Video encyclopedia

Breaking wheel


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The breaking wheel or execution wheel, also known as the Catherine wheel or simply the Wheel, was a torture method used for public execution from antiquity through Middle Ages into early modern times by breaking a criminal's bones and/or bludgeoning them to death. As a form of agonizing execution and deterrence, it was used from the medieval period into the early modern period; the practice was completely abolished in Bavaria in 1813, in the Electorate of Hesse it was still in use until 1836. The last known execution by the "Wheel" took place in Prussia in 1841. In the Holy Roman Empire, it was a "mirror punishment" for highwaymen and street thieves but was already provisioned in the Sachsenspiegel also for murder and arson.
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  • Punishment 

  • History 

  • Archaeology 

  • Metaphorical uses 

  • Execution of St Catherine