Method of capital punishment among the Persians, Seleucids, Jews, Carthaginians, and Romans from about the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD. The condemned man was usually whipped and forced to drag the crossbeam to where the upright was standing. His hands were tied or nailed to the crossbeam, which was attached to the upright 9–12 ft (2.5–3.5 m) above the ground, and his feet bound or nailed to the upright. Death was by heart failure or asphyxiation. Political or religious agitators and those without civil rights were crucified. Its overwhelming association today is with Jesus. Crucifixion was abolished by Constantine I in AD 337 after his conversion to Christianity. See also stigmata.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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