List of methods of capital punishment

List of methods of capital punishment

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This is a list of methods of capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

.
Method Description
Animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s
  • Crushing by elephant
  • Devouring by:
    • Alligators, crocodiles, or sharks
    • Animals such as dogs or wolves, as in Ancient Rome
      Ancient Rome
      Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

       and the Biblical lion's den
      Book of Daniel
      The Book of Daniel is a book in the Hebrew Bible. The book tells of how Daniel, and his Judean companions, were inducted into Babylon during Jewish exile, and how their positions elevated in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. The court tales span events that occur during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar,...

    • Damnatio ad bestias
      Damnatio ad bestias
      Damnatio ad bestias was a form of capital punishment in which the condemned were maimed on the circus arena or thrown to a cage with animals, usually lions. It was brought to ancient Rome around the 2nd century BC from Asia, where a similar penalty existed from at least the 6th century BC...

       (i.e., as in the cliché
      Cliché
      A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. In phraseology, the term has taken on a more technical meaning,...

      , "being thrown to the lions")
    • Insects, such as ants
    • Rodents, such as rats
  • Stings from scorpions and bites by snakes, spiders, etc.
  • Snake pit
    Snake pit
    Snake pits are places of horror, torture and even death in European legends and fairy tales. The Viking warlord Ragnar Lodbrok is said to have been thrown into a snake pit and died there, after his army had been defeated in battle by King Aelle II of Northumbria...

  • Tearing apart by horses (e.g., in medieval
    Middle Ages
    The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

     Europe and Imperial China, with four horses; or "quartering
    Hanged, drawn and quartered
    To be hanged, drawn and quartered was from 1351 a penalty in England for men convicted of high treason, although the ritual was first recorded during the reigns of King Henry III and his successor, Edward I...

    ", with four horses, as in The Song of Roland
    The Song of Roland
    The Song of Roland is the oldest surviving major work of French literature. It exists in various manuscript versions which testify to its enormous and enduring popularity in the 12th to 14th centuries...

    and Child Owlet
    Child Owlet
    Child Owlet is Child ballad 291 and a murder ballad. It was performed by English folk-rock band Steeleye Span on their album They Called Her Babylon.-Synopsis:...

    )
  • Trampling by horses (example: Al-Musta'sim
    Al-Musta'sim
    Al-Musta'sim Billah was the last Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad; he ruled from 1242 until his death.-Biography:...

    , the last Abbasid
    Abbasid
    The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

     Caliph
    Caliph
    The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

     in Baghdad
    Baghdad
    Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

    )
Boiling to death
Boiling to death
Death by boiling is a method of execution in which a person is killed by being immersed in a boiling liquid such as water or oil. While not as common as other methods of execution, boiling to death has been used in many parts of Europe and Asia...

This penalty was carried out using a large cauldron filled with water, oil, tar, tallow, or even molten lead.
Breaking back  A Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

n method of execution that avoided the spilling of blood on the ground
Breaking wheel
Breaking wheel
The breaking wheel, also known as the Catherine wheel or simply the wheel, was a torture device used for capital punishment in the Middle Ages and early modern times for public execution by bludgeoning to death...

Also known as the Catherine wheel
Buried alive
Premature burial
Premature burial, also known as live burial, burial alive, or vivisepulture, means to be buried while still alive. Animals or humans may be buried alive accidentally or intentionally...

Burning
Execution by burning
Death by burning is death brought about by combustion. As a form of capital punishment, burning has a long history as a method in crimes such as treason, heresy, and witchcraft....

Supposed to have been popular for executing for religious heretics
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

 and witches
Witchcraft
Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...

,
Cooking Brazen Bull
Brazen bull
The brazen bull, bronze bull, or Sicilian bull, was a torture and execution device designed in ancient Greece. Its inventor, metal worker Perillos of Athens, proposed it to Phalaris, the tyrant of Akragas, Sicily, as a new means of executing criminals. The bull was made entirely of bronze, hollow,...

Crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

Roping or nailing to a wooden cross or similar apparatus (such as a tree) and allowing to perish.
Crushing By a weight, abruptly or as a slow ordeal.
Decapitation
Decapitation
Decapitation is the separation of the head from the body. Beheading typically refers to the act of intentional decapitation, e.g., as a means of murder or execution; it may be accomplished, for example, with an axe, sword, knife, wire, or by other more sophisticated means such as a guillotine...

Also known as beheading. One of the most famous execution methods is execution by guillotine
Guillotine
The guillotine is a device used for carrying out :executions by decapitation. It consists of a tall upright frame from which an angled blade is suspended. This blade is raised with a rope and then allowed to drop, severing the head from the body...

.
Disembowelment
Disembowelment
Disembowelment is the removal of some or all of the organs of the gastrointestinal tract , usually through a horizontal incision made across the abdominal area. Disembowelment may result from an accident, but has also been used as a method of torture and execution...

Dismemberment
Dismemberment
Dismemberment is the act of cutting, tearing, pulling, wrenching or otherwise removing, the limbs of a living thing. It may be practiced upon human beings as a form of capital punishment, as a result of a traumatic accident, or in connection with murder, suicide, or cannibalism...

Being drawn and quartered sometimes resulted in dismemberment.
Drawing and quartering
Hanged, drawn and quartered
To be hanged, drawn and quartered was from 1351 a penalty in England for men convicted of high treason, although the ritual was first recorded during the reigns of King Henry III and his successor, Edward I...

Electrocution
Electric chair
Execution by electrocution, usually performed using an electric chair, is an execution method originating in the United States in which the condemned person is strapped to a specially built wooden chair and electrocuted through electrodes placed on the body...

The electric chair
Electric chair
Execution by electrocution, usually performed using an electric chair, is an execution method originating in the United States in which the condemned person is strapped to a specially built wooden chair and electrocuted through electrodes placed on the body...

Falling
Falling (execution)
Throwing or dropping people from great heights has been used as a form of execution since ancient times. People executed in this way die from injuries caused by hitting the ground at high velocity....

Flaying
Flaying
Flaying is the removal of skin from the body. Generally, an attempt is made to keep the removed portion of skin intact.-Scope:An animal may be flayed in preparation for human consumption, or for its hide or fur; this is more commonly called skinning....

The skin is removed from the body.
Garrote
Garrote
A garrote or garrote vil is a handheld weapon, most often referring to a ligature of chain, rope, scarf, wire or fishing line used to strangle someone....

Gas
Gas chamber
A gas chamber is an apparatus for killing humans or animals with gas, consisting of a sealed chamber into which a poisonous or asphyxiant gas is introduced. The most commonly used poisonous agent is hydrogen cyanide; carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide have also been used...

Death by asphyxia
Asphyxia
Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from being unable to breathe normally. An example of asphyxia is choking. Asphyxia causes generalized hypoxia, which primarily affects the tissues and organs...

tion or poison gas in a sealed chamber
Gas chamber
A gas chamber is an apparatus for killing humans or animals with gas, consisting of a sealed chamber into which a poisonous or asphyxiant gas is introduced. The most commonly used poisonous agent is hydrogen cyanide; carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide have also been used...

Hanging
Hanging
Hanging is the lethal suspension of a person by a ligature. The Oxford English Dictionary states that hanging in this sense is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion and death by impalement in which the body would remain...

Immurement
Immurement
Immurement is a form of execution where a person is walled up within a building and left to die from starvation or dehydration. This is distinct from being buried alive, in which the victim typically dies of asphyxiation.-In legend and folklore:...

Being left to die of starvation or dehydration.
Impalement
Impalement
Impalement is the traumatic penetration of an organism by an elongated foreign object such as a stake, pole, or spear, and this usually implies complete perforation of the central mass of the impaled body...

Keelhauling
Keelhauling
Keelhauling is a form of punishment meted out to sailors at sea...

European maritime punishment.
Lethal injection
Lethal injection
Lethal injection is the practice of injecting a person with a fatal dose of drugs for the express purpose of causing the immediate death of the subject. The main application for this procedure is capital punishment, but the term may also be applied in a broad sense to euthanasia and suicide...

Pendulum
Pendulum (torture device)
The pendulum was an instrument of torture and execution claimed to have been used by the Spanish Inquisition as recently as the early 19 Century. The allegation is contained in the book The history of the Inquisition of Spain by the Spanish priest, historian and liberal activist Juan Antonio...

 
A type of machine with an axe head for a weight that slices closer to the victim's torso over time
Poison
Poison
In the context of biology, poisons are substances that can cause disturbances to organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism....

ing
Lethal injection
Lethal injection
Lethal injection is the practice of injecting a person with a fatal dose of drugs for the express purpose of causing the immediate death of the subject. The main application for this procedure is capital punishment, but the term may also be applied in a broad sense to euthanasia and suicide...

 is the modern form of poisoning and is used in some countries.
Sawing
Scaphism
Scaphism
Scaphism, also known as the boats, was an ancient Persian method of execution designed to inflict torturous death. The name comes from the Greek word skaphe, meaning "scooped out"....

Shooting
Shooting
Shooting is the act or process of firing rifles, shotguns or other projectile weapons such as bows or crossbows. Even the firing of artillery, rockets and missiles can be called shooting. A person who specializes in shooting is a marksman...

  • By cannon
    Cannon
    A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

     (see Blowing from a gun
    Blowing from a gun
    Blowing from a gun is a method of execution in which the victim is tied to the mouth of a cannon and the cannon is fired. This method of execution was used by British troops during the Indian Rebellion of 1857...

    )
  • By firing squad
    Execution by firing squad
    Execution by firing squad, sometimes called fusillading , is a method of capital punishment, particularly common in the military and in times of war.Execution by shooting is a fairly old practice...

  • By a single shot
    Execution by shooting
    Execution by shooting is a form of capital punishment whereby an executed person is shot by one or more firearms. It is the most common method of execution worldwide, used in about 70 countries, with execution by firing squad being one particular form...

     (such as the neck shot, often performed on a kneeling prisoner, as in China
    People's Republic of China
    China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

    )
  • Slow slicing
    Stabbing
    Stabbing
    A stabbing is penetration with a sharp or pointed object at close range. Stab connotes purposeful action, as by an assassin or murderer, but it is also possible to accidentally stab oneself or others.Stabbing differs from slashing or cutting in that the motion of the object used in a stabbing...

    Starvation
    Starvation
    Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death...

     / Dehydration
    Dehydration
    In physiology and medicine, dehydration is defined as the excessive loss of body fluid. It is literally the removal of water from an object; however, in physiological terms, it entails a deficiency of fluid within an organism...

    Immurement
    Immurement
    Immurement is a form of execution where a person is walled up within a building and left to die from starvation or dehydration. This is distinct from being buried alive, in which the victim typically dies of asphyxiation.-In legend and folklore:...

    Stoning
    Stoning
    Stoning, or lapidation, is a form of capital punishment whereby a group throws stones at a person until the person dies. No individual among the group can be identified as the one who kills the subject, yet everyone involved plainly bears some degree of moral culpability. This is in contrast to the...

    Strangulation
    Strangling
    Strangling is compression of the neck that may lead to unconsciousness or death by causing an increasingly hypoxic state in the brain. Fatal strangling typically occurs in cases of violence, accidents, and as the auxiliary lethal mechanism in hangings in the event the neck does not break...


    External links