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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:11 PM
Original message
What is the significance of *beheading* a human being?
Does anyone know why this would be the method of choice for a murder?
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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:12 PM
Response to Original message
1. Easy with a sword ....
DEFINITELY has a strong psychological effect ...
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Is that the purpose. Because it's so *grisly*
:shrug: How sick/sad.
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nolabels Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #2
58. "An Ordinary Guillotine "


"An Ordinary Guillotine "

The guillotine was first introduced as a humane, efficient, and above all modern form of execution in April 1792; during the radical phase of the Republic, it would become the symbol of the Terror. This engraving suggests the guillotine is providing "good support for liberty."



"An Exuberant Executioner"

As 80,000 crowded into the square to watch the execution of Louis XVI, they cannot have been unaware that the guillotine sat where a statue of Louis XV had been. Here Sanson, the executioner, snatches the detached head of Louis XVI to show to the crowd. He leans forward with approving eagerness. If the head of the King was the most recognizable old regime symbol, then the demise of that symbolic system becomes now complete. Waving on a pike, facing the King, is a Phrygian cap, now no longer placed on his head, as in other prints. In this way the engraver indicates a final severance of a complicated compromise.
(snip)

http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/browse/images/#

The idea is thus used to project it self as greater than the individual, state or law. This is Radicals and revolution at the apex

One needs to be careful of using language as a reason for dismissing common sense. Any and everybody has wrong ideas, acting on them is where religion leaves off and our inhumanity begins
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Pepperbelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:14 PM
Response to Original message
3. Good golly, mzmolly! It's because ...
Edited on Sat Jun-19-04 06:15 PM by Pepperbelly
that is EXACTLY what would happen to the abductors if the Saudi government caught them. And quickly, too.

I suppose from their P.O.V., there is a certain rough justice to it.

edited because my spelling SUX. :smoke:
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Didn't notice yer spellllling. ;)
But was surprised to learn that the Saudi Gov. still executes people in this manner?!
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Pepperbelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. yep ... remember when they caught some of the perpetrators of the ...
Kobar Tower bombing?

They had their heads off before the FBI agents could get on the plane to talk to them.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #8
17. Sheesh! I wasn't aware that it was a method of execution by the Saudi
Government. I thought Saudi was more civilized, but there again I guess that depends on our culture. Apparently it is viewed quite differently in SA then the US.
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demigoddess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #17
42. beheading and stoning and the cutting off of hands
all from the bible or Koran. These people aren't into changing with modern times.
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2Design Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:47 PM
Response to Reply #8
26. so if this is a Saudi practice of killing....then al quieda is again linke
to saudi......

They furnished all the highjackers. ....and it appears these al quieda...
so why isn't bush bombing saudi arabia....that is where al quieda is.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. Exactly. Iraq HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH 911 !
Pathetic/costly and deadly distraction indeed!
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Pepperbelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #26
56. the only "link" I was making to Saudi is that the incident ...
occurred there and that was where the plan was carried out. That is why I noted that the people doing this were doing exactly what they expected to be done to them if cuaght by the Kingdom.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:15 PM
Response to Original message
4. Found some info here.
Edited on Sat Jun-19-04 06:16 PM by mzmolly
Historical background.
Beheading with a sword or axe goes back a very long way in history, because like hanging, it was a cheap and practical method of execution in early times when a sword or an axe was always readily available.
The Greeks and the Romans considered beheading a less dishonourable (and less painful) form of execution than other methods in use at the time. The Roman Empire used beheading for its own citizens whilst crucifying others.
Beheading was widely used in Europe and Asia until the 20th century, but now is confined to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Yemen and Iran. Saudi Arabia publicly beheaded 52 men and 1 woman for murder, rape, sodomy and drug offences in 2003. (See Saudi Arabia below). One man was beheaded in Iran the first for many years.
Beheading was used in Britain up to 1747 (see below) and was the standard method in Norway (abolished 1905), Sweden (up to 1903), Denmark and Holland (abolished 1870), and was used for some classes of prisoner in France (up until the introduction of the guillotine in 1792) and in Germany up to 1938.
China also used it widely, until the communists came to power and replaced it with shooting in the twentieth century. Japan too used beheading up to the end of the nineteenth century prior to turning to hanging.


*gulp*

http://www.richard.clark32.btinternet.co.uk/behead.html

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MajorFlaw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:16 PM
Response to Original message
5. Saudi Arabia has a tradition of executing people by beheading.
It should be no surprise that those who wish to advance an anti-Saudi agenda by killing Americans would choose this method of murder. If the Saudi government managed to get its hands on bin Laden, what do you think they would do to him?
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. I guess I know now.
:wow:
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Donating Member (549 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
9. I read that executioners used to...
take the severed head from the guillotine basket immediately, then hold it up to see the separated body. The idea was that the brain lived long enough for the condemned to register their own horrifying death.

Everything about a beheading seems to relate to the horror and shock value of the act.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. Horrible. I had heard that too.
:(
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Guaranteed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #9
33. Jesus. I think I'm going to have to leave this thread.
It's starting to make me sick.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. Sorry BGL.
:(
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Guaranteed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:25 PM
Response to Original message
10. You know they're dead. nt
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dumpster_baby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:28 PM
Response to Original message
11. Who the %#@! cares?!
Edited on Sat Jun-19-04 06:29 PM by dumpster_baby
No offense, but please do not be distracted by these bogus shenanigans.

About 5000 people died yesterday in America from heart disease, cancer, old age, etc. Over 100,000 people died on this planet yesterday from many of the same causes, and some from disease and malnutrition caused from poverty.

And still the same tragic results will be seen tomorrow and tomorrow, at the same disasterous pace, and indeed all our yesterdays have lighted homo sapiens fools the way to dusty death.

Can you see that one person being killed -- via WHATEVER method -- in Saudi Arabia yesterday is just small change? Can you see that?

Why not focus on something more concrete, like creating an America where the rich are taxed to provide for groundbreaking and non-profit-driven medical research, and for healthcare and housing and food and education for all Americans, and for foreign aid for slender, hungry and disease-ridden third worlders. Can you please try to get your mind around that concept?

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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. My mind is able to entertain many thoughts. I resent your tone.
Edited on Sat Jun-19-04 06:35 PM by mzmolly
:wtf:

My post is not about ONE person. It's trying to understand the reason behind choosing this method of murder. I have learned much from my small thread and have no regrets about posting it.
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pinkpops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. not only that, but tons of people get murdered
by various means in the US and elsewhere on a regular basis.
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Guaranteed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #11
18. Keep in mind that this is also one of Bushco's
pro-war arguments.

800+ dead American soldiers? So what? they say.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:42 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. Not to mention the fact that this thread isn't about any ONE individual
It's an attempt to understand the *rationale* and cultural differences we have with those in the Mid-East.

Sheesh!

I agree BGL, EVERY life taken in this or any war, is valuable. EVERY ONE!

I would not bitch about someone starting a thread about health care, because a man was just beheaded. :eyes:
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:29 PM
Response to Original message
12. Saudi Arabia - the beheading capital of the modern world. More here:
Edited on Sat Jun-19-04 07:13 PM by mzmolly
"Saudi Arabia uses public beheading as the punishment for murder, rape, drug trafficking, sodomy and armed robbery, apostasy and certain other offences. 45 men and 2 women were beheaded in 2002 and a further 52 men and 1 woman in 2003.

The condemned of both sexes are given tranquillisers and then taken by police van to a public square or a car park after midday prayers. Their eyes are covered and they are blindfolded. The police clear the square of traffic and a sheet of blue plastic sheet about 16 feet square is laid out on the ground.

Dressed in their own clothes, barefoot, with shackled feet and hands cuffed behind their back, the prisoner is led by a police officer to the centre of the sheet where they are made to kneel facing Mecca. An Interior Ministry official reads out the prisoner's name and crime to the crowd of witnesses.

A policeman hands the sword to the executioner who raises the gleaming scimitar and often swings it two or three times before approaches the prisoner from behind and jabbing him in the back with the tip of the sword causing the person to raise their head. (see photo)

Normally it takes just one swing of the sword to sever the head, often sending it flying some two or three feet. Paramedics bring the head to a doctor, who uses a gloved hand to stop the fountain of blood spurting from the neck. The doctor sews the head back on, and the body is wrapped in the blue plastic sheet and taken away in an ambulance. The body is then buried in an unmarked grave in the prison cemetery.

Beheadings of women did not start until the early 1990s, previously they were shot. 33 women have been publicly beheaded up to the end of 2003.

Most executions are carried out in the three major cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and DahranSaudi executioners take great pride in their work and the post tends to be handed down from one generation to the next.

The cause of death.

Beheading is effective and is probably as humane as any other modern method if carried out correctly. When a single blow is sufficient to decapitate the prisoner, they lose consciousness within a few seconds. They die from shock and anoxia due to haemorrhage and loss of blood pressure within less than 60 seconds. However because the muscles and vertebrae of the neck are tough, decapitation may require more than one blow. Death occurs due to separation of the brain and spinal cord, after the transection (cutting through) of the surrounding tissues. According to Dr. Harold Hillman "this must cause acute and possibly severe pain. Consciousness is probably lost within 2-3 seconds, due to a rapid fall of intracranial perfusion of blood" (blood supply to the brain).
It has often been reported that the eyes and mouths of people beheaded have shown signs of movement. It has been calculated that the human brain has enough oxygen stored for metabolism to persist about seven seconds after the head is cut off.

The problem with beheading.

Beheading requires a skilled headsman if it is to be at all humane and not infrequently several blows are required to sever the head. It took three blows to remove Mary Queen of Scot's head at Fotheringhay Castle in 1587.
The prisoner is usually blindfolded so that they do not see the sword or axe coming and move at the crucial moment. Again this is why in both beheading and guillotining it was not unusual for an assistant to hold the prisoner's hair to prevent them moving.
In any event the results are gory in the extreme as blood spurts from the severed arteries and veins of the neck including the aorta and the jugular vein. No doubt these two factors have lead to the abandonment of beheading by most countries that used it. All the European countries that used it have now totally abolished the death penalty.


I wonder if this is considered *humane* in Saudi ????

Sorry to be so morbid, I am just trying to understand if the beheading is viewed in the same light in the Mid-East as it is here?
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Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #12
22. Friends of the Bush Crime Family
The Saudis are not only allies of the Bush Crime Family but friends. They have stayed at each others places many times. So, when we see that the Bush folk are shocked at the beheadings can we really believe that they are truely shocked? They call these beheadings horrible and barbaric when it is done to an American but it has been done to many non-Americans in Saudi Arabia and we hear no shock or any condemnation of it then, do we?
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #22
27. Yes, it's very interesting.
I also find it interesting that they (the Saudi gov.) gives the victims *tranquilizers* before the beheading and say a prayer for the person before hand. I wonder if that happened to Nick Berg, that could explain his passive manner? :shrug:

If as you point out, it's a matter of cultural difference, then why doesn't Bushie *who is friends with the Saudi family* point this out?

Why is it *barbaric* when someone beheads an American, but not a Saudi Citizen who is guilty of *homosexuality* for example?

Some more info here:

http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/137-06172004-317...
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-20-04 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #12
65. This is very old, but...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2966790.stm is an interview with Saudi Arabia's chief executioner. He is very proud of his abilities, says he is doing God's work, and keeps his sword razor sharp. He is also proud that his son is following in his footsteps.
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:36 PM
Response to Original message
16. Good question,...it's been around for quite some time,...
Edited on Sat Jun-19-04 06:38 PM by Just Me
,...perhaps a means of disgracing the soul or some such nonsense. Henry offed many a head,...and he is only the most popular of beheaders (having a particular attachment to the ole' guillotine).

<added the "guillontine" thingy>
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:38 PM
Response to Original message
19. Interesting answers so far.
I agree with them, but would take it a step or two further. Tribal people who are hunters and gardeners (combining hunting & gathering with agriculture) would appear to be the people with the longest and most "ceremonial" histories of decapitation. The general historical context is when a lesser sized tribal people have encroachment on lands & resources by either a larger tribal group, or by a "city"/nation-state trying to "access" the smaller tribes' wealth, that smaller tribe attempts to freak the intruders' out .... literally. A head/skull placed on a stick, marking a boundry, was a clear indication of "no tresspassing allowed!" In large part, this was a tribal behavior to avoid true warfare ..... "battles" are one thing, but warfare wipes out far too many people & resources.

In later industrial societies, beheading was used, much like crucifixion, to send a thoroughly scarey message to the tribal peoples who were conquered by the larger culture. It no longer had the implied message of "no tresspassing;" rather, it said the king can do as he pleases. It did not attempt to avoid warfare.

Today, we see that it has lost all significance except the idea of scaring the shit out of people. It conveys a brutality beyond any words .... as symbols do. It is interesting to note that the message is way lost: even here on DU, there is divided opinion as to who is doing the beheading -- is it the tribe saying get off our land, or is it the king's men, saying we'll do as we please?
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #19
32. Interesting ..
Thanks.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #32
36. Thank you, mzmolly:
For asking a good question, with sincere intent .... and not allowing a couple angry friends to make you lose sight of exactly what you were focusing upon. We benefit from examining human nature .... and I think that far too often, we have a smug delusion that we are somehow more civilized thanour most primative of ancestors. Yet we are not! The same passions -- be they good, bad, constructive, destructive, or otherwise -- motivate our behavior in ways that modern human beings are only dimly aware. So I thank you for asking perhaps the single most important question of the past 36 hours .... and I hope that more people will think in the same vein that you obviously do!
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. Thanks for *understanding* my intent.
:hi:

I am very curious about human nature and cultural differences, and I appreciate your support/understanding.
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MajorFlaw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #37
51. If we are going to truly understand what we are faced with, we must
start by asking a lot of questions. There is nothing wrong with the question you ask, nor is there anything inappropriate about posting it here. Don't take it personally, some people are a little touchy right now.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 08:14 PM
Response to Reply #51
54. "The only stupid question
is the one that remains unasked." -Malcolm X
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:40 PM
Response to Original message
20. Man's arrogance.
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:40 PM
Response to Original message
21. There are many methods for executing "justice": needle, electricity,...
,...sword, guillotine, hanging.

I don't consider any of the above a form of "justice". BUT, hey,...for some any form of murder constitutes "justice".
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Rose Siding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:41 PM
Response to Original message
23. Why is it called 'beheading'?
"Bejeweled" means with/wearing jewels. "Bespectacled"; with/wearing glasses.

"Deforested" is without forest. So why beheaded, rather than deheaded?

Sorry- a little off topic but I've been curious. Can anyone explain?
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #23
29. Good question, beats me!
:shrug:
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JohnLocke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #23
30. It is a funny thing, language.
:shrug:
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Nevernose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #23
39. The prefix "be-" here is from Old English; To force the head
Edited on Sat Jun-19-04 07:18 PM by Argumentus
Meaning "with privative force." Thus, "to force the head."

Copied from the Online OED:

OE. behafdi-an, f. BE- 3 (with privative force) + hafod HEAD; cf. MHG. behoubeten in same sense, mod.G. enthaupten.

1. trans. To deprive (a man or animal) of the head, to decapitate; to kill by cutting off the head.

c1000 Ags. Gosp. Matt. xiv. 10 He asende a and beheafdode Iohannem. c1160 Hatton G. ibid., behfdede. 1205 LAY. 26296 at heo us wulle bihafdi. a1225 Juliana 40 To bihefden pawel. 1382 WYCLIF Matt. xiv. 10 He sente, and bihedide Joon in the prisoun. c1450 LONELICH Grail xlvii. 155 Beheveded on aftyr anothir. 1474 CAXTON Chesse 36 Other said that they shold be beheded. 1513 MORE Rich. III Wks. 54/1 To bee byhedded at Pountfreit. 1593 SHAKES. 2 Hen. VI, IV. vii. 102 Take him away and behead him. 1781 GIBBON Decl. & F. II. xlvi. 719 A great number of the captives were beheaded. 1873 H. SPENCER Stud. Sociol. vii. 156 We beheaded 2000 fellahs, throwing their headless corpses into the Nile.

fig. 1594 HOOKER Eccl. Pol. IV. xiv. 7 To repair the decays thereof by beheading superstition. 1726 M. HENRY Wks. II. 370 It adds to our grief to see a family beheaded.

2. Of things: To deprive of the top or foremost part. rare.

1579 FULKE Heskins' Parl. 271 Maister Heskins beheadeth the sentence. 1796 MARSHALL Garden. 20 (1813) 400 Graffs of last year, cut to a few eyes, behead as at 98. Mod. Beheaded and curtailed words.

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Rose Siding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #39
55. Why, thank you.
"It is a funny thing, language"
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FlemingsGhost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:44 PM
Response to Original message
25. Why tie someone to a pickup and drag them to their death?
There is no sense to murder, let alone "significance."

A blade to the neck is like a noose and tree. All depends where you call home...
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #25
31. I agree, but it would appear that this is far more common than dragging
someone behind a pickup truck as the Saudi Government still beheads individuals for crimes today?
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Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #31
35. Saudis
Of course, the reason that "terrorists" are beheading people now is to shock the West and to show their Muslims that they are avenging the Western Imperialists actions in the ME. It works in two ways for them. If the Muslim extremists keep doing this they may accomplish one of their goals: Drive the Westerners, esp. Americans out of Saudi Arabia and bring down the Dictatorship of the Saudi Monarchy that is oppressing the general population.

The US govt. is between a rock and a hard place in this situation.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #35
38. I think the act itself is viewed differenlty in that region?
Edited on Sat Jun-19-04 07:20 PM by mzmolly
To you and I it's barbaric, but to *them* it is a common method of execution. I do want to learn why they chose this method however. To my understanding it has it's roots in religion.

I think I'd get the heck out of town if I were in S.A. however.
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Leprechan29 Donating Member (391 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:30 PM
Response to Reply #25
46. It's all a show
And it shows the power of the captors over the captives. Plus, it has a huge psychological effect on people who learn of the killing. After all, would you fear cyanide slipped into a drink or a decaptiation more?
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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
40. I'll tell you a little story
Edited on Sat Jun-19-04 07:17 PM by Moonbeam_Starlight
my husband was in Desert Storm. He was in Saudi a long time. A couple of Saudi women accidentally saw a couple of GIs taking a "whore's bath" in the desert (sponge, naked body and some water, just get the important bits and towel off). Other Saudis were convinced the women went out of their way to see the naked GIs but they apparently tried to plead that it was completely accidental. Both women were married, I don't know if that makes any difference. They were beheaded after about 30 minutes of heated consideration once it was discovered what happened.

My husband said it was horrific. The army officers who were there tried to plead on the woman's behalf (one was fluent) but they were unsure as to how far they should go in "interfering" in this. Husband says neither officer seemed to have any idea the punishment would be so harsh.

He said he discovered later, through conversation, it was pretty SOP for Saudi "justice".

As for why we still don't know. Send a strong message?
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #40
43. Oh my, how awful.
:(
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Nevernose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
41. It's the Koran's punishment for most things
In the little towns around Saudi Arabia, there's a beheading every week (or so a Saudi Arabian woman once told me).

The Bible and Torah are big into stonings; the Koran is big into beheadings. It's part of the culture. Chrisitnaity has evolved quite a bit over the centuries (hopefully) and has moved away from its more violent precepts. Most believers in Islam have, too, but there are still fundamentalists in all religions who want to revive the fucking Middle Ages.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:29 PM
Response to Reply #41
45. You are so right about this.
"but there are still fundamentalists in all religions who want to revive the fucking Middle Ages."

Thanks for the info.
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NuttyFluffers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
44. it also has a cultural dimension.
depending on the society and the time there are various responses to beheading. sometimes some societies behead a criminal because of fear of allowing undead and other supernatural beings being created by another method of death. by this mutilation of the body it renders the corpse unusable for further paranormal acts of evil.

other cultures, namely china and those influenced by them, fear having parts of the body separated from them, especially the head. because if you die not whole then you are condemned to an afterlife as a ghost to haunt the world looking for your lost parts. that's why in many chinese stories when someone is condemned to death the person is given a moment's opportunity to dash their brain against a stone pillar killing themselves, because the punishment of eternal ghosthood is worse. if the crime was particularly bad the authorities would go ahead and still behead the dead body so as to not only condemn the now dead person when in life, but to condemn them in death.

it seems really bad to us because we have had a long and unpleasant history with lots of war and associated beheadings. we associate them in our culture with the age of the divine right of kings and the tyrrany of nobility. so naturally from our transition from feudal/empirical to industrial/democratic one would naturally expect a disassociation from one's more grisly aspects of one's history. but then projecting your mores and values upon the rest of the world, filled with different histories, different cultures, and different world views, isn't realy fair. what seems shocking to us doesn't necessarily mean it's shocking to them. many would call our system of life long incarceration as a far worse cruel and unusual form of punishment. but many can't think outside of ourselves, so we'll continue with the flinging of "barbaric," "uncivilized," and "backward." it's easy to do, but really doesn't help anything.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #44
47. Excellent post!
This is exactly what I was hoping to get at with this thread.

I really would like to hear from people in the region about this as well.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:40 PM
Response to Original message
48. Interesting Topic. Celtic Culture Also Used Beheading
remember that body found preserved in peat which had been subjected to a "Triple Death"?

The victim of a Celtic human sacrifice, Lindow Man, was discovered in a Cheshire (England) peat bog in 1984. Peat
conserves organic material and the body was remarkably complete and well preserved- even the victims tattoos were visible.He wore an armband of fox fur. Some academics identified him as a Druid prince while the media humorously dubbed himPete Marsh. Experts agree that he was probably killed in the Iron Age. He seems to have met his end in the manner known as the 'Triple Death', which involved stabbing, strangling/hanging, plus drowning.

Over two thousand bodies executed in a similar manner have been discovered in the peat bogs of Northern Europe- stabbed, strangled or haltered, and drowned.

In Alchemy one goes through a symbolic decollation (beheading). It referes to cutting of ones Ego.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #48
49. Wow. I hadn't heard of that *triple death* thang.
Man - uhm, talk about overkill. :P

Bad jokes aside, that was very interesting information. Thanks!
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #49
50. Two good books on this are
(1) The Celts, by Frank Delaney, 1986; & (2) The Ancient Celts, by Barry Cunliffe, 1997. "The cult of heads conveys as much significance within Celtic worship as the cross does among Christians. The head (is) featured in many stone and wooden artistic representations. Ritually it provided a more sinister image. The Celts took the heads as part of battle and sacrificial ritual. In Roqueperuse, France, the Romans found a shrine with heads and skulls enshrined in lintels. In some cases, heads still had hair attached to them, and the shrines included the heads of women and children. The head, according to Celtic belief, contained the soul, and one Roman writer gave an account of victorious Celtic warriors scraping the skull of a slain enemy, and using it as a wine vessel." (Delaney, pg 168) Think of this in the context of our previous discussion, regarding tribal vs "industrial" society --- this is a clue why Rome never attempted to take of Ireland.

I have done quite a bit of amateur archaeology in NYS. I delivered a paper at the 1989 NYSAA Convention. Among artifacts I found in a rock shelter/cave at a level of the Hunter's Home Phase, was a crude stone "skull," chipped to be easily recognized. On the top, a circular pattern of holes had been drilled in, removing what represented a piece of the "skull." The HHP was marked by the stresses that create battles (but not true warfare). It's a strange piece of art.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-20-04 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #50
60. Facinating.
Edited on Sun Jun-20-04 11:35 AM by mzmolly
I am Irish, but know very little about the history of Celtic culture. Thanks for the book recommendations!
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nolabels Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 11:10 PM
Response to Reply #48
59. A little more
http://www.utexas.edu/courses/wilson/ant304/projects/pr...
Reluctant Time Travelers: the Bog Bodies of Europe



In 1983, police in Macclesfield, located in Cheshire, England, were investigating reports that a man named Peter Reyn-Bardt had murdered his wife, Malika, 23 years earlier. Some time before, he'd apparently boasted that he had killed her, dismembered her and buried her body in the back yard, yet when interviewed, he denied the accusations. The case stalled as police found no physical evidence against him. However, by some chance, Mr. Reyn-Bardt's back yard opened on to what had become a peat company's extraction site. On May 13, men working on the peat elevator discovered a well-preserved skull which the forensic pathologist identified as a 30 to 50-year-old European female. When confronted with this discovery, Mr. Reyn-Bardt confessed to the murder. Police continued their investigation in the peat, and decided to involve Oxford University's Research Laboratory for Archaeology. Just before the Reyn-Bardt case went to trial, Oxford came forward with a date for the skull-they had found it to be 1660-1820 years old....

Stories such as this-of ancient, yet amazingly well-preserved bodies and artifacts being found in European bogs-have intrigued people for many years, yet have failed to spur many large-scale archaeological investigations. The Lindow bodies (the first being the "female" skull that inspired Peter Reyn-Bardt's confession), are often thought of, by the public, as the first of such finds. However, the first recorded bog find, that of the Kibbelgaarn body in the Netherlands, occurred almost a century earlier in 1791. As early as this may seem, bodies were undoubtedly discovered even before then, by the first people to cut peat from the bogs for fuel; unfortunately, as there is no mention of them in the literature of that period, we know nothing of these finds.

As it stands today, hundreds of bodies have reportedly been recovered from bogs throughout Europe. But what exactly is a bog and how are bodies discovered in this environment different from human remains discovered at dry archaeological sites?

Bogs are areas of soft, waterlogged land, usually containing large amounts of organic acids and aldehydes in layers of Sphagnum and peat. This environment often acts to preserve the soft tissues of a cadaver even after the bones have dissolved away; such things as skin, eyes, intestines, brains and hair are sometimes so well preserved as to appear almost modern. Bog finds such as this then supplement the fossil record which tends to preserve only hard bone and stone. Thus far, bodies found in the bogs have been dated from the Mesolithic to modern times; the best preserved and most celebrated have come from dates throughout the Iron Age and Roman periods. Their presence seems to be a result of a whole range of causes-inhumation, accidental death, murder and ritual. Each country or region, with its separate bog environment, lends itself to a different range of archaeological finds
(snip)

http://www.britarch.ac.uk/ba/ba13/ba13book.html
British Archaeology, no 13, April 1996: Reviews

Plastic Pete and the Lindow Men
by Adrian Tindall

BOG BODIES
RC Turner and RG Scaife
British Museum, UKP25.00
ISBN 0-7141-2305-6 hb

When Lindow Man was discovered in 1984 he was hailed as Britain's first bog body. In fact, as this book shows, at least 236 bodies of all possible periods have been found in Brit-ain's peat bogs.

At Lindow Moss, four sets of human remains have been found, probably those of two males. This is a detailed study of the second body, found in 1987. It includes new research on the first body (Lindow Man), a gazeteer of British bog bodies, and recent research from Ireland and the Netherlands.

Despite its fragmentary state, the second body has produced some remarkable evidence - not least the presence of an extra thumb on the right hand, and one wonders whether it was this deformity that singled him out for his fate. Study of his gut contents showed a last meal of cereals and hazelnuts, but none of the mistletoe found in Lindow Man's guts that prompted so much speculation about his Druidic connections.

The problems of radiocarbon dating now seem largely resolved. Despite their `Celtic' affinities, both bodies appear to be of early Roman date. This is not so surprising, given their location in a culturally backward part of the North West. Their savage death continues to fascinate. Lindow Man was bludgeoned, garroted and bled, while the second Lindow body was probably beheaded. The book presents two contrasting explanations of the pathological evidence: the traditional one of ritual slaughter by the Celtic `triple death' or decapitation, and the rather less convincing one of post- mortem injury and bungled attempts at recovery.
(snip)

http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=2146411507
(snip)
Lindow submitted by Vicky

Lindow Man, whose 2,000-year-old body was found in a peat bog in Cheshire, was the victim of a simple murder and not a ritual sacrifice, according to two academics. They say that the British Museum should remove the preserved body from its galleries and erase him from the history books.

The museum describes Lindow Man as a 25-year-old man who met an horrific and drawn-out death. His skull was smashed by blows from a heavy object, he was strangled with a cord and his throat was cut. He was allowed to bleed for a time before being placed face down in a pond in the bog.

But any suggestion of ritual murder is dismissed by Robert Connolly, senior lecturer in physical anthropology at the University of Liverpool, and Ronald Hutton, professor of history at the University of Bristol and the author of Witches, Druids and King Arthur.

Mr Connolly believes that the man may have been murdered in a violent attack. This isnt an elaborate death, he said. He was clubbed to death. A small group of people believe it was a ritual killing, but it makes a better story. With respect to my archaeology colleagues, they like ritual sacrifices. The museum and several other people just want it to be a ritual sacrifice.
(snip)
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stavka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 08:10 PM
Response to Original message
52. In less medieval times it was the most painless way to kill somebody
You are not going to walk away from a failed beheading, and if done right it should be pretty painless.

Hacking a head off with a combat knife probably doesn't meet the medieval guidelines.
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Spider Jerusalem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #52
53. Or the Islamic, for that matter.
Executions in countries under Islamic law are prescribed to be by the sword. In medieval Europe, the axe was more common in France and England (in England, commoners got the axe, and nobles the sword), while the sword was used in the Germanic states.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-20-04 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #52
62. Right...And to my understanding many in the region who were critical
of the execution of Nick Berg took issue first with the murder of course, but second with the "manner" in which the beheading was carried out.
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Astarho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-19-04 08:29 PM
Response to Original message
57. Here's a link
The Celts believed the soul, or what they defined as the soul, lived in a persons head. Therefore, heads of enemies were often taken, not only to show battlefield victory, but also to steal the life essence from their enemies.

To add to this belief of stealing the enemys soul or essence, the Romans found this Celtic practice was a very useful way to reward their Celtic allies and to get an idea how many kills were made. A Celtic warrior working for the Romans would often bring back the heads of the enemy for which he'd be paid by a Roman commander, just as soldiers in the French and Indian War in the middle of the 18th century were paid for the scalps of the dead enemies.

http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/skyelander/celts8.html

We found "kinder" measures of execution long ago, replaced decapitation with hanging and replaced that with electric chair (although I'm not sure that's kinder) and replaced those with lethal injection. It is a relatively kind way of death (if done with a single stroke), as opposed to other methods in use then like quartering, crucifixion, beating to death, etc.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-20-04 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #57
61. Yes, it's interesting that beheading was seen as kind/quick
in some circumstances. Though as you say, who knows if the electric chair is "kinder" or not?
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Jose Diablo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-20-04 12:01 PM
Response to Original message
63. Beheading is effective
There can always be some doubt if the executed is killed in some other way.

But nobody has ever been brought back to life once their head is separated from the body. At least not yet.
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Hubert Flottz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-20-04 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
64. It's way cheaper than Lethal Injection!
The French did it not too very long ago, but they were more humane! The results of any method of capital punishment are the same!
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