Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Executioners)


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Post Sunday, 19th July 2015, 00:31

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

As file200 said, the sources with the information you want are largely not on the internet. If you are looking for hard numbers on exactly how many axe beheadings took more than one swing, that's not really how ancient history works. There is no absolute truth to be found, you always have to make conjecture at some point.

We can only say that they have happened, and we can infer from how peasants were treated in other areas of life that not much care was given to having a clean kill every time.
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Post Sunday, 19th July 2015, 00:32

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

Sometimes one letter makes all the difference.

Finland does not have an official national execution axe.

It had, when the last person was executed during peace time in 1825.
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Post Sunday, 19th July 2015, 01:31

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

scorpionwarrior wrote:As file200 said, the sources with the information you want are largely not on the internet. If you are looking for hard numbers on exactly how many axe beheadings took more than one swing, that's not really how ancient history works. There is no absolute truth to be found, you always have to make conjecture at some point.

We can only say that they have happened, and we can infer from how peasants were treated in other areas of life that not much care was given to having a clean kill every time.

Well, from the evidence thus far presented - the highest reliable cite for the number of strikes was three strikes, in two cases - it's reasonable to believe that one or two strikes were more common. You might prefer to have better evidence, but it's not available at the moment. The wiki article does cite actual books for that claim, which do contain the information in question. That's better than total speculation about how peasants might have been treated. Beheading wasn't how peasants were usually executed, anyway.

I have some personal experience with a heavy 18 lb splitting maul, and an overhead swing really generates a tremendous amount of force. Mechanical log splitters typically generate 20 or 30 tons of force (continuously rather than in a sudden burst) and my splitting maul can split what they can split. Even a dull blade with that kind of force ought to go through a neck pretty easily.
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Post Sunday, 19th July 2015, 10:03

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

Berder wrote: Even a dull blade with that kind of force ought to go through a neck pretty easily.

Have you ever chopped wood with a dull axe?
(protip; skin, flesh & bone is much harder to cut through)

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Post Sunday, 19th July 2015, 14:23

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

My splitting maul is pretty dull, yes, and works just fine. The far side of the wedge edge - the part that hits the wood most often - has been hammered down into a rounded shape half a cm wide.

With a stopping distance of 1 cm and an estimated equivalent fall distance of 12 feet (6 feet plus the extra force I exert), the maul exerts over 29 thousand newtons of force on the wooden round. That's the equivalent of 3 tons of force. (Edit: 12 feet might be an underestimate. I tried holding the maul as high above my head as possible and letting it drop probably 10 feet without pushing it, and it hit with a lot less force than it does when I slam it down)

Skin and flesh is a lot softer than wood. Bones are stronger. However, there are two mitigating factors: vertebrae are a lot smaller than a wooden round, and they don't actually have to break to allow the axe to pass. They can simply be pushed out of the way.
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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 15:16

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

Mod note: if you feel that some posters are only interested in seeing themselves as "right" and incapable of hearing your arguments, please mark them as "enemies" so that you don't have to read their posts instead of insulting them. Ignoring arguments from other posters and interpreting all information as confirming your viewpoints is, sadly, not against tavern rules. Ignoring these posters and depriving them of the attention they seek will save you a lot of time and frustration.

If you do insult them please try to avoid collaterally insulting some other group of people at the same time.

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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 15:38

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

Did I just witness the fall of academic discourse?
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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 16:32

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

I wonder if this is the only forum that has flame wars over medieval execution techniques.

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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 16:48

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

wheals wrote:I wonder if this is the only forum that has flame wars over medieval execution techniques.
This flame war started in GDD, oddly enough.

Abominae wrote:Did I just witness the fall of academic discourse?
That happened before your time.
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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 17:03

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

We all know to properly debate something you must use ad hominem and appeal to emotion. Someone who falls back on the old fallacies of citing sources and analyzing real world physics clearly is wrong.

Don't you know, facts are decided by vote, not logic or observation!

Berder's methods of debate may not be perfect, but his detractors in this thread don't even try to use any form of logic. I'm not saying Berder's right, but I am saying Berder's methodology of analysis is a much better way to find the right answer than the "pulling facts out of thin air" methodology that's being used to argue against him.

You guys ought to check out rational wiki sometime, and look up logical fallacies. See how many are applicable to this very debate, and attribute them to the poster that used them. Of course, you could probably also get a book somewhere with the same data, since you can't trust anything with 'wiki' in the name, regardless of citations. That's why we don't trust research papers either, first hand accounts or it's a lie!

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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 17:40

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

dowan wrote:We all know to properly debate something you must use ad hominem and appeal to emotion. Someone who falls back on the old fallacies of citing sources and analyzing real world physics clearly is wrong.

Don't you know, facts are decided by vote, not logic or observation!

Berder's methods of debate may not be perfect, but his detractors in this thread don't even try to use any form of logic.
I'm not going to defend any poster in this thread, but the problem with Berder is that his sources are unreliable and he twists them into whatever suits his viewpoint. At one point he was trying to argue that the messy executions we heard of were the exception, and that they were recorded and remembered because they were unusual. It doesn't take an academic to see how crazy that reasoning is. I stopped trying to prove anything because I know I'm not qualified to speak for myself on the subject and, as I just learned, it's illegal to reproduce copyrighted scholarly works for public use (like posting them on a forum). But now it's Berder trying to prove something, which puts the burden of proof on him. In this case it's sufficient to show that his arguments aren't cogent.

Berder wrote:My splitting maul is pretty dull, yes, and works just fine. The far side of the wedge edge - the part that hits the wood most often - has been hammered down into a rounded shape half a cm wide.

With a stopping distance of 1 cm and an estimated equivalent fall distance of 12 feet (6 feet plus the extra force I exert), the maul exerts over 29 thousand newtons of force on the wooden round. That's the equivalent of 3 tons of force. (Edit: 12 feet might be an underestimate. I tried holding the maul as high above my head as possible and letting it drop probably 10 feet without pushing it, and it hit with a lot less force than it does when I slam it down)

Skin and flesh is a lot softer than wood. Bones are stronger. However, there are two mitigating factors: vertebrae are a lot smaller than a wooden round, and they don't actually have to break to allow the axe to pass. They can simply be pushed out of the way.
Your splitting maul is definitely not going to cut a head off in one or two strokes, or even three or four. First of all, vertebrae aren't just harder than wood--they're A LOT harder than wood. Second, you can't just push the vertebrae out of the way, because the execution isn't over until the head is removed. Unless you're trying to argue that the first strike would probably kill, in which case I agree. But that's not really the same as finishing an execution cleanly. In fact, it kind of goes back to my point about how pointless it was to sharpen war axes.

And on that topic, I'm going to talk about flesh for a little bit, because I've done plenty of dissections for EBIO classes and I carve my own birds. There's a big difference between splitting wood and cutting flesh. Wood is brittle, but flesh, even after rigor mortis, is compressible and elastic. When you try to chop it, a lot of the force is absorbed, and the problem gets worse if you're hitting a large surface area. This is why the guillotine blade is angled. Living, healthy wood is also closer to flesh than it is to dry, dead logs. Especially aspen trees, which I'm certain were devised by Satan's underpaid botanical consultant.


On an unrelated note, while burning at the stake was rare in England, it was depressingly common in France.

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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 18:05

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

File200 wrote:And on that topic, I'm going to talk about flesh for a little bit...

Finally, tavern, what I wanted all along.

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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 18:17

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 18:18

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

File200 wrote:Your splitting maul is definitely not going to cut a head off in one or two strokes, or even three or four.

I agree with you there, due to the bluntness and the narrowness of the cutting edge, and the angle of the wedge which would result in pushing tissue aside unnecessarily. I believe a hard blow could penetrate all the way through the neck, though it wouldn't completely sever. I'm thinking here of a chicken or turkey; I believe the maul could easily smash a raw chicken or turkey to pieces in one hit, and penetrate through to the chopping block beneath. That's based on my physical intuition about the various things I've whacked with a maul (not just splitting wood but also e.g. smashing up chairs, a fiberglass boat, etc) and my knowledge of the consistency of a raw chicken.

However, a moderately sharp axe of the same weight, with a blade as wide as a neck, would be massive overkill and very easily sever the head. To my knowledge, executioner's axes weren't nearly as heavy as my 18lb maul, but they probably would have been larger and heavier than a war axe (which would typically only weigh 2-3 lb). In the picture I linked earlier, the axe used in the Tower of London appears quite large and heavy, possibly approaching in weight to my maul.

First of all, vertebrae aren't just harder than wood--they're A LOT harder than wood. Second, you can't just push the vertebrae out of the way, because the execution isn't over until the head is removed.

You could just push the vertebrae out of the way, and fully remove the head, in one stroke. They would get pushed out of the way through the softer tissues of the neck as the axe passes through.

Unless you're trying to argue that the first strike would probably kill, in which case I agree. But that's not really the same as finishing an execution cleanly. In fact, it kind of goes back to my point about how pointless it was to sharpen war axes.

The first strike would probably kill, like I mentioned earlier, but yes I've gotten kind of focused on whether it would fully sever the head.

And on that topic, I'm going to talk about flesh for a little bit, because I've done plenty of dissections for EBIO classes and I carve my own birds. There's a big difference between splitting wood and cutting flesh. Wood is brittle, but flesh, even after rigor mortis, is compressible and elastic. When you try to chop it, a lot of the force is absorbed, and the problem gets worse if you're hitting a large surface area. This is why the guillotine blade is angled. Living, healthy wood is also closer to flesh than it is to dry, dead logs. Especially aspen trees, which I'm certain were devised by Satan's underpaid botanical consultant.

Are you telling me you found it required less force to cut wood with an unpowered hand tool than to perform a dissection with a scalpel?

I can fairly easily cut through meat that I'm eating with a knife. If I tried to do the same cut with the same knife and the same force on a piece of wood, I'd dent the surface and that's about it.

Sure, wood is brittle (depending on the direction you hit it), and that's why it splits. But it's still a lot stronger than flesh.

I will concede that a dull 2-3 lb war axe is unlikely to sever the head in one strike, but I don't think that's the typical case, both because war axes wouldn't have been dull, and because the axes used in executions were larger and heavier than war axes.

Also - one's intuition about how elastic flesh is goes wrong when the projectile speed is high enough. Have you ever seen a slow motion video of a bird being chopped up by a jet engine? The body of the bird seems more like water or cake, with no cohesion at all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZV3siHf910 Although of course the speed here is much greater than an axe blow would be, the same principle applies to a lesser extent with a fast axe blow.
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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 18:44

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

All of this is going over your head again, it seems. The shear and torsional force from a knife that you use to cut is a different beast from the compressive force of a chop. A rigid body is more resistant to the former, and compressible elastic bodies are resistant to the latter. Tensile strength and compressive strength are different things. Talking about jet engines is a nonsequitor, as those produce force many magnitudes greater than a human with a huge axe could muster.

I believe the maul could easily smash a raw chicken or turkey to pieces in one hit, and penetrate through to the chopping block beneath.
Do you mean going through the chicken's body? Alright, tough guy, let's see you try it. Go to the store, get a whole chicken, split it in half in one stroke and post the video. If you can do that, I'll concede to whatever you want to say about a splitting maul. If your maul hits the bone and gets deflected to the side, it doesn't count. Clean splits only.
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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 18:47

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

post the video berder and i`ll comp the chicken
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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 18:50

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

I find this thread mildly amusing for a variety of reasons.
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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 18:56

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

twelwe wrote:post the video berder and i`ll comp the chicken
Come on Berder, you've got extra incentive now. Split that chicken and some dude on the internet will eat it. I expect you'll have to pay for postage and customs and whatever else, but it's all worth it. Songs of your heroism will surely be sung at dinner tables around the world. twelwe is hungry, Berder, and your chicken is the only thing that can satisfy him.

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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 19:22

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

This thread was the worst and now it's amazing, congrats I guess.

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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 19:52

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

MarvinPA wrote:This thread was the worst and now it's amazing, congrats I guess.
Don't thank us, thank Berder. He's the real hero. He's the chicken splitter that we need, but don't deserve.

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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 20:14

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 20:20

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

File200 wrote:All of this is going over your head again, it seems. The shear and torsional force from a knife that you use to cut is a different beast from the compressive force of a chop. A rigid body is more resistant to the latter, and compressible elastic bodies are resistant to the latter. Tensile strength and compressive strength are different things. Talking about jet engines is a nonsequitor, as those produce force many magnitudes greater than a human with a huge axe could muster.

I believe the maul could easily smash a raw chicken or turkey to pieces in one hit, and penetrate through to the chopping block beneath.
Do you mean going through the chicken's body? Alright, tough guy, let's see you try it. Go to the store, get a whole chicken, split it in half in one stroke and post the video. If you can do that, I'll concede to whatever you want to say about a splitting maul. If your maul hits the bone and gets deflected to the side, it doesn't count. Clean splits only.


Now we're talking !!SCIENCE!!

This is how you get answers. Not by wild guessing, but by cold hard scientific examination... with an 18lb splitting maul vs a chicken. This is where the rubber meets the road folks... or where the blade meets the chicken. Whatever... it's science!

Obviously the chicken has to be thawed, though. Executioners weren't cutting heads off frozen 'criminals'.

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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 20:55

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

dowan wrote:Executioners weren't cutting heads off frozen 'criminals'.
How do you know that? Were you there? Finland is pretty cold. It's possible they factored that into the design of their National Execution Axe.

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Post Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 23:50

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

I have no chicken (yet) but am intrigued by this challenge... but not making guarantees.

For now, what I do have is a camera, and with it, I've timed the speed of the maul. Method: I took a video of slamming the maul down into a round, with some yardsticks behind for scale. Then I stepped frame by frame estimating the position of the blur corresponding to the maul head. Using three frames, and assuming constant downward acceleration, I estimate the speed of the maul at impact to be 45 mph. I looked up the guillotine weight and speed, from http://boisdejustice.com/History/History.html : "The blade assembly weighed about 90 lbs. with a terminal velocity in the range of 22-26 Feet/second." This is an impact energy in the area of 1000 joules, similar to the impact energy of the maul (not all the weight of the maul is at the head). So if not for being dull and having the wrong shape, the maul would be about as effective as a guillotine.
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Post Wednesday, 22nd July 2015, 02:26

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

enough with the smalltalk lets get this going already
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Post Thursday, 23rd July 2015, 00:00

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

Here we go:
https://youtu.be/SebJGVHUDG8

It may not be clear exactly what happened in the video (I mumbled a little bit). The first strike easily went through the chicken and dug a deep notch in the chopping block below it. Unfortunately that strike didn't hit the center of the chicken, so I tried again. The second strike hit the chicken dead center with a bit less force (because I was aiming carefully) and severed the spine. It did go through the entire chicken leaving both entry and exit wounds.
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Post Thursday, 23rd July 2015, 00:17

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

thread delivers

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Post Thursday, 23rd July 2015, 00:31

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

Berder wrote:Here we go:
https://youtu.be/SebJGVHUDG8

It may not be clear exactly what happened in the video (I mumbled a little bit). The first strike easily went through the chicken and dug a deep notch in the chopping block below it. Unfortunately that strike didn't hit the center of the chicken, so I tried again. The second strike hit the chicken dead center with a bit less force (because I was aiming carefully) and severed the spine. It did go through the entire chicken leaving both entry and exit wounds.
Well done. You've defended the honor of executioners throughout history.

We need an Unrandart to commemorate this moment: "The Chicken Maul"

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Post Thursday, 23rd July 2015, 00:37

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

special properties when wielded by an octopode

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Post Thursday, 23rd July 2015, 00:40

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

twelwe promised to eat the chicken if it was chopped. It's only fair that he pay for postage and make his own video.

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Post Thursday, 23rd July 2015, 01:46

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

Berder wrote:Here we go:
https://youtu.be/SebJGVHUDG8

It may not be clear exactly what happened in the video (I mumbled a little bit). The first strike easily went through the chicken and dug a deep notch in the chopping block below it. Unfortunately that strike didn't hit the center of the chicken, so I tried again. The second strike hit the chicken dead center with a bit less force (because I was aiming carefully) and severed the spine. It did go through the entire chicken leaving both entry and exit wounds.

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Post Thursday, 23rd July 2015, 03:50

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

I said I`d comp (compensate, pay for) the chicken, not chomp
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Post Thursday, 23rd July 2015, 13:46

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

folks, you make coming back from vacation a unique pleasure.
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Post Thursday, 23rd July 2015, 13:57

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

I was away from internet access for a while, and this is the first thing I see on tavern.

This is the best thread ever.

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Post Thursday, 23rd July 2015, 17:35

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

Berder has won the tavern, and 15 runes!

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Joined: Tuesday, 31st March 2015, 20:34

Post Thursday, 23rd July 2015, 19:39

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

Wild speculation: 0 - Chicken Chopping Science: 1

Well done Berder. I think you've proven.... something here today. You should expect your Nobel prize in 4-6 weeks.
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Barkeep

Posts: 4425

Joined: Tuesday, 11th January 2011, 12:28

Post Friday, 24th July 2015, 01:37

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

so hey can we have some kind of historical argument about fire storm? I want to see Berder's next video.
I am not a very good player. My mouth is a foul pit of LIES. KNOW THIS.

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Arrhythmia, File200, nago, Sar

Shoals Surfer

Posts: 293

Joined: Tuesday, 25th October 2011, 05:04

Post Friday, 24th July 2015, 03:32

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

njvack wrote:so hey can we have some kind of historical argument about fire storm? I want to see Berder's next video.
There are stories of the Mongols setting fire to cats and birds and releasing them so they would run to nearby enemy cities. They also made Medieval napalm out of human fat. I'm not suggesting you try these things, but its food for thought.

Cocytus Succeeder

Posts: 2183

Joined: Sunday, 18th December 2011, 13:31

Post Friday, 24th July 2015, 06:03

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

Well why not recreate Romans' flaming war pigs then?
I mean you get more interesting food than a flambé pigeon
screw it I hate this character I'm gonna go melee Gastronok
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Barkeep

Posts: 4425

Joined: Tuesday, 11th January 2011, 12:28

Post Friday, 24th July 2015, 17:21

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

File200 wrote:They also made Medieval napalm out of human fat. I'm not suggesting you try these things, but its food for thought.

Screw thought, that sounds delicious.
I am not a very good player. My mouth is a foul pit of LIES. KNOW THIS.

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File200

Shoals Surfer

Posts: 293

Joined: Tuesday, 25th October 2011, 05:04

Post Saturday, 25th July 2015, 18:22

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

njvack wrote:
File200 wrote:They also made Medieval napalm out of human fat. I'm not suggesting you try these things, but its food for thought.

Screw thought, that sounds delicious.
Make lumps of burning fat spawn in Gehenna and Pandemonium. You can eat them if you have at leas rF++.

Blades Runner

Posts: 548

Joined: Monday, 23rd March 2015, 05:29

Post Monday, 27th July 2015, 05:11

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

nerds
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Shoals Surfer

Posts: 318

Joined: Friday, 6th July 2012, 10:16

Post Saturday, 7th September 2019, 12:18

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

Bumping this because I just remembered I had a dumb ass internet argument 4 years ago that resulted in someone posting a youtube video of themselves chopping a chicken up with a blunt ax
"No one should have two lives / Now you know my middle names are wrong and right / But baby there's no guidance / When random rules"

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bel, delarado

Crypt Cleanser

Posts: 656

Joined: Wednesday, 19th June 2013, 09:31

Post Thursday, 12th September 2019, 00:10

Re: Clearly you're not familiar with history (was: Execution

I've worked 16 hour today. Its 1:10 am and I should have been sleeping half an hour ago, then I found this thread.

Thank you, internet.

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