In the ancient world, crucifixion was a common form of capital punishment. This form of state terror was widespread across the Roman Empire which included Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. It originated several centuries BCE and continued through the fourth century CE when the practice was discontinued by Constantine, the emperor of Rome. This form of execution lasted about 800 years and tens if not hundreds of thousands of individuals were subject to this cruel and humiliating death. Mass executions in which thousands died – such as the well known crucifixion of 6,000 followers of Spartacus as part, of a victory celebration along the Appian Way in 71 BCE – appear in the literature. The purpose of crucifixion was to provide a painful, gruesome, humiliating and public death. It was seen as a deterrent to other would be criminals as the transgression for what the person is being crucified is written above or near the crucified person. The message conveyed was “don’t do what this person did or you will suffer the same fate.” Crucifixion is a subset of several slow painful execution methods, which include varied forms of impalement, hanging from hooks, burning at the stake and exposure to wild beasts.

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