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Torture Instruments from Medieval Times - BREAKING WITH A WHEEL

To us, "the wheel" may seem like an ordinary wooden device that moves a carriage. To a medieval person, this wheel was a feared device which produced unbelievable, staggering torture.

The wheel was a favored instrument of terror in Germany during the Middle Ages. According to a German chronicler, victims of "breaking with a wheel" became

...a sort of huge screaming puppet writhing in rivulets of blood, a puppet with four tentacles, like a sea monster, of raw, slimy and shapeless flesh mixed up with splinters of smashed bones.

But that wasn't the end of it. Limbs were woven around the spokes and the wheel was hoisted up so birds could peck away. Death was usually slow in coming.

St. Catherine of Alexandria (to whom Joan of Arc prayed) was slated to die this way. So were lots of other folks. But breaking a person with the wheel was just one barbaric method of extracting confessions. Another device was the "Judas Cradle."

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5124stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2000

Updated Last Revision: Oct 19, 2016


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"BREAKING WITH A WHEEL" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 01, 2000. Dec 14, 2017.
       <http://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/BREAKING-WITH-A-WHEEL-Torture-Instruments-from-Medieval-Times/1>.
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