Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

HISTORY TALKS...

The Pillory

WAYS of handing out punishment have often been inventive as well as cruel. Public shaming has been practised since time immemorial, and in Slovakia continued right up to the early 20th century, as we see in this postcard of a stone pillory from Piešťany.

Click to enlarge.

WAYS of handing out punishment have often been inventive as well as cruel. Public shaming has been practised since time immemorial, and in Slovakia continued right up to the early 20th century, as we see in this postcard of a stone pillory from Piešťany.

Other tactics included beheading, impaling or being tied to a wheel. Many punishments were designed to degrade and shame the offender, not cause permanent injury or death.

A baker who offered his customers foul bread might be tied up and dunked in the river. Gossips and prostitutes would have their heads shaved and be beaten with broomsticks.

Public squares would often have pillories, where convicts would be tied and left at the mercy of passers-by. They would be teased, tickled, spat at or people might even throw rocks at them.

In some cities, "cages of shame" were built, where convicts would be undressed and smeared with honey in order to be stung by insects. Such a cage can still be seen in Levoča.


By Branislav Chovan,
Special to the Spectator

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Top stories

In marriage, Czechs are no foreigners to Slovaks

25 years after the Czecho-Slovak breakup, people living in Czecho-Slovak marriages do not feel like they are living with a foreigner.

Illustrative Stock Photo

Foreign hackers attacked Slovak Foreign Ministry

The attack by the so far unknown perpetrators was targeted.

Illustrative stock photo

We protect ourselves from chemical and digital attacks

Calling out perpetrators of cyber-attacks is an important first step, but we must go further, writes British Minister for Europe.

Sir Alan Duncan, British Minister for Europe

Foreigners: Top 10 events in Bratislava Video

Tips for the top 10 events in the capital between October 19 and October 28, plus regular services in different languages, training, temporary exhibitions and highlights of the year.