Crucifixion (prop. σταύρωσις, but in the N.T. the noun does not occur, the act being designated by some form of the verb σταυρόω, to apply the cross; once προσπήγνυμι, to fasten, i.e. to the cross, Ac 2:23; the classical writers use σταυροῦν, ἀνασταυροῦν σκολοπίζειν, προσηλοῦν, and, less properly, ἀνασκινδυλεύειν; cruci or patibulo afficere, suffigere, or simply figere [Tertull. de Pat. 3], cruciare [Auson.] ad palun alligare, crucen alicui statuere, in crucemn agere, tollere, etc.; the sufferer was called cruciarius). SEE PASSION.
I. History. — The variety of the phrases shows the extreme commonness of the punishment, the invention of which is traditionally ascribed to Semiramis. It was in use among the Egyptians (as in the case of Inarus, Thuc. 1:30; comp. Genesis xl, 19), the Carthaginians (as in the case of Hanno, etc., Val. Max. 2:7; Polyb. 1:86; Sil. Ital. 2:344; Plutarch, Paral. 24; Justin, 18:7; Hirt. Bell. Afric. 66), the Persians (Polycrates, etc.; Herod. 3, 125; 4:43; 7:194; Ctesias, Excerpt. 5; comp. Es 7:10), the Assyrians (Diod. Sic. 2:1), Scythians (id. 2:44), Indians (id. 2:18), Germans (possibly Tacit. Germ. 12), and very frequent from the earliest times (Livy, 1:26) among the Romans. Cicero, however, refers it, not (as Livy) to the early kings, but to Tarquinius Superbus (pro Rab. 4); Aurel. Victor calls it vetus vetersrinmumque (? teterr.) patibualorum supplicium. Both κρεμᾶν and suspendere (Ovid, Ibis, 299) refer to death by crucifxion; thus, in speaking of Alexander's crucifixion of 2000 Tyrians, ἀνεκρέμασεν in Diod. Sic. answers to the crucibus affixus in Q. Curt. 4:4. The Greeks (Strabo, 14:647) and Macedonians (Appian, Mithr. 8; Curt. 7:11, 28; 9:8, 6) also sometimes resorted to this mode of punishment.
This accursed and awful mode of punishment was happily abolished by Constantine (Sozom. 1:8) probably towards the end of his reign (see Lipsius, De Cruce, 3, 15), although it is curious that we have no more definite account of the matter. Examples of it are found in the early part of that emperor's reign, but the reverence which, at a later period, he was led to feel for the cross, doubtless induced him to put an end to the inhuman practice (Aurel. Vict. Coes. 41; Niceph. 7:46; Firmic. 8:20). "An edict so honorable to Christianity," says Gibbon, "deserved a place in the Theodosian Code, instead of the indirect mention of it which seems to result from the comparison of the 5th and 18th titles of the 9th book" (ii. 154, note). SEE PUNISHMENT.
II. As a Jewish Custom. — Whether this mode of execution was known to the ancient Jews is a matter of dispute (see Bormitius, De Cruce num Ebroeor. supplic. fuerit, Viteb. 1644; Chaufepie, in the Miscell. Duisb. 2:401 sq.). It is asserted to have been so by Baronius (Annal. 1, 34), Sigonius (De Rep. Hebr. 6:8), etc., who are refuted by Casaubon (c. Baron. Exero. xvi), Carpzov (Apparat. Crit. p. 591). The Hebrew words said to allude to it are תָּלָה, talah' (sometimes with the addition of עִל הָעֵוֹ, "upon the tree;" hence the Jews in polemics call our Lord תלוי, and Christians עובדי תלוי, "worshippers of the crucified"), and יָקָע, yaka', both of which in the A. Vers. are generally rendered "to hang" (2Sa 18:10; De 21:22; Nu 25:4; Job 26:7); for which σταυρόω occurs in the Sept. (Es 7:10), and crucifixerunt in the Vulg. (2Sa 21:6,9). The Jewish account of the matter (in Maimonides and the Rabbis) is, that the exposure of the body tied to a stake by its hands (which might loosely be called crucifixion) took place after death (Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. in Matt. 27:31; Othonis Lex. Rabb., s.v. Supplicia; Reland, Ant. 2:6; Sir T. Browne, Vulg. Errors, v. 21). Even the placing of a head on a single upright pole has been called crucifixion. This custom of crucifixion after death (which seems to be implied in De 21:22-23) was by no means rare; men were first killed in mercy (Sueton. Coes.; Herod. 3, 125; Plutarch, Cleom. 38). According to a strange story in Pliny (36. 15, § 24), it was adopted by Tarquin as a post- mortem disgrace, to prevent the prevalence of suicide. It seems, on the whole, that the Rabbis are correct in asserting that this exposure is intended in Scripture, since the Mosaic capital punishments were four (viz., the sword, Exodus 21; strangling, fire, Leviticus 20; and stoning, Deuteronomy 21). Philo, indeed, says (De leg. spec.) that Moses adopted crucifixion as a murderer's punishment because it was the worst he could discover; but the passage in De 21:23 does not prove his assertion. Probably, therefore, the Jews borrowed it from the Romans (Josephus, Ant. 20:6, 2; War, 2:12, 6; Life, 75, etc.), although there may have been a few isolated instances of it before (Josephus, Ant. 13:14, 2). SEE HANGING.
It was unanimously considered the most horrible form of death, worse even than burning, since the "cross" precedes "burning" in the law-books (Lipsius, De Cruc. 2:1). Hence it is called crudelissimum teterrimumque supplicium (Cicero, Verr. v. 66), extrema poana (Apul. de Aur. Asin. 10), summum supplicium (Paul. Sent. v, tit. xxi, etc.); and to a Jew it would acquire factitious horror from the curse in De 21:23. Among the Romans also the degradation was a part of the infliction, since it was especially a servile supplicium (Tacitus, Hist. 4:11; Juvenal, 6:218; Horace, Sat. 1:3, 8, etc.; Plautus, passim), or "a slave's punishment" (De Infasmi quo Chr. adfectus est cru. supp., in Lange's Observatt. Sacr. [Lubec, 1731], p. 151 sq.; also Hencke, Opusc. p. 137 sq.), so that even a freedman ceased to dread it (Cicero, pro Rab. 5); or if applied to freemen, only in the case of the vilest criminals (Joseph. Ant. 17:10, 10; War, 5:11, 1; Paul. Sent. v, tit. xxiii; Lamprid. Alex. Sev. 23), such as persons guilty of robbery, piracy (Seneca, Ep. vii; Cicero, Petron. 71), assassination, perjury (Firmic. 6:26), sedition, treason, and (in the case of soldiers) desertion (Dion, v. 52; Joseph. Ant. 13:22; Apuleius, Asin. 3). Indeed, exemption from it was the privilege of every Roman citizen by the jus civitatis (Cicero, Verr. 2:1, 3). Our Lord was condemned to it by the popular cry of the Jews (Mt 27:23, as often happened to the early Christians) on the charge of sedition against Caesar (Lu 23:2), although the Sanhedrim had previously condemned him on the totally distinct charge of blasphemy. Hundreds of Jews were crucified on the former charge, as by Floras (Joseph. War, 2:14, 9) and Varus, who crucified 2000 at once (Ant. 17:10, 10). SEE EXECUTION.
III. Process. — The scarlet robe, crown of thorns, and other insults to which our Lord was subjected, were illegal, and arose from the spontaneous petulance of the brutal soldiery. But the punishment properly commenced with scourging, after the criminal had been stripped; hence, in the common form of sentence, we find "summove, lictor, despolia, verbera," etc. (Livy, 1:26). For this there is a host of authorities — Livy, 26:13; Q. Curt, 7:11; Lucan, de Piscat. 2; Jerome, Comment. ad Matt. 27:26, etc. It was inflicted, not with the comparatively mild virgae, but the more terrible flagellum (Horace, Sat. 1:3; comp. 2Co 11:24-25), which was not used by the Jews (De 25:3). Into these scourges the soldiers often stuck nails, pieces of bone, etc., to heighten the pain (the μάστιξ ἀστραγαλωτή mentioned by Athenaeus, etc.; flagrum pecuinis ossibus catenatumn, Apul.), which was often so intense that the sufferer died under it (Ulp. de Poenis, 1, 8). The scourging generally took place at a column, and the one to which our Lord was bound is said to have been seen by Jerome, Prudentius, Gregory of Tours, etc., and is shown at several churches among the relics. In our Lord's case, however, this infliction seems neither to have been the legal scourging after the sentence (Val. Max. 1:7; Josephus, War, 5:28; 2:14, 9), nor yet the examination by torture (Ac 22:24), but rather a scourging before the sentence, to excite pity and procure immunity from further punishment (Lu 23:22; Joh 19:1); and if this view be correct, the reference to it (φραγέλλωσας) in Mt 27:26, is retrospective, as so great an anguish could hardly have been endured twice (see Poli Synopsis, ad loc.). How severe it was is indicated in prophecy (Ps 35:15; Isa 1:6). Vossius considers that it was partly legal, partly tentative (Harm. Pass.v. 13). SEE SCOURGE.
The criminal carried his own cross, or, at any rate, a part of it (Plutarch, De iis qui sero, etc., 9; Artemid. Oneirocr. 2:61; see Joh 19:17; comp. "patibulum ferat per urbem, deinde affigatur cruci," Plaut. Carbonar.). Hence the term furcifer, cross-bearer (q.v.). This was prefigured by Isaac carrying the wood in Ge 22:6, where even the Jews notice the parallel; and to this the fathers fantastically applied the expression in Isa 9:6, "the government shall be upon his shoulder." They were sometimes scourged and goaded on the way (Plaut. Mostel. 1:1, 52). "In some old figures we see our Lord described with a table appendent to the fringe of his garment, set full of nails and pointed iron" (Jeremiah Taylor, Life of Christ, 3, 15:2; Haerebas ligno quod tuteras, Cypr. de Pas. p. 50). SEE SIMON (OF CYRENE).
The place of execution was outside the city ("post urbem," Cicero, Verr. v. 66; "extra portam," Plaut: Mil. Gl. 2:4, 6; comp. 1Ki 21:13; Ac 7:58; Heb 13:12; and in camps "extra vallum"), often in some public road (Quinct. Decl. 275) or other conspicuous place like the Campus Martins (Cicero, pro Rabirio), or some spot set apart for the purpose (Tacitus, Ann. xv). This might sometimes be a hill (Val. Max. vi); it is, however, rather an inference to call Golgotha a hill; in the Evangelists it is called "a place" (τόπος). SEE CALVARY. Arrived at the place of execution, the sufferer was stripped naked (Artemidorus, Oneirocr. 2:58), the dress being the perquisite of the soldiers (Mt 27:35; Dig. 48:20, 6); possibly not even a cloth round the loins was allowed him; at least among the Jews the rule was "that a man should be stoned naked" (Sanhedr. 6:3), where the context shows that "naked" must not be taken in its restricted sense. The cross was then driven into the ground, so that the feet of the condemned were a foot or two above the earth (in pictures of the crucifixion the cross generally much too large and high), and he was lifted upon it (agere, excurrere, tollere, ascendere in crucenm; Prudent.
περὶ στεφ.; Plautus, Mostel. "Crucisalus;" id. Bacch. 2, 3, 128; ἀνῆγον, ῏ηγον, ῏ηγον εἰς ἄκρον τέλος, Greg. Naz.), or else stretched upon it on the ground, and then lifted with it, to which there seems to be an allusion in a lost prophecy quoted by Barnabas (Ep. 12), ὅταν ξύλον κλιθῇ καὶ ἀναστῇ (Pearson, On the Creed, Acts 4). The former method was the commoner, for we often read (as in Es 7:10, etc.) of the cross being erected beforehand in terrorem. Before the nailing or binding took place, a medicated cup was given out of kindness to confuse the senses and deaden the pangs of the sufferer (Pr 31:6), usually of bitter wine (οϊvνος ἐσμυρμισμένος or λελιβανωμένος), as among the Jews (Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. ad latt. xxvii), because myrrh was soporific. Other bitter herbs were also employed (Pipping, Exercit. Acad. p. 55). Our Lord refused it that his senses might be clear (Mt 27:34; Mr 15:23; Maimonides, Sanhed. xiii). Matthew calls it "vinegar mingled with gall" (ὄξος μέτα χολῆς, הֹמֶוֹ), an expression used in reference to Ps 79:13, but not strictly accurate. This mercifully intended draught must not be confounded with the spoonful of vinegar (or posca, the common drink of Roman soldiers, Spart. Hadr.; Plaut. Mil. Gl. 3, 2, 23), which was put on a hyssop-stalk and offered to our Lord in mocking and contemptuous pity (Mt 27:48; Lu 23:36); this he tasted to allay the agonies of thirst (Joh 19:29).
The body was affixed to the cross by nails (see Corn. Curtius, De clavis Domini, Antw. 1760) driven into the hands, and more rarely into the feet; sometimes the feet were fastened by one nail driven through both (Tertull. adv. Jud. x; Senec. De Vita Beat. 19; Lactant. 4:13). The feet were occasionally bound to the cross by cords; and Xenophon asserts that it was usual among the Egyptians to bind in this manner not only the feet, but the hands. An inscription (titulus) was written upon a small tablet (σανίς, Socrat. Hist. Eccl. 1:17) declaring the crime (see Alberti, De Inscript. crucis Chr. Lips. 1725), and placed on the top of the cross (Sueton. Cal. 38; Dom. 10; Euseb. Hist. Eccles.v. 1). The body of the crucified person rested on a sort of seat (πῆγμα) (Iren. adv. Haer. 2:42). The criminal died under the most frightful sufferings — so great that even amid the raging passions of war pity was sometimes excited. Josephus (War, 5:11, 1) narrates of captives taken at the siege of Jerusalem that "they were first whipped, and tormented with all sorts of tortures, and then crucified before the walls of the city. ,The soldiers, out of the wrath and the hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught one after one way and another after another to crosses, by way of jest, when their multitude was so great that room was wanting for the crosses and crosses wanting for the bodies. This miserable procedure made Titus greatly pity them." Sometimes the suffering was shortened and abated by breaking the legs of the criminal — crura fracta (Cicero, Philippians 13:12). The execution took place at the hands of the carnifex, or hangman, attended by a band of soldiers, and in Rome under the supervision of the Triumviri Capitales (Tacit. Ann. 15:60; Lactant. 4:26). The accounts given in the Gospels of the execution of Jesus Christ are in entire agreement with the customs and practices of the Romans in this particular (Tholuck, Glaubwurdigkeit der evangel. Gesch. p. 361).
Our Lord was crucified between two "thieves" (λῃσταί, robbers) or "malefactors" (then so common in Palestine, Josephus, War, 2:6, etc.), according to prophecy (Isa 53:12); and was watched according to custom by a party of four soldiers (Joh 19:23), with their centurion (κουστωδία, Mt 27:66; miles qui cruces assurabat, Petr. Sat. 3, 6; Plutarch, Vit. Cleom. 38), whose express office was to prevent the surreption of the body (Seneca, Ep. 101). This was necessary from the lingering character of the death, which sometimes did not supervene even for three days and was at last the result of gradual benumbing and starvation (Euseb. 8:8; Seneca, Proverbs 3). But for this guard, the persons might have been taken down and recovered, as was actually done in the case of a friend of Josephus, though only one survived out of three to whom the same careful nursing (θεραπεία ἐπιμελεστάτη) was applied (Life, 75). Among the Convulsionnaires in the reign of Louis XV, women would be repeatedly crucified, and even remain on the cross three hours; we are told of one who underwent it twenty-three times (Encycl. Metr., s.v. Cross); the pain consisted almost entirely in the nailing, and not more than a basinful of blood was lost. Still we cannot believe from the Martyrologies that Victorinus (crucified head downward) lived three days, or Timotheus and Maura nine days (compare Bretschneider, in the Studien u. Krit., 1832, 2:625; Paulus, in the Darmnst. Kirchenszeit. 1833, No. 8, 9). Fracture of the legs (Plaut. Pan. 4:2, 64) was especially adopted by the Jews (De 21:22) to hasten death (Joh 19:31), and it was a mitigation of the punishment (Casaub. Exerc. Antib. p. 537), as observed by Origen. But the unusual rapidity of our Lord's death was due to the depth of his previous agonies (which appears from his inability to bear his own cross far), and to his mental anguish (Schöttgen, Hor. Heb. 6:3; De
pass. Messioe), or it may be sufficiently accounted for simply from peculiarities of constitution. There is no need to explain the "giving up of the ghost" as a miracle (Heb 5:7?), or say with Cyprian, Prevento carnifcis offcio, spiritum sponte cimisit (Adv. Demetr). Still less can the common cavil of infidelity be thought noteworthy, since, had our Lord been in a swoon, the piercing of his pericardium (proved by the appearance of lymph and blood) would have ensured death. (See Eschenbach, Opusc. Med. de Servatore non apparenter sed vere mortuo, and Gruner, De morte Christi non synoptica, quoted by Jahn in his Bibl. Arch.) (See below.) Pilate expressly satisfied himself of the actual death by questioning the centurion (Mr 15:44); and the omission of the breaking of the legs in this case was the fulfillment of a type (Ex 12:46). Other modes of hastening death were by lighting fires under the cross (hence the nicknames Sarmentitii and Semaxii, Tert. Apolog. 50), or letting loose wild beasts on the crucified (Suet. Ner. 49).
Generally the body was suffered to rot on the cross (Cicero, Tusc. Q. 1:43; Sil. Ital. 8:486) by the action of sun and rain (Herod. 3, 12), or to be devoured by birds and beasts (Apul. de Aur. Asin. 6; Horace, Ep. 1:16, 48; Juvenal, 14:77). Sepulture was generally therefore forbidden (Pliny, Hist. Nat. 36:24), though it might be granted as a special favor or on grand occasions (Up. 1. 9, De off. Pascons.). But, in consequence of De 21:22-23, an express national exception was made in favor of the Jews (Mt 27:58; comp. Joseph. War, 4:5, 2).
IV. PATHOLOGY. — It only remains to speak of the manner of death, and the kind of physical suffering endured, which we shall very briefly abridge from the treatise of the physician Richter (in Jahn's Bibl. Arch.) These are,
1. The unnatural position and violent. tension of the body, which cause a painful sensation from the least motion.
2. The nails, being driven through parts of the hands and feet which are full of nerves and tendons (and yet at a distance from the heart), create the most exquisite anguish.
3. The exposure of so many wounds and lacerations brings on inflammation, which tends to become gangrene, and every moment increases the poignancy of suffering.
4. In the distended parts of the body more blood flows through the arteries than can be carried back into the veins: hence too much blood finds its way from the aorta into the head and stomach, and the blood-vessels of the head become pressed and swollen. The general obstruction of circulation which ensues causes an internal excitement, exertion, and anxiety more intolerable than death itself.
5. The inexpressible misery of gradually increasing and lingering anguish. To all this we may add, 6. Burning and raging thirst.
Death by crucifixion (physically considered) is therefore to be attributed to the sympathetic fever which is excited by the wounds, and aggravated by exposure to the weather, privation of water, and the painfully constrained position of the body. Traumatic fever corresponds, in intensity and in character, to the local inflammation of the wound. In the first stage, while the inflammation of the wound is characterized by heat, swelling, and great pain, the fever is highly inflammatory, and the sufferer complains of heat, throbbing headache, intense thirst, restlessness, and anxiety. As soon as suppuration sets in, the fever somewhat abates, and gradually ceases as suppuration diminishes and the stage of cicatrization approaches. But if the wound be prevented from healing, and suppuration continue, the fever assumes a hectic character, and will sooner or later exhaust the powers of life. When, however, the inflammation of the wound is so intense as to produce mortification, nervous depression is the immediate consequence; and if the cause of this excessive inflammation of the wound still continues, as is the case in crucifixion, the sufferer rapidly sinks. He is no longer sensible of pain, but his anxiety and sense of prostration are excessive; hiccough supervenes, his skin is moistened with a cold clammy sweat, and death ensues. It is in this manner that death on the cross must have taken place in an ordinarily healthy constitution. The wounds in themselves were not fatal; but, as long as the nails remained in them, the inflammation must have increased in intensity until it produced gangrene. The period at which death occurred was very variable, as it depended on the constitution of the sufferer, as well as on the degree of exposure and the state of the weather. It may, however, be asserted that death would not take place until the local inflammation had run its course; and though this process may be much hastened by fatigue and the alternate exposure to the rays of the sun and the cold night air, it is not completed before forty-eight hours, under ordinary circumstances, and in healthy constitutions; so that we may consider thirty-six hours to be the earliest period at which crucifixion would occasion death in a healthy adult. It can not be objected that the heat of an Eastern climate may not have been duly considered in the above estimate, for many cases are recorded of persons having survived a much longer time than is here mentioned, even as long as eight or nine days. Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. 3, 8) says that many of the martyrs in Egypt, who were crucified with their heads downward, perished by hunger. The want of water was a much more important privation. It must have caused the sufferer inexpressible anguish, and have contributed in no slight degree to hasten death.
Several eminent writers had occupied themselves with the physiology of our Savior's passion, if we may so express ourselves, before the "scientific" method of treating it was resorted to; such were Scheuchzer, Mead, Bartholinus, Vogler, Triller, Richter, and Eschenbach. But a much fuller and more exact investigation has since been made by the two Gruners, father and son, the latter of whom first wrote under the direction, and by the advice of the former. These earlier authors have collected all that medical analogies could furnish towards establishing the character of our Savior's sufferings and the reality of his death. "The pulmonary, and other veins and arteries about the heart and chest, by the abundance of blood flowing thither, and there accumulating, must have added frightful bodily suffering to the anguish of mind produced by the overpowering burden of our sins" (G. G. Richteri Dissertationes Qiatuor Medicoe, Gotting. 1775, p. 57). But this general suffering must have made a relative impression upon different individuals; and, as Charles Gruner well observes, the effect it produced upon two hardy and hardened thieves, brought out fresh from prison, must naturally have been very different from that on our Savior, whose frame and temperament were of a very opposite character; who had been previously suffering a night of tortures and restless fatigue; who had been wrestling with mental agony till one of the rarest phenomena had been caused — a bloody sweat; who must have felt to the most acute degree of intensity all the mental aggravation of his punishment — its shame and ignominy, and the distress of his pious mother, and few faithful friends (C. F. Gruneri Commentatio Antiquaria Medicoi de Jesu' Cristi rtorte vera non simulata, Halae, 1805, p. 30-45). To these he might have added other reflections, as that our Savior was evidently weakened beyond other persons in similar circumstances, seeing he was not strong enough to carry his cross, as criminals led to execution were always able to do; and if the men whom we are answering suppose our Lord to have, only fallen into a trance from exhaustion, they have manifestly no right to judge from other cases, for in them even this did not occur. The younger Gruner goes minutely into all the smallest circumstances of the passion, examining them as objects of medical jurisprudence, and particularly takes cognizance of the stroke inflicted by the soldier's lance. He shows the great probability of the wound having been in the left side, and from below transversely upward; he demonstrates that such a stroke, inflicted by the robust arm of a Roman soldier, with a short lance, for the cross was not raised much from the ground, must, in any hypothesis, have occasioned a deadly wound. Up to this moment he supposes our Savior may have been still faintly alive, because otherwise the blood would not have flowed, and because the loud cry which he uttered is a symptom of a syncope from too great a congestion of blood about the heart. But this wound, which, from the flowing of blood and water, he supposes to have been in the cavity of the chest, must, according to him, have been necessarily fatal. Tirinus and other commentators, as well as many physicians, Gruner, Bartholinus, Triller, and Eschenbach, suppose this water to have been lymph from the pericardium. Vogler (Physiologia Historie Passionis, Helmst. 1693, p. 44) supposes it to have been serum separated from the blood. But from the manner in which the apostle John mentions this mystical flow, and from the concurrent sentiment of all antiquity, we must admit something more than a mere physical event. Richter observes that the abundant gush of the blood and water, "non ut in mortuis fieri solet, lentum et grumosum, sed calentenm adhuc et flexilem; tamquam ex calentissimo misericordiae fonte," must be considered preternatural, and deeply symbolical. Christian Gruner goes over the same ground, and answers, step by step, the additional objections of an anonymous impugner. He shows that the words used by John to express the wound inflicted by the lance are often used to denote a mortal one; he proves that, even supposing the death of Christ to have been in the first instance apparent, the infliction of merely a slight wound would have been fatal, because, in syncope or trance arising from loss of blood, any venesection would be considered such (Vindicice Mortis Jesu Christi verce, p. 67, 77, sq.); and that, in fine, so far from the spices or unguents used in embalming, or the close chamber of the tomb, being fitting restoratives to a person in a trance, they would be the most secure instruments for converting apparent into real death, by suffocation. To this we may add Eschenbach's observation (Scripta Medi.-biblica, Rostock, 1779, p. 128) that there is no well-recorded instance of syncope lasting more than one day, whereas here it must have lasted three; and also that even this period would not have been sufficient to restore to strength and health a frame which had undergone the shattering tortures of crucifixion and the enfeebling influence of syncope from loss of blood. A consideration not noticed by any of these authors seems to decide the point of the depth of the wound, and place beyond doubt that it could not be superficial, but must have entered the cavity. Our Savior distinguishes the wounds in his hands from that of his side by desiring Thomas to measure the former by his finger, and the latter by the insertion of his hand (Joh 20:27). This, therefore, must have been of the breadth of two or three fingers on the outside. But for a lance, which tapered very gently from the point, to leave a scar or incision on the flesh of such a breadth, at least four or five inches must have penetrated into the body, a supposition quite incompatible with a superficial or flesh wound. Of course, this reasoning is with those who admit the entire history of the passion and subsequent appearance of our Savior, but deny his real death; and such are the adversaries of the Gruners.
It is not inappropriate here to introduce a case which may confirm some of the foregoing observations. It is an account of a crucified Mameluke, or Turkish servant, published by Kosegarten (Chrest. Arab. Lips, 1828, p. 63- 65), from an Arabic manuscript entitled "The Meadow of Flowers and the fragrant Odour." The narrative, after quoting the authorities, as is usual in Arabic histories, proceeds as follows "It is said that he had killed his master for some cause or other, and he was crucified on the banks of the river Barada [Burada], under the castle of Damascus, with his face turned towards the east. His hands, arms, and feet were nailed, and he remained so from midday on Friday to the same hour on Sunday, when he died. He was remarkable for his strength and prowess; he had been engaged with his master in sacred war at Askelon, where he slew great numbers of the Franks; and when very young he had killed a lion. Several extraordinary things occurred at his being nailed, as that he gave himself up without resistance to the cross, and without complaint stretched out his hands, which were nailed, and after them his feet: he in the meantime looked on, and did not utter a groan, or change his countenance, or move his limbs." Thus we see a person, in the flower of his age, remarkable for his hardihood and strength, inured to military fatigue, nay, so strong that we are told, in another part of the narrative, that "he moved his feet about, though nailed, till he loosened the fastenings of the nails, so that, if they had not been well secured in the wood, he would have drawn them out;" and yet he could not endure the suffering more than eight-and-forty hours. But the most interesting circumstance in this narration, and the illustration of the scriptural narrative principally in view, is the fact, not mentioned by any ancient describer of this punishment, that the principal torture endured by this servant was that of thirst, precisely as is intimated in the Gospel history (Joh 19:28). For the Arabic narrator thus proceeds: "I have heard this from one who witnessed it — and he thus remained till he died, patient and silent, without wailing, but looking around him to the right and to the left, upon the people. But he begged for water, and none was given him; and the hearts of the people were melted with compassion for him, and with pity on one of God's creatures, who, yet a boy, was suffering under so grievous a trial. In the mean time, the water was flowing around him, and he gazed upon it, and longed for one drop of it . . . and he complained of thirst all the first day, after which he was silent, for God gave him strength." Various theories have therefore been proposed to account for the speedy death of Christ upon the cross. That it did not occur simply and directly from the crucifixion is evident from the above statements, and from the surprise of Pilate that it had taken place so soon, when the thieves crucified at the same time had not expired. The usual theory attributes his sudden death to a voluntary surrender of his own life, which is supposed to be favored by the expression "yielded or 'gave' up the ghost," ἀφῆκε [παρέδωκε] τὸ πνεῦμα, Mt 27:50; Joh 19:30), and also by his declarations concerning his "laying down his life" (τίθημι τὴν ψυχήν, Joh 10:11,15,17). But, aside from the inappositeness of these passages (the same terms being often used of ordinary decease and of voluntary submission to a violent death), this view is derogatory to the character of Christ (who is thus, in effect, made a suicide), and inconsistent with the expressions concerning the guilt of his murderers (who are thus made only accessories or assistants). The most probable explanation of the sudden death of Christ is that proposed and extensively argued by Dr. Stroud (Treatise on the Physical Cause of the Death of Christ, Lond. 1847), who attributes it to a proper rupture of to heart, a pathological accident, which he thus describes (p, 88): "The immediate cause is a sudden and violent contraction of one of the ventricles, usually the left, on the column of blood thrown into it by a similar contraction of the corresponding auricle. Prevented from returning backward by the intervening valve, and not finding a sufficient outlet forward in the connected artery, the blood reacts against the ventricle itself, which is consequently torn, open at the point of greatest distention, or least resistance, by the influence of its own reflected force. A quantity of blood is hereby discharged into the pericardium, and, having no means to escape from that capsule, stops the circulation by compressing the heart from without, and induces almost instantaneous death. In young and vigorous subjects, the blood thus collected in the pericardium soon divides into its constituent parts, namely, a pale, watery liquid called serum, and a soft clotted substance of a deep red color, called crassamentum; but, except under similar circumstances of extravasation, this distinct separation of the blood is seldom witnessed in the dead body." This explanation meets all the circumstances of Christ's passion. The violence of his emotions was sufficient to burst open the heart, as Dr. Stroud shows by a multitude of examples of immediate death from sudden mental, affections; and this, as a secondary cause, is confirmed by the occurrence of the sanguineous perspiration in the garden from similar emotions. SEE BLOODY SWEAT. It explains the suddenness of Christ's death, so evident in all the evangelical narratives, as well as its early occurrence, so surprising to Pilate. The loud shrieks that immediately preceded dissolution were at once the expression of the mental paroxysm (Mt 27:50; Mr 15:37), and the effort of nature to relieve the system from the sense of suffocation consequent upon the congestion of blood at the heart. This will also account for the presence of "water" (serum), as well as "blood" (crsassamentmnz), in a commingled yet distinct state, within the pericardium, and discharged at the orifice made by the soldier's spear (Joh 19:34), since no blood would flow from a wound in a corpse's veins. SEE BLOOD AND WATER.
V. Literature. — An explanation of the other circumstances attending the crucifixion belongs rather to a commentary than a dictionary. The assertion of Paulus and others, that the feet were not nailed (Curtius, De clavis Domini, Antw. 1670), is amply refuted by Winer (De pedum affxione, Lips. 1845) and others. For the detailed incidents in our Savior's case, see JESUS; and compare Hase, Leben Jesul, § 115. On the types and prophecies of it, besides those adduced, see Cypr. Testim. 2:20. On the resurrection of the saints, see Lightfoot, ad. Mt 27:52 (there is a monograph by Gebaverius — Dissert. de Resur. sanctorum cum Christo, in his Comment. Miscell. No. 6). SEE RESURRECTION. On other concomitant prodigies, see Schöttgen, Hor. Heb. et Talmud. 6:3, 8. SEE
DARKNESS; SEE EARTHQUAKE. The chief ancient authorities may be found in Lipsius, De Cruce (Antwerp, 1589, 1594, and since); see also in Fabric. Bibliogr. Antiquar. (Hamb. 1760), p. 755 sq.; and especially Friedlieb, Archaologie der Leidensgeschichte (Bonn, 1843). On the points in which our Lord's crucifixion differed from the ordinary Jewish customs, see Othonis Lex. Rabbinicum, s.v., Supplicia; Bynseus, De Morte J. Christi; Vossius, Harm. Passionis; Carpzov, Apparat. Crit. p. 591, sq. etc.; Salmasius, De Cruce (L. B. 1646); Bartholinus, De latere Christi aperto (L. B. 1646); also De Cruce Christi (Amst. 1670, L. B. 1693); Zobel, in the Magaz. fur bibl. Interpret. 2:321 sq. SEE CROSS.
There are monographs in Latin on the following points connected with the subject: on the cross itself, by Baudissus (Viteb. 1673), Cellarius (Ziz. 1677), Cyprian (Helmst. 1699), Freiesleben (Jen. 1662), Germar (Thorun. 1787), Gezelius (Upsal. 1692), Gleich (Lips. 1704), Liperuis (Sedin. 1675), Ortlob (Viteb. 1655), Nihusius (Colon. 1644), Paschius (Viteb. 1686), Richter (Zittau, 1775), Verporten (Fracft. ad V. 1759), Gretser (Ingolst. 1598-1605), id. (ib. 1610), Lipsius (Antwerp, 1595, 1606, Amst. 1670), Bosius (Antw. 1617), Bornitius (Vit. 1644), Salmasius (L. B. 1646), Lange (Vit. 1669), Lamy (Ilarm. Ev. p. 573 sq.); on the crucifixion gen. erally, by Buddseus (Jen. 1707), Dilher (Norimb. 1642), Gerhard (Rost. 1662), Vogler (Helmst. 1693), Versteeg (Traj. ad Rh. 1700), Lydius (Dortrac. 1672, Zutphen, 1701), id. (Tr. ad R. 1701), Medhurst (Bibl. Brem. I, i; III, in), Margalitha (Freft. ad V. 1706), Merchenius (Duisb. 1722), two anonymous fasciculi (Dusseldorf, 1730), Westhovius (L. B. 1733), Sturm (Hal. 1763), Hessler (Sondersh. 1770), Fremery (1788), Zobel (in Germ. Mag. fur bibl. Interpret. 1:2), Essner (in Germ. Nilrnb. 1818), Jongh (Tr. ad Rh. 1827), Hug (in Germ. Freib. Zeitschr. 1831), Scharf (Leucop. 1606), Engelmann (Cygn. 1679), Haberkorn (Gress. 1656), Kor, tholt (Kilon. 1687), Pritius (Lips. 1697), Habichorst (Rost. 1681), Mieg (Heidelb. 1681), Niepeneck (Rost. 1700), Haferung (Viteb. 1739), Moebius (Lips. 1689), Scharf (Leucopetr. 1666), Stosch (Freft. ad V. 1759), Vitringa (Obss. sacr. 2:384 sq.); on the infamy of the punishment, by Henke (Helmst. 1785), Jetze (Starg. 1761), Lange (Lubec, 1729); on the time of Christ's crucifixion (in reconciliation of the discrepancy between Mr 15:25, and Joh 19:14), by Kieil (Lips. 1778-1780), Liebknecht (Giess. 1726), Michaelis (in Germ. Hamb. Bibl. 3, 2), Reyper (Thes. Diss. 2:241), Schwarz (Lips. 1778), Morinus (Lugd. B. 1686, 1698), Osiander (Tubingen, 143), Pauli (Halle, 1744, 1752), Woerger (in Menethen. Thesaur. 2:277), Wolf (Lips. 1750), Zeibich (in German, Lpz. 1713); Zeltner (three diss., Altorf. 1720, 1721, 1724), Knittel (in German, Wolfenb. 1755), Horn (Havn. 1780), Rhein (in Germ., Lpz. 1832); on Christ's thirst and drink on the cross, by Bauer (Viteb. 1714), Deyling (Obss. 1:227), Faber. (London, 1660), Hutten (Guben. 1671), Leo (Leucop. 1721), Neumann (Viteb. 1683), Pipping (Lips. 1688), Rausch (Jena, 1733), Schlegel (in German, Henke's Magaz. 4:288-291), Walch (Obss. in Maatth. p. 101-138); on his prayer for his murderers, by. March (Syll. Diss. p. 308, 328), Pfaff (Tub. 1746); on his despairing cry, by Hoepfner (Lips. 1641), Frischmuth (Jen. 1663), Niemann (Jen. 1671), Schearf (Vit. 1671), Lockerwitz (Viteb. 1680), Olearius (Lips. 1683), the same (ib. 1683, 1726), Deutschmann (Viteb. 1695), Winslow (Havre, 1706), Engestrom (Lund. 1738), Luger (Jena, 1739), Leucke (Lips. 1753), Weissmann (Tub. 1746), Sommel (Lund. 1774), Wickenhofer (in Germ., Zimmermann's Monatssch. 1822, No. 24); on his commending his spirit to the Father, by Wolle (Lips. 1726; again Gott. 1744); on his so-called "last seven words," by Froerysen (Argent. 1625), Dannhauer (ib. 1641), Lange (Lips. 1651), Mayer (Gryph. 1706), Criiger (Vit. 1726), Vincke (Tr. ad Rh. 1846); on the presence of Mary, by Zorn (Opusc. 2:316-322); on the perforation of the hands and feet, by Fontanus (Amst. 1641), Stemler (Dresd. 1741); on the puncture by the spear, by Sagittarius (Jena, 1673; also in Thes. Diss. Amst. 2:381-7), Bartholinus (L. B. 1646, Lips. 1664, 1683, Frcf. 1681), Faes (Helmst. 1676), Quenstedt (Viterb. 1678), Wedel (Jen. 1686), Jacobi (Lips. 1686), Suantenius (Rost. 1686), Loescher (Vit. 1697), Triller (Vit. 1775); on the discharge from the wound, by Kocher (Dresd. 1597), Ritter (Vit. 1687), Eschenbach (Rost. 1775), Calovius (Vit. 1679); on the medical aspects of the death, by Vogler (Helmstadt, 1673), Westphal (Grypesv. 1771), Richter (Gott. 1757), Kiesling (Erlang. 1767), Gruner (Sen., Jen. 1800, Jun., Hal. 1805), Stroud (in English, London, 1847), Bruhier (in French, Paris, 1749), Swieten (Vien. 1778), Hufeland (Germ., Weim. 1791), Taberger (Germ., Hannov. 1829); on the attestation of the by-standers, by Dietelmaier (Altdorf, 1749), Schottgen (German, in Bidermann's Schulsachen, in; 16). For other dissertations on associated incidents, SEE PASSOVER; SEE PILATE; SEE MOCKERY (OF CHRIST); SEE CROWN (OF THORNS); SEE THIEF (ON THE CROSS); SEE SABACTHANI; SEE ECLIPSE; SEE EARTHQUAKE; SEE VAIL; SEE CENTURION; SEE PRISONER, etc.