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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Execution by Sword

Because primitive execution by the sword depended so much on the ability or willingness of the victim to remain motionless and unflinching, and also on the dexterity and accuracy of the executioner, the method was eventually phased out [in the mid-1600s]. The public spectacle of the decapitation, the headless corpse and gushing blood, became so abhorrent to society that Germany, like many other European countries, adopted the system of hanging its criminals behind prison walls, and the fearsome, blunt-tipped execution swords were honorably retired to museums.

Geoffrey Abbott, Lords of the Scaffold, 2001

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