The act of whipping or flogging; scourging.


Scourging, practiced by the Romans was a cruel punishment that usually preceded crucifixion. The only ones exempted from scourging were women, Roman senators and soldiers except in cases of desertion. Normally there were between one and six trained Roman officer called lictors who were responsible for dispensing the blows to the victims. The lictors chosen to administer the scourging had previously received special medical training. They knew how to wield the whip so as to open bruises which had already formed. The instrument used for scourging is a short whip called a flagrum or flagellum to which was attached several braided leather thongs of variable lengths. Knots were tied in the ends of each thong, and sheep bone or iron balls were inserted into the knots at the end of each thong. This whip is called a flagrum or flagellum. --http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Lake/3894/easter/cruscourg.html [Jun 2004]

Flagellation in Christianity [...]

Flagellation in monasteries and convents were the order of the day. Saints such as St. William, St. Rudolph and St. Dominic would routinely order their disciples to lash them on bare backs. From flagellating themselves, priests began to flagellate their penitents as part of their penance. It came to be regarded as a necessary act of submission to God. Some holy men maintained that whipping had the power to rescue souls from hell. They believed that humiliation and physical pain provided a way in which one could become fully human. --Dorothy C. Hayden, CSW

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