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Behavior on the cross

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Juan1234

Governor
I've often contemplated how people actually behaved as they hung on a cross for hour after hour, even day after day. I think maybe many people have a foundational misconception from graceful crucifix art that people would strike a graceful pose and suffer in silence, but I doubt that's true. It seems to be popular, partly from historical speculation, partly from its erotic appeal to many, to think of people "dancing" on the cross. But even if this is true (dancing out of necessity to get oxygen), surely there was much more going on. Surely the PAIN was the primary thing, right? I'm fairly certain that at least for the first while, a crucified person would be screaming, sobbing, frantic, out of control trying to come to terms with the agony.

Of course it couldn't last that way forever. They wouldn't have the energy to scream for 2-3 days straight. But the pain would never lessen, would it? Does anybody have a medical perspective on whether endorphins would eventually bring them to some sort of equilibrium? Or would their mind just have to check out at some point? Would they be literally insane after an hour or so, as their body's way of trying to cope? Or would they remain lucid and fully experiencing the ever-deepening agony, gradually just losing the ability to express it? It's hard to imagine. Would love to hear thoughts from others.
 
I've often contemplated how people actually behaved as they hung on a cross for hour after hour, even day after day. I think maybe many people have a foundational misconception from graceful crucifix art that people would strike a graceful pose and suffer in silence, but I doubt that's true. It seems to be popular, partly from historical speculation, partly from its erotic appeal to many, to think of people "dancing" on the cross. But even if this is true (dancing out of necessity to get oxygen), surely there was much more going on. Surely the PAIN was the primary thing, right? I'm fairly certain that at least for the first while, a crucified person would be screaming, sobbing, frantic, out of control trying to come to terms with the agony.

Of course it couldn't last that way forever. They wouldn't have the energy to scream for 2-3 days straight. But the pain would never lessen, would it? Does anybody have a medical perspective on whether endorphins would eventually bring them to some sort of equilibrium? Or would their mind just have to check out at some point? Would they be literally insane after an hour or so, as their body's way of trying to cope? Or would they remain lucid and fully experiencing the ever-deepening agony, gradually just losing the ability to express it? It's hard to imagine. Would love to hear thoughts from others.
So how do migraine suffers act. Mostly they just lie still with their eyes closed. Like crucifixion, migraines are made worse by movement.
Another example would be people with arthritis. If they walk, they walk slowly and grimace but usually aren't shouting.
The yelling and writhing would occur early, before it became clear that it didn't do any good.
"The Last Temptation of Christ" has the "thieves" crying out periodically, but not moving around all that much.
 

windar

Teller of Tales
I've often contemplated how people actually behaved as they hung on a cross for hour after hour, even day after day. I think maybe many people have a foundational misconception from graceful crucifix art that people would strike a graceful pose and suffer in silence, but I doubt that's true. It seems to be popular, partly from historical speculation, partly from its erotic appeal to many, to think of people "dancing" on the cross. But even if this is true (dancing out of necessity to get oxygen), surely there was much more going on. Surely the PAIN was the primary thing, right? I'm fairly certain that at least for the first while, a crucified person would be screaming, sobbing, frantic, out of control trying to come to terms with the agony.

Of course it couldn't last that way forever. They wouldn't have the energy to scream for 2-3 days straight. But the pain would never lessen, would it? Does anybody have a medical perspective on whether endorphins would eventually bring them to some sort of equilibrium? Or would their mind just have to check out at some point? Would they be literally insane after an hour or so, as their body's way of trying to cope? Or would they remain lucid and fully experiencing the ever-deepening agony, gradually just losing the ability to express it? It's hard to imagine. Would love to hear thoughts from others.
So how do migraine suffers act. Mostly they just lie still with their eyes closed. Like crucifixion, migraines are made worse by movement.
Another example would be people with arthritis. If they walk, they walk slowly and grimace but usually aren't shouting.
The yelling and writhing would occur early, before it became clear that it didn't do any good.
"The Last Temptation of Christ" has the "thieves" crying out periodically, but not moving around all that much.
Recently discovered historical video footage says you're both wrong. They sing! And whistle!

 

KageKamen

Tribune
I've often contemplated how people actually behaved as they hung on a cross for hour after hour, even day after day. I think maybe many people have a foundational misconception from graceful crucifix art that people would strike a graceful pose and suffer in silence, but I doubt that's true. It seems to be popular, partly from historical speculation, partly from its erotic appeal to many, to think of people "dancing" on the cross. But even if this is true (dancing out of necessity to get oxygen), surely there was much more going on. Surely the PAIN was the primary thing, right? I'm fairly certain that at least for the first while, a crucified person would be screaming, sobbing, frantic, out of control trying to come to terms with the agony.

Of course it couldn't last that way forever. They wouldn't have the energy to scream for 2-3 days straight. But the pain would never lessen, would it? Does anybody have a medical perspective on whether endorphins would eventually bring them to some sort of equilibrium? Or would their mind just have to check out at some point? Would they be literally insane after an hour or so, as their body's way of trying to cope? Or would they remain lucid and fully experiencing the ever-deepening agony, gradually just losing the ability to express it? It's hard to imagine. Would love to hear thoughts from others.
Certainly their suffering would be obvious to all who behold - bringing satisfaction and pleasure to some and terror, misery or disgust to others.

Some might try to talk to them, although I'd imagine (even if it makes for a good scene) that they'd not exactly be able to focus on it much.
 

dfg42

Senator
I've often contemplated how people actually behaved as they hung on a cross for hour after hour, even day after day. I think maybe many people have a foundational misconception from graceful crucifix art that people would strike a graceful pose and suffer in silence, but I doubt that's true. It seems to be popular, partly from historical speculation, partly from its erotic appeal to many, to think of people "dancing" on the cross. But even if this is true (dancing out of necessity to get oxygen), surely there was much more going on. Surely the PAIN was the primary thing, right? I'm fairly certain that at least for the first while, a crucified person would be screaming, sobbing, frantic, out of control trying to come to terms with the agony.
I guess that the pain will fade out, because the body has the ability to block such information, but that might be different from person to person. Naturally the erotic aspect you can get by changing the situation and the methods. We finally do not know all details of the historical facts.
 
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phlebas

PRIMUS POENUS
Staff member
The search for relief, for a position that allowed breathing and didn't bring untold agony, would lead the victim to move at least in the early stages. Being tied to the cross would be easier, and the arched position is surprisingly comfortable in that situation, but it all depends on the position of the feet. This is where experience comes in, the executioner would know just where to position the nails or bindings for maximum effect. In the right place the feet prevent the legs from straightening effectively, leading to an uncomfortable shifting between one unsatisfactory position and another.

Add nails, and the experience becomes sheer torture. Whatever choice the victim makes there is horrible pressure on their wrists and feet, tearing flesh, nerves grinding against iron etc.

Then we have the unsung element of crux, the cramp. You all know how agonising a cramp can be, and how you instinctively try to find a position that relieves the pain. Imagine this with your limbs stretched and nailed to the wood. Movement is inevitable, and futile.

Unlike a migraine, there is no option for lying down, no easy way to ride it out. Crux grips and victim and shakes them until exhaustion sets in, and eventually death, the final release. Not graceful, but grim. But let's not allow that to upset our erotic fantasies!
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
I believe indeed that reality would differ a lot from our imagination, and that pain would be the dominant, horrifying experience for the condemned, taking away almost all other senses. Any sort of erotics would be far away.

But our fantasy here is, as I mentioned already a few times, about the erorisation of death, so we imagine a more 'polished' view of crucifixion.
 

poem21045

Tribunus Plebis
I believe indeed that reality would differ a lot from our imagination, and that pain would be the dominant, horrifying experience for the condemned, taking away almost all other senses. Any sort of erotics would be far away.

But our fantasy here is, as I mentioned already a few times, about the erorisation of death, so we imagine a more 'polished' view of crucifixion.
Totally agree.

If anyone's had any kind of intense pain during sex (I once had, and I'll bet many of the distaff members here have also), you may recall the instantaneous departure of all erotic thoughts and desires. I can't imagine any truly crucified person (i.e., nailed and hanging) feeling any positive sexual pleasure.


This is not to say we don't fantasize the same (cf. Marcus, et al.). Such is the nature of the psychology of s/m.
 

dfg42

Senator
I believe indeed that reality would differ a lot from our imagination, and that pain would be the dominant, horrifying experience for the condemned, taking away almost all other senses. Any sort of erotics would be far away.

But our fantasy here is, as I mentioned already a few times, about the erorisation of death, so we imagine a more 'polished' view of crucifixion.
Originating from historical events things starts developing. And while in history the crucifixion as well as other things can develop in harmless or pleasurable events. Good examples are the passion plays, which can be said to be harmless and just reenactments. But one can develop crucification also in other ways. You could make a sports event, you can make an erotic play or you can vanilla it to make just a non-lethal punishment. Probably our problem is, that we mix it a little so we get messed up.
 

dfg42

Senator
Originating from historical events things starts developing. And while in history the crucifixion as well as other things can develop in harmless or pleasurable events. Good examples are the passion plays, which can be said to be harmless and just reenactments. But one can develop crucification also in other ways. You could make a sports event, you can make an erotic play or you can vanilla it to make just a non-lethal punishment. Probably our problem is, that we mix it a little so we get messed up.
I worked out a table, moving from roman/assyrian execution method you would go the line

vanilla.jpg

For example the passion plays smoothen everything. There you could show real nudity, however the Philippines show real nails. Personal entertainment can be that you expose yourself or enjoy the Cornu, the same for erotic or even pornografic entertainment. Sport can be testing how long you endure something and so on....
 

dfg42

Senator
However, it is difficult not to change the wrong things. For example if you remove the nudity, but keep the nails:

nofun.jpg

you have absolutely NO FUN.

But if you remove the nails, but keep the humiliation of the nudity

fun.jpg


you have FUN.

So be careful, when changing the methods. It is not that easy as amateurs think.
 
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I've often contemplated how people actually behaved as they hung on a cross for hour after hour, even day after day. I think maybe many people have a foundational misconception from graceful crucifix art that people would strike a graceful pose and suffer in silence, but I doubt that's true. It seems to be popular, partly from historical speculation, partly from its erotic appeal to many, to think of people "dancing" on the cross. But even if this is true (dancing out of necessity to get oxygen), surely there was much more going on. Surely the PAIN was the primary thing, right? I'm fairly certain that at least for the first while, a crucified person would be screaming, sobbing, frantic, out of control trying to come to terms with the agony.

Of course it couldn't last that way forever. They wouldn't have the energy to scream for 2-3 days straight. But the pain would never lessen, would it? Does anybody have a medical perspective on whether endorphins would eventually bring them to some sort of equilibrium? Or would their mind just have to check out at some point? Would they be literally insane after an hour or so, as their body's way of trying to cope? Or would they remain lucid and fully experiencing the ever-deepening agony, gradually just losing the ability to express it? It's hard to imagine. Would love to hear thoughts from others.
One other thing to note is that during exercise endorphins, as you say, do lessen pain. That's why muscles hurt so much after you finish. You never realized how hard they were working. I remember a bicycle "nut" years ago talking about how all her compatriots would say that after a race "if you can walk, you didn't go hard enough". This year a major league pitcher suffered a broken bone but finished the inning. He knew he was likely injured, but didn't know how seriously. The famous St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson once kept pitching, not realizing that the line drive he had taken off his leg had broken it. If you are really hurt you will eventually have to quit as the damage multiplies, but the endorphins do keep things at bay for a while.
 

PhilX

Magistrate
I always find it interesting to hear that those who experienced extremely severe wounding, such as being shot or stabbed, that at the time they feel next to nothing, the pain catches up a while later. I this due to the shock together with mental confusion?

If endorphins lessen a particular pain the horror of crucifixion from what I read is that there is a sequence of pains that happen as time goes by - from the first terrible pain of the nails driven through the wrists & the ankle bones (surely if the wrists were secured first that would be bad enough, but the nails there went through flesh between the radius & ulna bones, then the nails through the actual bones of the ankle would be a lot worse). Then lying nailed to the cross with executioners standing around contributing extra sadistic treatment such as kicking ribs or balls would be a picnic compared to the agony as one is lifted slowly & slides down to have one's weight taken by the nails, pinched nerves etc. In all the films the nailing is correctly accompanied by cries of agony but the actors are silent as the cross is raised, this has to be wrong.
Then up on the cross the alternating between hanging from the wrists or standing on the nails through the ankle bones would soon be exhausting, like doing never-ending squats, the leg muscles would become agony. This would produce lactic acid in the muscles that would eventually result in cramp in almost all the muscles involved in raising & pulling the body up constantly. Cramps of course that could never be eased by stretching the muscles.
The rib cage would become stretched by hanging from the arms, this would have to effect breathing, so the panic of suffocation would become unbearable.
It seems that as one hangs on the cross the tortures just get worse as time goes by. I cannot believe one would hang motionless, it might occur right at the end as one is actually dying - & of course the cross was never actually a killing device like a guillotine it was much more like a pillory intended to expose the criminal to the public; death seemed to come from exhaustion or thirst over time, or as is possible in Christ's case, wounding inflicted before the crucifixion, & of course the executioners had the luxury of choosing the time of death with leg breaking or a stab with a spear.

There had to be a lot of writhing with cries & gasps of pain, not for nothing was it described as resembling those in the act of copulation - this must have been great entertainment for everyone watching. Constant barracking & insults from the spectators might have resulted in those on the crosses shouting back, they certainly would have cursed the executioners. I just don't think they'd hang passively like we see the actors playing Jesus in the movies with nothing more that an inconvenienced frown on their faces!
 

dfg42

Senator
There had to be a lot of writhing with cries & gasps of pain, not for nothing was it described as resembling those in the act of copulation - this must have been great entertainment for everyone watching. Constant barracking & insults from the spectators might have resulted in those on the crosses shouting back, they certainly would have cursed the executioners. I just don't think they'd hang passively like we see the actors playing Jesus in the movies with nothing more that an inconvenienced frown on their faces!
Naturally, the actors play a god, so we do not know how that is for him so they may have hit their role. It might be even blasphemous showing to much pain ;-)
 

PhilX

Magistrate
Naturally, the actors play a god, so we do not know how that is for him so they may have hit their role. It might be even blasphemous showing to much pain ;-)
yes that is the trouble with Jesus films, they missed a trick with Spartacus though, no reason to allow him non-existent dignity. I think films are changing gradually, male nudity is not quite the taboo it was. I do feel that the films never show how terribly Christ suffered, loads of fake blood & rubber stick-on wounds never show the mental torture of the humiliation he had to endure.
 

Rufuss

Magistrate
It seems that as one hangs on the cross the tortures just get worse as time goes by. I cannot believe one would hang motionless
From my experience on the cross it all depends in what position one is crucified. Being on the cross with sedile or a footrest is much more easier than to be crucified with out support.
This position is the most painful one and you can not be still for more than few seconds.
Dec-Sat (6)_Moment 6.jpg

I think most of the Jesus Movies if not all either have a sedile or a footrest. Maybe its time I do a movie without any support on the cross.
 

PhilX

Magistrate
From my experience on the cross it all depends in what position one is crucified. Being on the cross with sedile or a footrest is much more easier than to be crucified with out support.
This position is the most painful one and you can not be still for more than few seconds.
View attachment 1092514

I think most of the Jesus Movies if not all either have a sedile or a footrest. Maybe its time I do a movie without any support on the cross.
Yes the sedile or the cornu would make a huge difference because one's weight is supported, not actually hanging from nails & struggling to relieve the agony of trapped nerves or bones grinding on the square-edged nails would seem like a cushier number, but then this has to be substituted with being up there for days longer, & the sedile & cornu were not exactly designed for comfort.
 

_CADRE_

Magistrate
Such a great thread. Yes - it seems that all crux artwork gives the crucified graceful poses that evince the feminine mystique and accent the curves of her body. I’m guilty of this in my artwork.



We all know in truth the crucifixion was an ugly execution intended to punish the criminal and deter other from the same act. Absolutely unglamorous and gritty.



I’ve looked up several scholarly articles that study the actual cause of death, and I think most threads point to asphyxiation or cardiac arrest. It has something to do with the positioning of the wrists above the head. If the wrists end up being nailed equal to or greater than a 45 degree angle, it causes the chest muscles to hyperextend while hanging from the wrists. (We can all agree it has to be the wrists, as the palms could never support the bodyweight). The weight of the body stretches the diaphragm and chest muscles so much, that it requires extra effort to constrict them to force out the air. This is evidenced by the rib cage and chest jutting out almost unnaturally against the skin. You never think about it, but inhaling is practically effortless because the the atmospheric air pressure inflates our lung sacs minimal energy required. Exhaling is another story. We actually require energy to contract (squeeze) our chest muscles to push out the spent air. Makes logical sense, but we never really think about it.



So most studies agreed that inhaling would not have been too difficult (relatively speaking), but exhaling would have been almost impossible after an hour or so of crucifixion because the weight of the body extends the chest to an unsustainable position. This subsequently expands the chest muscles and diaphragm well beyond their normal limit, which means it required EXTRA energy to squeeze those muscles enough to vacate the lungs of spent oxygen. One researcher said it was like drowning for lack of ability to exhale.



This would certainly cause the crucified woman to take small sips of air when hanging by the wrists. Anything more would require pressing upwards on the nailed feet to relieve the weight placed on the wrists and chest. A cruel balance of pain or breathing fully.



If you consciously try to take only small breathes of air after sprinting (for example), you begin to feel like you’re drowning, which is the panic I imagine they felt once fully nailed. Although the pain was unimaginable, the pain is not what killed them - it only made their dying worse and lengthy.



Their behavior had to have been focused purely on obtaining that next breath. How much they writhed, squirmed, twisted, contorted, stretched, and screamed in order to get that next breath is purely up to the imagination.
 
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