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The Breaking Wheel, 1548

The Breaking Wheel, 1548

C044/7890

Rights Managed

39.6 MB (2.5 MB compressed)

3750 x 3695 pixels

31.8 x 31.2 cm ⏐ 12.5 x 12.3 in (300dpi)

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Credit

NYPL / SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NYPL / SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

The breaking wheel, also known as the Catherine wheel or simply the wheel, was a torture device used for capital punishment from antiquity into early modern times for public execution by breaking the criminal's bones/bludgeoning him to death. As a form of execution, it was used from classical times into the 18th century, as a form of post mortem punishment of the criminal, the wheel was still in use in 19th century Germany. The wheel was typically a large wooden wagon wheel with many radial spokes. The condemned were lashed to the wheel and their limbs were beaten with a club or iron cudgel, with the gaps in the wheel allowing the limbs to give way and break. Alternatively, the condemned were spreadeagled and broken on a saltire, a cross consisting of two wooden beams nailed in an X shape, after which the victim's mangled body might be displayed on the wheel.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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