There are many horrific devices of the distant
past that were intended to inflict unbearable pain or to flat-out kill their target. Some of these, such as the brazen bull, a
brass statue in which a victim would be burned alive, sound pretty terrifying. The Breast Ripper or Pear of Anguish are other
examples of things that you just know you wouldn’t want to have happen. But say you were a captive and those in charge
threatened to bring out the wheel. The Catherine Wheel. You might think well that doesn’t actually
sound so bad. You’d be in for quite a shock. We’ll explain why in this episode of the
Infographics Show, The Catherine Wheel—Worst Punishments. According to legends, the Catherine Wheel
is named after Saint Catherine of Alexandria who is a patron to those academically or philosophically
inclined and prevents unexpected death. Now, there is no mention of this individual
before the 9th century although she supposedly lived in the 4th, so it is suspected that
she did not truly exist. Nevertheless, her story was a well-known one
that began in Egypt. She was believed to be noble if not a princess
as well as very studious. However, some might consider it less than
wise that she rose up to protest the wrongs of the then-Roman emperor of the time, Maxentius,
who was relentlessly persecuting Christians. Maxentius allegedly selected several scholars
to engage in a battle of wits with the young Catherine, but ultimately the wise men lost. As a further insult, while she was imprisoned
for her words, Catherine managed to convert many of Maxentius’ soldiers and even his
wife to the Christian religion. Needless to say, that didn’t exactly sit
well with Maxentius. After torture, in which she declared Jesus
Christ her spouse, she was sentenced to death. This is when the wheel came into play, which
was the intended executionary device. The story goes that it shattered at her touch
and so in desperation the emperor ultimately had her beheaded. She was then carried to Mount Sinai. Interestingly, later on, Saint Joan of Arc
identified Catherine’s voice as one of the several she heard. So, what is this wheel that Catherine had
miraculously escaped but that went on to kill many of the less fortunate? Another name it is known by, the breaking
wheel, will probably give you some ideas. It was a wheel made of wood similar if not
the same as those used on carriages. In addition to being made of hefty wood, these
wheels were outfitted with a metal rim. Though sometimes these would be modified so
that they could inflict further damage with protruding iron blades. These massive wheels would then be dropped
on convicts all over their bodies, breaking bones upon impact. Another approach was to tie a person to the
wheel and hit his or her limbs with iron hammers or bars while the wheel was rotated. As long as bones were shattered that was all
that mattered. The exact amount of wheel drops or hammer
hits were already determined beforehand. This would depend on the extent of the convicts’
crimes, such as if they committed acts of robbery or of murder. For the worst offenders, efforts were made
to better match their punishment to their crimes. For example, sharp pieces of wood would sometimes
be set underneath the victim to bring yet further torture. On the other hand, for those they wanted to
spare the worst, they could deliver a fatal blow during the wheel dropping or iron hitting
process or right after it was over. Unfortunately, most were not so lucky and
the bone-breaking was only the beginning, or step one of two or three. Following step one, bodies were typically
threaded through the spokes of another wheel. While this would be difficult to do with a
normal person, it was much easier once their limbs were broken. The wheel was then attached to a pole and
displayed for all to see much like those who had undergone crucifixion. At this point, some would be cut apart or
strangled which would finally, though painfully, end their suffering. Others would be placed above a blazing fire,
or alternatively, thrown directly in one. It was even possible for the individual to
be hung while on the wheel. Though this option was generally reserved
for those who had been found guilty of either the very worst crimes or multiple serious
offenses. The executioners in charge had no mercy even
upon the souls of those they had killed. Bodies were simply left where they had been
thrown or hung to be eaten away by the beaks, teeth, and claws of wild animals. Many believed that this would prevent the
souls from ever finding eternal peace. It would also serve as a gruesome warning
to others. There was but one little hope for those sentenced
to death by a Catherine Wheel. And that was if they somehow became disengaged
or if the wheel in some way failed to do its job. In these circumstances, it was seen as divine
intervention, and the convict’s life would ultimately be spared. However, this was highly unlikely. It happened so rarely, that when it did, it
would become the subject of religious paintings depicting the miracle. More often than not, those given this sentence
never made it into works of art. Further, their suffering could drag on seemingly
endlessly before they died. There are stories of a murderer in the 14th-century
who held on for three days before he expired. Another time a man by the name of Bona Dies
lasted for four full days and nights. A more questionable account of a German serial
killer in the 1500s claimed that he remained alive with the help of alcohol for as many
as nine days. But, again, more likely than not, this last
account is just another legend. The Catherine or breaking wheel was quite
a horrible device. It was used as a method of public execution
in Europe from antiquity to early modern times. Bavaria utilized it until it was outlawed
1813 and its suspected last use was in Prussia as late as 1841. We are all too thankful, as are modern-day
criminals, that over time it lost favor with most societies. Which leads to the question, in the case of
convicted murderers who have taken the lives of others, what punishment is just and what
is going way too far? Also, be sure to check out our other video
called Most Horrifying Punishments in the History of Mankind! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

The Catherine Wheel – Worst Punishments In The History of Mankind

100 thoughts on “The Catherine Wheel – Worst Punishments In The History of Mankind

  • May 13, 2019 at 1:02 pm
    Permalink

    "So this is hell. I'd never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the "burning marl." Old wives' tales! There's no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is—other people! " ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

    Reply
  • June 29, 2019 at 1:33 am
    Permalink

    The most painful punishment ever is your mama whooping you

    Reply
  • June 29, 2019 at 2:13 am
    Permalink

    My name is Catherine

    Reply
  • June 29, 2019 at 3:07 am
    Permalink

    Well yay.

    My name is Catherine

    Reply
  • June 29, 2019 at 5:02 pm
    Permalink

    that is pure evil

    Reply
  • June 30, 2019 at 12:01 am
    Permalink

    About the breast ripper what if u were so over weight u and had long hair they thought u would be a female and rip of ur chest

    Reply
  • June 30, 2019 at 10:15 pm
    Permalink

    The Karen wheel is the worst because it takes kids too…

    Reply
  • July 1, 2019 at 8:01 am
    Permalink

    The punishment that is scary is being stone to death

    Reply
  • July 2, 2019 at 5:12 pm
    Permalink

    Is Catherine your "patreon"

    Reply
  • July 2, 2019 at 5:45 pm
    Permalink

    My daughters name is Catherine!

    Reply
  • July 3, 2019 at 4:35 am
    Permalink

    My name is Alexandria…

    Reply
  • July 3, 2019 at 4:22 pm
    Permalink

    Lovely. All this inventiveness makes one feel so proud to be human.

    Reply
  • July 3, 2019 at 4:25 pm
    Permalink

    The only Catherine Wheel I knew until now, was a modern ballet with music by David Byrne.

    Reply
  • July 4, 2019 at 11:41 am
    Permalink

    I don't know what this is called in English, but there was another method that is pure evil. They cut three strips of skin from the victim, braided them together and ripped the skin from the body.

    Reply
  • July 5, 2019 at 3:13 pm
    Permalink

    I thought it would be a wheel with a lot of sharp pieces of metal at the bottom similar to the thumbnail. Can you imagine being raked over a cheese-grater repeatedly until you were just bits of hamburger?

    Reply
  • July 8, 2019 at 2:44 am
    Permalink

    Jesus Christ why ;-;

    Reply
  • July 8, 2019 at 3:17 pm
    Permalink

    I like the spike wheel and the fire wheel

    Reply
  • July 10, 2019 at 11:52 pm
    Permalink

    Who made this she should use on herself

    Reply
  • July 11, 2019 at 8:07 am
    Permalink

    The world is just awful

    Reply
  • July 12, 2019 at 12:05 am
    Permalink

    Kkk u little feckers 凸( •̀_•́ )凸

    Reply
  • July 12, 2019 at 1:34 pm
    Permalink

    And that's how the standard-issue yoga wheel was invented.

    Reply
  • July 12, 2019 at 6:04 pm
    Permalink

    Ipkgghgbhvgbvjhg what find the odd 1 out
    😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😅😄😄😄😄😄😄😄

    Reply
  • July 14, 2019 at 12:41 am
    Permalink

    the wheel is perfectly just for some crimes

    Reply
  • July 16, 2019 at 2:28 am
    Permalink

    And they used white men XD
    it makes the video perfect

    Reply
  • July 16, 2019 at 3:47 pm
    Permalink

    I am in Alexanderia

    Reply
  • July 16, 2019 at 5:50 pm
    Permalink

    Did you have to pay extra for the hanging?! 🙃

    Reply
  • July 17, 2019 at 2:25 am
    Permalink

    Oh shot I’m nine

    Reply
  • July 17, 2019 at 11:05 am
    Permalink

    Seriously. You Fogot about school

    Reply
  • July 17, 2019 at 5:33 pm
    Permalink

    People back then where sick

    Reply
  • July 17, 2019 at 5:50 pm
    Permalink

    I think if the sentence is death, it has to be fast.

    Reply
  • July 17, 2019 at 9:06 pm
    Permalink

    Hi this is Jeff(me).🚶
    Jeff has a Huge dreams of having 1k subs.
    Help Jeff make his dreams come true♥️❤️

    Reply
  • July 19, 2019 at 7:22 pm
    Permalink

    This is nothing compared to the torture of n.koreans..

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 2:16 pm
    Permalink

    i'm expecting the cross to be on the list (this is before i watched this) NOT KIDDING THEY SEND NAILS THROUGH YOUR FEET AND HANDS

    Reply
  • July 21, 2019 at 2:22 am
    Permalink

    We should Bring back Crucifixion!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  • July 21, 2019 at 10:17 pm
    Permalink

    Have they ever heard of jail??

    Reply
  • July 23, 2019 at 5:19 pm
    Permalink

    Ya know what hurts more?
    Stubbing your toe

    Reply
  • July 24, 2019 at 2:16 am
    Permalink

    All child molesters deserve the wheel

    Reply
  • July 24, 2019 at 2:45 am
    Permalink

    I'm a dog!!!

    Reply
  • July 24, 2019 at 6:50 pm
    Permalink

    now im scared

    Reply
  • July 24, 2019 at 7:21 pm
    Permalink

    0:41 my old school is named after her 😅

    Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 6:30 am
    Permalink

    Basically: it’s a giant and deadly fidget spinner

    Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 10:36 pm
    Permalink

    Me:NONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONO
    You:Then why did you click

    Reply
  • July 26, 2019 at 1:55 am
    Permalink

    3:45
    Look more crows

    Reply
  • July 27, 2019 at 1:28 pm
    Permalink

    I thought that stepping on your younger brothers legos at 3am was it
    All you wanted was a cup of fresh milk lol

    Reply
  • July 28, 2019 at 1:29 am
    Permalink

    I'd still rather this than be married till I die. At least this is over quicker

    Reply
  • August 1, 2019 at 8:52 pm
    Permalink

    Qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm

    Reply
  • August 2, 2019 at 4:06 pm
    Permalink

    Real punishment if your a criminal they don’t care if they get thrown in jail

    Reply
  • August 3, 2019 at 11:42 pm
    Permalink

    breast ripper shudders

    Reply
  • August 4, 2019 at 1:38 am
    Permalink

    Is it bad I thought what they did to people on the wheel is shove their calves and hands into the spikes and stretch them out?

    Reply
  • August 5, 2019 at 3:12 am
    Permalink

    Mortal Kombat has nothing on this.

    Reply
  • August 7, 2019 at 1:50 am
    Permalink

    “Executioners were merciless”

    They’re executioners and have a job to do

    Reply
  • August 7, 2019 at 7:21 pm
    Permalink

    I‘ve seen so many torture videos…not sure if this is even the worst :/

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 1:58 pm
    Permalink

    Parents: kids guess what
    Kids: what
    Parents: were going to go see the wheel
    Kids: really yaahh

    Reply
  • August 13, 2019 at 5:11 am
    Permalink

    Please do videos on the Brazen Bull, Crucifixion, and Impalement

    Reply
  • August 13, 2019 at 10:53 pm
    Permalink

    Why do humans have to be so creative at the torture subject, hundreds of thousands of terrible ways to die… and I am very happy to live in this time.

    Reply
  • August 14, 2019 at 5:38 am
    Permalink

    That reminds me if something cristian
    Jesus takes up serpents
    Oh no wrong stuff

    Reply
  • August 17, 2019 at 5:18 pm
    Permalink

    Narrator: The Catherine Wheel…Now you might be telling yourself “now that doesn’t sound so bad”

    Me: Ummmmm…

    Reply
  • August 17, 2019 at 7:12 pm
    Permalink

    This is horrifying 🙁

    Reply
  • August 18, 2019 at 10:36 am
    Permalink

    Forget Endgame, the Catherine Wheel Torture is where it's at bois!

    Reply
  • August 21, 2019 at 9:29 pm
    Permalink

    Wiping is okay but execution is pure evil.

    Reply
  • August 22, 2019 at 11:23 am
    Permalink

    That brazen bull is terrifying.

    Reply
  • August 24, 2019 at 2:36 pm
    Permalink

    1. The chancla.
    You can become a victim if u dont do what a mexican mom says to do

    Reply
  • August 24, 2019 at 6:05 pm
    Permalink

    It’s hard to believe that this really happened to many people… we are lucky to be alive in this age

    Reply
  • August 25, 2019 at 7:01 am
    Permalink

    I am of the firm belief that we should be publicly executing dangerous criminals, preferably by hanging. This sets a public example to deter others from crime. A lethal injection behind closed prison doors is not enough for a public example.

    Reply
  • August 26, 2019 at 9:36 am
    Permalink

    These methods are still being used today but nobody talks about it…which makes it even worse ….cuz you can't document the horrific events or hold anyone accountable….
    Same torture no accountability….
    Sweet deal for authorities… isn't it…

    Reply
  • August 29, 2019 at 7:24 am
    Permalink

    I like the band Catherine wheel

    Reply
  • August 29, 2019 at 4:58 pm
    Permalink

    I wonder if this was the inspiration for the Logarius' Wheel.

    Reply
  • August 30, 2019 at 6:03 am
    Permalink

    This is the Wikipedia article I just read before watching this almost to a tee

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 12:13 am
    Permalink

    uR NOT SUPOSED TO HIT GIRLS!

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 1:02 pm
    Permalink

    Atleast it’s not the Karen wheel

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:31 pm
    Permalink

    idea for worst punishment: smash their skull alive with something like a warhammer

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 1:42 am
    Permalink

    WORLDSTAR!!! YEAH!! I love this kind of stuff my cup of tea

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 1:34 am
    Permalink

    So, … it didn’t need to be a wheel, it could have been a rock, chair, bed frame , … bookshelf … tie you up and break your bones, or drop it on you until you ~ dead. 💀- people are so dumb I can imagine how dumb people were back then

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 5:02 am
    Permalink

    Catherine: joins the chat and starts talking to a wheel

    Chat: everybody leaves

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 9:23 am
    Permalink

    Sounds like a vastly inefficient method to torture someone

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 3:25 pm
    Permalink

    Katherine

    Reply
  • September 9, 2019 at 2:11 pm
    Permalink

    Catherine full body!

    Reply
  • September 10, 2019 at 12:06 pm
    Permalink

    Catherine was actually Thanos

    Reply
  • September 11, 2019 at 4:35 pm
    Permalink

    If we brought this back, people would think twice about committing crimes. We are far too easy on criminals in modern times.

    Reply
  • September 12, 2019 at 10:39 pm
    Permalink

    Commenting Oh my, it’s tea time On every infographics show episode about execution, #7

    Reply
  • September 13, 2019 at 11:05 am
    Permalink

    30 FPS that’s it

    Reply
  • September 14, 2019 at 4:59 am
    Permalink

    I heard that in Brazil some of the drug gangs put their enemies to death by stacking tires around them and then lighting them on fire called “microondas” or microwave in English

    Reply
  • September 14, 2019 at 5:01 am
    Permalink

    Its crazy how many traumatic experiences people had to witness back in the day

    Reply
  • September 14, 2019 at 8:59 am
    Permalink

    Crazy so scary!!! 😬😬😬😨😨

    Reply
  • September 14, 2019 at 11:31 pm
    Permalink

    Pure insanity.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2019 at 11:55 am
    Permalink

    If this still existed I’m taking all my dads guns and shooting all ur heads off

    Reply
  • September 15, 2019 at 3:10 pm
    Permalink

    This reminds me of Mozgus from Berserk

    Reply
  • September 16, 2019 at 12:57 am
    Permalink

    Bro Idc the brazen bull takes the cake

    Reply
  • September 16, 2019 at 5:17 pm
    Permalink

    When the comments are funnier than the video

    Reply
  • September 16, 2019 at 6:01 pm
    Permalink

    Midieval Times.. spoke properly and still bigger killers than anyone today

    Reply
  • September 16, 2019 at 11:34 pm
    Permalink

    Humans are capable of horrendous things

    Reply
  • September 17, 2019 at 9:22 am
    Permalink

    It is was also used in inquisition of Spain also used in the Roman Catholic Church for those who are not converting the Christian

    Reply
  • September 17, 2019 at 10:44 pm
    Permalink

    Ah another segment of chapter black

    Reply
  • September 18, 2019 at 6:41 am
    Permalink

    Who takes joy in torturing people

    “White people have left the chat”

    Reply
  • September 18, 2019 at 5:37 pm
    Permalink

    So Christians wear the thing that tortured Jesus as a symbol? I can only imagine if Jesus was killed some other way. Imagine if the cross was a pair of rusty tongs, or like, a wheel.

    Reply
  • September 18, 2019 at 11:17 pm
    Permalink

    Kathrine wheel<logarius wheel

    Reply
  • September 18, 2019 at 11:55 pm
    Permalink

    Wheel of misfortune

    Reply
  • September 19, 2019 at 3:59 am
    Permalink

    “You better shut up before I pull out the wheel”

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *