Monday, July 27, 2009

Calvin’s Things to Avoid: Being a Cocky Torturer:

Let me introduce you to Perillos of Athens, the local metal smith of Agrigentum. He submitted his invention for a new means for executing criminals to Phalaris, the ruler of the small city state in ancient Sicily in which they both lived. His idea, aptly named The Brass Bull, was to cast a bovine statue made entirely of brass, hollow, with a small locking hatch in the side. The condemned were shut in the bull and a fire was set under it, heating the metal until it became yellow hot and causing the person inside to slowly roast to death.

Phalaris liked the idea, but even came up with his own ideas on how to improve on the design. He commanded that the bull be devised in such a way that the smoke emanating from the victims blew out of the bull’s nostrils. Not to be outdone in the idea department, Perillos created the head of the ox to include a complex system of tubes and hallows so that the prisoner's screams were converted into sounds like the bellowing of an infuriated ox that echoed out of the mouth of this brass beast.

Phalaris was thrilled when the Brass Bull was completed and could hardly contain his enthusiasm. The tyrant of Agrigentum ordered its horn sound system to be tested by Perillos himself. When Perillos entered, he was immediately locked in, and the fire was set, so that Phalaris could hear the sound of his screams.

Before Perillos could die, Phalaris opened the door and took him away. Perillos believed he would receive a reward for his invention; instead, after freeing him from the bull, Phalaris threw him from the top of a cliff, dashing him on the rocks and killing him.

In the spirit of equal parts Poetic Justice/Greek Tragedy/Gothic Horror: Phalaris himself is said to have been killed in the brazen bull when he himself was later overthrown by Telemachus.

The Brass Bull enjoyed being used as a torture device for many centuries, right through to the middle ages.

It is also said that when the bull was reopened, the victims' scorched and bones shone like jewels and weere sometimes used to make bracelets! That is the type of "when life hands you lemons, make lemonaide" attitude I can appreciate!

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  1. Ya know, this just freaks my s*** out.

  2. Lol what an ironic way to die for the king ^.^ that makes me laugh...

  3. Sometimes your jaw just drops and you ask yourself "WTF is wrong with people?" This is just one sick invention out of the God knows how many, that humans have made for the single puropse to inflict fear and pain. If I were God I would have destroyed the world a long time ago, I could not watch this s..t that happened and continues to happen in the world we live in.

  4. I have to agree, this is just some sick-sick shit right here. Why would you wanna convert victim's screams into bull noise? This had to have been a horrible way to go. Peace be with you all.

  5. i agree with anonymous ^

  6. I like this bull and think we should still use it for punishment today.

  7. I think it is a really cruel way to punish someone and they should really think before they make things!