People being stabbed in medieval art and lovin' it


Originally published at:


In before the Black Knight “It’s a flesh wound.” memes.

Also people were hardcore back then. Before the guillotine was invented, beheadings could be a messy process. I can’t recall who it was, and executions and beheading searches are mostly ISIS and terrorist links I’d rather not look at, but there was an Englishmen sentenced to a beheading. The executioner swung his sword, but only got about half way through the neck. The condemned said something like, “Steady, lad.” and died on the 2nd swing.


There is a long history of executions being botched, usually because the executioner was drunk (if your day job was to get close to someone and kill them, you would probably be drunk too). This is why the Guillotine was supposed to be a humane way of execution.

Not that all people want humane. Spain didn’t stop garroting people until after Franco died.


And the US still botches executions on a regular basis.

As horrific as it is, a Chinese-style bullet to the back of the head is a quicker, more reliable death than US methods. As would be inert gas hypoxia. However, the death penalty is wrapped up in all sorts of politics, including by people who want the justice system to be retributive.


The art style is interesting, and looking at some of the HEMA stuff there is a lot of this.


“But really, Democrats are just as bad.”


As I recall, nobles in Britain were hung with a silk rope- so as not to irritate the skin of their privileged necks.
And, occasionally, special swordsmen were brought in to insure a single swing got the job done.

Grisly stuff.


“Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”


It brings up the issue of whether a clinically clean death or a horrific, violent death will A) have more deterrent effect, B) inure us more to killing people. If either.

I wonder what is up with the smiling victims of violence in the OP, though. Are they supposed to make the violence OK? After all, it is God’s will, or something…


I’m thinking that perhaps the artists lacked the skill, or perhaps simply the will, to depict human suffering. Presumably those medieval monks didn’t get out much.


(RIP Toast.)


I guessed you’d have to compare and contrast their depictions of Jesus on the cross. If he’s smiling then your thesis is correct… :smiley:



This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.


The day the music died.


I read somewhere that Elizabethan actors would wear blood-filled sheep’s bladders to provide sufficiently grisly deaths for their characters.

Otherwise they would quickly run out of people willing to play Polonius.


Uhg. Even with modern detergents and fake blood, getting stains out of costumes is a PIA. I shudder to imagine what it would be like with real blood and nothing but lye soap.


“Uh oh, I think somebody’s got a case of the Mondays!”


And stale urine plenty of stale urine.


“Excuse me, sir, you have something… something sticking out of your… right there. No, there. Let me get it.”


Oh, I have got just the WORST headache. It’s like there’s this…I dunno…Sword? Just Jabbing me. Right. Here. God. I need some headache powders. In. The. Worst. Way.