The Jews of Cologne burnt alive
From a Woodcut in the "Liber Chronicarum Mundi:" large folio, Nuremberg, 1493.
In 1370, the people of Brussels were startled in consequence of the statements of a Jewess, who accused her co-religionists of having made her carry a pyx full of stolen hosts to the Jews of Cologne, for the purpose of submitting them to the most horrible profanations. The woman added, that the Jews having pierced these hosts with sticks and knives, such a quantity of blood poured from them that the culprits were struck with terror, and concealed themselves in their quarter. The Jews were all imprisoned, tortured, and burnt alive. In order to perpetuate the memory of the miracle of the bleeding hosts, an annual procession took place, which was the origin of the great kermesse, or annual fair.
Hanging to Music. (A Minstrel condemned to the Gallows obtained permission that one of his companions should accompany him to his execution, and play his favourite instrument on the ladder of the Gallows.)--Fac-simile of a Woodcut in Michault's "Doctrinal du Temps Présent:" small folio, goth., Bruges, about 1490.
From a Woodcut in the "Cosmographie Universelle" of Munster
Mediæval punishments included more or less atrocious punishments, which were in use at various times and in various countries; such as the Pain of the Cross, specially employed against the Jews; the Arquebusade, which was well adapted for carrying out prompt justice on soldiers; the Chatouillement, which resulted in death after the most intense tortures; the Pal, flaying alive, and, lastly, drowning, a kind of death frequently employed in France
Cat-o'-nine-tails.--From a Woodcut in the "Cosmographie Universelle" of Munster.
Beheading.From the "Cosmographie Universelle" of Munster: in folio, Basle, 1552.
The Water Torture.
Fac-simile of a Woodcut in J. Damhoudère's "Praxis Rerum Criminalium:" in 4to, Antwerp, 1556.
In Paris, for a long time, the water torture was in use; this was the most easily borne, and the least dangerous. A person undergoing it was tied to a board which was supported horizontally on two trestles. By means of a horn, acting as a funnel, and whilst his nose was being pinched, so as to force him to swallow, they slowly poured four coquemars (about nine pints) of water into his mouth; this was for the ordinary torture. For the extraordinary, double that quantity was poured in. When the torture was ended, the victim was untied, "and taken to be warmed in the kitchen," says the old text.
Demons applying the Torture of the Wheel.--Fac-simile of a Woodcut in the "Grand Kalendrier ou Compost des Bergers:" small folio, Troyes, Nicholas le Rouge, 1529.
Lastly, we must mention the drilles, the narquois, or the people of the petite flambe, who for the most part were old pensioners, and who begged in the streets from house to house, with their swords at their sides. These, who at times lived a racketing and luxurious life, at last rebelled against the Grand Coesre, and would no longer be reckoned among his subjects--a step which gave a considerable shock to the Argotic monarchy.
Originally, decapitation was indiscriminately inflicted on all criminals condemned to death; at a later period, however, it became the particular privilege of the nobility, who submitted to it without any feeling of degradation. The victim--unless the sentence prescribed that he should be blindfolded as an ignominious aggravation of the penalty--was allowed to choose whether he would have his eyes covered or not. He knelt down on the scaffold, placed his head on the block, and gave himself up to the executioner. The skill of the executioner was generally such that the head was almost invariably severed from the body at the first blow. Nevertheless, skill and practice at times failed, for cases are on record where as many as eleven blows were dealt, and at times it happened that the sword broke.
Public Executions.--Fac-simile of a Woodcut in the Latin Work of J. Millaeus, "Praxis Criminis Persequendi:" small folio, Parisis, Simon de Colines, 1541.
The Provost's Prison.--Fac-simile of a Woodcut in J. Damhoudère's "Praxis Rerum Civilium."
A Village pillaged by Soldiers.--Fac-simile of a Woodcut in Hamelmann's "Oldenburgisches Chronicon." in folio, 1599.