10 Medieval Torture Devices


1
The Pear of Anguish

­It's unlikely, but if there could be anythi­ng worse than the Breast Ripper, it is surely the Pear of Anguish. This was a pear-shaped device, with the body of the pear made up of four metal "leaves" joined by a hinge at its top, and a key or crank on one end. The pear was inserted into the vagina, anus or throat, depending on the nature of the crime committed: The oral device was reserved for heretics, while the anal and vaginal pears were used on homosexuals and witches, respectively. Turning the key opened the leaves, causing massive internal damage [source: Medieval Times & Castles]. The device was rarely fatal, but other methods of torture would usually follow.

For more information on medieval torture devices, please see the links below.

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Sources

  • Bachrach, Deborah. The Inquisition. Lucent Books, 1995.
  • Beccaria, Cesare. Of Crimes and Punishments. (Ingraham, Edward D., trans.) Philip H. Nicklin, Philadelphia, 1819 (original work published in 1764).
  • Farrington, Karen. History of Punishment and Torture. Octopus Publishing Group, 2000.
  • Gallonio, Antonio. Trattato Degli Instrumenti di Delle Varie Maniere di Martirizare (Tortures and Torments of the Christian Martyrs). ( A. R. Allinson, trans.) The Fortune Press, Paris, 1903 (original work published in 1605).
  • Goldberg, Enid A. & Itzkowitz, Norman. Tomas de Torquemada: Architect of Torture During the Spanish Inquisition. Franklin Watts, 2007.
  • Hunt, Lynn. Inventing Human Rights. W.W. Norton and Company. 2007.
  • Innes, Brian. The History of Torture. St. Martin's Press, 1998.
  • Kellaway, Jean. The History of Torture and Execution. Mercury Books, 2003.
  • Medieval Times & Castles. "The Breast Ripper."http://www.medievality.com/breast-ripper.html
  • Medieval Times & Castles. "The Pear of Anguish."http://www.medievality.com/pear-of-anguish.html
  • Parry, L.A. The History of Torture in England. Patterson Smith, 1975.

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