Δευτέρα, 4 Οκτωβρίου 2010

Flagellation part 1: punishment and humiliation of the victim

Flagellation, one of the oldest and most widespread tortures, has some specific features, so I' going to present it in three parts:

as a torture (corporal usually public punishment in civilians, slaves, soldiers, sailors, pupils, women for adultery, monks, etc humiliation or interogation),

as purification through self-torture by religious groups and

as a sadomazochistic sexual play of Dominance and Submission nature.

The most famous flagellation pictures are those of Jesus Christ before his Crucifiction:

Paul Rubens (1577-1640)


Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543)


William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1880)


James J Tissot (1836-1902)

The most dramatic corporal punishment was that of black slaves in America, whipping nearly to death:

"Flagellation of a Female Samboe Slave."
Illustration in Stedman's book by William Blake.
Stedman witnessed this punishment in 1774. The woman being whipped was an eighteen-year old girl who was given 200 lashes for having refused to have intercourse with an overseer.
She was "lacerated in such a shocking manner by the whips of two negro-drivers, that she was from her neck to her ancles literally dyed with blood."




As a punishment/humiliation in public, army, navy, religious schools, monasteries or even against servants by their cruel masters:

Elizabeth Brownrigg (1720–1767) was an 18th century murderess who torture her servants. Mary Clifford, was one of her domestic servants, who died from cumulative injuries and associated infected wounds from severe daily whipping and torturing for the slightest infraction of her rules. As a result of witness testimony and medical evidence at her trial, Brownrigg was hanged at Tyburn in September 1767. (wikipedia)

navy army and civil corporal punishment


public flagellation for adultery:

Vinzenz Katzler (1823–1882)


Martin van Maele (1900)


Georges Topfer


And in religious schools and monasteries:

Interior of a monastery with a monk tied to a column
and being flagellated by several nuns holding whips

Mezzotint made by Jacob Gole
After Cornelis Dusart, 1684-1724.



ST. EDMUND, Bishop of Canterbury, while teaching at Paris, tormented a very beautiful young woman : summoning her to his study, he administered such a Flagellation that her body was covered with weals. (History of Flagellation)


And a funny reversal of the relation "master/underlings"
by John Leech (1850) in "comic history of rome"
where school-boys flogging the school-master

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