Execution by Elephant

Sep 2006
1,453
Korea (but I'm American!)
Execution by elephant was, for thousands of years, a common method of capital punishment in South and Southeast Asia, and particularly in India. Asian Elephants were used to crush, dismember, or torture captives in public executions. The trained animals were versatile, able to kill victims immediately or to torture them slowly for a prolonged period. Employed by royalty, the elephants were representative both of absolute power and the ruler's ability to control wild animals.
The use of elephants to execute captives often attracted the horrified interest of European travellers, and was recorded in numerous contemporary journals and accounts of life in Asia. The practice was eventually suppressed by the European empires that colonised the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. While primarily confined to Asia, the practice was occasionally adopted by western powers, such as Rome and Carthage, particularly to deal with mutinous soldiers.

Yikes!:eek:
 
Dec 2009
19,933
While primarily confined to Asia, the practice was occasionally adopted by western powers, such as Rome and Carthage, particularly to deal with mutinous soldiers.
Your source is probably referring to the Truceless War between the Carthaginians and their former mercenaries after Punic War I,more specifically to the battle of the Saw (239 BC; Polybius 1, 83-85); however, that was strictly speaking not an execution but an act of war. Pliny Major reported that Hanibal made some Roman prisoners fight against elephants in Punic War II (NH 8, 7, 118); however, such remote report was not confirmed by closer sources.
 

tjadams

Ad Honoris
Mar 2009
25,362
Texas
Before I let someone lead me like a goat on rope and be executed like that, I'd punch someone, kick someone or even pinch someone, to enrage them enough to kill me on the spot.
 
Dec 2009
11,340
Ozarkistan
Before I let someone lead me like a goat on rope and be executed like that, I'd punch someone, kick someone or even pinch someone, to enrage them enough to kill me on the spot.
When you resort to pinching, you reduce yourself to the same savagery as your tormentors, tj. Tsk, tsk.
 

Cicero

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,829
Tennessee
Accidental Death by elephant

Eleazar Maccabeus was crushed to death at the Battle of Beth-zechariah by a War elephant that he believed to be carrying Seleucid King Antiochus V; charging in to battle, Eleazar rushed underneath the elephant and thrust a spear into its belly, whereupon it fell dead on top of him.
[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unusual_deaths"]List of unusual deaths - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]


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Dec 2009
19,933
Accidental Death by elephant

Eleazar Maccabeus was crushed to death at the Battle of Beth-zechariah by a War elephant that he believed to be carrying Seleucid King Antiochus V; charging in to battle, Eleazar rushed underneath the elephant and thrust a spear into its belly, whereupon it fell dead on top of him.
War elephants in charge were never easy to stop; that was one of few ways of achieving such deed. Therefore, the "unusual" fact here would probably mostly be that the name of Eleazar was recorded at all ("Maccabeus" was actually not his surname but from his commander).
 
Dec 2009
11,340
Ozarkistan
War elephants in charge were never easy to stop
But Caesar turned them at Thapsus, and Babur's cannon did at Panipat I.

Footnote: A common introduced weed, mullein, bears the Linnean name Verbascum thapsus (among other V. species).