Morbid History: The Brazen Bull

It's barbeque time!

It’s barbeque time!

I like learning about old school instruments of torture. Water-boarding is just so boring and passe! Who needs it when you have the brazen bull!

The brazen bull was a unique and quite devilish in what it accomplished; slowly roasting people alive. It was invented by a metal worker from Athens called Perillos, in order to introduce a new form of torture for Phalaris, a tyrant of Sicily, to inflict on criminals. The entire thing was made of bronze in the life-size shape, of you guessed it, a bull. It had a door on its side to allow the victim access, and it had a series of tube that lead to its mouth that would allow the screams of the guilty to sound like that of a bull. A fire would be lit underneath it and all that would be left was a pile of bones and ash.

Of course Perillos bragged about the sound the bull would emit, so curious as to whether it would indeed work Phalaris ordered him to become the first victim. Guess what happened next? Go on I’ll give you a few moments. It worked as described! The ancient Romans also thought it was kind of neat so they used it against Christians, Jews and anybody else who really pissed them off.

It is believed that the design of the brazen bull started out in Carthage. The people would sacrifice babies to their god named Moloch by placing them within a small cow headed bronze statue of the god and sliding them down into bronze furnace. The screams of the dying babies didn’t sound anything like a bull, but you can’t have everything!

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