Did you know that when you chop off someone's head the head
is aware that it's been chopped off?
did you know that more people were guillotined during World
War II than during the bloody French Revolution?
are just two of the many grisly facts about the guillotine,
the method of excuting people in France for hundreds of years.
neuroscientists last century confirmed in their studies that
a head cut off by a guillotine knows that it is a beheaded head
whilst it rolls along the ground or into the basket. Consciousness
survives long enough for such a perception. Of course France
wasn't the only country to have the guillotine. The guillotine
was used in Algeria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Switzerland and
Vietnam well into the last century. Even the socially-conscious
Swedes relied on the sharp flashing blade to carry out their
Germany and Austria during World War II as
many as 20,000 people are thought to have been guillotined by
the Nazis. Some 20 guillotines were used to do away withundesirables.
Hitler considered the guillotine a demeaning form of punishment
and used it for political executions.
draws its name from Joseph Ignace Guillotin, a man interested
in the Arts and a professor of literature at the Irisnah College
at Bordeaux. Guillotin later studied medicine at Reims.
Dr Guillotin did not invent the grisly instrument of death.
A similar device known as the Halifax Gibbet had been
in use in that Yorkshire town since 1286 and continued until
1650. Dr Gillotin merely proposed that the machine be used to
provide a more humane way of executing criminals.
belonged to a small reform movement that sought to banish the
death penalty completely. He was against people being executed
by inhumane methods such as burning, mutilation, drowning, and
hanging. Some lower class criminals were executed by "quartering",
whereby the prisoner's limbs were tied to four oxen and the
animals were driven in four different directions. Guillotin
proposed a method that would provide a quick and painless death.
He didn't intend that the device would be used privately - Dr
Gillotin proposed that it be set up and used in private - but
watching guillotine executions quickly became a popular pasttime
with the masses. When he made his proposal Dr Gillotin had no
idea that the gruesome device would come to be known as "The
Guillotine". In time, the association with the machine
of death so embarrassed Dr. Guillotin's family that they begged
the government to rename it. When the government refused, they
changed their family name.
Antoine Louis (who was the secretary of the surgical academy),
is credited with the design of the prototype first used in France
... along with the German harpsichord maker, Tobias Schmidt
and France's main executioner, Charles-Henri Sanson.
of the guillotine meant that an easy death was no longer the
prerogative of nobles.
to be executed with the guillotine was a highwayman, Jacques
has confirmed that a head cut off by a swift slash of axe or
guillotine knows that it is a beheaded head whilst it rolls
along the ground or into the basket – consciousness survives
long enough for such a perception.
It was not
until 1791 that a law was passed that everyone condemned to
death in France should be decapitated.
the guillotine had decapitated more than 15,000 heads.
of the French aristocracy were sent to the guillotine during
the French Revolution.
XVI and Marie Antoinette were its most famous victims.
to 40,000 people were killed during the guillotine's reign of
terror in France - an estimated 80-85 per cent of them were
facts about the Guillotine
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