The history of the crucifixion rite

The history of the crucifixion rite

We are in Holy Week, one of the main religious holidays of Christianity. While Christmas brings the kindest, generous and familiar side to men, Holy Week is a holiday in which suffering and Calvary are represented that according to biblical texts the son of God suffered for the sins of man.

Thus, despite obscurantism and pain that seems to emanate from this celebrationWhat Christians really celebrate is nothing but an extreme act of love on the part of God towards men. The sacrifice of his only son for the sins of all mankind. A voluntary sacrifice for which Jesus laid down his life on top of a cross to save humanity.

Today we bring you the history behind this horrible punishment that the Romans boasted of using, the rite of crucifixion.
Crucifixion is an ancient method of execution by which the condemned person was tied or nailed (most of the time) to a wooden cross, a post or a wall and left there until his death. Crucifixion was widely used in the Roman Empire and in neighboring cultures of the Mediterranean, undoubtedly influenced by the imperial culture.

This type of torture and execution was used by the Romans, according to some historians, until 337 AD. That is, after Christianity was “legalized" for him emperor Constantine but before it became the sole and official religion of the empire in 380 by the Edict of Thessalonica.

Persian origin of the crucifixion.
Even though the crucifixion is fixed in the collective imagination as one of the symbols of the cruelty of the Roman empire, the truth is its origin as a torture tool is much earlier. Everything seems to indicate that this practice originated in Assyria, where it was used systematically by the Persians during the 6th century BC. Later, Alexander the Great, copied this system and introduced it to the eastern Mediterranean countries in the 4th century BC, being the Phoenicians who probably introduced it to Rome in the 3rd century BC.

Other possible origins.
According to other scholars, it appears that the Romans they learned the crucifixion from the Carthaginians who used it against slaves, rebels, pirates, war captives and the most bloodthirsty criminals.

It is because of that crucifixion was considered the most humiliating way to dieNailed to a post, half naked, with a satyr sign over his head and exposed to the elements until starvation, wounds and suffocation killed the prisoner. In addition, both the clothes and belongings of the crucified could be claimed both by the centurion and by the soldiers of the execution group.

A forbidden punishment for the true Roman citizen.
Due to the humiliating character described, crucifixion was a banned practice for Roman citizens sentenced to death. A nobleman always deserved the best of treatment and even in executions that maxim was upheld.

Thus, in the event that a Roman citizen was sentenced to death, before he received the honorable death decapitation or through the practice of cutting the medulla in the neck area with the edge of a sword (something similar to the rapier in bulls).

Even in cases of high treason it was frowned upon to hang a Roman citizen who, by his own conception, preferred to be killed by the sword rather than the slow, painful and shameful death of the crucifixion, where not only did death take a long time to arrive, but the prisoner became a public spectacle and an object of derision.

The devout crucifixion.
Even though the practice of crucifixion was abolished by Emperor Constantine At the end of his reign, it is still practiced today as a test of devotion to Christ in some countries. This is how the members of the “Brothers of the Light”, Which every Easter they carry out representations of the crucifixion of Jesus, where the penitent is tied with ropes to a cross for a certain time to participate in the passion of Christ. Also in the Philippines this traditional practice, where some men are nailed of their own free will to ask for the protection of their relatives.

However, it should be mentioned that the Catholic Church has reiterated its opposition to this type of rites, since it considers that those crucified who seek something in exchange for their sacrifice, contravene the true meaning of the Passion of Christ.


Video: Crucifixion - The Historical Record