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Encyclopedia > Rack (torture)
A torture rack in the Tower of London
A torture rack in the Tower of London

The rack is a term for certain physical punishment devices. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1200x1800, 2334 KB) Summary Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Rack (torture) User:Cybjorg/images Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1200x1800, 2334 KB) Summary Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Rack (torture) User:Cybjorg/images Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital...


The rack consists of an oblong rectangular, usually wooden frame, slightly raised from the ground, with a roller at one, or both, ends, having at one end a fixed bar to which the legs were fastened, and at the other a movable bar to which the hands were tied. The victim's feet are fastened to one roller, and the wrists are chained to the other. Trunks A tree trunk as found at the Veluwe, The Netherlands Wood is a solid material derived from woody plants, notably trees but also shrubs. ...


As the interrogation progresses, a handle and ratchet attached to the top roller are used to very gradually stepwise increase the tension on the chains, which induces excruciating pain as the victim's joints slowly dislocate. By means of pulleys and levers this latter could be rolled on its own axis, thus straining the ropes till the sufferers joints were dislocated. A ratchet may refer to: ratchet (device), a mechanical device for controlling rotational motion socket wrench, a tool that makes use of the above mechanical device ratchet (instrument), a music instrument Ratchet (Ratchet & Clank), a fictional character from the Ratchet & Clank video game series Ratchet (Robots), a fictional character and... Hurting redirects here. ... A joint is the location at which two or more bones make contact. ...


Because of its mechanically precise, graded operation, it was particularly suited for hard interrogation, as to extract a confession.


One gruesome aspect of being stretched too far on the rack is the loud popping noises made by snapping cartilage, ligaments or bones. Eventually, if the application of the rack is continued, the victim's limbs are ripped right off. One powerful method for putting pressure upon a prisoner was to merely force him to view someone else being subjected to the rack. Cartilage is a type of dense connective tissue. ...


Indeed, a person stretched on the rack presented the ultimate spectacle of the body in pain. A victim would often be placed on the rack naked or nearly so, and their taut skin would run with the sweat of their agonies. Wrists and ankles would be swollen and bloodied from the bite of ropes or manacles. The spread-eagled posture left no part of the body invulnerable from the application of other devices like hot irons or pincers, or immune from the attention of those gathered to observe the torture. Torture is defined by the United Nations Convention Against Torture as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he...

Contents

Early use

It was used since Antiquity, being used on St. Vincent and mentioned by the Church Fathers Tertullian (on extraction of confessions from criminals and on persisting Christian 'sacrilegers' against the state cult) and St. Jerome (used on a woman according to his first letter). Scenes from the Passion of Saint Vincent of Saragossa and the History of His Relics, French 13th century vitreau Saint Vincent of Saragossa, (feast day: January 22) was born at Huesca and martyred under Diocletian, in 304, is the patron saint of Lisbon. ... Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicized as Tertullian, (ca. ... For other uses see: Jerome (disambiguation) Jerome (about 340 - September 30, 420), (full name Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus) is best known as the translator of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin. ...


A famous early medieval victim being the Merovingian Queen Brunhilda of Austrasia, and it became a chief instrument of torture in torture chambers throughout Europe. There are other articles with similar names; see Merovingian (disambiguation). ... Philippoteaux and Girardet, Die Folterung von Brunhilde. ...

  • In some versions of a Classical Greek mythology, the bandit king Procrustes was famed for his use of the rack on passers-by.

For other uses, see Myth. ... In Greek mythology, Procrustes (the stretcher), also known as Damastes (subduer) and Polypemon (harming much), was a bandit from Attica. ...

Use in medieval Britain

Its first employment in England is said to have been due to John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter, the constable of the Tower in 1447, whence it was popularly known as the Duke of Exeter's daughter. Being tortured on the rack was often referred to as being "put to the question." Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: God Save the King/Queen Capital London (de facto) Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2006 est. ... John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter (March 18, 1395 - 1447) was an English nobleman and military commander during the Hundred Years War. ... The Constable of the Tower of London is the governor of the Tower. ... Scavenger’s daughter The Scavenger’s daughter was a type of torture rack, also known as the Stork. ...


In 1628 the whole question of its legality was raised by the attempt of the privy council to rack John Felton, the assassin of the duke of Buckingham. This the judges resisted, unanimously declaring its use to be contrary to the laws of England. John Felton (died November, 1628) was an English Puritan who stabbed George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham to death in Portsmouth, because he believed that he harmed too many people. ... The Duke of Buckingham by Rubens George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (28 August 1592 – 23 August 1628) was a favorite of King James I and VI of England and Scotland, and one of the most rewarded royal courtiers in all history. ...


Well known victims of the rack in England include Guy Fawkes, Edmund Campion and Anne Askew, venerable William Carter (1584), the famous Elizabethan dramatist, Thomas Kyd (1592) and Jesuit lay-brother Saint Nicholas Owen (1606). A painting of Guy Fawkes with House of Parliament in the background. ... Portrait of Edmund Campion St. ... Anne Askew (1521 - 16 July 1546) was an English member of the Reformed Church who was persecuted as a heretic and then burned at the stake. ... William Carter was a Roman Catholic English printer and martyr. ... Thomas Kyd (1558 - 1594) was an English dramatist, the author of The Spanish Tragedy, and one of the most important figures in the development of Elizabethan drama. ... Saint Nicholas Owen, often known as Little John (died 2 March 1606), was an English martyr who built several priest holes in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. ...


Use in medieval central Europe

A relief of the torture of Saint John Sarkander on torturing rack at Sarkander's gravestone in 1620
A relief of the torture of Saint John Sarkander on torturing rack at Sarkander's gravestone in 1620

Other well known victim is Saint John Sarkander (1620). Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1908x1704, 960 KB) See also: File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Rack (torture) John Sarkander Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1908x1704, 960 KB) See also: File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Rack (torture) John Sarkander Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera... Saint John Sarkander (1576-1620), Moravian priest In 1609 consecrated. ... Saint John Sarkander (1576-1620), Moravian priest In 1609 consecrated. ...


Use by the Inquisition

The Inquisition used the rack as one of their principal methods of torture. (McCall, 1979) Inquisition (capitalized I) is broadly used, to refer to things related to judgment of heresy by the Roman Catholic Church. ...


Other punitive positioning contraptions

The term rack is also used, occasionally, for a number of simpler constructions that constitute no such mechanical torture device, but simply to position the victim over for some physical punishment, after which it may be named specifically, e.g. caning rack, since in a given jurisdiction it was often custom or even prescribed to administer any given punishment in a specific position, for which the device (with or without fitting shackling and/or padding) would be chosen or specially made. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Corporal punishment. ...


A similar device was the intestinal crank. This method of torture involved abdominal incision, separation of the duodenum from the pylorus, and attachment of the upper part of the intestine to the intestinal crank. The crank then could be rotated to extract the intestines from the gastrointestinal cavity of a conscious person, for the purposes of torture (Monestier, 1994). In anatomy of the digestive system, the duodenum is a hollow jointed tube connecting the stomach to the jejunum. ... From Greek pylorus; pyl- = gate, -orus = guard. ... In anatomy, the intestine is the portion of the alimentary canal extending from the stomach to the anus and, in humans and other mammals, consists of two segments, the small intestine and the large intestine (or colon). ...


A similar device appears during a dream sequence in the 2000 movie The Cell. 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Cell is a 2000 movie written by Mark Protosevich and directed by Tarsem Singh. ...


In popular culture

Monty Python, or The Pythons, is the collective name of the creators of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a British television comedy sketch show that first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969. ... The Spanish Inquisition was a series of Monty Python sketches, parodying the Spanish Inquisition. ...

Sources

  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
  • Catholic Encyclopaedia passim
  • Monestier, M. (1994) Peines de mort. Paris, France: Le Cherche Midi Éditeur.
  • Crocker, Harry W; "Triumph: The Power and Glory of the Catholic Church - A 2,000 Year History"
  • Vertebral Axial Decompression (Vax-D) Technology Assessment, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
  • McCall, Andrew: "The Medieval Underworld". Hamish Hamilton, 1979. ISBN 0750937270

  Results from FactBites:
 
Rack (torture) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (940 words)
The rack consists of an oblong rectangular, usually wooden frame, slightly raised from the ground, with a roller at one, or both, ends, having at one end a fixed bar to which the legs were fastened, and at the other a movable bar to which the hands were tied.
In 1628 the whole question of its legality was raised by the attempt of the privy council to rack John Felton, the assassin of the duke of Buckingham.
This method of torture involved abdominal incision, separation of the duodenum from the pylorus, and attachment of the upper part of the intestine to the intestinal crank.
rack - definition by dict.die.net (697 words)
Rack lashing, a lashing or binding where the rope is tightened, and held tight by the use of a small stick of wood twisted around.
Rack rail (Railroads), a toothed rack, laid as a rail, to afford a hold for teeth on the driving wheel of locomotive for climbing steep gradients, as in ascending a mountain.
To be on the rack, to suffer torture, physical or mental.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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