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Crucifixion was a form of capital punishment used by the Romans to punish slaves, pirates, and enemies of the state. It was originally reserved for slaves and later extended to citizens of the lower classes. It was intended to be the most painful and humiliating death imaginable. Victims were stripped naked and scourged, forced to carry a patibulum (a heavy beam of wood) and a titulus (a sign board with the prisoner’s name and crime) through crowded streets, and publicly tortured after being fastened to the patibulum and hoisted onto a vertical beam; the feet or ankles would also be nailed to the stake. Exhaustion and asphyxiation would eventually lead to death, but the process often took several days. The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, in ca. 30, are the basis of Christian theology. Jesus was arrested and tried by a Jewish judicail body (the Sanhedrin) for sorcery, violating the Sabbath law by healing on that day, threatening to destroy the Jewish Temple, sorcery, performing exorcisms, and claiming to be both the Messiah and the Son of God. Then the Roman prefect of Judaea sentenced him to flogging and death. A crown of thorns was placed on his head and a sign in 3 languages was attached to his cross mocking him as “King of the Jews.” He was crucified between 2 thieves and died after only 6 hours. Most Muslims claim that “Isa” was not slain but rather went living to Heaven; in some accounts some other victim was substituted for him, perhaps his former disciple Judas (“Yahuza al-Iskhiriyuti”), who had betrayed him to the authorities.
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