Hanged, drawn, and quartered. Although the Middle Ages were, in the imagination of our contemporaries, “the time of the gallows,” the reality was appreciably different (Carbasse, 2011, pp. 38-39)
Like many well-meaning people, I once considered the death penalty a relic of a more barbaric age. Outside the old jailhouse, here in Quebec City, I can see the open space where people used to be hanged … in public. In some cases, the authorities would go one better. The body would be placed in a cage and suspended near a thoroughfare for all to see … while it decomposed. This was our past, and presumably the system of justice was even more gruesome longer ago.Actually, it wasn’t. Longer ago, the death penalty was not the preferred punishment for murder.