Summer vacation 4: Punishment

I’m in the middle of a 10-state road trip with my older daughter. And these are big Western states. So my regular posts will be on hiatus until July. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some photos of historical criminal justice practices. I’ll be posting those on Wednesdays until July.

Prisons are a relatively new form of punishment. For much of human history, criminals were executed for more serious offenses. People who committed minor offenses were often given some form of public humiliation. Not only was this inexpensive, but it meant the miscreant could return to work instead of leaving his family destitute. A lot of creativity went into these punishments. Here are photos of a few.

 See that pillar to the right of Spike? In Roman times, people would be tied to it and flogged; that space around it was essentially the main square. I took this photo in Zadar, Croatia.

 Branks were metal masks, often in the shape of animal heads. Some had metal flanges that went into the mouth. Branks were often used on women who were considered quarrelsome.

 Some people who violated religious norms might be required to wear these vests. I don’t know what the jellyfish-looking things are supposed to be.

 Branding was a more permanent way of identifying criminals.

 This is a pillory. Some were stationary but some, like this one, could be driven around town. The offender might be flogged while he was locked in it.

 These are stocks. Which would actually be pretty ineffective for a prisoner with no legs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *