This was a form of public, prolonged torture developed by either the Phoenicians or in Mesopotamia to deter rebellion and crime. It was perfected (i.e., where it lasted several days) by the Romans. By law no Roman citizen could be crucified. It involved a public stripping, beating (see Special Topic: Scourging), and nailing to a cross. The shape of the cross could be a capital "T" or a small "t" or an "X." It is even possible that a scaffolding was used when several persons were crucified together. Death finally occurred by asphyxiation. The condemned person had to push up on his nailed feet to breathe. This is why breaking the legs of those criminals crucified with Jesus caused their rapid death (cf. John. 19:32).

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