Whips and Chains…

Hmmm: a “hero” who is a bit vindictive? Is that possible? Well in 1490 the man in charge of insuring discipline could indeed be both. Especially when you think how vital discipline could be in basic survival.

In “The Debt” Farg is that man and admit it readers you really liked him… but alas, I have no plan to give him his own story… but plans could change. As for the methods for maintaining discipline in this period of history well the lash was just one of many, but the lash is perhaps the oldest method used by society.

Use of the whip throughout history to both punish and discourage disobedience can be found in some of the earliest texts, certainly it appears in the text of the “Bible” and in the classical writings from both the Greeks and Romans. The fact is the whip and “corporeal punishment” is one method of instilling discipline most every society shares.

What should be most understood though is with the exception of those intended for capital punishment to follow, a lashing was not truly intended to inflict lasting damage. Much like the use of the stocks a lashing was intended to bring public shame to the criminal ilk. Long standing “rules” about how many lashes could be given and usually the man wielding the whip was in fact an expert on the delivery because a mis-stroke could lead to an unintended death or at the very least a whip2maiming or crippling.

From Roman times the number used as a maximum tended to stay steady at 40 strokes, but often to insure there was not a miscount the lash was swung only 39 times. Still, lacerations, broken bones and internal damage to vital organs occurred with just one heavy swing.

Now while I only made use of this punishment twice once as a means to punish “evil” and the second to define my villain, during its long stretch of use (it was used in the western world until the late 19th century to the early 20th in different parts of the world and is still in use in some nations) the whip was easily used for even the smallest of crimes. Again this was as a means to intimidate people in the society. The marks left much like the later use of branding marked one as a miscreant and allowed others to be at the very least weary when in dealings with the person.

Punishment during the Renaissance certainly evolved as courts of different levels developed and the building of prisons began, but to start a crime was a crime and thus punishable by whatever means where decided upon by the local society. If one committed a crime of theft where hanging was the common punishment it could well cost a person his or her life to steal a loaf of bread.

Simply put, crime did not pay during this period in history and the “executioner” was a man to be both respected and feared.whips 3

As for Farg, well I am sure there are at least three characters who wished they had never crossed him and at least one woman who might try and match make for him…

As always READ ON.