Walling up in a wall: who was punished so cruelly in the Middle Ages and for what? (7 photos)

Category: Nostalgia, PEGI 0+
12 February 2024

In my personal opinion as a historian, walling up is one of the most cruel and inhumane types of execution. It simply consisted of placing a person inside, for example, a wall under construction.

The word “walled up” itself comes from the prefix - for and the Latin root -mur - i.e. “wall”.

The main horror of such an execution is that the victim dies, which is called “without shedding blood.” That is, exclusively on her own, slowly, from hunger and gradual dehydration.

By the way, here's what else I remembered. To add to the torment, sometimes a hole for air was left in the wall for the walled-up person, so that he would not fly to the ground floor of life prematurely from lack of air and suffocation. Brrr, you wouldn't wish it on any enemy...

Why were they punished so severely?

For various sins, I'll tell you. Big and small. In Rome, for example, the Vestals, young priestesses of the goddess Vesta, were walled up if they did not observe the required vow of celibacy. In medieval Europe, Catholic nuns were punished for the same thing by walling up.

Walling up a sinful nun. Illustration from a 19th century book

The same harsh punishment was sometimes applied to monks who tried to escape from the monastery. Or state criminals from among the aristocrats.

An artificially made skeleton of a knight, walled up according to legend in the 16th century in the casemates of Arensburg Castle (modern Estonia)

There is a legend that many Qing deserter soldiers were walled up at the base of the Great Wall of China, trying to make their legs from the army.

In Rus', walling up alive was extremely respected by our Tsar Ivan the Terrible - he punished his guardsmen who were guilty of this.

One of the last known cases of walling up as an execution dates back to June 1906. So then, according to the execution sentence, the local maniac Haj-Muhammad Mestefi was executed in Morocco, who killed 36 women. Here is an image of his sentence being carried out.

According to the stories of contemporaries, the loud screams of the walled up criminal were heard for three days. Then everything went quiet

It is curious that the ancients considered walling up in a wall not only as a punishment. But also as simply an important sacred custom. For example, when building a fortress wall, a young man or girl could be walled up in it. So that it stands stronger, that is.

For example, in Italy there is a legend about a bridge over the Arta River that kept collapsing until the architect’s wife was voluntarily and forcibly walled up in it. Georgians tell curious tourists a similar story about the Suram fortress, where a young man who decided to sacrifice himself for the sake of the Fatherland was walled up.

Belarusians will tell you the story of the Golshansky Castle, whose walls were collapsing until the decision was made to wall up in them the first person to bring lunch to the builders. Finally, the wife of one of the workers came... Her husband, unable to bear it like grief, committed suicide. And he was posthumously immured next to his wife.

It is curious that in 1997, during the collapse of one of the walls of the Golshansky castle, the skeleton of a young woman was actually found, who, before her death, in despair, scratched the powerful stones of thick masonry with her nails...

Golshansky Castle is one of the most mystical places in Belarus

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