbet are curious: It is "fifteen feet" high, but the blade weighs "3.5 kg." One would expect that both measurements would be English or metric, not a mixture. Considering the century, metric is unlikely. Converting 3.5 kg to pounds yields 7.7 lb, to the same number of significant digits. Does the original source say "7.7 lb"; 7.5 Lb."; 8 lb"? I'd guess that the original source is some edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica (perhaps 1911), but I don 't know how to look it up. Is there some senior Wikipedian (perhaps 12 years old?) who can look? Donfbreed2 (talk) 07:53, 6 March 2013 (UTC)


'The Halifax Gibbet was a monolithic wooden structure consisting of two wooden uprights, capped by a horizontal beam, of a total height of 15 feet.' - how can three pieces of wood be 'one-stone'-ic? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:54, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

I was going to ask the same. I guess one line of reply would be that "monolithic" is now used with a figurative sense to imply massiveness and solidity. But, even so, it doesn't seem to apply here: the three beams simply form part of a hollow rectangle, which is not monolithic either literally or figuratively. Sjwells53 (talk) 13:35, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
"Massive" is probably a more appropriate word. Acroterion (talk) 13:43, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Predecessors of the guillotine[edit]

For whatever it's worth, Alexandre Dumas pere, in his essay on the Cenci, describes the machine used to execute Beatrice Cenci and Lucrezia Petroni. The details he gives of it make it sound very much like the guillotine, and also like the Halifax machine. If someone who knows the sources can lend a hand, we might be able to add quite a bit to the prehistory of the machine. Poihths (talk) 15:44, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Why "Guillotine"?[edit]

Until I read this article I was always under the impression that this device had been named for its inventor, Joseph-Ignace Guillotin. But according to the article Guillotin was not the inventor; Antoine Louis and Tobias Schmidt were the coinventors.

Why, then, was the device not called the "Louis" or the "Schmidt" or some combination of the two?

How did it come to be named after Guillotin?

The article gives no clue.

There is a section "Etymology" which gives that information. I don't understand why your question is here. The machine had been called a "Louisette". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:01, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

dates of usage?[edit]

I've got a clear recollection of either Giscard d'Estaing or Mitterrand reintroducing the Guillotine while I was at university, 1978-1981. Can anyone clarify that? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:06, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

Mention of guillotine in 13th century literature - deleted - why?[edit]

Why was my section on 13th century literature removed by on 15 December 2015‎ without any explantion. The quote pushes the history of the guillotine back by some 2 centuries, so is pertinent to the subject. I shall reinstate, unless anyone can give good reason why it should not be there. It said:

The use of beheading machines in Europe long predates such use in the French revolution in 1792. An early example of the principle is found in the High History of the Holy Grail, dated to about 1210. Although the device is imaginary, its function is clear and demonstrates a knowledge of the guillotine mechanism.[1] The text says:

Within these three openings are the hallows set for them. And behold what I would do to them if their three heads were therein ... She setteth her hand toward the openings and draweth forth a pin that was fastened into the wall, and a cutting blade of steel droppeth down, of steel sharper than any razor, and closeth up the three openings. "Even thus will I cut off their heads when they shall set them into those three openings thinking to adore the hallows that are beyond." [1]

External links modified[edit]

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Guillotine on terrorists[edit]

Far-right politicians in France claimed to reintroduce the Guillotine for terrorists. Should this be recorded to this article?
Source: [2] [3] [4]
yhynerson1 (talk) 12:03, 1 July 2016 (UTC)

this article needs more references[edit]

There are a number of paragraphs scattered throughout the article that have no citations whatsoever. howcheng {chat} 07:59, 23 April 2017 (UTC)

Mannaia or Mannaja[edit]

"The group was influenced by the Italian Mannaia (or Mannaja: which had been used ever since Roman times)". Maybe this should be either clarified or rephrased as it makes it look like there's a dispute.

External links modified[edit]

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  1. ^ a b High History of the Grail, translated by Sebastian Evans ISBN 9781-4209-44075