Sunday, November 2, 2008

Medieval Torture

For the past several weeks, I've been re-writing a chapter in my novel, A Scarlet Mantle. The chapter deals with a nun who has an affair with a monk, not a rare occurrence in medieval times. In trying to do the chapter historical justice, I also wanted to portray the punishment that would follow such a transgression.

So I delved into the dark world of medieval punishments. What I learned is too harsh to portray in my novel, at least if I want a publisher to one day accept it. Basically, the punishments for fornication back then ranged from castration for the men, to being buried alive or stoned for the women. I even found true circumstances where these punishments were used on specific persons.

When I originally submitted the novel, agents and publishers rejected because the content was far too offensive. I agree wholeheartedly. I feared I would offend too many readers. So now that I'm rewriting the novel, I have settled for severe whippings and expulsions, punishments less offensive for today's readers.

In my research I stumbled upon the following video which depicts some of the methods of torture regularly used back then. I found it on You Tube and it appears to be a high school project. Although the two ladies who narrate the video have pleasing voices and sometime break out into nervous giggles, the subject matter is very dark and disturbing. So please be warned before viewing it. Medieval torture is a very dark subject, definitely not for the faint of heart. If you're interested, I encourage you to view the video. If you're easily offended, please visit my archives section for topics you may find more pleasing.

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