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25.4 x 38.1 cm ⏐ 10.0 x 15.0 in (300dpi)
NYPL / SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NYPL / SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Water torture is a form of torture in which the victim is forced to drink large quantities of water in a short time, resulting in gastric distention, water intoxication, and possibly death. Often the victim has the mouth forced or wedged open, the nose closed with pincers and a funnel or strip of cloth forced down the throat. The victim has to drink all the water (or other liquids such as bile or urine) poured into the funnel to avoid drowning. The stomach fills until near bursting and is sometimes beaten until the victim vomits and the torture begins again. Water torture was used extensively and legally by the courts of France from the Middle Ages to the 17th and 18th centuries. It was known as being put to the question, with the ordinary question involving the forcing of one gallon of water into the stomach and the extraordinary question involving the forcing of two gallons. Woodcut from The Criminal Procedure (Praxis Criminus Persequendi), 1541.
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