Medieval Torture Devices That Will Make Your Toes Curl

Learn about how creative the human mind could get when devising different ways of torturing people in the name of interrogation and punishment.


Life has changed significantly since the Medieval ages which spanned from the 5th to the 15th century. One segment of the society that should be incredibly grateful for that are the suspects and criminals of today. The way prisoners were treated was vastly different than they are today. Gruesome torture devices were the norm for punishment and the extraction of confessions and information. There wasn’t a limit on the amount of torture that could be inflicted, and the torture was often prolonged to inflict excruciating pain. Following are some of the deadliest torture devices from that period


via – ooegeschichte.at

Primarily used to extract confessions, these metal devices could crush the prisoners’ fingers or thumbs. They were designed to slowly crush the fingers and toes by placing them inside the instrument as the torturer controlled the handle on top. These would cause lasting damage despite their size. Larger devices were also used to crush other body parts such as the elbows and knees.

The Brazen Bull

via – allthatsinteresting.com


This was one of the most brutal torture devices used in Ancient Greece, made for the cruel tyrant Phalaris by his sculptor. The Brazen Bull was a hollow brass vessel attached with pipes and whistles used to punish criminals by placing them inside and sealing them in. The bull was lit on fire from beneath. As the vessel heated up, the person inside was roasted alive and the screams sounded like the bellows of a real bull from the outside.

Cradle of Judas

via – naukrinama.com

Also known as the Judas chair, this tool includes a pointed iron cradle in the shape of a pyramid. The victims were forced to sit on the cradle, usually naked, with their limbs stretched. The pointed edge was inserted into the victim, and then the victim was slowly lowered with the help of ropes. The pressure was exerted, sometimes with weights, which would lead to the stretching of an orifice and eventual death. The device wasn’t washed which often lead to a painful infection, if not death.

The Iron Maiden

via – discoverinformation.com

A device so unspeakably torturous, some consider it fictional. It was a hinged iron cabinet with spikes on the inside made to lock the victim within. The spikes were placed strategically in order to pierce several vital organs, including two spikes for piercing the eyes. The spikes were made short to prolong the torture. Instead of instant death, the victims would bleed over hours.

 The Breast Ripper

via – 001anti-social-psychopath.tumblr.com

There were a number of punishments that were specific to women, they were either sold to brothels, given to soldiers to be raped, they would even be tied up and paraded naked through a public street and subjected to sexual mutilations. One such female specific torture method was using a device called The Breast Ripper. It was mainly used on women convicted for adultery, unmarried mothers and women accused of other such crimes, to mark their breasts. A metal claw-like device was heated and used to pierce the women’s breasts. The victim was tied to a wall and the claw was forcibly pulled away to shred the breasts to pieces.

Saw Torture

via – ctrlmagazine.it

In this method, the victim was hung upside down to insure sufficient blood was diverted to the brain to keep them conscious during the long torture. A saw was then used to cut through the victim’s body either until they were completely cut in half or in often cases, only till the abdomen to lengthen their suffering.

Spanish Donkey

via – foodforfox.ir

A torture method used during the Spanish Inquisition, this device was similar but much worse than the Judas Cradle. It was a triangle shaped vertical wooden board with sharp edges, resembling the shape of a donkey. The victim was made to sit on it naked with weights added to the victim’s feet until the victim was sliced through the board.

Read also – Our Ancient Roti Was Found In The History And Is Now World Famous



Kavita Mishra

Just another management student exploring the different crazy areas of life one adventure at a time. Books, TV shows, writing, music, animals and coffee are my way of surviving our chaotic existence.

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