To be hanged, drawn and quartered was, from 1351, a penalty in England
for men convicted of high treason, although the ritual was first
recorded in the 13th century. Convicts were fastened to a hurdle, or
wooden panel, and drawn by horse to the place of execution. Once there,
they were hanged (almost to the point of death), emasculated,
disembowelled, beheaded and quartered (chopped into four pieces). For
reasons of public decency, women convicted of high treason were instead
burnt at the stake. The severity of the sentence was measured against
the seriousness of the crime. As an attack on the monarch's authority,
high treason was considered an act deplorable enough to demand the most
extreme form of punishment. Over a period of several hundred years many
men found guilty of high treason were punished in this fashion,
including English Catholic priests executed during the Elizabethan era.
Although the Act of Parliament that defines high treason remains on the
United Kingdom's statute books, the sentence was modified in the
19th century and became obsolete in England in 1870. The death penalty
for treason was abolished in 1998.
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanged,_drawn_and_quartered>
Today's selected anniversaries:
Twenty-five years after her death, Joan of Arc was declared
innocent of heresy in a posthumous retrial.
The Quasi-War, an undeclared war fought entirely at sea, began
after the United States rescinded their treaties with France.
The police of Ngo Dinh Nhu, brother and chief political adviser
of President of South Vietnam Ngo Dinh Diem, attacked a group of
American journalists who were covering a protest during the Buddhist
After writing a letter to Soviet premier Yuri Andropov,
American schoolgirl Samantha Smith visited the Soviet Union as
Andropov's personal guest, becoming known as "America's Youngest
Suicide bombers killed 52 people in a series of four explosions
on London's public transport system (emergency responders pictured).
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. Attended with bloodshed.
2. Eager to shed blood; bloodthirsty.
3. Consisting of, covered with or similar in appearance to blood.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
A rational anarchist believes that concepts such as "state" and
"society" and "government" have no existence save as physically
exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes
that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame …
as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human
beings singly and nowhere else. But being rational, he knows that not
all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live perfectly in
an imperfect world … aware that his effort will be less than perfect
yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure.
--The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
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