Tag Archives: torture

Free Market Can Kill, With Fire And Sword

The title of the post refers to a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz, a part of the trilogy every Pole knows by heart.

I was looking for some pictures of impaling, torching, delimbing, mutilating I remember from the movies that followed the books, but in vain. Maybe they are not there in the Web because they are in some collective Polish memory already.

As you can judge from the mood, I still feel goaded tempted to deal with the painful clichés concerning the economy in Poland (*). When I get out of my down (it is Brahms’s or Tchaikovsky’s birthday today and I hate it), I will write more. Or, about the impending III World War, perhaps. Well. For now, I am simply giving away a link to a text about economy in our death [instead of that in our life]. It goes in Polish, so either you learn some or you add more links in your native languages. (Please do.)

When you look for “CENNIK OPŁAT ZA TORTURY” PRICE LIST FOR TORTURER’S SERVICES the archbishoprics of Cologne set up in 1757 – you will find that the price for quartering (no. 2), for burning alive (no. 9) and for breaking on the wheel (no. 11) was the same. And they called it justice!

Animals were valued. Quartering by four horses was some 30% more expensive than quartering without horses. In addition, in the towns of Melaten and Deutz, the torturer was entitled to some extra hay / fodder allowance.

Talk about psychology? Those people knew the power of marketing / PR / psychowarfare / preemptive strike / call it what you will. The XVIII century’s hangman was paid 2 gulden 24 kreuzer for heavy work of flogging, and as much as half of it (1 gulden 12 kreuzer) for just showing up and his utensils.

Not to be mistaken for a set of tools of torture?

The German torturer, similarly, was paid 1 talar equally for:
(41) inspiring fear by displaying tools of torture
(42) first degree torture

Stakes were not what we usually see in movies. Fire was only to inflict pain, not to devour flesh. Flames were not to be high as they could get along with the buildings around. For economic purposes, not much wood was used. For yet more economy, the victim would be strangled first. Then, 439 years [and 1 day ago] a man was buried alive (for having murdered and chopped his wife and his maid) [it’s not obvious whether it was double or single murder]. The punishment was rare for such a case, but someone wanted to economise on the hangman.

Well. Free market, wasn’t it?

(*) such as “Leszek Balcerowicz showed us the only way”, “Polish transformation has been a huge success, moaners excepted”, “we need the West pump us (with capital)”, “private is better”, “taxes should be low” etc.

PS Oh wait, I just found the 1757 tariff for torture in English, too.




If you want some less definite pain, come.

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