In the middle ages torture was used to extract information, force confessions, punish suspects, frighten opponents, and satisfy personal hatred. Historically, ancient Greeks and Romans used torture for interrogation. Until the second century AD, torture was used only on slaves.. A slave's testimony was admissible only if extracted by torture. The word 'torture' comes from the French torture , originating in the Late Latin tortura and ultimately deriving the past participle of torquere meaning 'to twist'. Many characteristically Christian tortures rely on a twisting of the limbs, twisting ligatures, or turning screw mechanisms as the Church discouraged the shedding of blood. The Norman French who came to England with William the Conqueror used torture to extract treasure from the Anglo-Saxons in their new kingdom. During the Anarchy, the Norman supporters of both of the claimants to the throne practiced torture to extract gold and silver from the peasantry.
In , the U. Navy will finally stop allowing officers to punish sailors by limiting their meals to bread and water. The Navy adopted this punishment in its early days from the British Royal Navy and continued using it long after the Royal Navy stopped using it in Recently, one U. Bread and Water. A modern version of this punishment might mean three days in the brig with nothing to eat with bread and water. A couple centuries ago, it might have meant 30 days shackled in the brig with only those two provisions. Though it seems cruel and unusual today, naval ships once viewed bread-and-water punishment as more humane compared to the other traditional penalties sailors faced at sea.
Torture and Execution Methods
It was imposed as a form of judicial punishment and as a means of maintaining discipline in schools, prisons, military forces, and private homes. The instruments and methods of flogging have varied. Children in schools and homes have been beaten with sticks, rods, straps, whips, and other objects. This was constructed of nine knotted cords or thongs of rawhide attached to a handle. The Russian knout, consisting of a number of dried and hardened thongs of rawhide interwoven with wire—the wires often being hooked and sharpened so that they tore the flesh—was even more painful and deadly. A particularly painful, though not so deadly, type of flogging was the bastinado, generally used in Asia, which involved blows delivered to the soles of the feet with a light rod, knotted cord, or lash.
The cat o' nine tails , commonly shortened to the cat , is a type of multi-tailed whip that originated as an implement for severe physical punishment , notably in the Royal Navy and British Army, and also as a judicial punishment in Britain and some other countries. It has nine knotted lashes at the end of the nine ropes. The term first appears in  in reports of a London murder. The term came into wider circulation in after its mention by a character in William Congreve 's play Love for Love ,  although the design is much older. It was probably so called in reference to its " claws ", which inflict parallel wounds. There are equivalent terms in many languages, usually strictly translating, and also some analogous terms referring to a similar instrument's number of tails cord or leather , such as the Dutch zevenstaart seven tail[s] , negenstaart nine tail[s] , the Spanish gato de nueve colas or the Italian gatto a nove code. The cat is made up of nine knotted thongs of cotton cord , about 0. It traditionally has nine thongs as a result of the manner in which rope is plaited. Thinner rope is made from three strands of yarn plaited together, and thicker rope from three strands of thinner rope plaited together. To make a cat o' nine tails, a rope is unravelled into three small ropes, each of which is unravelled again.