Saturday, February 25, 2012

Impalements in Antiquity (2)

WARNING!: This post
may be upsetting to some.

Part 12 of the series: "The Romans NEVER CRUCIFIED the Way We Think They Did!"

Previous in this series:

Part 11 - Impalements in Antiquity (1).
Part 10 - Humiliations.
Part 9 - Utility Poles and Masts.
Part 8 - Crown of Thorns.
Part 7 - Crucifixion and Priapus.
Part 6 - From Wax Image to Exposed Body.
Part 5 - The First Crucifix.
Part 4 - The Tropaeum and the Furca.
Part 3 - Crux - Modern English Use and Ancient Quotidian Meanings.
Part 2 - Crux.
Part 1.

Previous Series - Crucifixion – The Bodily Support:

Part 4 - Physics of Crucifixion.
Part 3 - Manuscript Evidence.
Part 2 - Archaeological Evidence.

Part 12 - Impalements in Antiquity (2)

A. Introduction: Crucifixion or Impalement?

As mentioned in the previous post Impalements in Antiquity (1), Historical, classical and biblical scholars, particularly those of an Evangelical bent, widely assume that mere crucifixion (only nailing or binding to a "cross" of any shape) was frequent and common throughout the ancient world and among those who crucified were the Indians, Assyrians, Scythians, Taurians, Celts, Germani, Brittani, Persians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Numidians, Thracians, Judeans, Hellenic peoples of Asia Minor, and of course, the Greeks and the Romans.

Not so! What most of them, plus the Hittites, the Mittani and the Egyptians, practiced was some kind of impalement, as would be made obvious by the extant ancient writings. Only of some of them could it be said they "crucified," and even then it was usually a method of impalement, with the arms above and the wrists apart, bound to a lifting beam.

B. Babylonians - First Babylon Empire.

The Hammurabi Code, ca. 1786 BCE, prescribed two kinds of impalements: one capital punishment followed by post-mortem impalement for any individual who breaks through the wall of a house. The other was pre-mortem, that is, executionary impalement for any woman who commits adultery and has her husband killed for the sake of her lover. [1]

If a man make a breach in a house, they shall put him to death in front of that breach and they shall thrust him therein.
Code of Hammurabi, 21 [2] [3]
If a woman bring about the death of her husband for the sake of another man, they shall impale her.
Code of Hammurabi, 153 [4]

"If a man deceive a brander and he brand a slave with the sign that he cannot be sold, they shall put that man to death, and they shall cast him into his house. The brander shall swear: "I did not brand him knowingly," and he shall go free."

Code of Hammurabi, 227 [3] [5]
Both Babylonian and Assyrian Law specified impalement for a woman who procured an abortion., although the latter is a bit ambiguous: the Assyrian law says "they shall set her up on pieces of wood." [6][7]

C. Egyptians.

C.1. Interpreting Ancient Hieroglyphics.

It can be determined by reviewing ancient Egyptian payri and hieroglyphics that the Egyptians put people to death by means of wooden instruments, and set them up to die on the same. But how? What this thing is, so that people don't just assume that Egyptians nailed people to crosses, can be determined by viewing or researching the hieroglyphics inscribed on the Stela of Akhenaten and other Stelae, describing the cruel and only too usual punishment. Fortunately, German academics are way ahead on this and Muslim apologetics has cast a beam of light upon the research.

Source: Die Sprache Der Pharaonen Großes Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch, (ap. M S M Saifullah, Elias Karim & ʿAbdullah David, "Crucifixion or Crucifiction in Ancient Egypt?" Islamic Awareness, 2009) [8]

Above is the hieroglyph writing for "Pfahl: pale or stake. rdj hr = To put on the stake (for punishment)"; det. = determinative, hieroglyph for classifying Egyptian words. Here it shows an impaled man bent upon a stake. [9]

Source: Die Sprache Der Pharaonen Großes Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch, (ap. Saifullah, Karim & David, "Crucifixion or Crucifiction") [10]

Above you may view additional information on the hieroglyph writings that denote
impalement on a stake. This hieroglyph listing for Pfahl, "Pale, Stake" and Pfählen, "Pales, Stakes." The listings denoted by the encircled numerals 2, 3, 5 and 6 are indicative of execution by impalement.

And Christian apologetics that claim impalement is not crucifixion, and thus claim the Egyptians never crucified, certainly confirm that indeed, the Egyptians did indeed impale on stakes.

Illustration of Egyptian Crucifixion by Impalement from the Hieroglyphics. Source: Joyce A Tyldesley, Judgement of the Pharaoh, Crime and Punishment in Ancient Egypt, p. 65, (ap. Response to Islamic

C.2. Pharoah Sobekhotep II.

The earliest evidence that people were killed in this manner is found in an archaeological document dating back to the Egyptian city of Thebes in the 17th C. BCE. The document found was the Payrus Boulaq 18, believed to have been written in the reigh of Pharoah Sobekhotep II and contains the following [11]:

Source: Islamic Awareness [11].

"a blood bath (?) has occured with (by?) wood (?)... the comrade was put on the stake, land near the island... waking alive at the places of life, safety and health ..." [11] [12]

It is fairly obvious that the "comrade" was done in by a bloody death on or with something made out of wood.

C.3. Pharoah Akhenaten.

This Stela of Akhenaten describes the brutal treatment of Nubians who were captured in combat in the 14th C. BCE: [13][14]

Source: Islamic Awareness [14]

"List (of the enemy belonging to) Ikayta: living Neheshi 80+ ?,... ...their (chiefs?) 12, total number of live captives 145; those who were impaled... 225; beasts 361." [13][15]

Akhenaten was Pharoah during the 13th C. BCE. The "Ikayta" the Stela refers to were probably Egypt's arch-nemesis referred to therein as the "vile Kheta": the Hittites. The Hittite Empire was immense. It stretched all the way from what is now western Anatolia in Turkey into northern Syria and was always a threat to Egypt, whose realm included Palestine. The Stela was here describing an invasion of egypt by Hittites, who instigated a revolt by "Nehesi" (Nubians), who lived in what is now southern Egypt and the northern Sudan and were the Pharoah's subjects at the time. This revolt was in the 12th year of Akhenaten's reign: sometime between 1341 and 1339 BCE.

The Egyptian official who was responsible for this was a certain Tuthmose, the Pharoah's Viceroy for Nubia, who was sent down to put down the rebellion. All in all, he crucified by direct impalement 145 living men and transfixed 80 enemy combatants slain on the battlefield, totalling 225 bodies living and dead.

C.4. Pharoah Seti I.

Crucifixion by direct impalement had undoubtedly become a common capital punishment in Egypt by the 13th C. BCE. There is the Nauri Decree which is inscribed on a cliff at nauri in the Sudan wherein Seti I prescribes execution by impalement for anyone whosoever is convicted of selling an animal belonging to the Great temple of Abydos or sacrificing an animal to any god other than the Temple's patron, Osiris: [16]

Source: Islamic Awareness [17]

"...Now as for any superintendant of cattle, any superintendant of donkeys, any herdsman belonging to the Temple of Menmare Happy in Abydos, who shall sell of any beast belonging to the Temple of Menmare Happy in Abydos to someone else; likewise whoever may cause it to be offered to some other document, and it not be offered to Osiris his Master in the Temple of Menmare Happy in Abydos; the law shall be executed against him, by condemning him, impaled on the stake, along with forfeiting (?) his wife, his children and all his property to the Temple of Menmare Happy in Abydos, ..." [17]

Clearly, the offender, if caught and convicted, shall be put to death by being pierced on a stake and his wife, daughters and sons will become property of the temple in question -- possibly becoming shrine prostitutes.

C.5. Pharoah Merenptah.

The next incident involves a combat with the Libyans at the end of the 13th C. BCE. [18] The Libyans meet their fate of suspension at a site south of Memphis, which was the ancient capital of Egypt, not where Elvis Presley made his bid for fame.

The hieroglyphics which describe this come from the Stela of Merenptah.

Source: Islamic Awareness [19]
"...Never shall they leave any people for the Libu (i.e., Libyans), any who shall bring them up in their land! They are cast to the ground, (?) by hundred-thousands and ten-thousands, the remainder being impaled ('put to the stake') on the south of Memphis. All their property was plundered, being brought back to Egypt..." [18][19]
These hieroglyphic reported that thousands of Libu were killed ("cast to the ground") and the survivors were taken captive, marched to the south of Memphis, and impaled. The date of this battle, which not only involved the Libu, but also their allies the Meshwesh (another tribe from Libya) and the Sea Peoples (Philistines?) occured in 1209 BCE.

C.6. Pharoah Ramesses IX.

Another archaeological document known as the papyrus Abbot describes an account of tomb robberies during the reign of Ramesses IX in the late 12th C. BCE. [20]

Source: Islamic Awareness [21]
"...The notables caused this coppersmith to be examined in the most severe
examination in the Great Valley, but it could not be found that he knew of any
place there save the two places he had pointed out. He took an oath on pain of
being beaten, of having his nose and ears cut off, and of being impaled, saying
I know of no place here among these tombs except this tomb which is open and
this house which I pointed to you..." [20][21]
Clearly, impalement was herein threatened as a capital punishment if the man in question was convicted of perjury. Tomb robbery would undoubtedly meet the same terrible death.

D. Akkadin Empire.

There is in the ancient Ugaritic and Akkadin Texts a legal prosecription for suspending people on pieces of wood post-mortem. It has been argued that this refers to impalement, despite the fact that the pieces of wood is in the plural and the criminal to be suspended is in the singular. [21a]

E. Mitanni.

The Mitanni are a relatively unknown kingdom that came to light thanks to archaeology, no thanks to the Israelite and Judean prophets, priests, kings, historians and other writers who wrote the biblical chronicles! This kingdom was at its peak around 1400 BCE when it was attacked by the hatti (Hittites) to the west. In 1322 BCE this kingdom lost part of Syria to the Hatti and fell into political intrigue where the King Tushratta was assasinated and his nephew Shuttarna acceded the throne. The Mitanni Kingdom had to start recompensating its vassal states and it ended up in bankruptcy. Rather than wait for the hatti to attack again, or the vassals to rise up, Shuttarna came up with this solution: "he arrested thousands of the kingdom's Hurrian warrior aristocrats known as the maryannu [no joke!] and sent them east to the city of Taite where they were impaled. [He] then divided much of the remaining mitanni territory among favored vassals from Assyria and Alshe." [22]

E. Hittites.

In a discussion about the Old Hittite verb da-, "to take, to fetch," F. A. Tjerkstra notes a passage, wherein the writer / protagonist states, 'man paizzi ispannit iskarhi URUDU tapulliannit = a kuerzi.' Which is: "When he goes (away) I will impale (him) on a spit and he will cut him with a tapulli." [23]

Despite this terse and rather hastily thought out statement, impalement was rather rare among the Hittites and it shows in their legal code. Indeed, humiliating punishments like mutilation, which were routinely practiced under Assyrian law, were almost entirely absent from the Hittite code. The killing and burning of the enemy, the building of pyramids with skulls only, the impaling and flaying of the enemy whilst still alive, such atrocities all common amongst the Assyrians, were unthinkable among the Hittites. [24] Well, almost unthinkable.

F. Assyrians.

F.1. Epigraphy.

Source: Wikipedia.

The above is a detail of another image located here of an alabaster relief on display at the British Museum. It clearly shows Assyrian troops actively planting the stakes of three naked, impaled persons during the siege of the town of Laschish in 701 BCE. The three victims appear to have been impaled through the upper abdomen or the chest, and their heads have been turned toward the Earth (Seneca's first of three described cruces in De Consolatione 20.3). [25]

Source: Islamic Awareness. [26]

The above relief portrays Shalmaneser III's campaign in northern Syria and the aftermath of the taking of the town of Dabigu. The victims are suspended on top of tall poles and impaled through their privates, most likely the anus, with their legs painfully splayed as can be clearly seen in the detail below. [25] This method is the second of three cruces described by Seneca in the above work.

Another relief showing an attack on the walls of a town by means of a siege-engine (that looks like a mammoth covered with a blanket!) backed up by archers who are protected with shields. In the distance are the bodies of three of the town's residents, naked and impaled through the abdomen, with their heads pitched forwards toward the earth like in the previous relief. [27] The relief was taken from the Palace of Tiglath-pileser III (744-727 BCE) at Nimrud. [28] Two other views of the above relief can be viewed here.

And the epigraphy is not limited to the reliefs. There are inscriptions that show that Assyrian kings routinely boasted that when they took a walled town in battle, they impaled and lifted up its chief men. [29] There is also mention in the inscriptions of Assyrian forces subduing Egyptian vassals that were rebellious and impaling the leaders of the rebellion. [30]

F.2. Legal Writings.

As mentioned above, the Assyrian code (Middle Assyrian Laws) stated that a woman who procured an abortion was to be suspended, to us ambiguously: "they shall set her up on pieces of wood." [6] [7] But then again, the multiple pieces of wood could refer to multiple stakes in the ground like in Plutarch Artaxerxes 17.5.2, or a single stake with a cross-brake, as in this 18th Century woodcut from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

Under Sennacherib (705-681 BCE), it was proscribed that if a man were to build a house and it encroached upon the king's highway, he was to be suspended in front of his house. [31]

F.3. Historic Writings.

It is a common belief among Christians (and even scholars!) that the Assyrians crucified. This belief has been popularized by Marin Hengel's Crucifixion, wherein he cites Diodorus Siculus and Lucian as historic written evidence. [32] But what sort of crucifixion are the two talking about? Clearly, if they are talking about anything except impalement, then obviously the reports have zero historical worth. Clearly, these reports deserve a closer looking into.

F.3.1. Diodorus Siculus.

First, a look at Diodorus Siculus' report:
9 But Ninus treated him with great magnanimity, and agreed that he should not only continue to rule over Armenia but should also, as his friend, furnish a contingent and supplies for the Assyrian army. And as his power continually increased, he made a campaign against Media. 10 And the king of this country, Pharnus, meeting him in battle with a formidable force, was defeated, and he both lost the larger part of his soldiers, and himself, being taken captive along with his seven sons and wife, was crucified.

9 ὁ δὲ Νίνος μεγαλοψύχως αὐτῷ χρησάμενοςτῆς τε Ἀρμενίας συνεχώρησεν ἄρχειν καὶ φίλον ὄντα πέμπειν στρατιὰν καὶ τὴν χορηγίαν τῷ σφετέρῳ στρατοπέδῳ. ἀεὶ δὲ μᾶλλον αὐξόμενος ἐστράτευσεν εἰς τὴν Μηδίαν. 10 ὁ δὲ ταυτ́ης βασιλεὺς Φαρνος παραταξάμενος ἀξιολόγω δυνάμει καὶ λειφθείς, τω̂ν τε στρατιωτω̂ν τοὺς πλείους ἀπέβαλε καὶ αὐτὸς μετὰ τέκνων ἑπτὰ καὶ γυναικὸς αἰχμάλωτος ληφθεὶς ἀνεσταυρώθη.

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 2.1.9,10 [33]
Note here that the verb translated as "crucified" is ἀνεσταυρώθη. The Perseus Word Study Tool lists this as the 3rd person singular aortive indicative passive of ἀνασταυρόω: "affix to a cross, crucify." But does it? We have seen that sometimes the verb refers fixing heads on pikes. So lets's go under the PWST surface, then, using their menu for LSJ and Middle Liddell.
The Liddell, Scott and Jones lexicon has the following listing for ἀνασταυρόω: "ἀνασταυρ-όω, = foreg., Hdt.3.125, 6.30, al.; identical with ἀνασκολοπίζω, 9.78:--Pass., Th. 1.110, Pl. Grg.473c.; II. in Rom. times, affix to a cross, crucify, Plb. 1.11.5, al., Plu.Fab.6, al.; 2. crucify afresh, Ep. Hebr.6.6."

The Middle Liddell has the following: "ἀνασταυρόω. I. to impale. Hdt.: -- Pass., Thuc.; II. in the Rom. times, to affix to a cross, crucify, Plut.; 2. to crucify afresh, NTest."
So clearly for pre-Roman times, ἀνασταυρόω meant "impale" which conforms with what is so clearly shown in the epigraphy. It would be the Romans, clearly, who would invent the torture that both they and moderns today would recognize as crucifixion. And modern writers of the literature covering the classics do, or should, interpret the meaning of the word as "impale". [34]

Now it may be objected that Diodorus Siculus actualized this execution for his readers by assuming crucifixion other than direct impalement. However, we cannot be sure of that for it has already been established that Romans were familiar with direct impalement (Seneca, Dial. 6 = De Cons. 20.3, Ep. Mor. 14.5; Pliny Elder NH 18.8.47) and heads on pikes (Cassius Dio Rom. Hist. 75.8, 76.7.3 [35]) Ergo, Greeks, including Sicilian Greeks, would have been familiar with it, too.

F.3.2. Lucian of Samosata.

Next, we should look at Lucian's report:
Cyniscius: Well I suppose I must not ask you all [Divine Providence, Lady Destiny and you guys] why... ... the effeminate Sardanapalus was a king, and one high minded Persian after another went to the cross for refusing to countenance his doings?

Κυνίσκος: οὐκοῦν μηδὲ ἐκεῖνο ὑμᾶς ἔρωμαι, σέ τε καὶ τὴν Πρόνοιαν καὶ τὴν Εἱμαρμένην, τί δήποτε... ...καὶ Σαρδανάπαλλος μὲν ἐβασίλευε θῆλυς ὤν, Γώχης δὲ ἀνὴρ ἐνάρετος ἀνεσκολοπίσθη πρὸς αὐτοῦ, διότι μὴ ἠρέσκετο τοῖς γιγνομένοις.

Lucian, Iuppiter Confutatus 16 [36]
The Greek verb for "went to the cross" is ἀνεσκολοπίσθη, which the Perseus Word Study Tool lists as the 3rd person singular aortive indicative passive of ἀνασκολοπίζω, "to fix on a pole." Again, using the menu for the lexica, we have:
The Liddell, Scott and Jones entry for ἀνασκολοπίζω: "ἀνασκολοπ-ίζω :—Pass., with fut. Med. -σκολοπιοῦμαι (in pass. sense) Hdt.3.132, 4.43, but Pass.: A. “-σκολοπισθήσομαι” Luc.Prom.7: aor. -εσκολοπίσθην ib.2,10: pf. “-εσκολόπισμαι” Id.Peregr.13:—fix on a pole or stake, impale, Hdt.1.128, 3.159, al.; in 9.78 it is used convertibly with ἀνασταυρόω, as in Ph.1.237,687, Luc.Peregr.11."

The Middle Liddell entry yields "ἀνασκολοπίζω: The middle future form ἀνασκολοπιοῦμαι has a passive meaning: to fix on a pole or stake, impale, Hdt."
This verb comes from ἀνα, "up, upwards," and σκολοπίζω, "protect by palisades, impale" and the latter verb is derived from σκόλοψ, "anything pointed, i.e., thorn, stake for impaling, palisade, etc." So ἀνασκολοπίζω means "thorn up, impale (upwards)" when describing penal human bodily suspension. Even the Christian apologist webmaster for the Tekton website admits that this verb means "impale" for it is the verb Lucian used in Peregr. 11 & 13 when describing the Crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. [37]

G. Neo-Babylonians - Chaldean Empire.

The only known reference to impalements or suspensions by the Chaldean Empire is a reference in the Tanakh / Old Testament, Lamentations 5:12-13 where the princes of Judah are hanged and the young men or young boys are crucified (impaled).

Masoretic text:
12 שָׂרִים֙ בְּיָדָ֣ם נִתְל֔וּ פְּנֵ֥י זְקֵנִ֖ים לֹ֥א נֶהְדָּֽרוּ׃
13 בַּחוּרִים֙ טְחֹ֣ון נָשָׂ֔אוּ וּנְעָרִ֖ים בָּעֵ֥ץ כָּשָֽׁלוּ׃
In the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the treatment of princes, old men, young men and adolescent boys or even younger is presented thusly:

12Princes were hung by their hands;
Elders were not respected.

13Young men worked at the grinding mill,
And youths stumbled under loads of wood.

The letter ב (beth) when used as a prepositional prefix, means "in, within, on, etc.; from and in [it], i.e., out of [the very thing]. [38] So in verse 12 "hanged by their hands" [39] is correct, whereas "youths stumbled under loads of wood" is more problematic. directly transliterates it as "and youths [because of] wood stumbled." [40]. And even then, "stumbled" may not be right. Because the Hebrew "stumbled" is כָּשָֽׁלוּ׃, which is variously defined:
NAS Exhaustive Concordance short definition: "to stumble, stagger, totter." [41]
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance short definition: "bereave, cast down, be decayed, cause to fail, make to fall down feeble, be the ruined" [41] Strong's further states that the staggering, stumbling is due to weakness in the legs, particularly the ankles.
Now in verse 12, "by their [the Princes'] hands" could mean by their own hands, or at the hands of the enemy. [42] It could be both!

In verse 13, "young boys stumbled / staggered [because of] the wood seems to indicate that they were staggering on top of the wood! That is the logical translation if one keeps consistent with other occurences of בָּעֵ֥ץ, as in Exodus 10:15. [43] Indeed, this is the same conclusion chapman makes, that the prefix ב, when used with the noun עץ ("tree, pole, wood") and the verb כשלו׃ ("stumble, stagger, totter, from weakness in the ankles") should mean on top, over, above, upon. [44]

Yet v. 13b could be better interpreted as the result of an impale, given that the Pesiqta Rabbati 33.13 considers the youths in this verse as ולקו בעץ "smitten by the tree." [45]

Septuagint (translated sometime in the 2nd or even 1st C. BCE):
12 ἄρχοντες ἐν χερσὶν αὐτῶν ἐκρεμάσθησαν πρεσβύτεροι οὐκ ἐδοξάσθησαν
13 ἐκλεκτοὶ κλαυθμὸν ἀνέλαβον καὶ νεανίσκοι ἐν ξύλῳ ἠσθένησαν
Here, ἄρχοντες ἐν χερσὶν αὐτῶν ἐκρεμάσθησαν denotes "Princes were hanged by their wrists" and νεανίσκοι ἐν ξύλῳ ἠσθένησαν is best translated as: "young men were weakened by wood." This last phrase could mean either they were worn out from ferrying loads of wood, or they were weakened upon a single piece of wood, i.e., an impaling stake, for the word ξύλῳ is in the singular neuter dative, indicating a single piece of wood, and when used with ἐν denotes either a locative dative ("upon a piece of wood") or an instrumental dative ("by a piece of wood") -- sometimes both. [46] This can only denote either a stake upon which the young men are impaled and stsuggling or, in a common understanding and projection of the time, a stake or beam under which they are staggering toward their impalement or crucifixion.

Field's translation into Greek of Symmachus' Syriac commentary Syro-Hexapla on this last phrase is reads: καί τούς παίδας ὑπὸ ξύλον ἐποίησαν, and the best translation is "and the boys were brought under (or were rendered subject to) a piece of wood." [47]

Latin Vulgate (Jerome, 390 CE)

12 principes manu suspensi sunt facies senum non erubuerunt
13 adulescentibus inpudice abusi sunt et pueri in ligno corruerunt

Here, Jerome speaks of the hanging of the princes as "Princes were hanged by the hand" and of the stumbling of the boys as "boys (up to age 17) sank / fell / fell with violence / were destroyed upon the tree/wood/stake." The phrase, in ligno, is indicative of both locative and instrumental ablative (as in in hoc signo vinces, "by this sign you will conquer") so it is because of the wood the youths fell. [48]

Targum Lamentations 5:12, 13

In the Targum on these two verses, we have:
12 רברכין בידיהון אצטליבו אפי סביא לא סברו
13 רובין ריחיא נטלא וטליא בצליבת קיסא תקלו
This roughly translates as "Princes were hanged by their hands; the faces of the elders they did not honour. / Young men carried the millstones, and young boys stumbled against the crucifying of the tree. Nota bene, צלב ("to hang, impale, crucify") is used in verse 12 and its cognate "hanging, impaling, crucifying," "on a gallows, stake, cross," or "by a hanging, impalement, crucifixion") is used in verse 13. [49] Furthermore, קיסא is denoted as "rough edge; twig, wood, tree; gallows" and itself is derived from קיס, "rough-edged," whereas תקלו has the meaning, "stumble, fail, weigh, strike against." [50] So this could just as easily be translated as "young boys stumbled or weighed against the impalement of a rough edge (stake)."

In verse 12 the earlier Hebrew text (preserved in the Masoretic text), the captive Princes of Judah were hanged by their hands. This plain sense has been maintained through the Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate. But in the targum it is said that the Princes were crucified or impaled by their hands. So in this sense, Chapman is right: the writers were projecting the roman penalty back to an earlier time. But then again, of course, they could be remembering a different kind of "crucifixion" practiced by the Persians and the Carthaginians, in which the culprit was bound by his wrists to a lifting beam, suspended in the air and... impaled.

And taking all the various permutations of verse 13, the common motif seems to be that the youths were stumbling, staggering, weakening, falling violently, going to ruin, failing upon and because of a "tree," weighing against the crucifying of its rough edge. It happened in wartime, in 586 BCE, at the hands of the Chaldeans. In other words, these youths were impaled.

H. Conclusions.

We have seen from ancient texts, hieroglyphics and reliefs that ancient peoples before the Persians crucified people by direct impalement. The Egyptian hieroglyphs and the Assyrian reliefs make this obvious. Hebrew remembrances of war atrocities committed by the Chaldean Empire against the Judah indicated impalements were committed by the Babylonians. Even the selected Greek references from the 1st C. BCE and 2nd C. CE could be and probably was referring to crucifixion by direct impalement, not necessarily crucifixion by only nailing or tieing to a cross. In other words, these ancients' probable usual method of crucifixion was the same as or similar to Vlad the Impaler's.

X. Footnotes

[1] J. M. Ford, "The Crucifixion Of Women In Antiquity", Journal of Higher Criticism, 1996, op. cit., pp. 293-294 (ap. M S M Saifullah, Elias Karim & ʿAbdullah David. "Crucifixion or Crucifiction in Ancient Egypt?" Islamic Awareness, Updated 23 January 2009, accessed 10 March 2012). Ford's article here.

[2] Robert Francis Harper, The Code of Hammurabi, 1904, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, Callaghan & Company, p. 17, PDF page 35, Section 21 is transcribed below without the texts' diacritical markings. For the diacritical markings, see the PDF, enlarged at full-size here.

Section 21.--IX, 14-21.

14. sum-ma a-wi-lum 15 bi-tam 16 ip-lu-us 17 i-na pa-ni 18 bi-il-si-im 19 su-a-ti 20 i-du-uk-ku-su-ma 21 i-ha-al-la-lu-su.

"If a man make a breach in a house, they shall put him to death in front of that breach and thrust him therein."

An alternate reading for Section 21 is as follows: "The punishment for breaking through a wall in a house was death followed by impalement. Impalement after death reflects the crime; he pierced the wall, so his body is pierced." Driver and Miles, Babylonian Laws, pp. 108-9. (ap. J.M. Ford, "Crucifixion of Women"). The alternate reading for section 21 would also apply to Section 227, due to the common original verb, apparently "i-ha-al-lu-su".

[3] Chapman has argued that both Sections 21 and 227 refer to a post-mortem suspension of the offender. (David W. Chapman, Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions of Crucifixion, 2008 Grand Rapids, Mich., Baker Academic / Baker Publishing Group, pp. 99-100, n.8.)

[4] Harper, p. 55, PDF page 73, Section 153 is transcribed below without the diacritical markings.

Section 153.--XXV, 61-66.

61 sum-ma as-sa-at a-wi-lim 62 as-sum zi-ka-ri-im 63 sa-ni-im 64 mu-za us-di-ik zinnistam su-a-ti i-na ga-si-si-im 66 i-sa-ak-ka-nu-si

"If a woman bring about the death of her husband for the sake of another man, they shall impale her."

An alternate reading reads thusly: "If the wife of one man on account of another man has their mates (her husband and the other man's wife) murdered, both of them shall be impaled." L. W. King, trans. Hammurabi's Code of Laws, 1915 trans., gopher:// (ap. Code of Hammurabi webpage,

[5] Harper, p. 55, PDF page 99, Section 227 is transcribed below without the diacritical markings.

Section 227.--XXXV, 43-55.

43 sum-ma a-wi-lum 44 gallabam i-da-as-ma 45 ab-bu-ti 46 wardi la se-e-im 47 ug-da-al-li-ib 48 a-wi-lam su-a-ti 49 i-du-uk-ku-su-ma 50 i-na babi-su 51 i-ha-al-lu-su 52 gallabum i-na i-du-u 53 la u-gal-li-bu 54 i-tam-ma-ma 55 u-ta-as-sar

"If a man deceive a brander and he brand a slave with the sign that he cannot be sold, they shall put that man to death, and they shall cast him into his house. The brander shall swear: "I did not brand him knowingly," and he shall go free."

[6] Driver and Miles , p. 456. (ap. J.M. Ford, "Crucifixion of Women"). The exact verbiage in ford's article follows as this: "Driver and Miles note that the: Babylonian phrase is 'they shall put her on a stake,' while the Assyrian law has 'they shall set her up on pieces of wood.' Driver and Miles continue: '... the substitution of a plural noun suggests crucifixion on crossed pieces of wood, which further agrees with the use of the derived Syriac verb meaning "set up, erected" for "crucified" (Syr. zqap)'." The verb in question is probably the Assyrian zaqapu or zaqipu, both of which are related to the Aramaic זְקַף (zek-apf') and its cognates, meaning "raised, hanged, impaled, and lastly, crucified (by the Romans)." (Chapman, p. 26-7, n.106; p. 100, n. 10)

[7] Chapman, p. 99: Chapman states that the Assyrian punishment is a form of impalement and further, that her corpse is to be left unburied. (Tablet A, Sect. 53) Cf. G.R. Driver & John C. Miles, The Assyrian Laws, Ancient Codes and Laws of the Near East, 1935, Oxford, Clarendon press, pp. 115-118 & 420-421. (ap. Chapman, p.99, n. 7)

[8] R. Hannig, Die Sprache Der Pharaonen Großes Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch - Deutsch (2800-950 v. Chr.), 1995, Kulturgeschichte Der Antiken Welt - 64, Verlag Philipp Von Zabern: Mainz, p. 929. (ap. Saifullah, Karim & David, "Crucifixion or Crucifiction")

[9] It seems the hieroglyphic determinative is rare. Joyce Tyldesley, in a discussion on crime and punishment in Egypt, has this to say:

"The preferred method of execution was by impaling on a stake. The rare hieroglyphic determinative for this type of execution shows a man suspended by the centre of his torso on the point of a pole. The man lies face down so that his arms and legs dangle towards the ground. Death would have been quick if the spike pierced the heart or a major blood vessel. If not, the condemned faced a long, excruciating demise."

See J. Tyldesley, "Crime And Punishment In Ancient Egypt", Ancient Egypt: The History, People & Culture Of The Nile Valley, 2004 (June/July), Volume 4, Issue 6, p. 31; For a similar treatment albeit in slightly more detail, please see J. Tyldesley, Judgement Of The Pharaoh: Crime And Punishment In Ancient Egypt, 2000, Phoenix: London, pp. 64-66.

(ap. Saifullah, Karim & David, "Crucifixion or Crucifiction")

[10] R. Hannig, Die Sprache Der Pharaonen Großes Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch - Deutsch (2800-950 v. Chr.), 2000, Kulturgeschichte Der Antiken Welt - 86, Verlag Philipp Von Zabern: Mainz, p. 964. (ap. Saifullah, Karim & David, "Crucifixion or Crucifiction")

[11] Marco Caceres, "Those Uppity Nubians," The Crucifixions weblog,

[12] The image is taken from W. Heck's Historisch-Biographische Texte Der 2. Zwischenzeit Und Neue Texte Der 18. Dynastie, 1975, Otto Harrassowitz: Wiesbaden, p. 10.

For a detailed study and translation of Papyrus Boulaq 18 see A. Scharff, "Ein Rechnungsbuch des Königlichen Hofes Aus Der 13. Dynastie (Papyrus Boulaq Nr. 18)", Zeitschrift Für Ägyptische Sprache Und Altertumskunde, 1922, Volume 57, pp. 51-68. Relevant material is on p. 62. The translation in German reads: "gemacht wurde dort ein Blutbad(?) mit (durch?) Holz(?)... der Genosse tp-ht, landen bei der Insel ...; lebend erwachen an den Stätten des Lebens, Heils und der Gesundheit ..."

Scharff left the "tp-ht" untranslated. He compares it with Papyrus Abbott and says "wo es etwa 'Marterpfahl' bedeutet", i.e., where it signifies possibly "stake", see p. 62.

(ap. Saifullah, Karim & David, "Crucifixion or Crucifiction")

[13] Ibid, "Those Uppity Nubians."

[14] Akhenaten's reign was from 1353 to 1336 BCE or 1351 to 1334 BCE.

[15] H. S. Smith, The Fortress Of Buhen: The Inscriptions, 1976, Forty Eighth Excavation Memoir, Egyptian Exploration Society: London (UK), pp. 125-127 and Plate 29. (ap. Saifullah, Karim & David, "Crucifixion or Crucifiction")

[16] Carceres, "Offending Osiris."

[17] K. A. Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions: Historical And Biographical, 1975, Volume I, B. H. Blackwell Ltd.: Oxford (UK), No. 56, 1. The image was taken from here; K. A. Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions: Translated & Annotated (Translations), 1993, Volume I (Ramesses I, Sethos I and Contemporaries), Blackwell Publishing Ltd.: Oxford (UK), p. 48 (No. 56, 1). (ap. Saifullah, Karim & David, "Crucifxion or Crucifiction")

[18] Carceres, "South of Memphis."

[19] K. A. Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions: Historical And Biographical, 1982, Volume IV, B. H. Blackwell Ltd.: Oxford (UK), No. 1, 13. The image was taken from here; K. A. Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions: Translated & Annotated (Translations), 2003, Volume IV (Merenptah & The Late Nineteenth Dynasty), Blackwell Publishing Ltd.: Oxford (UK), p. 1. (ap. Saifullah, Karim & David, "Crucifxion or Crucifiction")

[20] Carceres, "Offending Osiris."

[21] T. E. Peet, The Great Tomb Robberies Of The Twentieth Egyptian Dynasty: Being A Critical Study, With Translations And Commentaries, of The Papyri In Which These Are Recorded, 1930, II Plates, The Provost & Fellows Of Worcester College At The Clarendon Press: Oxford, Plate III, Papyrus Abbott No. 5, 7; T. E. Peet, The Great Tomb Robberies Of The Twentieth Egyptian Dynasty: Being A Critical Study, With Translations And Commentaries, of The Papyri In Which These Are Recorded, 1930, I Text, The Provost & Fellows Of Worcester College At The Clarendon Press: Oxford, p. 40. (ap. Saifullah, Karim & David, "Crucifxion or Crucifiction")

[21a] Chapman, p. 99. In note 6 therein Chapman cites David M. Clemens' (Sources for Ugaritic Ritual and Sacrifice: Volume 1: Ugaritic and Ugarit Akkadian Texts, AOAT 248/1, 2001, Münster, Ugarit-Verlag, pp. 1038-1040) discussion of the Ugaritic teexts. Clemens argure that it is impalement the text refers to although the text's editor, Arnaud, occasionally translated the text for "impale" as "crucify" and Clemens admits there is plural mention of wood and only singular reference to the criminal.

[22] Robert McRoberts, "The Fall of the Mitanni Kingdom,"

[23] Françoise Adriana Tjerkstra, Principles of the Relation between Local Adverb, Verb and Sentence Particle in Hittite, 1999 Groningen, STYX Publications, p. 107, n. 44. (Google Books preview) Tjerkstra in his discussion of da- notes that there is a verb taks-, "to fasten, to put together" and immiya-, "mix, blend" that are considered dative-locative and with an instrumental case. The impalement reference, KUB XXXI 1+ KBo III 16 II 7'-8' (CTH 311.2A, OH+), was the closest parallel for the construction suggested prior to Tjerska's tome. Although it is obvious to interpret both ispannit and URUDU tapulliannit as Adjuncts and Means, it is also possible that ispannit is governed by isgar-, like in the english "to impale on a spit." Nota bene: the Old Hittite transliteration was used without the customary diacritical marks, see the Google books preview or the publication itself for the transliteration with the markings.

[24] "The Hittite Period," Special: Ataman, Turkey,

[25] The British Museum, Explore / Highlights, "Stone Panel from the South-West Palace of Sennacherib (Room 36, no. 7), Accessed 10 March 2012. Cf. J. B. Pritchard, The Ancient Near East In Pictures Relating To The Old Testament, 1954, Princeton University Press: Princeton (NJ), No. 373. (ap. Chapman, p. 100, n. 9)

[26] J. B. Pritchard, No. 362, p. 126 for picture and p. 292 for text. (ap. Saifullah, Karim & David, "Crucifxion or Crucifiction")

[27] Ibid., No. 368, p. 128 for picture and p. 293 for text. (ap. Saifullah, Karim & David, "Crucifxion or Crucifiction")

[28] Ancient Replicas website, "Impaled Prisoners" webpage, accessed 10 March 2010.

[29] Daniel David Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, 2 Vols., 1926-1927, Chicago, University of Chicago, Vol. 2, pp. 294-295, 324; also Vol. 1, p. 279 (Annals of tiglath Pileser III); Vol. 1, p. 281 (Nimrud Slab Inscription ca. 734 BCE); and Vol. 1, p. 284 (Nimrud Slab Inscription, 728 BCE). (ap. Chapman, p. 100, n. 10)

[30] Luckenbill, Ancient Records, Vol. 2, pp. 294-295 (Rassam Cylinder); Vol. 2, p. 324 (Cylinder B) (ap. Chapman, p. 100, n. 11)

[31] Luckenbill, Ancient Records, Vol. 2, p. 195. (ap. Chapman, p. 99 n. 8)

[32] Martin Hengel (John Bowden, trans.), Crucifixion, 1977, Philadelphia, Fortress Press, pp. 22-23, n. 4. Herein he states that "The Assyrian king Ninus has the Median King Pharnus crucified: Diodorus 2.1.10. Lucian, Iuppiter confutatis 16: Sardanapalus becomes king and has the valiant (ἀνήρ ἐνάρετος) Goches crucified. Of course these reports have no historical value." Then he goes on to admit the Assyrians impaled people.

[33] English translation: Diodorus Siculus (C. H. Oldfather, trans.), The Library of History, Vol. I, 1933, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, Loeb Classical Library edition. transcribed online by Bill Thayer, Lacus Curtius, Greek text: Diodorus Siculus, (Immanuel Bekker, Ludwig Dindorf, Friedrich Vogel, Immanuel Bekker, eds.) Bibliotheca Historia, Books I-V, transcribed online by Perseus Digital Library,

[34] Refer to P. H. Gosse, Assyria; Her Manners And Customs, Arts And Arms: Her Manners And Customs, Arts and Arms Restored From Her Monuments, 1852, Society For Promotion Of Christian Knowledge: London, p. 349 (Google Books preview). A similar statement is also seen in W. Palmer's Egyptian Chronicles. With A Harmony Of Sacred And Egyptian Chronology, And An Appendix On Babylonian And Assyrian Antiquities, 2006, Volume II, Elibron Classics, p. 908 (Google Books preview).

Gosse's text reads as follows: "The terrible death of impalement was inflicted by the Assyrian conquerors upon their victims in all ages of their empire; though from the rarity of the representations we may suppose that it was not very common, and marked cases of peculiar exasperation. Perhaps it was mostly reserved for the leaders of rebellion. According to Diodorus (ii. sect. 1) Ninus impaled Pharnus, the king of Media."
Palmer's text reads: "Ninus then attacked Pharnus, king of Media, and after a great victory took him prisoner and caused him to be impaled."
[35] Cassius Dio actually uses conjugates of ἀνασταυρόω herein to describe the fastening of heads on pikes.
Rom. Hist. 75.8.3 (Greek - (English -
Rom. Hist. 76.7.3,4 (Greek - (English - has different reference numbers for the bilingual Greek - French. There, Rom. Hist. 75.8 is 74.8 and 76.7 is 75.7.
[36] Lucian "Zeus Cross-examined," (H.W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler, trans.) The Works of Lucian of Samosata, 1905, Oxford, The Clarendon Press, Vol. III, pp 71-80, p. 78, English Text transcribed at; Lucian, Juppiter confuatus 16, (A. M. Harmon, Ed.), Greek text transcribed at accessed 11 March 2012.

[37] If you go to Tekton's webpage titled, "Secular References to Jesus: Lucian" and scroll down to the paragraph in boldface text starting with "This passage was very late and probably was informed by Christian sources," you will find that the writer cites that "Evans (ChilEv.Stud, 461-2) does regard Lucian's use of an unusual word to describe crucifixion ('to impale') as evidence of derivation from a non-Christian source."

[38] Marcus Jastrow, Dictionary of Targumim, Dictionary of Talmud and Midrashic Literature. 1926, New york, G. P. Putnam's Sons, p. 134, entry "ב".

[39], Lamentations 5:12,

[40], Lamentations 5:13,

[41], Lexicon listing H-3782 כָּשַׁל (kashal),

[42] Chapman, p. 158.

[43], Englishman's Concordance listing bā·‘êṣ,

[44] Chapman, p. 159.

[45] Chapman, p. 161, n. 234. mr. Chapman considers ולקו בעץ as problematic. I do not, considering that Chapman translates ולקו, "smitten, punished" and עץ ccan also be translated as pole. Smitten by a pole, then. In another word, impaled. (Jastrow, p. 1101, entry "עץ") Cf. Ezra 6:11 at here, here, and here.

[46] The meaning of all these words could be checked by consulting the Perseus Greek Word Study Tool, The listing for ἐν is found here and the one for ξύλῳ, here.

[47] Chapman, p. 159, incl. n. 216, 217 and 220. Symmachus comments on Lament. 5:13b in his Syro-Hexpla, (Field, tr. into Greek, Origenis Hexaplorum 2:761). Chapman reads this as staggering under the weight of the wood, but one can check ύπο ξυλον εποίσαν at the Perseus Greek Word Study Tool here, here, and here. Nota bene that the Lucianic rescension and the manuscripts and the marginalia of the Syro-Hexpla understand this as: ἐπί ξύλοις ἐσταυρώθησαν ("young men were crucified on pieces of wood [or impaled upon stakes]"). Again, the phrase ἐπί ξύλοις ἐσταυρώθησαν can be checked here, here, here and here (the last for the verb conjugation -- 3rd person plural aorist indicative passive, meaning past action done to the subject and the subject's present condition because of it).

[48] Chapman, p. 159, incl. n. 220. See also Perseus Word Study Tool, corruerunt. There, Lewis & Short define the verb as: "to fall with violence, rush down; to fall down, tumble down, go to ruin; descend; end, hasten to a close; hasten, hurry, run, rush; fall, fail, sink; rush, dash, hurry, hasten, run; act hastily; to cast down with violence, to dash down, tumble down, hurl to the ground, prostrate." Jerome could very well have envisioned crucifixion here but it could also mean impalement; and impalement is the better cruel punishment inflicted by the Chaldeans due to the apparent instrumental ablative of in ligno and the time these war crimes were committed (586 BCE).

[49] Chapman, pp. 159, 160

[50] Jastrow, p. 1364, entries "קיס" and "קיסא"; p. 1691, both entries "תקל".

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