Well, the barbarians did it again. Islamic terrorists in Syria released a video Sunday of their beheading of American aid worker Peter Kassig, of Indianapolis, who had recently converted to Islam. The video also shows about a dozen Syrian military men being beheaded. Kassig is the fifth Westerner to be beheaded.
It seems modern Muslims are giving past decapitators a bad name.
Alexander Blackwell (died 1747) was a British adventurer who was involved in a mysterious plot in Sweden and was tried, tortured, and beheaded. At his execution, Blackwell came to the block and put his head on the wrong side. The executioner pointed out his mistake and Blackwell moved around to the correct side, saying that he was sorry for the mistake, but this was the first time that he had been beheaded. Ahh yes, beheadings were always permanent, sometimes polite, but always to the point.
Decapitation has been reintroduced into our lives by Muslim terrorists even though it is a reckless, repulsive and reprehensible way to express one’s hatred of an enemy, declare a warning to others, or to exact justice. Of course, what the Muslims know about true justice would fit into the navel of a flea. More about that later–Muslims, not the flea.
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Barbarism is as old as mankind and no nation has been an exception. Astyages, the last king of Media carried barbarism to its height when he ordered his general Harpagus to eat the head of his (Harpagus’) own son, and Harpagus said that whatever a king did or said was all right with him. Cyrus the Great was Astyages’ grandson and dethroned his grandpa in 550 B.C. Good for Cyrus.
An attempted assassin in China in 1570 A.D. was buried alive in the ground with only his head exposed, and the head was slowly sawn off with a bamboo saw by passers-by for several days.
This official and sluggish execution was an example to all would-be assassins that they could be next.
The Celts of Western Europe followed the “cult of the severed head” which was responsible for their reputation as head hunters. An ancient historian reports:
“They cut off the heads of enemies slain in battle and attach them to the necks of their horses. The blood-stained spoils they hand over to their attendants and striking up a paean and singing a song of victory; and they nail up these first fruits upon their houses,…They embalm in cedar oil the heads of the most distinguished enemies, and preserve them carefully in a chest, and display them with pride to strangers, saying that for this head one of their ancestors, or his father, or the man himself, refused the offer of a large sum of money. They say that some of them boast that they refused the weight of the head in gold.” Ghastly, gory, and grotesque.
Rome was known for beheading its citizens, while non-citizens were crucified. Since the Apostle Paul was a Roman citizen, he was “honored” with beheading. Christ, not being a Roman citizen, was crucified, but unlike Paul, He refused to remain dead.
Often the head of the beheaded victim was displayed in the Roman Forum as was the case of Cicero, maybe the most noble of Romans, whose hands and head were nailed on the Rostra (the podium from which he spoke) in the Forum in 43 B.C. Cicero had antagonized Mark Antony in some of his speeches in the Forum and was identified as “an enemy of the state.”
Beheading was a popular form of capital punishment since it was quick and a cheap way to get the job done. Capital punishment derives from the Latin word “capitalis” meaning “head,” since in ancient times a death sentence typically meant the offender lost his head. However, it seems most officials went to a little extreme in carrying out their idea of justice. Death was not enough.
Beheading was often considered the honorable way to die for an aristocrat; in England it was considered the privilege of the upper class to be beheaded. Death on the gallows or burning at the stake was considered dishonorable. Women were usually burned at the stake. Severed heads often were displayed on the London Bridge, as many as 40 at a time, sending a message to citizens about rebellion against the king.
In recent days the Mexican drug cartel has been sending horror throughout the continent by dropping heads along the highways, in front of churches, etc. They are even using chain saws to make the beheadings more gruesome, ghastly, and grotesque.
All beheadings are grotesque but Muslim beheadings are the most reckless, repulsive, and reprehensible because they are religiously inspired. Islamic hypocrisy is astounding.
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