The Beauty of Crucifixion

By Tarquinius Rex

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New subs inevitably ask me this question: Why are you so interested, fascinated, turned on, excited, and pleasured by crucifixion?

Here's my distilled reply:

My fascination in crucifixion came through an interesting series of progressions, first starting in my youth with my Catholic upbringing, then undergoing a difficult dissonant resolution during my radical feminist days, and finally metamorphisizing into a complete ritual during my pagan genesis.

As a young kid of five or six, I distinctly remember thumbing through the Bibles in our house and staring at the semi-nude pictures of Jesus as he progressed through the Stations of the Cross. Coming from a household where I almost felt like getting dressed in a closet, this celebration seemed to be a bizarre contradiction. In church, huge crucifixes, some larger than life and extremely realistic in their portrayal of agony and shame, loomed out from the church walls as if in direct confrontation of the seriously dressed parishioners. It wasn't till a few years later, when I was in the second grade as a student at a parochial school, that a nun finally got across to us kids that the whole idea of crucifixion was supposed to hurt and even kill people. I remember her words being something like, 'the nails hurt like having a thorn in your finger, but only worse'.

Even as early as the fourth grade, I remember having erotic thoughts about crucifixion, often having many embarrassing erections during church. I never thought twice about Jesus the man; (my thought patterns have never been homo-erotic). Instead, at this early stage, I substituted images of women on the cross. I guess, being logically directed, I had not seen any images of women crucified, and just began to keep my searching and awareness open-minded, but before too long, I had verified that women had indeed suffered this fate (as well as kids, old people, cats, dogs, etc.) In fact, I was amazed at how much information existed on the techniques involved and how so few people were aware of what was easily documented. Being a Latin student helped as well, and I can remember at this time, that there was a whole surge of information being discussed on account of the Shroud of Turin, which slowly started to change some of the prevailing opinions.

In order to show why so much of this intrigues me; let me relate the process. Roman crucifixion followed a very detailed set of procedures. It was this Roman attention to the details that really fascinated me, and continue to this day.

Originally, scholars believed that crucifixion evolved from earlier attempts at public executions through such techniques as staking, impaling, hanging, and so on, as developed by the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Assyrians. Believing that these deaths were too fast and not gruesome enough to deter other slaves and criminals, these scholars thought that the Romans designed the cross as a way to both prolong the death struggle while providing satisfying the public's greed for spectacle.

Actually, now historians believe that crucifixion began, not as an execution, but as a punishment designed for unruly slaves. The naked slave would first be scourged, then forced to carry a heavy wooden beam across the shoulders, either around the manor or through the streets, subject to public abuse. Later, the Romans added another step to the punishment, exposing the slave to public ridicule by hanging them by the arms tied at the wrists to the beam. The beam was then attached to an upright wooden post. At some point, the process of crucifixion became a form of execution when the Romans incorporated the nailing of the feet to the post, and later, the hands or wrists to the beam. By the first century before the common era, crucifixion was standardized in the fashion we think of today as the most terrible way to put a person to death.

The Romans later added several refinements, to prolong the agony and thus add more shame. The first was the 'sedile' or saddle. A short piece of wood like a small seat, or sometimes nothing more than a large spike or peg nailed into the upright underneath the crotch of the victim, enabled him or her to rest or even sit down. A person who thus 'sat on the cross' could survive for days. The second refinement is even more telling: the 'cornu' or horn (like in the word 'cornucopia', the horn of plenty). In this case, a slave would somewhat relieve the pain of the spikes by sitting on a sharp point, described like a rhinoceros horn, which was thrust through the anus, and filled it to the point of breaking, therefore immobilizing the unfortunate slave.

>From place to place, the details of crucifixion varied according to the local whims, but there is one thing universal about it. It was practiced with total brutality, formal legality, and informal casualness. It was remarkable for it's unremarkable routine application, and it is thought in some locales that as many as 10% of the males and 5% of the women suffered this fate. Crucified women were always well received by the viewing public. For example, during the persecution of the Christians by the Roman emperors, any women were always crucified in front of the men in order to provide the best spectacle.

In another case, during the second century of the Common Era, the master of a large manor was slain by a slave. Roman law decreed that if this occurred, every slave of the manor suffered crucifixion as an example. This created an intense debate in the Roman Senate, as some argued that this was too barbaric a punishment for a group of people who had obviously committed no wrong. The vigorous debate lasted three days. The Senate voted to uphold the old traditions for the good of the nation. By the end of the day, each slave, no matter whether a gardener or cook or nurse or concubine, was hanging from a cross, arranged all around the borders of the property as slaves from other households were forced to march by and learn the appropriate lesson.

The real horror of crucifixion started not with the pain, nor the shame, but the fact that there was no burial allowed. The crucified writhed knowing that their bodies would be on display as they rotted, were eaten by animals or birds, often while alive, or thrown into waste pits when the upright needed to be reused for the next victim. The pain and the shame, though, had its own horrific points.

The Romans knew how to nail people. Based on the experience of crucifying hundreds of thousands, they determined what positions were most effective for producing pain and maximum exposure for particular body types. The spikes, although fully penetrating the flesh, always were placed to touch particular nerves and to fix the body through particular bones, so that the crucified could always 'swivel' to some extent, but the nerve being touched by the spike would send off spasms of horrific pain. The victim then would find their breathing constricted further and further by the cramped position and finally would have to shift their weight off of one set of spikes, either pulling up by the wrists, or standing on the spike through their feet, heels, or ankles. Despite this situation, no vital organs were damaged, the blood loss was actually minimal, and their minds functioned with full alacrity. They knew where they were, and could see and understand everything said to them. In fact,! they are records of crucified people dividing their remaining property, or divorcing their wives. Court cases challenging these decisions were always decided in favor of the crucified; the horrific reason being that common knowledge held that anyone who had witnessed a crucifixion knew the victims did not go insane but were instead perfectly aware and cognizant even through the haze of pain.

>From this point, I'll build on the second and third stages of how I came to love this ritual for punishing slaves. At first, my reaction was purely sensational and gratuitous. The thought of actually seeing a woman scourged, forced to carry a heavy load, then stripped naked and nailed to a couple of pieces of lumber, or even a tree, then raised upright and set up as a sign without any consideration to decency, focused my attention on learning more about the actual details. After reading and studying the procedure, I realized I could probably execute the whole scenario with a willing sub. It didn't take long before I tried this with a willing partner (I was 20 at the time) and after that experience, knew that I would always love this rite.

A number of qualities come to mind when I view a woman crucified. The first is her own beauty; a cross stretches her limbs and tightens her tummy. It thrusts her breasts out, and often since she is raised a few feet off the ground, her breasts are right at eye (and tongue) level. If she is a little higher, then her pussy is within direct licking range. Depending on the arrangement, it either makes her perfectly symmetrical, her arms spread wide, and her hips facing flat, her legs laid long; or it directly exposes her sex to whatever lust desires.

Second, I love to watch how a woman who is crucified copes with the pain. Since the whole point of a crucifixion is pain, you need a slave who not only can handle the pain, but who can also internalize it. A good slave lets the pain reverberate back out in a tortured form of expression, either moans, or pleas, whimpers, groans, or a writhing effect. The only part of the body free to move, the head, is interesting to watch too. For instance, I love to see how a slave's head turns and looks over their various hurts, and how they eventually shake their hair to accommodate one last degree of personal control.

Third in the sense of qualities is control. The cross, in one sense to me, represents a position of enforced discipline. There were times when I've condemned a slave to be crucified in order to punish them. There were other times when I crucified them for no apparent reason. At these times, aesthetics might be a suitable explanation, if such is needed, but always below the surface is that element of control. The control effect consists not only of the period when the slave actually feels the wood, but the period afterwards when I can use the fear of going through the ritual again to change their behavior.

During this phase, when the slave hangs on the cross, I love to examine all the contrasts declared by the body when set against the harshness of the cross. First, her skin is soft, delicate, and warm; the wood is hard, thorny, and cold. Second, her curves flow smoothly all around, the richness of her face and eyes, the loveliness of her breasts and nipples, versus the strict linear phallic intentions of the pole. The rippling of her muscles as she struggles against the bonds and gravity also intrigue me. I like to see a slave writhe, I want to see them struggle, I like when they inevitably invite me to take them down by offering me their body openly... and to that, I say 'no', 'fuck you' or rather, "I'll let the cross fuck you". I like to degrade their pretty or sophisticated features by letting them writhe in agony and wallow in pain, despair, agony, and shame, even perhaps watching as urine dribbles over the whip marks of the insides of their thighs.

In fact, this is probably the most erotic and esoteric side of the whole crucifixion for me: the contrast between the 'hard' and the 'soft'. The pain of a Roman crucifixion caused the victim to oscillate between hanging from the spikes in their arms to standing on the spike in their feet. From a short distance away, this would appear to be a little dance, up and down, without end, and infinitely dreadful. In other sense, you can say that a slave is literally being fucked by a big wooden dick for everyone to see. And worse of all, it's their own strong leg muscles that do that fucking.

This leads to the second big phase of my interest in crucifying women. During my radical feminist stage of the mid-seventies, I often clashed internally over my intense sexually dominant personality and my overt equally intense struggle for equal rights for women. Strangely enough, the feminists who I went to bed with found this interesting, but one woman showed me a reference that sent my head spinning. There was a growing movement in the theoretical aspects of feminism at the time to discredit any male influenced philosophies. One of the criticisms made concerned the sexual proclivities of famous philosophers. One theorist, Mary Daly, postulated that all male philosophers masturbated to the images of women crucified, and worse yet, she actually had evidence from some of their wives. After their deaths, their wives or archivists had stumbled upon their personal collections of pornography. Reels upon reels of black and white film from the early parts of the century showed wher! e these philosophers had filmed grad students or lovers or even their wives crucified in hundreds of positions.

Well, needless to say I was in one of two positions. Either I was a hypocrite for advancing women's rights in the daytime, only to nail them figuratively to a dead tree in the dark of night, or I was in pretty good company. Fortunately, at this time, several other feminists, primarily lesbian, were actively campaigning for a healthy acceptance of such issues as d&s, b&d, and s&m for themselves. Considering the issue from their perspective saved my own estimate of my mental and ethical balance.

I took their point of view, and it led me deeply and quickly into Paganism. I had always had pagan leanings, even when I was a young Catholic. However, the ability to see the cross as a symbol of the inhumanity of man to man (or woman) allowed me to view crucifixion as a private rite between lovers to enjoy, while keeping in mind the memory of intolerance, to never forget it and to be active publicly in defeating such cruelty.

I therefore took the viewpoint of learning everything I could to incorporate crucifixion as a sub training measure, to educate my subs about the technique and what I hoped to accomplish with it, and as a method for them to experience an altered state of deep meditation. For instance, a slave would notice from the cross that I'm gazing intently at her body. Or I might occasionally let my fingers slip slowly over her curves. I might even check and monitor her various wounds and pains to make sure that her agony is balanced correctly, halfway between pain and shame.

I hope that explains a little of how I evolved to love crucifixion as a rite of extreme torture for subs, and as a trusted measure of endurance for my slaves. Please let me know if anyone out there has any questions and when I get time, I'll do my best to answer those as well.


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