37: Some poor wretches, despite the death of Tiberius

3 comments March 16th, 2010 Headsman

The Roman Emperor Tiberius expired at Misenum on this date in 37 A.D.


The Death of Tiberius, by Jean-Paul Laurens. Tacitus records that the aged princeps was thought to have expired, to the great relief of all, when word came that he was reviving. “[Praetorian prefect] Macro, nothing daunted, ordered the old emperor to be smothered under a huge heap of clothes.”

As Tiberius had been spending his last years terrifyingly purging Rome of alleged “traitors,” his death was met with some considerable relief. Great news: charismatic young prince Caligula is in charge now!

Anyway, despite the old man’s unpopularity and the manifest injustice of his treason trials, Tiberius’s death did not quite halt momentum of political butchery. Ever thus with bureaucracies.

According to Suetonius,

The people were so glad of his death, that at the first news of it some ran about shouting, “Tiberius to the Tiber,” while others prayed to Mother Earth and the Manes to allow the dead man no abode except among the damned. Still others threatened his body with the hook and the Stairs of Mourning, especially embittered by a recent outrage, added to the memory of his former cruelty. It had been provided by decree of the senate that the execution of the condemned should in all cases be put off for ten days, and it chanced that the punishment of some fell due on the day when the news came about Tiberius. The poor wretches begged the public for protection; but since in the continued absence of Gaius [Caligula] there was no one who could be approached and appealed to, the jailers, fearing to act contrary to the law, strangled them and cast out their bodies on the Stairs of Mourning. Therefore hatred of the tyrant waxed greater, since his cruelty endured even after his death.

But Tiberius’s cruelty didn’t endure too long after his death. Pretty soon, Caligula’s cruelty would have the stage all to itself and Tiberius survivors would be yearning for the good old days.

The History of Rome podcast covers Tiberius’s crazy years and the transition to Caligula here.

* It’s not completely explicit that it was on this same March 16 that news of the emperor’s death hit Rome; therefore, it’s conceivable that the drama described here played out on a subsequent date.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: Ancient,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,History,Italy,Known But To God,Mass Executions,Milestones,Power,Roman Empire,Strangled,Treason,Uncertain Dates,Wrongful Executions

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2005: Mohammed Bijeh, the desert vampire

8 comments March 16th, 2009 Headsman

On this date in 2005, Iran “desert vampire” was flogged to the point of collapse and hanged before a bloodthirsty throng in Pakdasht.


Mohammed Bijeh collapses during his flogging (top); then, as he is hoisted by a crane — with what one would take to be the stab wound from a victim’s brother visible on his back. More frightful photos of this execution here.

Bijeh confessed to raping and murdering 16 boys age 8 to 15 over a yearlong spree.

His modus operandi? Lure them into the desert on the pretext of hunting animals.

Unsurprisingly a figure of intense public hatred, Bijeh stolidly endured his own death before a jeering mob.

Riot police held back the angry crowd, but at one point a brother of one of the victims managed to break through and stab Bijeh in the back.

After 100 lashes, the desert vampire was noosed to a crane arm by one of the victims’ mothers, and hoisted 10 meters into the air for public strangulation, to the cheers of onlookers who had to be restrained from savaging the body when it was finally brought down.

An accomplice, Ali Baghi, somehow avoided execution and got off with whipping and a prison term.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,Infamous,Iran,Mature Content,Murder,Public Executions,Rape,Serial Killers,Sex,Torture

Tags: , , , , , ,

Next Posts


Calendar

August 2022
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Archives

Categories

Execution Playing Cards

Exclusively available on this site: our one-of-a-kind custom playing card deck.

Every card features a historical execution from England, France, Germany, or Russia!